The Jam stack is a new way of managing a blog without the expensive requirement of a server. In the open source world a number of static website builders have emerged, these builders simply convert static markdown files into rich experiences.
JAM stack stands for:
- A, APIs,
- M, Markdown
APIs, are external services that provide information or some sort of extra functionality to the application, such as accessing data stored in a database through an API, when the website is being built, the content of the API can be saved into the static generated content.
And finally, Markdown is a simple format for constructing simple text documents with a basic level of typograhy formating and media inclusion.
Together, these there pieces for the JAM stack and provide a simple yet secure way to provide content to thousands of users without the overhead of having to manage a server.
How the JAM stack works?
Something to first understand about the JAM stack is that your content is served to a vistor in a static way, what does this mean? Simply put, when some visits your website, the is no server rendering your content everytime, instead the browser is just reading a simple HTML file with your content.
To have a functional JAM stack, you need to ensure a number of requirements exist, such requirements include hosting your content in a service like Github, when your content is updated, Github will then notify a service like Netlify.com to deploy that content to a static environment. Its that simple.
Wordpress vs the JAM stack
Wordpress is a very popular and famous solution when it comes to building a customisable and powerful blog, with WordPress you can easily login anytime you like, manage users and even build complex articles using your own custom theme.
But Wordpress is still a server that needs to be maintained, and WordPress maintanance can be time consume and expensive depending on the traffic you are getting from your content.
When looking at the JAM stack you move your dependencies away from a single server and onto online services such as Github.com and Netlify.com. These services are maintained by an active team of developers who are paid by the company behind these services. Another point are these services provide a free solution for running a popular JAM stack website.
Wordpress does have a useful way to easily login and start contributing content, the difference here is with the JAM stack, you simply log into Github.com and start contributing content but with git. Using git allows a simple way to ensure content is reviewed and approve in a seemless way thousands of developers around the world use for software development.
And when it comes to user management, simply manage who can or cannot access your private github repository.
Advantages of Wordpress
- So Wordpress has been around for a very long time, its a reliable solution and has a huge community of developers contributing to it on a daily basis.
- It can very easily be extended to run as any type of website.
- It provides comment management out of the box
- Theme support is a core piece of functionality and find a new powerful and well tested theme is quite easy to do
- WordPress has a powerful plugin system that can easily extend your website with the press of a button
Advantages of the JAM stack
- Simple approach to content management
- All managed with git, the code versioning system
- Content is provided to users as a static website
- Fast, its very fast, we are only relying on the download speed of the server and the users internet connection
- Tons of online services providing a free or very cheap solution to hosting your JAM stack website
- Content is stored as markdown, easy to use and limited enough to ensure the focus is around the content
- Secure, your content is stored on Github, a service thousands of companies trust with their source code.
The cost of running Wordpress vs JAM stack
When looking at the cost of a JAM stack website as opposed to a Wordpress website, the JAM stack solution is massively cheaper.
Instead of running a server all day every day, we are now just serving static files from a service like Amazon S3 which is normally used for providing static files to software solutions. Its a very cheap approach to providing static websites.
How post drafting works
In Wordpres creating a draft is quite easy, you just don't publish your content and just add content to a new post.
When creating a draft in the JAM stack, you just create a new git branch and store your content their. Once the content is ready, just merge the branch into your master branch and volia!, your content is available in your website.