Tech 4. May. 2018

The real value of JAMstack

It’s not a secret that I am a fan of JAMstack websites. Like REST - which is basically using the core communication of HTTP - JAMstack is basically about using static websites - with some more around.

Static websites alway were great due to:

  • best possible server side loading performace,
  • best security, and
  • low complexity.

Well, there are some downsides like the question how to manage the content by editors, using dynamic and personalised content and so on.

At form4 we used static website in special cases, e.g. for campaign websites with high traffic (above 250.000 users a day). As well we tried to use static caches in front of content management systems, to benefit from both worlds. The combination quite fast brought us to a differentiation between static parts of a website and dynamic parts. With common CMS systems that differentiation is not needed allways. But thinking both as different software layers, makes it easy to think of a static website which is dynamic for the editors and users.

Already in 2009 we put the static part of a TYPO3 website with around 40.000 content pages into a static cache (based on a squid proxy). The dynamic parts - which were present on every single page - were realised by Javascript and Cookies. This concept ran like a charme and today that’s what is the idea of a JAMstack.

Beside this the internet world change a lot since 2009 and the aspect of security is much more important. Nearly every week (actually today) I hear about server hacks. And even if the major systems like Wordpress, TYPO3, Drupal and so on are quite fast in uncovering and fixing security issues, a lot of clients and website publishers are not able to be up-to-date on a daily basis. But everyting else, is not enough anymore. Waiting some week with an important update will cause a hack. That’s reality.

But not not get stucks into a full time maintanence, it makes sense to retink website architecture. Use static stuff as far as possible and distribute by specialised CDN providers. Use saas solutions for most of the other parts on a website, to benefit from the secuity teams of the service deliverers. Separate the core data management from online servers to avoid any risk to your internal management systems and data.

I think, that’s what is the real value of JAMstack.