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Alex Araiza
Alex Araiza

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Jamstack Conf 2021

Three weeks ago the Jamstack Conf 2021 took place. Thousands of people from different parts of the Internet came together to witness a bird ruin weeks of preparation as it flew into electrical equipment, causing a power outage that made local news.

After the first few minutes of organizers somehow managing to keep the event alive, people got what they had originally come for: Jamstack.

What is Jamstack?

Jamstack is an architecture designed to make the web faster, more secure, and easier to scale. It builds on many of the tools and workflows which developers love, and which bring maximum productivity.

How does it work?

With Jamstack, the entire front end is prebuilt into highly optimized static pages and assets during a build process. This process of pre-rendering results in sites which can be served directly from a CDN, reducing the cost, complexity and risk, of dynamic servers as critical infrastructure.

To prebuild static pages, developers typically use a static site generator, which generates pages out of markdown files, content from a CMS, or other input files. Those pages can then be deployed to a CDN for better speeds.

If you want to know more about Jamstack, go to jamstack.org, where you can learn about tools, benefits, best practices, and more.

My previous experience with Jamstack

I had used Jamstack before the Jamstack Conf 2021; shortly after learning React I started wondering if there were ways to make a website feel like a single-page app without having it constantly fetch data that wasn't going to change often. Then I learned about SEO, and started questioning whether single-page apps were any better than multi-page apps at all; and then I discovered Gatsby, which solved every one of my problems at that time.

Since then I'd learned about other frameworks and used many platforms, and I'd grown to like Jamstack quite a bit; ease of development, speed, security and generally less headaches are all things I like. So naturally, when I saw that the Jamstack Conf 2021 was taking place, I had to register and see what was going on.

Jamstack Conf 2021

The Jamstack Conf 2021 was jampacked with a lot of good content. Companies showcasing their products and services, new technologies being demoed, and plenty of networking time to ask any questions or just chat.

One of my favorite presentations was Transitional Apps by Rich Harris, where he talked about the current state of web development, the problems with single-page apps, the reasons why they exist, and where the web may be headed. I recommend watching it, especially if you're interested in the single-page app vs. multi-page app debate. It can solidify the idea that there's often no "best" answer, and that perhaps there are more than two options to begin with.

I think this is a very interesting idea. At times it feels like people on either side of the debate are so convinced of their position that they miss out on possibly better alternatives, so to see that there are people who think outside of those boundaries is refreshing.

Tools like Astro, Eleventy, Marko or Svelte aim to send less JavaScript to the client in order to improve performance while making developer experience easier. This shows that there is a community that understands the problems with modern web development and wants to provide a solution; an alternative that takes the best of single-page apps and multi-page apps and combines it to make the developer tools that may rule the web in the near-future. Naturally, they were all a topic of discussion in Jamstack Conf 2021, some of them getting their own presentation.

There was a lot more at the Jamstack Conf 2021, like The Jammies and Learn with Jason. You can watch most of the presentations on YouTube. If you're into web development, and especially if you're into Jamstack or serverless architectures, I recommend giving them a look; after all, you may just find yourself using some of these tools in the future.

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