Also, as search engines prioritize speed as one of their top ranking factors, static, pre-rendered websites, like those you can build using a JAMstack CMS are emerging as one of the main tools in a modern developer’s toolbox.
In a previous article, we highlighted some of the pioneers in the JAMstack ecosystem and the opportunities JAMstack brings for both developers and marketers. In this one, we will talk about ten JAMstack-ready CMSs worth looking at as you plan for 2021 and beyond.
The headless CMS architecture is gaining momentum in the development world, and it’s not a surprise why. A headless CMS enables developers and marketers to build better digital experiences faster, and at a fraction of the cost.
Headless CMSs take a different approach to web development when compared to traditional CMSs. In general, headless CMSs care about the data first and the design second, which means that all the content you add to the CMS exists independently from the website in data structures connected by APIs. These APIs drive and deliver content to any channel and device, which makes headless CMSs the go-to architecture for companies and brands looking to deliver omnichannel experiences.
The JAMstack architecture gives developers a new way of developing software that leverages static rendering at the client-side. By rendering the content in the browser, static websites can access a pre-rendered HTML file (cached ahead of time) to display content quicker.
Read More: The Meteoric Rise of JAMstack
JAMstack is all about giving frontend developers the tools to architect and build fast digital experiences. Also, when you add a JAMstack-ready CMS to the equation, you gain marketer friendliness, better editing options, increased functionalities, and community support.
Let’s take a look at our top 10 picks of JAMstack CMS.
Agility CMS puts content at the front and center of the development process. By taking a content-first approach, Agility CMS empowers users to build digital experiences faster than other JAMstack-ready CMSs in the market.
Agility CMS is best for content editors who want an omnichannel approach.
Strapi is an open-source headless CMS based on Node.js. Strapi uses GraphQL to fetch and query data and deliver content across channels faster. Strapi offers users role-based access control, a substantial media library, and a pleasing UI.
When it comes to JAMstack development, Strapi integrates seamlessly with most static site generators on the market, enabling developers to create all kinds of digital content that can be extended using plugins.
Contentful shuns templates and fixed content structures aside, giving developers the tools to organize and structure the content their way. Contentful focuses on providing users with the tools to build custom content models for maximum customization.
One of the most stable features of Contentful for JAMstack developers is that the CMS is built on a solid CDN. Content is closely tied to JSON, which means that it delivers content in markup format ready to be consumed by static site generators and different channels for a true omnichannel strategy.
Contentful is good for developers familiar with HTTP requests and JSON responses.
DatoCMS offers users enhanced digital asset management using AI-powered content tagging and improved search capabilities. Dato also comes with a powerful image editor that enables the manipulation of content on the fly.
From a JAMstack perspective, DatoCMS gives developers the ability to create tree-like data structures with ease and simplify content editing. DatoCMS also helps users decide how the administrative area looks, so the platform looks clearer for everyone.
DatoCMS is good for image-rich websites that need specific roles and permissions systems.
Prismic enables users to build all kinds of digital experiences. From wikis to blog posts to marketing pages and web applications, Prismic delivers content that can be previewed in build time.
From a JAMstack perspective, what makes Prismic a contender is how they use content slices to define dynamic content zones within a page, giving editors the freedom to compose experiences the way they need. Also, the fact that they include out-of-the-box content localization makes them a reliable JAMstack-ready CMS.
Prismic is good for creating and editing multilanguage sites.
Contentstack empowers non-technical users to create and optimize omnichannel content experiences while also giving developers the tools to build robust frontend systems to distribute this content across devices and platforms.
Contentstack is another strong contender to consider when it comes to JAMstack CMSs. Contentstack gives users robust content modeling capabilities and enables seamless integration with static site generators to create all kinds of digital experiences in almost no time.
Contentstack is good for projects with custom content models or complex page structures.
Netlify is a tech-agnostic tool that automates the build and deployment process of websites and applications. Netlify simplifies the process and automatically deploys the changes to its custom CDN, which means that all you need to make it work is your frontend tool of choice and a git repository.
Since it was its founder who coined the term JAMstack, there wouldn’t be a JAMstack ecosystem without the tool. All sites built on Netlify are prebuilt, which means that they load faster and are deployed directly to a global edge network without users having to do anything different than their regular workflow.
Netlify is good for developers who need to build and deploy production sites quickly.
Cosmic is a cross-compatible, extensible headless CMS that integrates JAMstack capabilities and gives developers starters to simplify development and cut production times. Cosmic offers users dozens of templates to build everything they need, from a simple portfolio site to Android apps.
Cosmic has a vibrant user community that gives users a place where they can learn from each other and use that knowledge to enrich their digital experiences and the platforms they build. Similarly, Cosmic allows users to upload their own starters, adding to the pool of templates they offer to new users.
Cosmic is good for users who need a reliable website starter.
Directus enables users to manage content and digital experiences by connecting SQL databases and deploying the data using an intuitive platform that also caters to non-technical users in an unrestricted environment.
Directus is an open-source, database-first CMS that enables users to connect different SQL databases using APIs. Also, Directus leverages JSON markup language to give users complete control of how the content is produced, deployed, and consumed.
Directus is good for users who need extensive SQL support.
From a JAMstack perspective, Sanity is a reliable choice as it enables users to distribute content from a single source of truth, approach workflow, and design programmatically, and query images for metadata, enabling better content tagging and enhanced integrations with any DAM.
Sanity is good for teams using markup languages and structured content.
The truth is that while most JAMstack CMSs are similar, they’re built with specific capabilities and use cases in mind. Some are made with developers in mind and others, like Agility CMS, are built to cater to both developers and editors, giving users the best of both worlds.
What constitutes the best JAMstack CMS varies from one company to the other, but regardless of which CMS you choose, you need to have a clear understanding of your priorities and where your business is heading in order to reap the benefits of the JAMstack architecture.