JAMstack Update January 11, 2020

The Year of Perfect Vision

2020 is beginning with an identity crisis. This week, the folks at JAMstack.org changed “JAM” to “jam” throughout the site, upsetting many (well a small many, including myself!). Maybe it’s a good change. I think the JAM in JAMstack leads newcomers to believe that Javascript is the secret ingredient in JAMstack, when in fact, there is no secret ingredient. JAMstack doesn’t care if you use Javascript or APIs, or if you’re building a simple site or complex; it only cares that you’re pre-rendering your site and rendering it on a CDN. That alone solves so many problems (e.g. cost, security, performance, latency).

JAMstack is also about decoupling overbearing monolithic systems (n.b “the old way”) into smaller, purposeful components. This (beautiful thing) is where putting JAMstack into practice gets problematic. Back in the day it was easy enough to buy milk or orange juice, but now you have to choose between oat milk, almond milk, cows milk, soy milk, pea milk, pulpy OJ, low-acid OJ, vitamin injected OJ, and, absurdly, so on. Choice comes at the cost of experimentation, yet, unlike at the grocery store, development decisions can be expensive. The risk of decision paralysis is high. What’s more, winding your way through the pricing schemes of the many JAMstack-focused SaaS products is bewildering, and decoding the language on them and wondering how they might change in a year or two is fraught with difficultly if you’re making future-thinking business decisions. I used to think if we only solved editing, JAMstack would be solved. That was when there were few headless CMSs on the market. Now content-as-a-service is spawning innovative tools daily, yet, for many, there are no obvious choices. This isn’t strictly a JAMstack problem, but for the paradigm to thrive it still needs to be solved.

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