Jamstack: Enhanced Security and Operational Excellence

Thought Leadership

By Felipe Silberstein | October 01, 2021
A laptop shows a diagram. Contentful's logo is in the center of the diagram with icons connecting to the logo and to each other.

Jamstack is an approach to development designed to make sites faster, more secure, and easier to scale. The approach centers on using Javascript, APIs, and Markup, which gives developers a wide range of options when it comes to choosing the different languages and application technologies that power the site.

Jamstack itself is not a specific stack. It represents a best-practice approach for transforming static sites into a more customizable setup. Jamstack enables teams to manage site features and new builds from the front-facing, client-side. This approach enhances overall security, site speed, and operational excellence.

Here’s a closer look at Jamstack’s benefits, and where it’s particularly valuable.

2020 accelerated shift in eCommerce and user expectations

In 2020, the world was thrust into operating in a digital environment. Everything from working to shopping, socializing, and entertainment happened online. As a result, users raised the bar in what they expect from a digital experience.

For companies, this now means that the way you interact with prospective customers online plays a huge role in your brand perception, website conversions, and, ultimately, revenue.

In 2021, the US reported a 17.9% year-over-year growth in eCommerce sales. In addition, the US Department of Commerce estimated that in the first half of 2021, $222.5 billion in transactions occurred on eCommerce platforms. This works out to a growth rate of 3.3% quarter over quarter, showing that consumers are using and demanding more from online platforms.

Companies who want to lead in the future of eCommerce need site infrastructure that’s capable of meeting the changing needs of the market. Jamstack is one approach to building digital assets that enables companies to meet people where they are — and what they expect.

The power of a static website to drive change

The need for a highly responsive site infrastructure becomes even more clear by taking a look at the demographic characteristics of site users. In the US, the majority of online consumers are between the ages of 25 and 35. To this user group, site experience and speed play a big role in purchasing decisions. Every second of loading time on your platform is vital. And we’re not just talking about desktop: mobile devices account for 71% of visits to retail platforms.

You can set up your website and related digital assets by using a Jamstack architecture. Because you’re able to decouple the front-end from the back-end of your site, you’ll no longer have the typical restrictions of site development. In addition, the tech ecosystem available to use with a Jamstack setup means that you’re able to pick and choose from the best feature providers in the world.

With Jamstack, you can prioritize building experiences that suit your end users’ needs, rather than building within the limitations of a particular technology. You’re able to choose any language or framework to work in, and build with a modular, tech-agnostic architecture. Not only can this create a better experience for your end user, it improves your site speed and overall security.

Principles behind Jamstack

Let’s take a look at a few features behind Jamstack, that make these benefits possible.

Since it operates with a serverless architecture, you won’t need to spend time maintaining your server conditions. The server and its supporting architecture operate on demand using solutions like AWS Lambda, which automatically adjusts and scales the resources needed to accommodate fluctuations in your traffic. This way, no mega events — like a seasonal spike in traffic or a cybersecurity attack — will take your site by surprise.

In order for a site to be considered a ‘Jamstack’ setup, it needs to follow a set of criteria. Jamstack sites have the following characteristics:

  • API-first. The site must be developed with an API-first approach. This means the internal and business operations should be based on third-party integrations, also called PBCs, which communicate via APIs. An example of this would look like using GraphQL for data management, or a Content Delivery API (CDN) for content delivery.

  • Serverless. The companies that you partner with must have their own back-end setup to operate the services they offer. Each provider must actively optimize its own system, including automatic resource scaling, and maintenance. From the security perspective, taking a serverless approach reduces the contact surface for your data, which protects you from DDoS attacks and associated downtime.

  • Markup. Using Jamstack means your content is housed in hundreds of HTML files (the “M” in Jamstack stands for Markup), that are distributed via CDN. This means that your site remains available even with low bandwidth. This is possible thanks to the deferred loading of static content, helping you deliver a fast site experience even if you have thousands of pages of content.

At Apply Digital, we use Jamstack in our client projects because of the flexibility and responsiveness it offers. If you would like support building the next iteration of your digital platform or to have a conversation about your tech challenges, reach out to someone on our team and we’d be happy to explore how we can help.