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Top reasons to move from LAMP Stack to JAM Stack for your next Web project

  • by Philippe Bodart
  • 3 months ago

Stacking web technologies is a common phenomenon adopted by developers since years to gain prominence in website development. One of the earliest web stacks formed with well-known open source technologies is LAMP STACK. LAMP is the combination of four important technologies – one is an operating system called Linux, second is the Apache web server, third being MySQL, the popular database system and last but not the least, Perl ( PHP or Python) the programming language used for developing HTML web pages. Every website requires a framework, a programming language, libraries and so on for its development. When you get the right combination of all these technologies you can surely develop a good website that can offer better performance. LAMP stack is a good but a conventional approach for website development that is now getting replaced by more modern approaches like the JAM Stack.

The term JAM Stack was coined by Netlify co-founder Mathias Biilmann to refer to the solution stack of JavaScript, APIs, and markup. JAM stack focuses on the front end build, eschewing server-side functions as much as possible. The three elements are: JavaScript: JAM stack JS resides on the client-side, handling responses and requests. Because this approach involves a style of build over specific technologies, the “J” in JAM stack can take many forms: pure JavaScript, a library like Vue.js, or even front-end frameworks like React. APIs: Server-side processes and database commands are implemented vis API, which is accessed by JS-driven HTTP calls. JAM stack is API agnostic in that it simply does not care where yours comes from. You can use any of the bazillion pre-packaged APIs out there or custom-build your own. Markup: This is the part users actually see when they access your site or app. These days there are all kinds of open source build tools (Grunt, Webpack, Gulp) — not to mention static site generators (Gatsby, Spike, Hugo) aggregating them into convenient platforms — to make creating templated markup stupid easy. Once you’ve actually built that JAM stack-based opus, you, of course, want to place it at the very front edge of the internet event horizon. There are fantastic git-centric hosting services that allow continuous deployment — meaning that you can simply push your app, and any subsequent changes, to GitHub, and the service will automatically build the site from source and deploy it. This is essentially how GitHub Pages works. And, since JAM stack architecture also couples beautifully with high-availability, high-performance nature of content delivery network distribution, be sure to shop for a provider that gives good CDN.

JAM Stack is a Concept – Not a Library

So often, I speak to non-tech-savvy executives who ask me questions such as: “Will you use the JAMstack library?” Well, it isn’t a library, but a collection of tools tied together as a concept…

It’s important to know the difference because confusion about what it can or can’t do will influence the conversations you have with developers. Much like “Progressive Web Applications,” which was another set of guidelines but not a library, JAMstack isn’t any one set of code. Rather, it’s an approach to solving problems.

That is a big distinction versus, say, Node.js, which is a library. JAMstack can involve any number of different technologies or methodologies and still be within the realm of what the concept encompasses.

Tendency to move away from monolithic LAMP Stack CMS Systems

Drupal , WordPress and SquarSpace are traditionally “monolithic” CMSs, with presentation baked in via the theme. However, due to the need for more flexibility and freedom, many companies have begun decoupling the CMS, using it for content management, editorial, and administrative tools, while implementing a separate frontend component that communicates with the CMS via API. Decoupled CMS architecture (aka “headless”) is rising in popularity in the development world. This model allows breakthrough user experiences, gives developers great flexibility to innovate, and helps site owners future-proof their builds by allowing them to refresh the design without re-implementing the whole CMS. With all this upside, it’s no wonder this type of build has gained serious traction in the business community as of late.

WebriQ - JAM Stack GLUE

At WebriQ, we have been developing and deploying JAM Stack websites for over two years now. With a dedicated APP, we have been able to build, develop, update and manage hunderds of sites. In this model we are using a Static Site Generator to develop the site, a GIT based CMS system to update the content and a Github repository to store all HTML, CSS and Javascript files. GIT files are pushed to a CDN network. Whereas this model does fit well for most smaller projects, it has it's shortfalls when it comes to larger projects or projects with a need for frequent content updates and updates made by a variety of users, content writers and third party contributions

Since the JAM Stack is more a concept then a real technology stack, we have been contemplating for a while how we could combine the best of the traditional LAMP Stack ideas and the serious advantages and benefits of the JAM Stack. It's what I would call the GLUE of the JAM Stack.

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