Giving the JAM stack a go Part 1

After much deliberation, I decided to give it a shot.

This started out as one singular post as I build this site. It was to distract me from technicalities and worry about content. Then the more I thought about it, I'm gonna make it a series on what I learn, things I like, or dislike, best use cases etc. I'm using this as a reason to write. So, this is a tool to get me to write my thoughts, own my own content, and learn something new, score!

What is the JAM Stack? It stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markdown, and I do believe it won me over for certain use cases.

After all, It sounds like they gave a name to most projects I've been building at night for the last few years.

Around 2014 or 2015, I decided to build random things with Rails in my free time. I started playing around building a blog that never saw the light of day with Jekyll. I thought Jekyll was cool at the time, but it seemed like something I could never offer to a client, and I never really enjoyed Ruby, So, I forgot about the whole markdown as content thing until I started playing with Gatsby in 2017 or so.

Gatsby was another one, where I thought "this is cool, but how would I offer this to a client?" I do believe I’ve reached a point where I don’t really care about the client thing. I just wanted to redo the site I haven’t touched in 4 years or so, and It’s definitely a shoemaker’s kid scenario going on.

After years of dealing with, or inheriting enough troublesome Wordpress sites, I decided, why would I want my personal site done with such bloat? Don't get me wrong, Wordpress is a great platform, but I'm happy that there are communities out there that are trying to make the web advance from that, or at least work with it to improve it.

I’ve spent The majority of the last 4 years or so building in Node, React, or Vue. If I deal with WordPress now, it’s cleaning up a hacked site, or fixing something broken. Every new thing I’ve built in that time period has utilized the REST API, if WordPress has any part in it. I like the idea of ditching the PHP view layer. So, this seemed kind of like the perfect thing in my book.

So, why isn’t this bloated? It actually does the build beforehand, and compiles everything to static pages. There is no waiting for a request to the database when the user hits a page endpoint. Seems pretty cool, my initial concerns were "what if I have to have gated content behind a JWT or session?" And "I have to make things easy for a client, markdown is not the answer." Again, I’m so used to building things for marketing teams or clients, I was confusing my own personal needs with a "this needs to work for everything or it’s garbage attitude." I just needed to take a step back and solve the problem at hand.

I’m just getting used to this blogging thing again, so check out the second post! for more info on what I used on this site.

I've also attached a pretty good talk "JAMstack Fundamentals: What, What and How? With Phil Hawksworth" if you're interested in learning more about it.