How Jamstack will change web development: Netlify, Vercel

  • Jamstack is a collection of technologies to help developers build websites quickly and easily.
  • Supporters believe Jamstack is a huge opportunity for startups, even in the shadow of Amazon’s cloud.
  • The rise of Jamstack follows the growth of many API and developer driven companies.

There’s a new battery in town, and that could be the key to helping startups come out of the shadow of the Amazon and Microsoft cloud.

Greylock partner and prolific investor Jerry Chen writes in an article that as the cloud matures, the industry is starting to see a new wave of companies quickly emerging in the market that take advantage of what one calls it the “Jamstack” – an “architectural framework” that focuses on streamlining development to help users build powerful websites quickly.

“As the cloud and infrastructure-as-a-service ecosystem reaches a new level of maturity, we see another generation of businesses ‘rising the stack’. For example, an emerging market likely to produce large companies is the new “Jamstack” (Javascript, API, Markup) for producing content sites, ”Chen writes.

In his article, Chen cites Netlify, $ 593 million, and development startup Vercel, $ 1 billion, as particularly innovative players in the Jamstack market. He adds that e-commerce is proving to be a “popular area for developer-centric businesses,” as Shopify and other commerce sites like Builder.io, Contentful, and Webflow are gaining traction.

Chen writes that developer-focused companies like Netlify are able to survive in the shadow of “big cloud” companies like AWS and Salesforce because they have established a more niche – but sufficiently lucrative – market than these titans of the world. technology generally cannot or do not win. does not approach in a serious manner.

As Chen points out, the “Jam” in Jamstack refers to the three essential development tools – the popular JavaScript programming language, application programming interfaces (APIs), and markup languages ​​like HTML – it brings together in one. “Stack”, the term for the set of tools, services and software that constitute the backend of any application.

The term Jamstack was originally coined in 2015 by Netlify co-founders Matt Biilmann and Christian Bach, who struggled to “put words” to a growing trend in web development. The stack works together to make the “web faster and much easier to scale,” according to Biilmann.

It all took the form of a “glass of wine” between Biilmann and a friend after a particularly frustrating day at work – Netlify found that customers kept coming up with increasingly convoluted and endless explanations to a very common problem that websites were taking too long to build because there was no easy way to connect back-end code to front-end sites.

As API management evolves into a billion dollar market, this stack of developers marks the growth and success of many major players in this space. Twilio, Stripe, and Shopify show that regardless of industry, the market rewards startups that empower developers to build and scale apps quickly.

Jamstack, as one of those tools, is one of the ways that startups can establish themselves without having to compete with big cloud companies.

“We felt that we had to find a way to talk about it because every time we met a client who was doing something in that space, they would go out of their way to describe what they wanted, but in very vague and distant terms. . “said Bilmann.

The term really took off when the co-founders dropped the term in a meeting with popular development site GitHub, now a subsidiary of Microsoft. Since then, the term has moved beyond its origins within the startup, with an annual conference called “Jamstack Conf” to bring together a community of similar businesses under one event.

In technical terms, the Jamstack concept is based on what is called a “static site generator”, essentially automating much of the process of creating the website interface, which is the part that users see. By doing so, it can save developers valuable time in building useful web applications.

“Jamstack helps build online applications, and online is a low-margin game for developers right now, so those milliseconds that programmers save are becoming extremely important,” Bach said.

James S. Joseph