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Why is Netlify & the JAMstack Such a Big Deal

Joe Eames
Mormon, Christian, Father, Educator, CEO of Thinkster.io, Organizer of @ngconf, @frameworksummit & React Conf. Front end developer, and Software Craftsmanship Evangelist.
・3 min read

It seems like everyone is talking about Netlify & the JAMstack these days.

For those not familiar with the term, JAM means JavaScript, API’s, and Markup. Translated into non-Acronym speech, means a client-side site where the initial HTML page is not web server like ASP.NET, or Ruby on Rails, or Express.

This can be a little confusing, but you just have to understand the two purposes of web servers like ASP.NET. First, they serve up assets (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, fonts, etc.) and second they reply to AJAX calls to store and retrieve data. This second function is what we do a lot of with our React and Angular etc. applications, and we mostly don’t think much about the first purpose. With the JAMstack we can still make those AJAX calls, but something like Netlify handles serving up our HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, etc. And all those assets need to be static (which usually isn’t a problem).

Now you may be asking, “Why bother?”

Using the JAMstack has huge benefits on performance, scalability, security, ease of deployment, and cost. I won’t really dig into all of these, but I want to talk a little bit about why Netlify and their application of the JAMstack is such a big deal.

With Netlify, for the first time, you can deploy a site FOR FREE and get 1) unlimited bandwidth, 2) a custom domain name (you have to purchase your own domain), and 3) SSL. Never before on such a wide scale have we seen these 3 features together for free (there are Netlify competitors that have appeared now).

This is only economically feasible because of the JAMstack. The restrictions of the JAMstack not only make the economics much better, but they also make so many other things better. Using this method you can do anything from static blog sites with Gatsby, to huge, complex web applications written in your favorite framework.

This whole thing may just sound like a commercial for Netlify, but it’s not (I’m getting nothing from them for saying all this). As a developer, it’s important to understand how the JAMstack is pushing innovation in web development.

This is really just the next iteration of the benefits of cloud computing and using appropriate constraints on development.

New Netlify Course on Thinkster.io

This is why I’m really excited to announce the launch of our latest course: Deploying Apps to Netlify by Preston Lamb. This hands-on course will quickly help you deploy your first application to Netlify and start getting a feel for how much you can benefit from this amazing combination of technologies.

I went through this great course myself and put my first Angular web app (just a hello world app) up on Netlify last week. It was a pretty cool moment to see how easy it all works and start thinking about the possibilities. I got pretty excited honestly! It reminded me of when I first learned about Heroku, which was a big deal back then.

So whether you’re looking for a better place to host your personal blog, or you have a side project idea you want to play around with, or you want to be the hero by saving your company tens of thousands in hosting costs, this course is for you.

Happy Coding!

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