With Pulp Blog

6 JAMstack Best Practices from this JAMstack Development Agency

Sarah Harris April 22, 2021

Developing a site in JAMstack is a great way to increase site speed and security. JAMstack sites take advantage of several new technologies that revolutionize the way that websites and apps are developed.

However, to reap all of the benefits of the JAMstack, you need to follow development best practices for your sites. As a JAMstack development agency, we are well versed in these practices.

Today, we’ll be going over 6 best practices to keep in mind when developing your JAMstack site.

#1. Give Your Team Time to Discover the Right Static Site Generator

Static site generators are the lifeblood of any JAMstack site, and as a JAMstack development agency, we’ve experimented with several of them. What we’ve learned is that each one has advantages and disadvantages that will vary by team.

As such, you should give your development team plenty of time to experiment with static site generators. They need to decide on one that’s going to power their development process. Popular options are:

  • Gatsby
  • Hugo
  • Jekyll

Once your team decides which static site generator will work best for them, give them some more time to do a deep dive and learn it inside and out.

Taking the time to do this will speed up the development process in the future. You want your team to be extremely knowledgeable about the static site generator that they choose to use for future projects.

#2. Use a CDN for Better Performance

A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed server cluster that works in tandem to provide faster delivery of content than waiting for a standalone server to deliver content.

For normal sites, CDNs cannot be a replacement for standard web hosting. However, since JAMstack sites do not rely on calling to a specific server, they can be distributed across a CDN instead of being housed on a single server.

While setting this up is a bit more advanced than standard web hosting, it can deliver speeds that traditional hosting techniques can’t get close to matching. As a JAMstack development agency, we highly recommend distributing your site via a CDN instead of relying on a single server or a cluster of your own servers.

#3. Use Atomic Builds

As a JAMstack development agency, we understand that JAMstack projects can often grow to be quite large, requiring hundreds of files to be redeployed. If you upload these files in the usual way, you run the risk of leaving your site in an inconsistent state during the deployment process.

One of the best practices for JAMstack sites is to practice what’s called “atomic deployment” or “atomic builds.” With a system that allows for these types of builds, no changes are made until every file has been uploaded. Essentially, all files are flipped over to the new version at the exact same moment.

As a JAMstack development agency, we’ve learned that this best practice is essential to delivering a consistent experience to all types of visitors.

#4. Invalidate Cache on Builds

If you’re relying on a CDN to deliver your site, then caching is part of the process. However, if you make a change to your site, you don’t want that change to sit on the sidelines while an older cache is being displayed to visitors.

To correct this, you need a CDN that can invalidate the cache every time the site is built and deployed. By doing this, you’ll know that when you make an update, that update will be live all around the world.

Most CDNs will accommodate instant cache purges, but we highly recommend making sure that your chosen CDN allows this before you start using it.

#5. Version Control Your Codebase

Version control is vital to the life of your project. This best practice is standard for most development methods these days, but it still needs to be discussed.

Not only does version control allow you to revert to a previous site if there are unexpected issues, but it also allows other contributors to instantly clone your site and run it locally.

Reducing contributor friction will allow you to onboard new developers onto the project more efficiently, which is always a good thing.

#6. Set Up Automated Builds

If you want to save yourself on time and headaches, set up automated builds.

An automated build occurs when your server is notified that a new build is required, usually through the use of webhooks. Your server will build the project, update the CDN, allow the site to go live.

This eliminates many potential errors that can occur when you carry out the process manually. As an experienced JAMstack development agency, we highly recommend that you take the time to set up automated builds.

Speaking of the JAMstack, this website is built using the JAMstack, as are many of the websites that we make for our clients. Contact us today for your JAMStack development needs.