2019 definitely seemed to be a pivotal year for the JAMstack. New companies cropped up (yep, us included), JAMstack_conf_sf was the biggest event yet and lots of new tools seemed to gain momentum daily. In this series of posts, we're asking some well-known members of the JAMstack community what they thought about this past year and what they think you can expect for the year to come. This edition features Bud Parr, creator of The New Dynamic website and community.
Tell us about yourself and what you do? Does JAMstack play a role in your day-to-day work?
I run a web design and development agency called The New Dynamic, as well as a community site and Slack community of the same name, as well as a Meetup event series, and a newsletter, all devoted to the JAMstack. You could say I eat, sleep, and breath JAMstack. In fact, 100% of my agency work has been JAMstack since 2013, and I wouldn't consider building any other way. I spend a lot of time trying to understand the tools in the ecosystem, and I take every opportunity I can to speak about them and help others develop this methodology in their work.
What is your current JAMstack stack? What tool(s) have you most excited?
We use Hugo quite a bit, along with Forestry as an editor and Netlify for hosting. We manage a lot of sites and that set of tools gives us a really solid foundation. Hugo is a very stable tool as it ships with a single binary, and it enables us to build pretty much anything we want, including sprinkling in React or Vue when we need it. Forestry empowers our clients with a beautiful and user friendly interface. Netlify adds the magic of instantaneously rolling back to previous versions of a site, or shipping functions right alongside our site's codebase, or automating our deploy previews. Those three tools together are a real powerhouse.
What changes did you see, for better or worse, in 2019 related to the JAMstack ecosystem?
The JAMstack has become more mainstream this year, and with that a set of expectations that will be hard to meet as the basis of comparison changes. When we began building static sites it was for the security, stability and efficiency gains, and, importantly, eschewing unnecessary complexity. It took a fairly radical re-think to get things done, but we were free to pick and choose the best tools for a job. Maybe I just got used to it being a little bit painful 😉, but as the ecosystem grows to ease that pain, abstractions arrive to meet expectations of developer experience and new, ever more complicated use-cases; until we're right back lamenting the monoliths we've created that we sought to escape in the first place.
What changes in 2020 do you see forthcoming that will have an impact on adoption of or day-to-day development using the JAMstack?
I'm always surprised by new tools people create and look forward to watching more innovation in 2020. The most impactful recent innovation we've benefited from is the growth of serverless functions, which allow us to sprinkle in backend functionality where we need it to enhance the front-end of our sites. We use these quite a bit at our firm today and I only see that growing. I think there's a lot of room for developers to do interesting things there. I imagine serverless going fairly "codeless" in the near future, which will open up all sorts of functionality while making them more stable and create a sharing ecosystem of functions. What exciting new things happened in 2019 in JAMstack? What can you expect to see in 2020? Bud Parr, creator of The New Dynamic community and newsletter, shares his thoughts.