Jamstack

Haunt has been building a lot of websites using "Jamstack" web technology. This is an evolution of website technology that has a number of distinct advantages over traditional CMSs like Silverstripe and Drupal.

While not exactly the same, Jamstack is in the same family as headless and decoupled web architecture.

What the heck is Jamstack?

An easy way to understand what Jamstack/decoupled architecture is to understand what it is not.

Most websites combine their key elements into one piece of software - often referred to as a Content Management System.

Decoupled websites ‘decouple’ these from each other. They consist of two main elements:

  1. The front end - the bit users see on the screen. In traditional websites, this is normally built mostly using CSS/HTML. In JAMstack sites, this is built using Javascript.
  2. The content management system - the bit of software where you actually load and edit content, and decide who can do that.

Jamstack sites rely on third party services to perform some of the more complex functionality, such as shopping, customer relationship management, and so on. Jamstack sites connect all the components using APIs.

Headless and Jamstack explained

Greater design freedom

A key advantage of Jamstack (and headless) sites is less reliance on templates, and a greater overall design freedom. The front end (the bit people see) of the site uses Javascript and can be custom coded based on designs. This is true for traditional CMSs too, but it is a lot easier and more efficient when using a Jamstack site.

Lower infrastructure and maintenance costs

From an architectural point of view, Jamstack sites are just a lot more simple. This means that owning and managing them requires less investment of time and money.

The most obvious example is that Jamstack sites typically don't require ongoing version updates to the Content Management System, add ons, modules etc. This is something that has become a real shortcoming of more traditional CMSs like Drupal and Silverstripe.

Improved security

Using Jamstack won't ensure that your site is secure. That said, Jamstack sites are inherently more secure. A key reason for this is that the part of the site that is "live" on the internet is a static Javascript application. It presents a much smaller target for the most common and harmful security vulnerabilities.

Superior experience for site managers and editors

The services used for managing content are more user-friendly and powerful than what you’ll find in traditional CMSs.

Of course it is vitally important how audiences view and use your website. But it also really matters what the site is like to manage - to source, load and manage content, manager user permissions, and create and publish new pages.

A key feature of most Jamstack sites is the use of content blocks and pages that are designed in a modular way. This means that it is easy to create new page types by assembling content blocks that exist in other parts of your website.

Most traditional CMSs have retrofitted this functionality now, but Jamstack sites operate with this as the default and, as a result, it is really nice to use.

Future proofed and built for the modern web

Jamstack sites are more futureproofed than traditional CMSs because:

  • They are built using components. If one part of the website breaks, becomes obsolete, or needs a complex upgrade, it doesn't require a rebuild of the whole site. In theory Jamstack sites never need a complete rebuild.
  • Jamstack sites are built to support modern SaSS services. The web is trending strongly toward adding (often core) functionality using third party services, connected via API. While traditional CMSs can often do this, it's not what they were created to do, which can result in some key shortcomings including issues around interoperability.

Owning a Jamstack site supports a more agile, iterative approach where you can update and change aspects of your site more cheaply and easily than with a traditional CMS.

Some examples of our Jamstack sites

Below are some examples of Jamstack sites that we have built. Also, this website that you are looking at is built using Jamstack!

  • Teaching for the Asia Pacific

    Working with our client, the Centres for Asia Pacific Excellence, we developed the strategy for, and then built a website to support teaching about the Asia Pacific region.

  • 12 Balmoral Walk

    12 Balmoral Walk is a real estate development on Melbourne's coastline at Frankston. Based on designs supplied by our client, Vicinity Centres, we built this in our headless/decoupled web architecture using DatoCMS.

  • One Middle Road

    Working with our client's creative team, Haunt built and now supports this campaign site for Vicinity Group's real estate development in Chadstone, Melbourne. The site showcases the flexibility of headless/decoupled web architecture which allowed our front end team to faithfully bring to life the site's innovative visual design, free from the restriction of site templates that are associated with traditional Content Management Systems.

  • Southern Green Hydrogen

    Southern Green Hydrogen is a joint project by Meridian Energy and Contact Energy, to evaluate the opportunity to produce green hydrogen in Southland, New Zealand. We built this website for our client, Sputnik, as part of their vision to deliver websites for their clients that provide audiences with a range of views on an important subject without relying on mainstream or social media. The site gives Sputnik a ton of freedom to edit and create pages based on our headless/decoupled web architecture.