The Golden Jam of Web Stacks


Over the course of time my preferred tech stack for web development has changed. At one time it was Ruby on Rails with Heroku, then Firebase and React, then Polymer and lit-html. While all of these had their place and still work brilliantly, I have been able to fine tune my go-to technologies; simplifying development while also broadening capabilities. As I see it these are the major problems to solve in web development:
  1. Rendering
  2. Hosting
  3. Source control
  4. Content management
  5. Business logic
  6. Data storage
  7. Delivery mechanism
Every tech stack will need to have an answer for these problems. The set of technologies that I use falls under the JAMstack paradigm. Here they are listed in same order as the problems they solve:
  1. Orison
  2. Netlify
  3. GitHub
  4. Contentful
  5. Netlify functions
  6. Firebase Firestore
  7. SPA + PWA
The beauty of JAMstack is that any one of these seven parts could be replaced by another technology which solves the same problem. On any given project I might use Gatsby instead of Orison, Firebase Hosting instead of Netlify, Bitbucket instead of GitHub, Blogger instead of Contentful, and the list goes on. As time goes by pieces of the stack can be swapped without major dependencies upon the other layers. The other benefit is that the performance and security of this stack is not based upon these technologies, but upon the web platform itself. This is because user views are rendered ahead of time and deployed "to the edge", i.e. static resources are deployed to a CDN ahead of time meaning that users have maximal performance.

While my previous go-to tech stacks required lots of specialized knowledge, this tech stack runs very closely to the web platform itself and has precanned solutions to many of the major problems of web development. One drawback is that it requires experienced developers to take a step back and remove their preconceived notions. However, once one has taken this step developers become experts of the web platform instead of experts of a specific tech stack and the business loosens itself from all or nothing solutions.

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