Two Days at JAMstack Conf 2018!

Mark Catalano

Co-Founder, TakeShape

Nov 1, 2018

We spent 2 days at JAMstack Conf 2018 in San Francisco. Here's my debrief of the event.

TLDR: We're very much looking forward to JAMstack conf 2019! Did you go to JAMstack Conf? I'd love to hear about other people's experiences in the comments!

What is the JAMstack 🍯? The JAMstack is JavaScript, APIs and Markup. The short of it is the JAMstack is probably what you've been doing for a while, just with an awesome name!

The first time I heard the term JAMstack was probably in 2015 reading "What is the JAMstack?", on Netlify's blog. A few weeks prior Matt Biilmann, founder of Netlify wrote a piece for Smashing Magazine titled "Why Static Site Generators Are The Next Big Thing" that explored the ideas behind JAMstack without using the word itself. On stage at JAMstack Conf 2018, Matt talked about where the JAMstack name came from. Like most great ideas, turns out it was a few friends sitting around their living room tossing around ideas.

I'm a front-end developer by trade and I fell in love with the term JAMstack the moment I heard it. As a front-end developer JAMstack is empowering. It gives you a framework to take your ideas all the way from front-end to what used to be the domain of the backend-developer. During his talk at JAMstack conf a very animated and energetic Chris Coyier proclaimed "I'm a front end developer and I don't need anybody...!" Bam!

The Conference

Attending the JAMstack conference felt, as Bud Parr from The New Dynamic put it, like coming home. Netlify may have coined the term, but it's clear that a community is growing around the JAMstack. The conference was perfectly sized, around 150 people attended the Agency day on day 1 and 300 people attended the main track on day 2. It felt like you could meet everyone, and I think I tried to do just that. There was a high level of camaraderie and friendliness all around and everyone was friendly and eager to learn. Phil Hawkwsorth, M.C. for the event, put together an incredible lineup of speakers. I really can't say enough good things the experience. I hope Netlify will repeat the event next year and I can't wait to see how the ideas presented at the conference start to spread.

Hot Takeaways

My quick takeaways 🔥 from each talk.

Day 1 - Agency Day

Matt Biilmann, How we talk about the JAMstack
JAMstack is graduating into the common developer vernacular.

Thomas Reynolds, The 3 types of clients you’ll need to convince
Technical Design Document Template from Microsoft. This would have been handy to have in my agency life.

Tim Fogarty, Finding the best home for your data
Don't bother standing up your own DB infrastructure, even on AWS, unless it's somehow going to be a differentiator. Learn from Gitlab's mistakes.

Taylor Gilbert, 3 truths that you can bet the next 5 years on
Holy moly a lot of big agencies are getting into JAMstack. 50% of the agencies in Gartner's magic quadrant are adopting JAMstack approaches over traditional monolithic stacks in order to deliver "best in class service stacks".

Great quote form Jeff Bezos:
"I very frequently get the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' And that is a very interesting question; it's a very common one. I almost never get the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?."

Day 1 - Lightning Talks

Zoltan Olah, Turning design into code the painless way
Check out adding Storybook for our TakeShape product development process

Eric Gardner, Building books from static sites: Digital (and print) publishing with the JAMstack

How can I get my fiancé to use Quire to publish her dissertation in Art History?

Tanmai Gopal, How to setup production-ready automation for database change to JAMstack deployment
Note to self, next time I present to a group, be more high energy and try to come up with more witty punch lines. Also check out Hasura

Bud Parr, Go Go Hugo!
How is Hugo so fast?

Steve Gardner, Make more pointless things
Practice doing lots of little creative projects. You get the benefit of compounding interest on your knowledge and skills. And you gain confidence to tackle the larger projects that once seemed daunting. This talk was soo well paced and crammed so much into 10 minutes. It made me want to go out and start making things right away.

Day 2 - Main Track

Monica Dinculescu, Bet you didn’t think your browser could do that
Holy Moly IBM plex looks great!

Prateek Bahatnagar, Supercharged PWAs with Preact-cli
Lots of opportunity to optimizing TakeShape's web client. Gotta reach for that 💯 on Lighthouse.

Jessica Lord, Everyone is a Developer
Reminder to read "How to Design Programs" as a bedtime story to my future child.

Chris Coyier, The All-Powerful Front-End Developer
⚡⚡⚡⚡⚡ SO MUCH ENERGY ⚡⚡⚡⚡ For me this talk was the most empowering of the day.

Simona Cotin, Build scalable APIs using GraphQL and Serverless
Why use GraphQL? Increases performance. Query only the data you need. Increased flexibility. Tooling is fantastic. GraphQL helps you create single interface over many Serverless functions.

Quincy Larson, How freeCodeCamp.org serves millions of learners using the JAMstack
Learned to code in his 30s and now teaches millions of people to code all over the world for free. I'm not doing nearly enough with my life.

Wes Bos & Scott Tolinski, Syntax FM Live
Live podcasts are so much fun!

How To Know If You're Already On The JAMstack

  • You building things for the web?
  • You crave perf.
  • You're building amazing dynamic interfaces with vanilla JavaScript / react / vue
  • You agree with the following statement: Pre-rendering markup and putting it on a CDN is awesome You know that using static site generator doesn't mean building a boring experience. It means you get to build a kick ass site and not deal with a bunch of baloney like how to set up a LAMP stack
  • You laugh at the idea of spinning up an EC2 instance and use Serverless functions like a civilized person.
  • Bonus points - When you hear headless CMS you think "Sweet, no more WordPress!", instead of thinking of a horseman.

The JAMstack site has a less silly definition.

I'm A JAMstack Believer

I've bought into the benefits of JAMstack. I want sites to be fast. I want to be able to assemble projects using best-in-class services, not just what a particular platform supports. I want to spend more time creating and less time dealing with backends. I think enabling more people to create better things is how we grow an even more interconnected community. I believe in the JAMstack so much that I co-founded a company, TakeShape a headless GraphQL CMS, to help people create more things with a JAMstack approach.

Looking For A Headless CMS?

TakeShape is a headless GraphQL CMS and static site generator for building JAMstack websites. At TakeShape we're building the best tools possible for managing content, for the most creative designers and developers.Sign up for a free account and spend more time being creative with the JAMstack!