Top services for a
JAMstack site

JAMstack has evolved over the years. Developers no longer consider JAMstack as just a framework to build static websites. They have adopted the JAMstack framework to carve out powerful websites that are replete with dynamic functionalities with the help of services and APIs. At the same time, the core benefits of the JAMstack site - scalability, performance, and ease of coding are not lost when these ready-made services are used.

If you are a developer, these services enable you to turn your entire focus on how to make the front-end user experience of your website immersive and not worry about all the powerful backend functions that are crucial for building a dynamic website.

Development
29 May 2020
Martijn van der Put

1. Algolia

Many people consider search functionality as one of the biggest challenges in a static site. Their concern is valid – searching is a dynamic function and it is a cumbersome task to add and make it work seamlessly in a static site.

The capability to search for a query and see results instantly is achievable when it is supported by a server and a database in the backend. But we are talking about a JAMstack site, which is not just serverless but is just a collection of static HTML files on a CDN.

There are several services out there that can render a rich search functionality in your JAMstack website. One such feature-packed API that creates a stunning search experience is Algolia. Algolia is a hosted search engine that delivers real-time search results right from the first keystroke.

There are several other reasons why you should opt for Algolia 

  • One of them is its super-fast response time. This API responds in just a few milliseconds because they have datacentres across the globe. 
  • Apart from this, it also offers an optimized user experience for the auto-complete feature.
  • Algolia requires very little maintenance and even if you have any queries or concerns with the API, there is a support team that is resolves your issues in no time. 
  • The best part, it is super-easy to configure and customize it to match your search requirements. 
  • Algolia is also language-agnostic, which means you can type in any language of your choice and still get results.


2. Auth0

Have you ever accessed an application that stores user data of social media networks like Facebook? Then in all probability, you would have certainly come across some form of authentication.

Authentication is essential to ensure the security of stored data in any modern web application. However, building out an entire authentication service from scratch is a cumbersome process owing to the huge technical overhead present in it. Thankfully, there are services like Auth0 that make your life simpler by offering cloud-based identity management service. Like the other services in this list, it lets you spend more time on building the front end part of your application rather than spending long hours on building technically complex elements like authentication.

Auth0 service enables a programmer to add authentication to any web application in just a few minutes. All it takes is a few lines of code to be written and your app is integrated with auth0 in any framework of your choice. This service is exceedingly flexible and comprises quite a few pre-built authentication techniques making it even simpler for the programmers. But at the same time, it lets you customize the process completely to your requirements, especially if you need to build it off an internal provider. Lastly, there is vast documentation available on their official website that offers plenty of examples and tutorials to set up the API quickly and easily.


3. Cloudinary

By now you would have realized that JAMstack is a front-end heavy framework where the developers predominantly focus more on user experience and aesthetics. For such websites, media components like images and videos play an important role. Unfortunately, ask any developer and they would say that handling media on the web is quite a task especially considering efficient delivery and their optimization. To make matters worse, a vast majority of the developers are unsure about the quality or the format that is ideal for different sites. This is where a 3rd party API like Cloudinary can help by taking care of the end-to-end management of images for your website.

Cloudinary handles the entire process of uploading images to their cloud and intelligently optimizing them for the best performance. These optimized images are delivered to you via CDN, which adds an extra layer of performance without compromising on the quality of the images.

Cloudinary not only transforms or manipulates just images but also handles videos ensuring that they fit the graphic design of your website. Its Dynamic Media Platform can automate various media-management component that ensures you don’t have to build them making your life simpler. Just like Auth0, Cloudinary has a vast collection of documentation on its website, which makes it quite simple to integrate it with your JAMstack site and get started quickly.


4. Basin

Handling form submission is a tricky business in most static sites. Because you need to serialize them, store them and send the data when needed. There are various free form builders such as Google Forms that you can integrate with your site. The only problem - it has to be embedded into your site, which kills the very purpose of having a ready to use API that can help you to save time and efforts.

One of your best options is to use Basin Forms which is an excellent service for integrating forms into your JAMstack site. It is not just powerful, but extremely easy to configure without writing a single line of server-side code.

One of the reasons why you should opt for Basin, apart from its seamless integration with any JAMstack site:

  • The data stored is completely secure due to the 256-bit encryption. 
  • Basin also guarantees unmatched flexibility to manage your forms such as adding your own custom logo and choosing your preferred color of forms from a large color palette. However, the USP of Basin is its ability to let you forward the submitted data by automating the workflows without writing a single piece of code.


5. Netlify functions 

Ask any developer for the most exciting aspect of a JAMstack and 9 out of 10 would say it is the serverless functions in it. A Function as a Service (FaaS), as the name suggests lets you add any function that you want in your JAMstack site. It gives extensive flexibility to build just about anything without worrying about the requirement of a server. Even better, you are not billed when you are not using it as it is a subscription-based model.

Netlify Functions is one of the FaaS services that is ideal for you if you are using Netlify to host your JAMstack website. This is because it offers the benefit of centralized billing along with your hosting.

Typically, the Netlify Functions service enables you to deploy the AWS Lambda functions without the actual need for an AWS account. The functions are instead managed directly by Netlify. Besides this, all the functions are version controlled and deployed along with the rest of the Netlify site. You are also benefitted significantly with Netlify Functions as it will automatically handle the service discovery from the built-in API gateway.


6. Snipcart 

Ever thought of converting your static site into an e-commerce site to start selling your products? Did you stop yourself from doing it due to the fear of complexity involved in it?

If your site is built in the JAMstack framework, then you have nothing to worry about. All thanks to Snipcart, which is one of the easiest shopping cart solutions that will capacitate even a beginner developer to set up an e-commerce website in minutes. All you need is an HTML markup that needs to be added to the existing site.

Snipcart is ideal for your e-commerce needs because it handles: 

1. payment processing

2. shipping cost calculation 

3. order management

In short, it offers everything you need to maintain an e-commerce website. You just have to add two lines of code to your website and start selling products right away. It even connects with payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc. to manage your payment needs.


Summing up

In this post, we have seen some of the top services for a JAMstack site that can make your JAMstack site more dynamic without worrying about the scalability and performance aspects. However, this is just the top of the mountain as there are plenty of other top services that you can explore and use to make your life easier while building your next JAMstack website.

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