Be aware: this text is an edited transcript of my speak of the identical identify on the Jamstack Berlin meetup. You possibly can watch the video here.
However first, let’s make a journey down reminiscence lane to know how we bought the place we’re immediately.
From Jekyll to Gatsby
The Static/Jamstack ecosystem has advanced lots over the previous decade. This evolution has had a deep affect on the way in which we conceive web sites and on the way in which our customers expertise them.
We’re going to cowl three main steps by that journey from the (fictional) standpoint of an informal dialogue between a server and a consumer.
Our consumer will try to entry a web site, and our server will give her what she must view and work together with it. These two vital steps (the consumer can see the content material, the consumer can work together with it) might be denoted with related pink badges, highlighting the second within the dialog once they develop into attainable.
Buckle up! We’re going all the way in which again to 2008.
Pure Static (e.g. Jekyll)
Jekyll, created in 2008, has lengthy been the preferred Static Website Generator. Following the “bake, don’t fry” adage, it pre-computed all of the pages of the web site to have them available for its guests.
It’s simple. Easy. No shenanigans. The specified web page is served instantly to the consumer, and it’s instantly accessible to view and work together with. Ought to she navigate to a different web page, her browser would fetch it in the identical means it did the primary.
As years glided by, nonetheless, the consumer expertise this answer offered someway lagged behind what customers bought used to with cellular purposes. Transitions, offline-mode, all of the bells and whistles of the cellular revolution have been nowhere to be discovered.
Shopper-Aspect Rendering (e.g. React, Vue)
The key shift that occurred with that evolution is that the price of constructing net pages handed from the server to the consumer’s browser. This price is indicated within the dialogue with the gear icon, throughout which the display screen is generally clean or displaying a loading indicator.
Server-Aspect Rendering (e.g. Subsequent.js, Nuxt.js)
A number of years after this paradigm was launched, these points lead the pendulum to swing again in direction of the server, with the introduction of Server-Aspect Rendering.
What if we might take away it altogether?
For this part, I’ll take my personal blog for instance. I selected to construct it with Gatsby, as I wished to study extra about the way it labored and will leverage my React expertise to ship it shortly.
The Developer Expertise was a delight and I’m total fairly proud of it, however one thing felt off. My weblog is fairly primary: an index of all of the articles, a web page for every, and some different pages right here and there. But it was powered by the identical know-how that powers Fb, AirBnB and plenty of different extraordinarily advanced web sites: React. Any overengineering questions put apart, I nonetheless required any reader to obtain, parse, and execute React for no advantages in any respect. There are not any good widgets or advanced UI to justify React. Solely textual content and pictures.
My (excellent) developer expertise had an affect on my reader’s consumer expertise. There is no such thing as trickle-down UX.
In fact, not each web site is so simple as my weblog—that will be fairly boring. Quite a lot of Gatsby and Subsequent.js web sites on the market depend on React for his or her consumer expertise: fairly animations, purchasing carts, e-newsletter sign-ups, and the likes. Is there one thing we are able to do on these web sites to make them lighter?
Preact is a substitute for React that has the identical performance, the identical fashionable API, for a tenth of its dimension. The Preact staff managed to drastically cut back the footprint by dropping assist for some previous browsers and legacy React APIs.
Though there are some slight variations (see the list), Preact can be utilized as an alternative of React for a lot of web sites with none affect on the end-user, and barely any on the builders.
Now, say you might be in a state of affairs the place you must create a model new web site. You wish to use the Jamstack since you’re satisfied of the advantages. You wish to be conscious of the consumer expertise, additionally since you’re satisfied of the advantages. Say the web site you wish to create is much like this very one, orbit.love.
What would you select for a Light-weight Jamstack? What did I select for a Light-weight Jamstack?
Constructing orbit.love with Tailwind, Eleventy, and Alpine.js
The Orbit web site doesn’t have a posh UI—interactivity is proscribed to a cellular nav menu, modals, and sign-ups for our e-newsletter and early entry. I knew from the get-go that reaching out to (P)react could be heavy handed, so I seemed for light-weight options.
I went for the next: TailwindCSS, for styling, Eleventy, for the static website era, and Alpine.js, for interactivity.
TailwindCSS is a utility-first CSS framework, which signifies that as an alternative of writing CSS in your elements (class=”navbar__mobile”), you mix utility lessons that every do one particular factor (class=”flex flex-row justify-center w-full”).
I discover this method extremely productive when you study the grammar, and it makes for a resilient CSS structure on the admitted price of some duplication in your code. What makes it an awesome match with Eleventy is that you just not often, if ever, depart your HTML elements when writing code. It helps me concentrate on the duty at hand by avoiding context-switching.
The Teastack, a light-weight Jamstack
As Nicolas Hoizey wrote, Jamstack is fast only if you make it so. Going in direction of a light-weight Jamstack seems like a superb step in that path.
If you happen to’re inquisitive about real-world utilization of the Teastack, this very website is open source. Be happy to take a look on the code, and to achieve out on Twitter (@phacks) to begin the dialog!
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