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How You Can Make WordPress Better for the JAMstack

During WordCamp 2020, a big topic was unleashing more power from your website. One such presentation took place by Zac Gordon, a community builder and educator. He offered some tips on making WordPress and JAMstack work better together. Developers love their acronyms and jargon — the term “JAMStack” is the combination of JavaScript, API, and Markup.

Zac began by explaining the terms involved and the distinctions between them:

  • JAMstack: JavaScript, API & Markup
  • Headless: front-end decoupled from WordPress CMS
  • Serverless: server-side programming connected to front-end programming (compared to monolithic)
  • Static: the main site is HTML rather than being rendered by PHP (this does not mean it is not dynamic — data can be loaded via JavaScript)

Current Options for Headless WordPress

If you decide to use a headless implementation of WordPress (along with the JAMStack to present it), there are a few main options for implementation:

  • Code it yourself
      • Frontity (built for WordPress, by the WordPress community) – hits Node.js to generate content
      • Gatsby – compiles an HTML page for every page on your site
  • DIY plugins
    • WP2Static – republishes HTML files based on CMS content (including theme and layouts) – these files then need to be placed in a hosting environment
  • Hosted solutions
    These solutions host the WordPress back end, then publish static front-end files to a platform such as a CDN (content delivery network):

    • Strattic
    • Shifter
    • HardyPress

This is relatively new territory for WordPress, and is currently only being done by a small subset of the WordPress community. As such, it cannot be done by someone without the technical knowledge to troubleshoot. Developers that can handle this are a cross-section of the WordPress developer community and JavaScript developer community with deep technical skills. Luckily, we’ve got one on our team if you need this speciality.

If you’re interested in learning if this is the right option for your website, send us your questions.

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