WordPress vs the JAM stack?

November 11th, 2017

so I watched this video:

I love the JAM stack. I love working with Jekyll (for static HTML sites), JavaScript, and APIs.

BUT.. did you know there would be a but? The but is that I think its unfortunate that this guy (Brian Douglas), who of course is a total JAM evangelist, sees JAM in opposition to WordPress. He spent almost as much time throwing shade on WordPress as he does talking up the beauty of JAM. More of a disappointment, he didn’t prove the thesis of his talk: how would you set up a client with a JAM-based website? Frankly I’m skeptical. Are you going to show your client how to run Jekyll in their terminal, and then do a git commit? Or maybe you want to setup your client to make post requests to Netlify’s API? And you will code an admin for the client thats as simple as WordPress, and with feature parity. No kidding.

And the whole images thing. Douglas says this is solved by using a third party library to upload images to an Amazon S3 bucket. Yeah right.

Douglas is right about the cost. I have a few Jekyll sites. One is hosted on Github (free), and another in an Amazon bucket ($1.50 a year). PHP is much more expensive in terms of hosting.

Douglas is wrong about simplicity. WordPress is far more simple. You install it in seconds, and it just works. Images, plugins, Jetpack, and all. Yes it is “monolithic”. So what. It works.

Douglas is also wrong about the maintenance. Keeping a wordpress site up to date is trivial compared to anything built with a front end JavaScipt framework (ever had to re-code your whole app because your javascript framework versioned?). WordPress not only makes it simple, but keeps everything as backward-compatible as possible.

I also think Douglas is wrong about security, but whatever.

The unfortunate part is Douglas misses the most interesting possibility here: WordPress is very compatible with a JAM site. WordPress has a lovely restful API that does everything you need, and doesn’t require any development time.

You have authentication, plugins, an image library, all accessible on a smooth back end that most of your clients already know how to use. Now you can code up the JAM site, and call the WP-API for the content. Best of all possible worlds I say.

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