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Edmund Ekott's photo

Hi, I’m a big fan Netlify, I use it to host almost anything i can, I started using Netlify functions and I must say it’s really awesome, I’m particularly new to JAMStack, i heard about it on Twitter, so I decided to do some research and I’ve got some questions, is it possible to build fully fledged web apps from the ground up following the JAMStack architecture? and if yes what are the ways one would go about building it and what are the different methods of securing the apps, for example if API keys are involved? And would the app scale well?

Divya's photo

Developer Advocate

Hey! Thanks so much for your question!

In short, yes! The JAMstack stands for JavaScript, APIs and Markup, which is an architecture for creating sites (both static and dynamic using JavAcript, API and prerenderred Markup). Basically what makes a site JAM-ey is its ability to be statically hosted on a Content Delivery Network like Netlify or Amazon’s CloudFront. The nice thing about the JAMstack (for me) is the APIs piece of it. This allows you to make a site incredibly dynamic like processing payments and doing database read/writes etc. So in a sense you get the nice bits of a full stack app without the performance latencies that often comes with it. Hurray!

There are so many ways to build a JAMstack site, so it’s hard to list them all here. But a great starting point is to start with a static site generator like Hugo, VuePress or Gatsby. It’s a great way to get started working with a JAMstack frame of mind! You can find a longer list of static site generators on staticgen.com

As for securing your applications via API keys, Netlify allows you to save your environment variables in the dashboard so you don’t have to manage that yourself. You can access that via site settings > build and deploy > environment. The really nice thing about this is that it works seamlessly with the newly released Netlify Dev workflow, which lets you replicate the netlify workflow right from your local machine. When you use Netlify Dev, and run it via netlify dev, the CLI pulls down your environment variables so you don’t even have to have a .env file on your project!

Hope that answers your questions!

Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

Also, if you'd like to see an example of a fully-functional, large-scale JAMstack app, you can find it right in the Netlify UI! app.netlify.com is a React app communicating with our backend APIs (mostly built with Ruby on Rails, along with some Go microservices), along with some serverless Netlify Functions.

The most interesting part is that the Netlify app frontend is actually on Netlify. So we use the Netlify UI to manage the Netlify UI! 😲 We use deploy previews to test new PRs, run split testing to dark-launch features, lock deploys when we want to time a release just right... the list goes on. We're definitely "eating our own dogfood!"