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What was the Jamstack?

The Jamstack is dead. No it’s not. Yes it is! NO, it’s NOT!

Ready to have your mind blown? The Jamstack never truly existed.

On every podcast that had anything to do with the Jamstack, one of the main questions always asked was, “What is the Jamstack?” And despite hundreds of people expressing their thoughts and opinions, we’ve never really had THE answer…

But now we do! (just in time…)

In this talk, Bryan Robinson — Head of DevRel at Hygraph and host of That’s My Jamstack — will conclusively define the Jamstack, taking away all ambiguity that has ever existed with the term and putting an end to the debate on what the Jamstack even is. Once and for all.

Was it the friends we made along the way? Was it the code that was transmitted from the CDN? Was it a new paradigm in coding? Or was it a hype fever dream that we’ll never truly wake from? Tune in and find out.

Bryan has been building websites, communities, and relationships for the past 15 years. He’s created hand-crafted websites ranging from large-scale news sites to boutique sites for small businesses. He’s built local communities of practice and online communities centered around products. He loves sharing knowledge in whatever form – meetups, conferences, articles, videos, and quick chats.

Bryan is currently pushing the boundaries of content management as Head of Developer Advocacy at Hygraph – a GraphQL-native headless CMS with built-in content federation features.


Bryan Robinson 0:09
Welcome, Class, Welcome, welcome. Grab some seats in the back, I think there’s some open ones still. And let me start by saying this is not a technical talk. This is an academic lecture, what you experience today will be the end of the discussion of what the definition of the JAMstack is, we will irrevocably define it. And know that the time for debate and opinion is over. Now, who am I to set this forth? Well, as Brian mentioned, I am Bryan Robinson. That’s Professor Robinson to you today. And I’m the head of Developer Relations at high graph which is a an amazing headless CMS how very jamstack you have me I know. But I’m also the host of the bass, my jam stack podcast and the author of 11ty by example. And I’m also the world’s foremost leader on jam stack, ology the totally not made up scientific and sociological study of the jamstack. And this is James technology, one on one or survey of jam psychology. I hope everyone has their syllabus. Remember, it’s very important to have it with you in every class. If you don’t have it this week, that’s fine. But But next week, I’m going to talk at some points of your final grade. So make sure you, you bring it if you don’t have it, let’s talk about what we’re going to cover in class. Today. In order to irrefutably define the jam stack, we’ve got to go through a few different avenues. Remember, jam psychology is a multi disciplinary study. First, we’re going to start by reviewing the historical context of the jamstack. And what makes the JAMstack an absolutely unique and singular moment in the development of the web will outline its creation and the significance of it as the singular turning point for web development methodology. Next, we’re going to chat with our friends in the philosophy department, and explored the linguistic nature of definitions and the good and important work that they do for clarity amongst people. And then finally, we will dip our toes into sociology, and explore the significance of the JAMstack. community. So let’s get underway and start with the historical context. And let’s go way, way, way, way, way, way, way back all the way to 2016. Where Matt Billman, of course, didn’t get up on stage at smashing comp and announce the modern front and stack the J A M, jam, stack, JavaScript API and markup. Now, I spent hours and hours and hours digging up the original slides from this presentation, it took so much digital archaeology, but I think it was totally worth it for what we’re talking about today. Now in this presentation, Billman, eloquently made the argument that the old way of doing things was highly problematic, you know, the browser contacts the server, the server runs a program, the program has the database, collects the data, builds the HTML and sends that back down to the client. And there might be caching in there. And, of course, there are potential security concerns and performance concerns. And there were certainly some developer experience concerns for the front end and the back end, and really kind of the, the full stack of of our development process. And he put together a whole bunch of tools to fix this right build tools, CDN API’s, and so much more. There’s even a slide in it. That includes mindshare, for grunt. And for Gulp, many of the students here today have probably never even heard of them, much less use them at this point. And at the heart of all this was in fact, the humble static site generator. But as Billman argued, the jamstack was anything but static. he posited that while the output of these tools was often static assets, the finished products were hyper dynamic. He said we should do away with the term static, but that the key to it all was pregenerated. HTML to make things secure, and performant. Now, I’m a student of history. I’m a multidisciplinary lecturer. So I know that for a fact, the progress of history always marches on in a clear and direct line up and to the right, always up and to the right. What’s happening in any particular context has never happened before and there’s no set goals. Okay, you might be asking, What about plateau cyclical government theory, right? Or George Podolski is long cycle theory and those are both wonderful and we of course have Schlesinger’s political science liberal conservative cycle theory and they’re all they To show the humanity that has like to go through cycles, we do do that. And that’s that’s a fair point. However, technology, as we know is always progressing, right? It’s always going up into the right. Technology isn’t, isn’t cyclical. Well, maybe maybe there’s a little bit right, we created the web, we have static HTML files, we got CGI scripts with lovely cgi bin directories that some of you may remember from the 90s. And then we went back to static with movable type, which was a blogging platform, and honestly a proto static site generator. But then WordPress launched and we went dynamic again, in about five years later Jekyll launch, and we went static again. And then we got server side frameworks like Laravel in 2011. And then well, then we hit the jam set kind of era, starting in 2015, with Gatsby and next, and he loved in the in the in the years to come. You know, I thought this will clear things up. I thought we can define gem SEC relatively easily as this unique moment in time, where we came to this ultimate and clear and definitive new era of web development. But But obviously, the history is not where the truth lies. But don’t worry, we have other pillars of jam psychology that we’ll go into and the linguistics the linguistics are obviously where the truth lies in this. And in order to fix the problem from the last section, I want to make sure that we we clear things up and let’s start with our academic theories and then work our way into technology, obviously talking about the tech first, that’s where the issue happened. So let’s talk about the theories we want to talk about today. In terms of linguistics, we’re gonna go through linguistic relativism, we’re going to talk about the consensus picture and use theories as well as Vidkun Stein’s language game theories. Now, linguistic relativism, as a concept has been around since Plato and the ancient Greeks, but it really found its heyday in the 1800s. The basics of this theory state, that language shapes our thoughts and that we can’t perceive what we can’t communicate. Now, modern philosophers have debunked this overall. But while we have said this strong theory of linguistic relativism isn’t necessarily true, we’ve actually done some work to prove that a weaker version is true. So the weaker version is that while language does not constrain our thoughts, it can shape our perspectives. So there was a study run in 2007, called the Russian blues, in which native Russian speakers were tested against native English speakers at the discernment of colors, specifically, shades of blue. Now in English, we have the word blue, and then we have adjectives that can describe blue, light blue, and dark blue, but in Russian, I’m gonna butcher the pronunciations here. There are distinct words for lighter blues, which are Golby, and there are darker blues, which is Sydney.

Bryan Robinson 7:57
In the study, Russian speakers were able to discern a better separation between the shades of blue and they were able to discern it at a faster rate than native English speakers. Now, there is a ton of interesting bits to the study. But the main idea is that categories of language things we use to categorize in language can affect the performance of simple perception tasks. Then we move on to our picture and use theory in his book Tractatus. logico Philosophica. Is Ludovic victim Stein, a teacher and at the time he fairly prominent philosopher, created the picture theory of meaning as basics. The picture theory states that statements are only meaningful if they can be defined or pictured in the real world. If the atomic nature of the statement, the words in the statement can’t be pictured, then the statement can’t be meaningful. In his second book, The philosophical investigations, but consign actually refutes this original theory with his meaning is use theory, stating simply that the meaning of a statement is irrevocably tied to how it is used. A word in other words, is only meaningful in the context of how an individual uses it. Get a sense of that we can talk about language games in that same second book, Vic and Stein gave us a way to think about language and figure out how various elements are being used called language games. A language game is a series of rules and context that govern how words and sentences are perceived. The famous example of this from the book is the statement water, right? Just the word water, exclamation point if you want it. This can be perceived in many ways. It could be an order to fetch water, it could be the fact that water is pouring out of pipes, it could be a request, it could be the answer to a question. It could even be a code word or Shibboleth for society. Only by knowing the full context or the rules of the language game, can we understand the meaning of a specific statement in a language. Now, you’re probably saying, What’s this got to do with the jam stack. Let’s get to that. Let’s talk about relativism. First, we have this term, the jam stack, we obviously understand what it means more on that in a second with Vic consigned. And when we look around the development space, even with the jam stack being quote, unquote, dead, which I think I’ve seen around the, you know, the social media spheres, we can identify sites that are following this methodology. And we can do it relatively quickly. And we can do it. Even if the person creating the site has never even heard of the jam stack. We can do it because we know the term, and we can perceive it faster than those around us. But obviously, with a label, we do need also a definition, because I need to communicate my version of the label as a picture to your brain. And we need to set the rules for our language game. So when I say JAMstack, what do you picture? And when I say jam stack, how am I using the word. So let’s start with building this label, right? The J A M jam stack is JavaScript API’s and markup. We pre generate HTML and use API’s for data in the build process. And then for interactivity, we use JavaScript. But let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page around the atoms of the statement around the individual elements of JavaScript API, and markups. And let’s talk about API’s, I think it’s probably the most obvious of the three. And I think that most of us are using some sort of application programming interface for our data nowadays. Maybe it’s a headless CMS, like high graph, maybe it’s an API based database, like super bass. Or maybe it’s just for a little simple API for say, like movie data from IMDb, or any software as a service framework, really, at this point, probably has an API, or maybe you homebrew one, that’s fine, too. I think we can all get behind this element as one of the keystones of the jam stack. Then we move on to markup. Pre generating HTML as the cornerstone of the jam stack, we definitely do this. If we look at one of the early darlings of the jam stack, we can talk about 11 D. With some template languages, you write some HTML templates, and then boom, an entire directories worth of HTML that you can upload to your CDN. And you’re done. You have a site. But of course, that’s not the only way of doing it. Another early darling would be Gatsby. Gatsby got a ton of love in early Jas that communities, Gatsby technically shipped pregenerated HTML, it just mostly was a wrapper for hydrating on the front end. But that’s still HTML, shipped to a CDN that then gets downloaded to the to the client. And then of course, we have next Jas coming in on the scene. And you can certainly pre generate HTML with the earlier versions of next Jas, where you use like get static pads get set of props, but you also probably do some server rendering with that as well, for certain pages. And this was all before the current wave that we have react server components. So I guess that’s, that’s really like a hybrid, static, dynamic site. And you know, this is getting a little bit broader in terms of markup than we want. But, but you know, what, we are still generating HTML, so that that sticks. And you know, all these systems are JavaScript based.

Bryan Robinson 13:15
So JavaScript can save us in this. So let’s talk about JavaScript. The torchbearers for the jam stack have all been JavaScript, right? I love it, it’s good. We’ve got definition, pre generate our markup with J. S, in some way, and then augment it with either client side or server side, Jas. But that kind of misses the importance of I suppose some of the other technologies in the jam stack, like early on, there’s a Hugo, a really super fast static site generator. It was built in Go. And, you know, I guess we talked about Jekyll earlier. And Jekyll is not JavaScript based, Jekyll is Ruby based. So I know the in the initial conception of the jamstack, we talked about JavaScript being for client side hydration, or little bits of interactivity on the front end. But maybe by putting JavaScript in our definition of the jam stack, we’re being too reductive in our thinking maybe, maybe it would make people in other languages. Avoid the jam stack. But, you know, I forgot to mention there is another historical element to the jam stack. So I think it can help us in this regard. The Jam stack rebranded, you can rebrand the stack, who knew? While we were working with the original syntax of what a stack could be, such as a LAMP stack, or a mean stack. Maybe the acronym for the jam stack is not the important bit and that was what Netlify kind of positive when they rebranded the jamstack from JAMstack to Jamstack. This should clarify things right now instead of an acronym with specific pieces of technology. This could just be a philosophy of web development. Yeah, we could pre generate markup using whatever language Do just best at the time, and then augment it with other techniques and services and API’s. But we’re just serverless functions come into this right? Our serverless function is part of the jam stack. And for that matter, are our edge functions part of the jam stack? And if they are, can we run our entire site out of a serverless? Or an edge function and skip pre generating altogether? And if we do that, are we generating that HTML? Or do we lose this kind of idea of markup? As a as a key part of the definition of what of what the jamstack? Could be? Is it all the jamstack? Is all of this the jam stack? And are we doing ourselves a disservice by having this kind of vague idea of what the jam stack could be? But we’ve seen it right. The Jam stack has seen amazing growth, since it was released in 2016. It’s felt like it’s grown tremendously. But you know, if we, if we go back to linguistic relativism, and extrapolate from that, maybe if we had this vague term, and all of us are defining it in our in our own ways, maybe, maybe we’re seeing that everywhere. And we talked about growth in a more meaningful way than it actually was. Maybe, maybe the JAMstack hasn’t grown as much as as much as maybe we thought it did. You know, when I left the safety of my academic tower, surrounded by the trappings of my jam stack, and I looked at some survey results, I found that list of CMS usage, WordPress have a decidedly unjam stack solution. I know you can do headless but like it’s mostly not jam stack has has grown or remain steady since the the advent of the jam stack. In fact, in this survey from W three Tex, for CMS usage and 2023, WordPress accounted for 43% survey results. Now, maybe it’s due to the vague philosophical nature and our ability to see only what we’re able to perceive based on the term that’s very vague, but

Bryan Robinson 17:08
maybe the jam sack was just important for those of us working with a maybe it was really, really the people that were building with it that the people, people Yeah, that’s it. That our our third pillar, right if language, if the term defies picturing doesn’t work in a language game, then then maybe the term itself wasn’t what was important. We can move on and we can be saved by our final pillar, we can look at the sociological aspects of the JAMstack. This is what the definition has to be maybe. Maybe the jam stack was the friends that we made along the way. I mean, I read that that’s my jam stack podcast. And I got to meet and work with a ton of truly amazing jam stack, folks. Here’s some of them, right? There was Miguel Arias who is building a handler form handler for the jam stack. There’s Dan Brock, who is the CEO at stack bet, and it’s now Netlify. There’s Debbie O’Brien, who was a deverill at nuxt, and is now in Microsoft tympanic. So I get to work with every day now. It’s a deverill. And hi graph and gave the grain who who’s now a Deborah, and I’ll add cloud player and Toby FADEC is a developer experience engineer at cloudinary. Jason link source was the dev rel at Gatsby and then at Netlify. You know, if you’ve been in the JAMstack space for a while, you feel like you know, these people. And I’m realizing, I mean, many of them are professionals working in a space where being personable is important. Now, I adore and respect each and every one of these people, as well as the people. Everyone has come on the podcast, but dev rails, myself included in that, you know, we’re community builders, and often we build communities for the purpose of business. So maybe, maybe I can’t count on this metric of friendship, maybe, maybe it’s not the friendships that we made along the way. But you know what? Maybe it’s the overarching community, right? Maybe it’s not the friends that we made us the community that we made them then it was global. It was really incredible and primarily grown via live chat community. So that really worked for all of us. But I started with the the jam stack Slack community, and I spent multiple years chatting, and answering questions and posting content and having discussions and having having arguments in there. And it was great. I even follow the JAMstack community when it moved from slack to discord. I built a lot of really great relationships in that community. But ultimately, that community was shut down when it no longer made business sense and I’ll be I’ll be honest, I don’t keep up with many of the people that I used to discuss these things with. I guess I could find them certainly like a lot of them are in the Next.js community. Some might be in Astro’s discord or 11 needs discord or cloudinary Discord or in high grass Slack community. And honestly, some of them are probably in multiple those communities but this Friday Capturing? You don’t it’s not quite the same. And well, maybe that means the jam stack has also died. It also well, could it? Could it also be that the jam stack never, never existed at all? If it’s not a unique moment in time, if it defies definition, and if its community faded into the background at a gust of wind, did it actually really happen? Now I know that you’ve come here for the definition of the jam stack. And I know that I promised in our study of jam psychology, which I still firmly believe, and I know that, that we couldn’t find a comprehensive definition that would, that would satisfy everyone. But also, as a community and as an industry. I wonder if maybe we failed, and maybe are failing and may continue to fail. As a community we’ve we’ve chased hype, not heart. We’ve, we’ve looked for the next big thing, instead of maybe the current, the current right thing. As an industry, we’ve we’ve chased big numbers, we’ve targeted enterprises. And we’ve created hype, if the jam stack isn’t selling to enterprise, maybe, maybe composable, will, or maybe dxp. Will, or maybe the next big marketing term that I don’t even know. We’ll and as educators in this industry, we’ve we’ve chased audience, we’ve chased eyeballs instead of maybe sticking with our hearts, and teaching the technologies that we think will make things better. Where do we go from here? How do we fix this? Now, you know, just because we didn’t find our definition, in James psychology, that doesn’t mean we can’t find some ideas around what to do next, from our multi disciplinary track. You know, from the historical context, we saw early on that there’s this static dynamic cycle that goes on in the hype machine, and is still going on in the hype machine. Maybe, maybe we can realize that this isn’t a cycle. It isn’t a war between methodologies. Perhaps it’s a it’s a spectrum that we can that we can use to get the right job done at the right time. If you can get your job done with with handcrafted HTML, I say go for it. If you need a full Apache server, here, Laravel is still pretty cool in the PHP community. Do you need something in between, go with your go with your heart. Don’t go with the hype. Because you need to go with a tool that’s gonna get the job done. But maybe more importantly, you need a tool that you’re going to be happy to maintain. Because these things that we build, should last. They shouldn’t be ephemeral, they should keep going. And you know, there’s always going to be a new technology, there’s always going to be a new hype train, you don’t have to get on board. I have always loved and will always love and as long as they exist, vanilla, HTML and CSS. And I won’t apologize about that. But the technology that the you could say that about. From a linguistic point of view, let’s let’s define our terms. Clearly, whenever we can, let’s ask for clarity. If we don’t see clarity. Don’t assume that we speak the same language, even when that language is JavaScript. Don’t assume that someone has the same picture in their head as you. And let’s make sure that we assess our internal biases, because we can find data points that prove our points very easily to prove our opinions. But maybe we should seek clarity from a wider industry and from a wider world than our little one.

Bryan Robinson 24:11
And maybe most importantly, let’s talk about sociologically speaking. Humans are social creatures, we, we crave community. And in doing so we often form in groups and out groups and that that can be fine but know that the tech choices, tech choices are never a reason to other somebody. Right? And if you’re looking around, or a specific flavor of community or you’re missing community, know that the you are actually empowered to start community locally, globally, corporate sponsored bootstraps, virtual in person. Take it from someone who who started up community when there wasn’t one around and ran an eight year local meetup. You can do it. It is possible and and if we are missing a sense of this global umbrella community that that, honestly, the JAMstack has been in the past, now that perhaps we can find a path forward on that. But let’s never forget that corporate created communities are always there for the corporation. And maybe let’s not depend on that. Now, people drove the JAMstack community, let’s depend on the people in the community, not businesses. Now, I’ve said a lot in this presentation that is sure to spawned some arguments here and elsewhere. So before I take audience or Brian, question and answer, I’ll say this, come argue with me, right? There’s so much nuance. There’s so many good perspectives in this world. I’d love to hear from everyone. You can find me on Twitter at be Rob or come join the high graph corporate community at Slack dot high And let me have it let me know what you think. Can we fix it? Is it worth fixing? Can we go forward and make it better? I like to think so.

Brian Rinaldi 26:14
That that was that was great, Bryan. Very thought provoking. And and, you know, you said it was going to be spicy. And there was a little bit of space actually listened by so it’s like, it’s like, you know, when you go to like the Indian restaurant, you order of spicy as an American versus ordering as an Indian you gave me we used

Bryan Robinson 26:34
to we used to go to a Thai restaurant, or one to 10 on the spicy scale and three, maybe four.

Brian Rinaldi 26:41
So, you know, I think one of the things the JAMstack community was all about was debating what the JAMstack was. That’s like we existed every episode debating with the JAMstack.

Bryan Robinson 26:51
Every single podcast, every single article is. So what is the JAMstack? What what is it?

Brian Rinaldi 26:58
Yeah, no, I mean, I joke, I was a part of some of those, you know, but I always used to say, and I still say, it’s, it’s really like, look whether something fit within whatever definition of the jam stack or not, it’s like, use the tools that make sense, right? Like, this is not about, it’s not really like, ultimately, you’re not gonna be like, listen, I was going to release this. But turns out that something I’m doing here is not jam stack. And I was trying to build jam stack. So

Bryan Robinson 27:25
I got access it right. Yeah, exactly.

Brian Rinaldi 27:28
I mean, developers are going to do what works best for them for their project. And that might, I mean, it might fall within whatever definition of the jam stack we come up with, or it might not. It doesn’t, yeah, who cares? Who cares? Here’s what you want to use. That being said, I have been a part of many of those debates. And I think, you know, it’s funny, you mentioned the JAMstack was the people we met along the way I had, I actually put that in chat, right before you said it. Obviously, you know, Brian’s think alike, even if they’re spelled differently. But I do think there was some value to that aspect of it, though, you know, not just from like, marketing value for Netlify, or whoever, or other companies that tied into that, right. It was more like, there was we knew, we knew we had things that we could talk about in common, we were solving similar problems, often with different tools. And I do feel like we’ve lost that, in the sense that, you know, okay, the, we the community kind of dispersed. And everybody’s sitting there in a very framework specific, you know, Discord, or slack or whatever, like you mentioned, it’s like, so, you know, there’s, obviously, for instance, a lot of things that next year is, like, if you’re building sites with Next.js, you’re gonna have other people building next year sites are gonna have in common, but like, you lose some of that, that diversity of perspective, I think, of how, how might you do this without RxJS? Do you even need next year? Next year? I’m only using RxJS. Exactly. I’m only using next year. So as an example, but just like, you know, you you’d lose some of that, that, you know, do you how do you think we can get any of that back? Now, everybody’s kind of gone off into a little silos? So

Bryan Robinson 29:21
do a few different perspectives. Right. So So I do want to go back? And before I answer that question, and help me remember that need to answer that question. You mentioned, you know, being helpful as a term to help congregate right. And I think that there’s definitely value in the jam stack label for that. But interestingly, so my favorite part of that’s my jam stack was always I got to ask, what’s your jam and the jam stack, like didn’t have to be technology could be a philosophical nature. And especially in the early days, like season one. Typically, we were hearing Gatsby or 11 V. And we were hearing Gatsby because it was a single page application generator and they loves single page applications. And we’re hitting 11 today, because who needs a single page application for a content site? So there’s this like disconnect in the community to which I think we, we always have seen throughout, but it was this nice umbrella where we could have that argument, that arguments of valid argument. And again, there’s a time for both of them. But in terms of can we get it back? Right? Can we get it back when it’s been closed down, and when it when it’s gone away? So humans are cyclical, and I make the joke early that we’re not and then obviously, like, much of the presentation is tongue in cheek, but we will find a need of an umbrella community at some point, again, what there’s the JAMstack community or something else. It’s necessary, because it’s like you said, this fracturing. And I’m sure in other ways this fracturing has happened in the past to it hasn’t happened in a big sense, because we couldn’t do global communities back in the day. But it’s happened before. And then we can always come back together. So the key, and the hard part is building community is incredibly hard. Like, nullify, did great in building the jam stack community. Again, a lot of it was community lifted, but they gave the space for it to happen. And when you have built it, and then it’s gone, and you have to build it again. And it took years to build that, like, it wasn’t just like, hey, Netlify says the jam stack community is cool, you should come do it. Like it was years of people having conversations, just like three people, and then 10 people and then 20 people, and it snowballs, I like talking about community work as being a big snowball effect. So it’s not an easy thing. Like we could right now Brett, we’re gonna make the Brian and Brian make the jam, stack community a thing. And we could start up a new jam stack, Discord, or slack or whatever we want to do. It’ll be three years before, it’s at the level that it was what we had before. And we’re also like, as a, as a society, we’re burnt out a little bit on like, the virtual nature of some of our relationships. But like, these, these platforms are important, and they allow us to have these conversations. So they shouldn’t just be cast aside. And they should be cast like because they’re also just, they’re so hard to build. It’s gonna be hard for us to get back to where we were.

Brian Rinaldi 32:24
Yeah, yeah, I agree. I mean, you know, I think it I think there’s some sense of it’s still existing, I’m gonna get to actually Henri has a question. You know, Henri, that’s speaking of the friends we made along the way JAMstack emerge from, from imagination experimentation, do you believe the community will settle with I think even by WP means WordPress, since you used it as an example. And doubt, downplay experiments and ideas living at the edge. I mean, I guess the question is, if, my way I’m perceiving it, maybe you’re perceiving it differently, but is more like, do you think we’re gonna settle on, like, some specific tools like on a single solution kind of thing, and, and blue light and do less experimentation?

Bryan Robinson 33:20
I certainly hope not. But I mean, to the point that we were talking about with the community in general, having an umbrella term gives everyone who wants to experiment, a broader license to experiment. I don’t think that will settle on WordPress. I think WordPress is an aspect of inertia, right? A body in motion will stay in motion about a restful state rest. If you know WordPress, and it gets the job done for you. Why the heck would you learn something else? It still works. It’s still a solid technology is still like there’s improvements made every day like I remember when what was their block builder called Gutenberg. Gutenberg came out and it was terrible. Like they released a terribly buggy product in Gutenberg. And everyone hated the analysis of fairly solid, like Rich Text Block builder, like it does a pretty good job. So WordPress is going nowhere. It’s always going to be there. Because there’s so much of the web that was built on it. And there’s so many people who have learned it. And again, education just like community is a hard thing. Developers are built on experimentation and a lot of ways if you’re if you’re doing development in a specific way, if you’re doing development and just getting the job done, absolutely. Be inertia, take a paycheck. I got no issues with you for that. But we’re always in the spirit of like rapid experimentation again, but there’s also this like this confirmation bias to that. Like yes, next Jas has done huge thanks to Astro is making amazing new leaps in his the islands thing I love islands architecture. But overall, like that’s a drop in the bucket of the entire Web, right? Like the web is this huge thing, so much legacy so much non legacy new site created every, you know, every microsecond, nanosecond, whatever. Some of that will be these new experimental things. What’s gonna be the thing that dethrones like a WordPress methodology? I don’t, I don’t know, I don’t know that something does. But follow your heart and not the hype, do do what’s going to be what? What gets the job done and that you are happy to maintain WordPress, I’d never be happy maintaining even in the modern iteration, which is significantly better. I wouldn’t be happy maintaining that. Maintenance, I’ll make sure the web is is not ephemeral, right? Like it can be you can take down your site. But the things that you build for a job, they need to endure for a period of time, three years, five years, whatever makes the most sense, monetarily speaking, has to endure. So you need to be happy maintaining that system.

Brian Rinaldi 35:59
Yes. Okay. I’ve got to add another good question from Sergey, who hits on something I wanted to ask you about? So he says, How do we find independent community with our solely relying on corporate sponsorships to promote the ideas? And, and I’ll add on that, you know, I think it’s interesting, because we talk about like, champ SEC was, you know, basically built around Netlify created the idea, and they had the community and so on and so forth. But like, even all these in Matt brought this up earlier, all the framework specific communities, we’re now all kind of splintering off to our own bad companies to like, they’re not, it’s not like yet for the most part, almost all of them are our, our company sponsored, like there’s either a startup behind it or, you know, company that owns the framework. So what’s the future there?

Bryan Robinson 36:59
Bleak? No, there’s a lot of so I spent some time at at orbit Gala, which is a devil to accompany community tracking company. And there’s a lot of different types of communities that we can talk about the jam stack community, at its best, would have been referred to as a community of practice, a group of practitioners that are looking to push themselves forward and know their craft the best. It has secondary function as a community of product. But they usually discouraged, like asking, just like Netlify questions, right that like, you could ask them there. And you’d probably find a Netlify person, but like, it was discouraged for the most part, like ask in general. But music practice can be very organic. With the amount of free tools out there for doing community work, what a community needs is space. So that space could be a discord, that space could be live in person events. Like I said, I spent eight years building the Memphis Web Workers in Memphis, Tennessee, and we needed a room and pizza, right? I got sponsorship for that. And obviously, if you have things, you have to pay for it, you need money. But I think this is also one of those things that we look at as a large gaping hole in the developer landscape in general, like if you think about this, in terms of not just the jam stack, but think about open source software, open source software funding is an incredibly hard problem. And while there’s been some movement in solving that it’s not a solved problem, right? Like maybe you’ve got open collective and you’re able to take donations, maybe you do get sponsorships in some ways. But there’s like this idea that there’s like not a hand held on you about what you have to develop. But like, I think we see, like we see with the fact that like next now or not next. Yeah. Next, next is kind of taken over the React leadership, which kind of means that we went from Facebook having a hand on a community, to resell, having a hand on a community. So it’s a hard problem. But the basics of community work, are free. The basics are finding and creating a space, gathering people in the space and giving them an area to talk about the things that they have in common. And again, I see this and I’m not the greatest live chat community person anymore. I’m one of the people that is slightly struggles with them from from a timing perspective. But like I look at there are communities of practice I’m a part of, I’m a part of like, there’s this thing called the party Corgi network, which is just like content creators and developers, that there’s not a real central thesis to that community. And I don’t participate that much. I put post food pictures in there every once in a while because that’s what I do. But there’s no corporate ownership of that right there. is a, you know, a team that put it together. So I think that we can definitely take a look at like the open source model. donations and stuff like that work to a degree, the community events that we ran in Memphis, not just were individual, but we had an umbrella nonprofit that we created for them. So we had a Ruby meet up at a Python meetup. We had the web workers, we had a PHP meetup, we were all individuals, there was no control over these groups. But we saw a need that if we wanted to run a bigger events and needed like a sponsorship that could get like a 501, C three, we needed an umbrella. So we formed a nonprofit to help government. And I think that there’s some some some learnings to be had from there as well.

Brian Rinaldi 40:41
Yeah, yeah. Speaking of that, like there’s some chatter about that. And in the chat here, and, you know, that’s even how we resolve some of the issues with our community here in Orlando that Scott got very big. And even some of the post pandemic, the not for profit, helped. Even before we existed even before but post pandemic is may helped us solve some big problems around space that we couldn’t find space anymore, that was freely available, easily available before the pandemic. And now it’s, it’s a lot more difficult, which is something that one of the people brought up as well, I

Bryan Robinson 41:19
will mentioned and I am, I’ve been out of the in person game for a little while, right? Since I moved from Memphis, I have I have not run in person events, but look to your local universities. Like oftentimes, you can get a deal with their community science, or their community science, their computer science department, and run a band, there’s sometimes looking for that sort of thing. Not always, but sometimes that’s what we did. But also find a partnership with recruiters, like recruiters get a bad name in tech in a lot of ways. But they’re hungry for people who are passionate about technology. And if you make a partnership with them, and they’re your they’re your partner, month after month, after month after month. Usually they don’t require a lot of like, promotion, right? They’ll say, hey, come say your piece, five minutes. And that’s it. And long term, right? i We actually, the last few meetups I ran, were all virtual, obviously, it was 2020. And I actually moved, I didn’t have a sponsor, cuz I didn’t need one, I could do it all for free. And I gave them sponsorship slots in those, I said, Hey, you know, this, this company, this recruiting company, they were with us for eight years. If you’re looking for a job, I highly recommend them. And so like, I built community with my recruiting company, right, that’s that’s kind of how that goes. So

Brian Rinaldi 42:42
yeah, yeah, it’s a hard problem to solve. I mean, you know, it’s, it’s, we could, if you even started talking about events, oh, my God, it’s a whole, they could be here in the rest of the afternoon. space

Bryan Robinson 42:54
can be something, right. Space doesn’t have to be events, events are great, and they can help build space. But space is a place that we can all get together and talk about the things that we care about. Yeah. And my favorite, my favorite quote is, and it’s attributed because it’s supposedly like was what I think DaVinci might have said, or some artists, right, it was it was when art critics get together, they talk about art. When artists get together, they talked about the price of paint. So sometimes these these corporate led communities, they talk about art, but what we really talked about is the price of paint, which is like nitty gritty on these frameworks, right? Like, how do we do this? So finding a space for that I think is important if we can,

Brian Rinaldi 43:35
yep, for sure. For sure. Okay, well, I wish we had more time because this was a great conversation. We didn’t even get to like I was going to try and convince you to like, change your Y to an i whatever, like,

Bryan Robinson 43:50
I love my y.

Brian Rinaldi 43:54
Thank you, Bryan, for this academic lecture. You know, I hope I passed and just remember, and we’ll continue this conversation in other communities at some somewhere, somewhere

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