About a year ago, I got fascinated by the Jamstack approach of building blogs and websites. Just pick a headless content management system (CMS) of your liking, turn it into a static site and serve it globally from a content delivery network (CDN edge). Publishing content this way is more secure, extremely flexible and produces super fast sites with low maintenance costs.
This site can be globally served from a CDN provider such as Vercel or Netlify. I got really nice feedback from both contributors and users, so I am truly excited to support and improve the open-source Jamify tools.
As a web creator and developer, I always envision something better and I realize that the Jamify tools appeal mostly to developers and tech-savvy people. That does not come as a surprise. In order to appreciate the benefits of the Jamstack, you must bring an understanding of how the web works. Furthermore, you must be comfortable with using git(hub), setting up developer tools, installing packages and compiling code. It got me thinking:
How can the Jamstack benefits for content publishing be made available to a wider audience?
After trying many different platforms, I am convinced that a new, independent blogging platform must be invented in order to bring the Jamstack benefits to all article publishers.
Existing blogging platforms
When it comes to blogging platforms, WordPress is by far the most popular content management system holding 60% of the market share. This translates to a stunning 33% share of all the websites online. With popularity comes a lot of complexity most people don't need.
It may sound paradoxical, but the most popular system is most likely a system that does not fit your needs the best way possible.
Why? Because, a widely used system tends to grow in complexity and must try to find the least common denominator.
Admittedly, I am not the first one to realize this opportunity and that's why you can find many other blogging systems, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks.
However, as the Jamstack is a relatively new approach and still mostly targeting developers, there is potential for a new blogging platform in 2021 that integrates those benefits and at the same time hides the complexities from the end users.
The benefits of a new platform
With so many choices available, establishing a new blogging system is completely naïve. Yet, I will just do it for the fun of it! So, I am going to share my vision with you here. The new blogging platform should stand out in the following four areas:
- CDN performance: Producing the fastest sites on the planet.
- Ease of use: Intuitive design focused on writing.
- Own your articles: Don't pay with your content, pay a small platform fee instead.
- Syndication: Made dead simple.
In other words, the new system should produce optimized, blazing fast sites similar to next-cms-ghost, but not require any developer skills or tools. The system should be as easy to use as Medium, but without giving away your publication rights or other meta data to third parties.
Syndication will not be part of the first release, but will be an important long term goal: as syndication is most crucial for making your content discoverable on the web, it should be better supported here than elsewhere.
A minimalistic system
The most important and difficult part is to start out really small, yet with a useful system that can be easily extended. I already have a number of useful React components scattered around various projects that I can easily tap into, but I do know the complexities involved.
For a project like this, it's important not to get intimidated by existing systems and the set of features they now offer. I truly believe that the tools for building a SaaS application in 2021 are so much more effective than the legacy tools used in Wordpess and alike (if you ever tried to install Wordpress on your own computer, this may resonate with you). Which brings me to the tech stack.
The core technologies the blogging platform will be based upon are:
- NextJS for the platform (an exceptional React framework)
- Tailwind CSS for styling
- Slate for the editor component
- PostgreSQL for the database
The platform will be hosted on Vercel as it supports Next.js perfectly. While the platform itself will not be open-source, I expect to open-source key components and make them available on Github.
To cover operating costs and sustain future development, I will ask for a small platform fee. The starter plan will be offered for $3/month and a pro plan with more capabilities will cost $5/month.
Once available, early adopters will be promoted to the pro plan at no additional costs. Thus, there are two incentives for being among the first users: pro capabilities at a low, all time price of $3/month as well as some additional influence on feature prioritizations.
The Release date...
... is not yet fixed, but I expect first light in Q4 2021. Given that I will start the platform as a side project, it is an ambitious but realistic goal. By the way, the name is already fixed but I will not reveal it until later this year!
If you want to discuss the new system with me or just be among the first people to be notified, drop me a line on twitter: @jamifyjs. I am soooooo excited...