Vercel and Low Code

Vercel and Low Code

Continuing my series of columns on JAMstack, this week I interviewed Vercel CEO and Next.js creator Guillermo Rauch.

New Theme for July 2020

I decided to switch Hugo themes, from Kiera to Mainroad. I wanted a theme with a sidebar and more options to tweak. I had a lot of trouble installing the new theme, as there was a bug which turned out to be due to Netlify having a known issue with Hugo themes. It took me quite a while to find out the cause, which this overly chirpy Netlify Support Engineer summarized as follows:


I enjoyed the tv series Devs, created and directed by Alex Garland. I was a fan of Garland in the 90s, when he wrote novels like The Beach. He’s since become a movie and tv director with a unique visual style, who explores technology themes that speak to our times.

My interview with Netlify CEO

Just as Docker was the original change agent for the containers revolution, a single company was behind the JAMstack movement: Netlify. So I reached out to Netlify’s co-founder and CEO Matt Biilmann, to talk about Netlify’s journey so far and its current place in the developer ecosystem. Source: Why Netlify Is Tech Agnostic and Its Role in JAMstack Development

Turing's Cathedral

I recently read Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson, a book that’s been on my to-do list for a long time. Well worth reading, at the very least for its descriptions of computing in the 1940s. I tweeted some of my favourite passages… Reading about the origins of computers back in 1946; amazing how *physical* the process was at the start...and how abstract now. (from ‘Turing’s Cathedral’ by George Dyson)


It’s taken a while for the JAMstack terminology to sink in, compared to how I have used web publishing terminology throughout my career (dating back to the 90s). Here’s how I currently see my “stack,” with key terminology in italics: a) I use Hugo as my framework; aka it’s my Static Site Generator. (Another framework I’m familar with at this point is Gatsby.) So when I start a new post, such as this one you’re reading now, I type this into my terminal:

Testing Quotebacks

The web is still a very young medium, and it has been influenced more than anything else by print media design. There is so much more that can be done with text on a screen than is being done today. Citations, drawing, chat, speech-to-text. There are opportunities everywhere, and the bar is low! If we are serious about unlocking the value of knowledge we should consider how to improve every part of the knowledge production stack, and that includes reading.

Comparing Jamstack Platforms

Lambros Petrou, Software Engineer at Facebook and ex-AWS, has a good post comparing Netlify, Vercel and AWS as jamstack platforms: If you focus only on Jamstack applications, my recommendation would be to go with Vercel. It has amazing performance, and the zero-config approach really does wonders for the majority of the popular frameworks. Recommending Next.js for one more time 😃If you are going to find uses for Netlify’s add-ons, then it’s a great choice as well!

Servers Are Hiding

Servers are not going away, but they are moving around and hiding. Static Site Generation (SSG) can be thought of moving around the servers and taking them away from the hot path. Instead of putting a server in between the user’s request and the response, we compute the response ahead of time. Guillermo Rauch