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By Matt Biilmann & Chris Bach in News & Announcements

Celebrating 1 million developers: What’s next for Netlify and the Jamstack

Celebrating 1 million developers: What’s next for Netlify and the Jamstack

Today we celebrate a big milestone: more than one million developers and businesses have signed up for Netlify!

A sincere thank you to all of the developers and businesses that have chosen to build and host millions of sites on Netlify. To celebrate, we created an interactive roadmap of the Netlify milestones over the years. You can even look up your account to see where you started! Not yet on Netlify? Become one of the next million to join the community and try Netlify.

One million developers on Netlify are building sites and apps that an estimated 12% of the internet population visits each month. It’s clear the Jamstack web architecture we pioneered five years ago has taken off. We want to use this opportunity to remember where we began, look into the rise of the Jamstack ecosystem, and take a glimpse into the future.

Drivers to the Jamstack

Let’s talk about the evolution of the web and what Jamstack means in this context.

If we look back, the Unix model (a client and server) made up the first days of the pre-web. In the early web around the 1990s, web developers built static sites. As the usage of the internet blossomed from educational, to personal, to business, the web evolved into meeting more dynamic needs, and the next phase of the web was born. Some may call this web 2.0—a more dynamic web (a client, web server, app server, and database) in the early days of the internet in the 2000s that we see through today.

However, with more dynamic demands on websites, also came a variety of complexities, which had impacts on everything from costs to security to speed. Demand grew for a more simple and powerful way to build for the web, independent of the complexities created by monolithic applications and managing infrastructure.

Key changes in the way we all began to work aligned to spark change that set us up as an industry for a more efficient, modern web.

  • Git: The popularization of git–a distributed version-control system for tracking changes in source code during software development–led to significantly improving the way we develop collaboratively.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Development: The universe of software build tools arrived for automation and CI/CD, helping improve the integration, testing, delivery and deployment of an application throughout its lifecycle.
  • Site generators: SSGs started being used for efficiency–a script that takes in data, content and templates, processes them, and outputs a folder full of all the resultant pages and assets.
  • Expanding browser capabilities: The browser evolved into a full-fledged operating system.
  • API economy: The growing API economy across clouds unlocked powerful capabilities for frontend developers, who could integrate third-party services and plugins like Stripe, Algolia, and more.

Empowered by these new practices, a new style of development was possible. We reimagined a new architecture for web developers to deliver a faster, simpler and more secure way to build the web. The stack moved up and we needed a name for it—so we coined the term Jamstack—which has since grown into its own category, technology ecosystem and global community of developers.

Five years of Netlify

In 2015, the Netlify platform was born from this vision of a simpler, faster, decoupled web. When we reflected on the past 5 years since Netlify has been publicly available, some major milestones stood out:

  • 2016: We were the first hosting service in the world that enabled a completely automated SSL for free, based on Let’s Encrypt.
  • 2016: We launched Netlify Deploy Previews, enabling a better way to build for the web and collaborate with your team. We often hear from our users about how useful this feature is!
  • 2017: One of our earliest large adopters, Smashing Magazine, showed the possibilities of Jamstack for speed and scalability for all types of dynamic needs like managing subscriptions, content, and working as an e-commerce site. This migration from WordPress to the Jamstack with Netlify made it perform 10 times faster.
  • 2018: A big product milestone included delivering Netlify Functions to make deploying serverless AWS Lambda functions on Netlify as simple as adding a file to your Git repository, making it easy to deploy the frontend and backend together.
  • 2019: We continued to empower users like Nike and Loblaws, who get to market faster and see big performance improvements with the Jamstack. We also introduced a number of features, including Netlify Analytics for accurate insights using server-side data.
  • 2020: A survey we conducted showed how far the adoption of the Jamstack has come. Of the 3,000 developers surveyed, about a third of them are building sites that expect high traffic load with millions of visitors per month.
  • 2020: Launched Netlify Build Plugins and held the largest Jamstack Conference to date, virtually, with more than 8,500 live attendees across the globe. In the context of the current pandemic, this helped show the diverse use cases for this architecture to build information sharing and prediction applications on the Jamstack, all with a distributed team to quickly reach global audiences.

Want to walk through a more in depth look at the milestones and where you may have joined us on that journey? Go to our interactive map.

The future of the Jamstack

The Jamstack has grown to be a major force today because of the underlying simplicity of the architecture. It’s easy to reason about a stack where the frontend is a self-standing decoupled layer, where the build step is strictly decoupled from the runtime and where lots of powerful dynamic functionalities can be offered up as API by vendors without any operational overhead.

As we keep pushing the boundaries for what developers can build with this approach, we need to keep this core simplicity of the architecture. This is what’s top of mind for us at Netlify as we look into the future.

How can we take an important future component like Edge Handlers, and make a fully programmable edge layer easy to reason about, develop with, and operate? How can we make it easier for developers to build projects involving different vendors and services and navigate a rich and thriving ecosystem? What are the building blocks and connectors that help web teams take full fledged applications to market without having to manage and operate complex backend infrastructure projects?

We aim to drive the industry forward by building the workflows and tools that’ll give answers to all these questions within the Jamstack, without giving up on the core simplicity of the model or the agnostic approach to frameworks and services. We want to enable innovation on our platform and around us, so we can have the freedom to use the best tools and services and continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on the web.

Thanks a million! Celebrate with us

We welcome you to celebrate with us in this milestone. Check out the interactive timeline, log-in to find out the number that represents when you signed up, and share it along with your experiences with us on social media and tag us @Netlify.

Also, today we are thrilled to announce our new Netlify swag store. We are offering a free “1 Million Developers” sticker giveaway to the first 100 people that request it in our store. To redeem, head to the new Netlify swag store and add the 1M Devs sticker to your cart. Redeem this giveaway offer with promo code MILLION. Shipping is included.


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