I’m excited to announce that Gatsby Inc. is joining Netlify in order to spread the growth of Gatsby and composable architectures across the entire web.
To see how we got here, let’s start by rewinding back in time. Eight years ago, I was a front-end developer, and I fell in love with React. At the time, React was a tiny emerging framework for apps, but I wanted to build a website with it. So I took a week and built my own framework on top of React, called it Gatsby, published the code to GitHub and deployed my site on a service called Netlify.
Over the next couple of years, pull requests started to trickle and then pour in. A community started to form. I turned from a solo maintainer into the tech lead of a rapidly growing movement.
Having come from the Drupal world, I understood the needs of content sites, and I realized we’d need not just a rich frontend toolkit, but purpose-built cloud infrastructure to make the developer experience truly seamless.
So I worked with other Gatsby community members, including my co-founders Sam Bhagwat and Dustin Schau, to turn the open-source project into a company. With Zack Urlocker, Gatsby’s CEO, we’ve focused on serving the needs of enterprise teams building on top of Gatsby.
And as time has gone on, what was initially niche grew into the mainstream. A number of different frameworks, not just Gatsby, proliferated, collectively becoming known as the Jamstack. Gatsby became the go-to framework for large, high-performance, content-rich websites. Gatsby and the Jamstack were adopted by hundreds of thousands of large and small organizations, in e-commerce, education, retail, software, media, consumer products, and other industries.
Along the way, to facilitate these use-cases, we built Gatsby Cloud as a deploy and hosting platform and then incorporated some incredible pieces of technology:
- Automatic dependency tracking for content sites powering our real-time Preview and Deployment services.
- Refining and scaling Gatsby’s data layer, and now abstracting it from Gatsby framework in the form of Valhalla
- Image processing in the form of gatsby-plugin-image, paired with Gatsby’s Image CDN service.
As composable architectures continued to grow, we began to realize that the primitives we were building needed to be not just part of Gatsby. They needed to be universal across all frameworks, so they could become universal across the web. So we started having conversations with Netlify that evolved into today’s news.
What this means for Gatsby
What does this mean in practice? There are a few important pieces for Gatsby users and community members and Gatsby Cloud customers:
- Gatsby as a framework will continue to evolve and grow. We’ve always shared with Netlify a mutual commitment to open-source and have never been more excited about Gatsby’s future. Many of Gatsby’s core contributors will join Netlify and continue to maintain the Gatsby framework.
- Many Gatsby Cloud features will be incorporated into Netlify. Many performance innovations specifically for large, content-heavy websites, preview and collaboration workflows, will be incorporated into the Netlify platform and where relevant made available across frameworks.
- Valhalla Content Hub will become available as part of Netlify’s platform. Our newest product, Valhalla Content Hub, takes Gatsby’s GraphQL data layer and provides it for any frontend framework. We will be integrating this product into Netlify’s platform and bringing this hosted, fault-tolerant, edge-first GraphQL API to all frameworks.
I want to thank all of the Gatsby contributors, community members, and team members who have been working together to build a better web.
I created issue #1 in May 2015 as a brain dump of all my ideas. Over the last 7+ years, over 4,000 people have landed a commit in `gatsbyjs/gatsby` and community members have built another 3,000+ plugins (including 800+ source plugins for content sources). The core team and community has created over 37,500 issues and PRs from the core team and community, our Discord channel has had over 360,000 messages, and the gatsby npm package has been downloaded over 85 million times.
I imagine all of these numbers will continue to grow over the years to come. Now, let’s look forward.
Making building modern websites easier
These days the conversation about modern websites isn’t just about React, or Gatsby, or the Jamstack, it’s about an overall modular or composable architecture incorporating headless CMSs, e-commerce, build and deploy platforms, and other functionality like search and authentication. These composable architectures are chosen for increased website performance, to enable using the best tools and services available, to increase velocity and improve developer and marketer experience, and to build a website that your team can confidently scale.
As our discussions with Netlify unfolded, it became increasingly clear how complementary our visions are. Gatsby built a CMS preview to empower content writers and editors; Netlify incorporated commenting for those same users. Gatsby has a data layer to unify CMS and other sources; Netlify has a build plugin ecosystem with third-party CI/CD checks, a powerful and sophisticated API, and a broad suite of platform features like Edge functions.
We truly feel that the future of the composable web is simplicity. The future is better integrating all the pieces of the puzzle together. The future is a process of making websites that isn’t just amazing for developers, but also for marketing teams who create content and operate them day to day.
We’ve known Matt, Chris, and the Netlify team from very early in Gatsby’s journey. Netlify has always stood for empowering developers and marketers and building a better web. We couldn’t be more thrilled to achieve that vision together.
Thanks to Sam Bhagwat and Dustin Schau for co-authoring this blog post.