Netlify launches open-standard content creation tool at the edge

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There is no doubt that edge computing is growing and will continue to do so.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), global spending in the area is expected to reach $176 billion by 2022, an increase of nearly 15% from 2021. Enterprise and service provider spending on hardware, software and services for edge solutions will support this growth rate through 2025, when spending will reach nearly $275 billion, as forecast by IDC.

“There is an increasing interest in this layer, there is a lot more experimentation going on,” said Matt Biilmann, co-founder and CEO of Netlify. “Last year we’ve reached a tipping point where people were asking, ‘What else can we do about that edge layer now that we’ve got it there?'”

Netlify, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that builds, deploys and hosts websites and apps, aims to help answer that question by accelerating the development of modern web applications at the edge.

Open web and open standards

The San Francisco company today released Netlify Edge Functions to public beta on its Netlify platform. The tool allows developers to create content or entire apps on the edge of the network without compromising performance. It is built on Deno, an open-source, standards-based runtime that works out-of-the-box with popular web frameworks, including Next.js, Nuxt, Astro, Eleventy, and SvelteKit, as well as newer edge-first frameworks, including Hydrogen and Remix.

According to Biilmann, Netlify has always supported the idea of ​​open web and open standards. “We didn’t want to release another runtime of our own,” he said. “We really wanted to make sure that what we’re building on that layer is open-standard and built for different providers.”

Although the macro trend of edge computing has led to an explosion of innovation, organizations are often forced to invest heavily on their own or use proprietary tools, not use popular programming languages ​​or offer integrations with multiple web frameworks, he said. † But this adds complexity to edge software development.

Netlify has focused its new tool on removing friction for developers, making the edge layer fully programmable, and providing a full-fledged runtime that can be used for edge rendering closer to the users. Developers can run serverless JavaScript/TypeScript functions in a full runtime environment and maintain full control over running entire applications, streaming server-displayed content, transforming requests and responses, performing A/B testing or OAuth authentication and supporting geolocation, localization and globalization capabilities, among others.

In short-term use cases, the tool has been applied to web content personalization, localization and geolocation, Biilmann said. He also called it the first platform outside of Shopify to support Shopify Hydrogen, a React-based framework for building dynamic storefronts.

“We’re excited about opening up the opportunity to experiment and build with that,” he said.

Funding and Future of Netlify

Since its founding in 2014 by Biilmann and Christian Bach, Netlify has grown significantly across the board. It raised $105 million in a Series D in November, bringing the total money raised to $212 million, and the retrospective valuation to $2 billion. It recently acquired OneGraph, a tool for building integrations with third-party services. In February, the company released Netlify Graph, which allows developers to integrate third-party APIs and services into web applications without writing API-specific code.

The company hopes to experience the same success on the fringe, Biilmann said. “Frontend and web frameworks are starting to take advantage of a programmable, streaming edge layer, and it’s a huge opportunity,” he said. “As this begins to open up new possibilities within the Jamstack architecture, it is essential that we take a similar transparent, standards-based approach with our serverless runtime on Netlify’s Edge network. In this way, developers can leverage these newer edge-first capabilities in current frameworks without even thinking about the underlying infrastructure.”

Finally, he emphasized the importance of an agnostic platform and the unique open source nature of Netlify Edge Functions.

As he put it: “The web has no owner whatsoever. It’s a broad set of standards that we all agree and work on together, and different players can come in and innovate in the space. The edge is part of really promoting the core of the web based on open standards.”

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