The power of Netlify

07 april 2020 om 09:39 by ParTech Media - Post a comment

The power of Netlify

The ParTech Academy website is a static site that runs on Netlify. But why did we use Netlify? The most straightforward answer: Netlify is awesome!

Developing and deploying a website used to be an arduous task, not anymore, however. Thanks to the exponential growth in cloud technology and the boom in web technologies, making a new website can be done fast. It is no longer an ordeal. With Netlify, you can deploy a static website in merely 30 seconds!

However, there’s a catch; you can only roll out static websites. But that doesn't have to be a problem; your static site can still be made somewhat dynamic! Let's explore how Netlify works:

A Brief Analysis

  • Operating since February of 2014
  • Specializes in offering hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites
  • Works in tandem with JAMstack
  • $13.3 mn estimated anual revenue
  • Raised $30M in funding in 2018
  • Raised another $53M in funding in 2020

Netlify is becoming more and more popular as an option for automating modern web projects. But how does it do so?

An Introduction to the Netlify Platform

Netlify not only allows developers to easily host static websites but does it so with better security and scalability. The platform simplifies the process of deploying and hosting a website, allowing developers and editors to focus more on other important stuff.

The Netlify platform unifies individual workflows for continuous integration (CI), deployment pipeline and hosting infrastructure into a single workflow. As a hosting platform, Netlify offers its clientele the ability to develop, deploy, and manage modern web projects. There are several possibilities available when teaming up with Netlify. To simplify understanding how Netlify works, let’s discuss its various features individually:

Features of Netlify

1. Continuous Deployment

You can set up continuous deployment (CD) with Netlify using Bitbucket, Github, and Gitlab. Once an initial connection is made between the website and the respective source code, as soon as new code changes are pushed, the latest changes are automatically deployed onto the website.

Deploys in Netlify are atomic in nature i.e., they are either deployed successfully in entirety or not at all. It literally eliminates downtime. This is because Netlify deploys new code alongside the old code. Once everything is ready, it switches incoming traffic to the newly deployed version.

2. Deploy previews

The Deploy Previews feature of Netlify lets you test your latest code. Although deployed live, Deploy Previews doesn’t override the main website. These Deploy Previews create separate, live URLs that can be shared with the other person(s) working on the same.

3. Forms

Why are forms important for a website or web app? Because it gets your user information in a convenient way. The Forms feature in Netlify allows the developer(s) to effectively manage form submissions by creating a Lambda Function. The free tier of Netlify grants 100 form submissions. Post-usage requires a registered paid tier subscription.

4. Hosting

While Netlify is typically used for hosting static websites, much like what GitHub Pages is used for, it is much more flexible and powerful than its competitors. Netlify follows a tier-based pricing structure, that has 4 tiers:

  • Free
  • Team Pro
  • Team Business
  • Custom

*Note*: If you like to host static sites using GitHub Pages, you must check out Netlify. It might be the upgrade you are looking for. Here, check out this Netlify vs. GitHub Pages comparison to know whether Netlify works out for you or not.

5. Netlify CLI

Netlify offers a Command-Line-Interface package, downloadable via NPM. Once the package is downloaded globally, users can log in to their Netlify account, view websites/web apps, make deployments, and much more.

Setting up Continuous Deployment by connecting an existing repository and performing deployment manually; both options are available with Netlify.

6. Serverless functions

You can apply AWS Lambda Functions to enable serverless functions on your Netlify website, allowing to:

  • Enhance backend functionality
  • Save something to a database
  • Validate data and post it to another API

7. Split Testing

Sometimes, developers might be confused about what version of the website will work better. The answer can only be known by deploying the alternatives. The Split Testing feature of Netlify allows developers to deploy two distinct versions of a website and analyze their individual performance and decide which one performs well.

Split Testing is frequently used for checking the UI version that works, finding out the best placement for buttons and other page elements, and analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

Who uses Netlify?

Netlify offers a flexible service that is apt for startups and web development enthusiasts as well as befitting for big, well-established brands. Some of the major global players leveraging the Netlify platform include:

  • ParTech :-)
  • Citrix Systems
  • Facebook
  • Nike
  • Kubernetes
  • Verizon

What is JAMstack?

Netlify and JAMstack go hand in hand. Simply put, JAMstack allows creating fast static websites. The term JAM refers to JavaScript, APIs, and Markdown. Mathias Biilmann, the co-founder of Netlify, is also one of the people behind bringing JAMstack to the forefront. JAMstack-powered websites can be easily hosted on Netlify.

JAMstack leverages JavaScript, the expanding capability of modern web browsers and the numerous possibilities offered by APIs to enhance the characteristics of a pre-rendered website. Since pre-rendered files are served directly from the CDN, there is no requirement of managing or even running web servers, that’s serverless architecture at your service.

It is a fast, modern way of building websites and (web) apps that are performant, secured, scalable, and developer friendly. Alongside Netlify, it's one of the most important technologies disrupting the web development scene today.

JAMstack is not suitable for a applications that require a tight coupling between the client-side and server-side; this includes:

  • Monolithic server-run web apps requiring some backend language/technology like Node.js and Ruby.
  • Sites built with a server-side CMS, such as Drupal and WordPress.
  • Single Page Applications using isomorphic rendering for building views on the server during runtime.

Conclusion

Netlify makes developing, deploying, and managing static websites super easy and super-efficient. It benefits not only developers but also editors. It features built-in DNS management & SSL certificates to decomplex the process of website deployment.

Both automated pre-rendering and global distribution features make developing websites cheaper and quicker with Netlify. If you haven’t used Netlify up until now, give it a shot today!