Web development startup Netlify acquires rival Gatsby

Web development startup Netlify acquires rival Gatsby

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Front-end web development platform startup Netlify Inc. said today it has acquired a rival company called Gatsby Inc., the creator of the open-source GatsbyJS framework, for an undisclosed fee.

Although Gatsby managed to raise a total of $46.8 million in funding, the company struggled to achieve the same traction as Netlify, or another competitor, Vercel Inc.

Netlify is a much bigger player in the web development business, counting major enterprise customers such as Twilio Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., ServiceNow Inc., Box Inc. and Mattel Inc., and more than 3 million developers using its platform. It’s the creator of the so-called “JAMstack” movement, which stands for JavaScript, API and Markup.

The cloud-based Netlify Platform is designed for web development projects and bundles everything a developer needs, including production servers, test servers for validating code updates, deployment pipelines for pushing updates, and a content delivery network, into a single platform. Previously, developers would have to set up all of these elements themselves.

One of the key features of Netlify is its ability to integrate with code hosting services like GitHub. Developers can therefore link Netlify to a project’s code repository and with a few commands, transform those files into a functional website.

“A platform like Netlify is all about simplification,” Chris Bach, co-founder and president of Netlify, said in a 2020 interview on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s video studio. “Now you just have to maintain your content and you don’t have to worry about all of the different environments, what is up-to-date and what the infrastructure looks like.”

Gatsby is another player in the JAMstack market, offering similar features through the GatsbyJS framework, though its platform notably lacks a content delivery network.

In its press release announcing the acquisition, Netlify said one of the reasons it chose to buy Gatsby was for its Valhalla Content Hub, which is a centralized data layer that allows users to make various data sources accessible via a unified GraphQL application programming interface.

Gatsby’s platform also offers an ecosystem of “high-quality content management system plugins,” Netlify said in its announcement, as well as a cloud platform for building, deploying and previewing large enterprise content sites. Netlify added that Gatsby had been growing its revenue at more than 100% year-over-year.

Netlify co-founder and Chief Executive Matt Biilmann told The New Stack that Gatsby’s framework had seen a lot of success with midmarket companies and enterprises that typically create extremely content-heavy websites with thousands of pages. He explained that Gatsby’s platform handles a lot of websites where “the content comes not neatly from just one API, but often from a few different content sources.”

In a statement attached to Netlify’s press release, Biilmann said the acquisition of Gatsby will enable it to provide developers with more flexibility and choice when building composable web experiences. “The future of the web is composable architectures,” he said, adding that he plans to “open up Gatsby’s content hub and source plugin ecosystem to the diverse world of modern front-end frameworks like Astro, Next and Remix.”

In a separate blog post, Gatsby co-founder Kyle Matthews said Netlify will continue to invest in the GatsbyJS framework. It’s also planning to integrate many Gatsby Cloud features into Netlify, including the Valhalla Content Hub. “We share a belief in the future of composable architecture, and together, we will better be able to bring our cloud solution to enterprise teams and accelerate the adoption of composable,” he added.

Netlify also promised to honor Gatsby’s commitment to open source, saying it will take over stewardship of the Gatsby open-source project. The plan is for the maintainers of Gatsby to join Netlify’s own open source group, together with the creators of frameworks such as Solid JS and Eleventy.

Image: Netlify

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