Development

Netlify Launches Plugin Infrastructure to Extend Automated Build Capabilities

27 May 2020 2:25pm, by

The folks behind Netlify are extending the functionality of its git-based web deployment service through the use of curated third-party plug-ins. The company revealed the new technology at its Jamstack Conf Virtual, being held on May 27-28.

Netlify provides a platform for front-end developers to push changes in their applications directly from a git repository. It is built on the idea of the Jamstack architecture, that of eschewing traditional web servers by the use of JavaScript, APIs and markup.

Now users can deploy, or even create, their own custom build steps. The Netlify Build Plugins will, according to the company, offer a catalog of integrations to extend functionality within the software build chain. Plug-ins, which are npm modules, can be easily installed through the Netlify user interface. Developers can also build their own plug-ins using the Netlify API.

Typically, Netlify will fetch the source code from your repository, install dependencies, and then run the build command. And then if it passes, Netlify will deploy the result, noted said Mathias Biilmann Christensen, Netlify CEO, in an interview with The New Stack.

Users, however, may have their own custom steps, such as checking accessibility compliance, for instance.

“Your accessibility testing is probably not different from most other people’s accessibility testing,” Bach said. “So what if instead, you could just add like an accessibility plugin. That plugin knows that it should wait till your build is done, and then it should find the generated HTML pages and scan them for accessibility issues. It will block the build if you have too many accessibility issues, or if it doesn’t meet the standards you define.”

Another advantage to such a plugin is that it can provide detailed results should the build fail for accessibility reasons.

The plugins that are made available to the platform are reviewed and tested by Netlify, to ensure they work in across all Netlify environs.

 

Some sample plugins include:

  • Cypress, which offers end-to-end testing to validate code before it’s deployed.
  • Ghost, an open source headless Node.js content management system.
  • A11y, an accessibility check that will fail the build if accessibility failures are found.
  • Sentry, for discovering, triaging, and prioritizing bugs
  • Gatsby incremental builds, so the Gatsby CMS will only rebuild the parts of the site affected by the changed data.

In a recent survey of users, Netlify found that top Jamstack use cases include consumer software (45%), internal tooling (36%), and enterprise software (35%).

About 38% of these developers work for a technology company, while others work in advertising and marketing (21%), media and publishing (14%), education (14%), financial services (13%) and business support & logistics (13%). The top Jamstack benefits cited by these developers are performance, uptime, speed of development, security, compliance, and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Feature image: Netlify President Christian Bach and Mathias Biilmann Christensen, in a virtual interview with The New Stack.

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