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Data / Frontend Development / Software Development

Web Dev Platform Netlify Releases Software Development Kit

Enterprises and third-party partners can use the Netlify SDK to integrate functions with the web development platform.
Sep 14th, 2023 8:35am by
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Web development platform Netlify released a software development kit (SDK) Wednesday that it said will make it easier for tech partners and customers to design custom integrations with Netlify.

“The SDK is exciting to me because it opens up for partners and the other tool makers to integrate into Netlify and enterprise companies to build integrations, specific to their services on Netlify, from the beginning,” CEO Matt Biilmann told The New Stack.

Netlify offers serverless backend services for web applications and dynamic websites. The SDK supports taking a composable architecture approach to web applications and websites at scale, Biilmann said.

“We coined the term Jamstack and pioneered this whole idea of building decoupled web UIs that talk to all these different APIs and services,” he said. “Now that’s maturing into this idea of composable architectures at scale, where you combine together many different tools instead of buying one big monolithic tool.”

Netlify Connect, which was released in June, plays a role in that, he added. Netlify Connect allows developers to integrate content from multiple sources into a single data unification layer for access through a GraphQL API, according to the documentation. That allows data updates to sync automatically. The SDK includes connectors to support connecting to and syncing data from a custom data source in Netlify Connect.

SDK Simplifies Flows, Authentication and Connectors

The SDK also will simplify flows, OAuth authentication and connectors, Biilmann told The New Stack.

“The connector part of the SDK allows partners or internal developers to build their own connectors and define ‘here’s a connector’ for SanitySitecore or Adobe Experience Manager, or as a large company, ‘here is a connector to our internal product catalog.’ Once that connector is defined, any team building with it can simply install it, get data into Netlify Connect and start building on top of it,” he said.

Already, partner companies have deployed connectors using the SDK. For example, the MySQL platform PlanetScale created an integration that allows joint customers to deploy data-intensive applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure or issues with data scalability.

It also incorporates a build event handler, which is a function that is called during the build process. For instance, performance monitoring firm Sentry has built a connector that sends all the source maps from the build through Sentry, by leveraging the SDK’s build event handlers.

“Now if there is an error in your frontend, it will be reported to Sentry and Sentry can use the source maps to tell you exactly where in the code it happened,” Biilmann said. “The build event handler will allow an integrator like Sentry to orchestrate all of that so when you install the Sentry integration, they can see from now on in your build.”

Previously, third-party integrations were handled by plug-ins written as NPM modules, he explained.

“There was no real control over the UI installation experience and those pieces and other parts of it,” Biilmann said. “If you wanted to do all our flows and so on, we had to do custom work together with a partner.”

Support for Enterprise Software Integration

The SDK also incorporates API handlers and an integration UI.

“The integration UI gives you a declarative way of building the UI for your integration within Netlify,” he said. “The API handlers allow you to use Netlify itself to build the backend for that UI, because, obviously, you probably need a backend that has access to the right secrets, that can talk to Sentry’s API, talk to Netlify’s API and make everything fit together. That’s part of the SDK.”

The SDK allows developers to define what should happen at build time, what should be injected into the runtime code, what path should be a connector, how the UI should look and what the API handlers should be to make that UI actually function and work, he added. For instance, with Sentry’s integration, developers can click OAuth to do an OAuth flow in the associated Netlify project.

It also allows enterprises to create their own integrations with their own partner software. Enterprises will “almost certainly” have off-the-shelf software they’re using and want to connect to, he said.

“They’ll almost certainly also have a bunch of internal APIs and services that they want to make reusable for their UI teams, and that’s why the SDK is also really the toolkit that they can use to build private integrations that are not publicly shared with any other Netlify team, but within their organization,” he said. “[That] can be how they make reusable building blocks that a web developer can simply come in, click through some options to install, and now they’re off to the races.”

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: PlanetScale, The New Stack.
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