We are the devs from Team Netlify, Ask us anything!

6 June 2019, 6:00 pmAsk Question

Hey there, we're the team from Netlify and we're hosting an AMA!

We'll be answering your questions live from June 6, 2 PM EST onwards. We're so excited to chat with you!

Topics we'll cover include:

  • Netlify
  • JAMstack
  • Developer Experience
  • Static sites
  • Vue
  • React
  • General Career Questions

Shoot us your questions below! 👇


Update:

og-image-london.png

Ask a question below and you'll be entitled to get 20% discount for jamstackconf London tickets.


Comments (118)

Muhammad Muhajir's photo

Hi guys, Just wanna say thank you for the awesomeness for Netlify. Thanks :). Big Hug

Show +2 replies
Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

Thank you for helping to make the community awesome! The fact that folks are generally very positive and supportive of each other is one of my favorite things about Netlify.

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

Hey team, I’ll take this one. (I’m always ready to take the hugs!)

But echoing Jessica’s comment, it really does make a huge difference to talk to people who use and enjoy the the platform. So thanks for you enthusiasm. It’s wonderful to have the chance to y’all to people who find Netlify useful!

Mathieu Dutour's photo

There is a growing concern in the community to use reduce the carbon impact of the tech industry. Choosing a data centre powered by renewable energy to host our websites/apps is an easy way to reduce our carbon impact, at least a little.

Google Cloud has a 100% carbon offset (cloud.google.com/renewable-energy) and AWS has 5 regions which are powered by renewable energy.

I couldn't find any information on netlify.com regarding where/how the netlify servers are powered, do you have any information about it? It'd be really amazing to have a breakdown on the carbon consumption of a netlify project! (see thegreenwebfoundation.org/news/trying-an-id..)

Show +3 replies
Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

You bet! It's on our minds :)

Caesar Schinas's photo

This is really important to me. I'm currently looking to move all sites I'm responsible for to carbon-neutral (ideally directly renewable-powered) infrastructure.

Obviously speed, efficiency, and cache proximity to the user are super-important factors as Phil outlined above, so any research Netlify can produce on the impact of this on power efficiency would be incredibly useful.

In the meantime, it would be really helpful if an estimate could be made available of approximately how much of Netlify's resources are provided by which providers, so that the energy sources used by those providers can be taken into account. (Or better still, if Netlify wanted to do the maths based on those figures and publish a total carbon estimate as a percentage of total power usage.)

David Homeren's photo

Hey! Thanks for the AMA. What made you all join Netlify? I understand that Netlify is simple to use and just works. But what was that thing which resonated strongly when you were looking to join them?

Show +2 replies
Sarah Drasner's photo

I just joined 3 weeks ago! What really excited me about Netlify was working on a product that I absolutely loved. I know that sounds like a sales pitch, but it's just the truth. Every time I worked with Netlify I found something else I liked about it. I thought that the people who worked there must be pretty smart and care about developer experience- something I'm really passionate about- to make this, and I was right :)

It also helped a lot that when I started talking to people at the company, I saw that they had a really great culture. I knew a few great folks here like Phil Hawksworth, Divya Sasidharan, and swyx and liked them all a lot- fortunate enough for me, they're all on my team so I get to talk to them more frequently now!

Matt and Chris, the founders, also did a lot of due diligence when we started talking about me joining in setting me up for success.

All in all, I would say it was half and half: the product was awesome, and the people were awesome. Oh, and I like remote work! So that was a must-have in a company.

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

For me, it was a perfect fit. I'd been working at an agency and working with some pretty complex and restrictive infrastructure stacks with very large clients, and had become increasingly convinced that hosting sites statically could be a real advantage. After 2 or 3 years of talking about that at conferences, I found myself mentioning Bitballon (which would later become Netlify), amongst other services, a lot.

As Netlify grew, the number of tools and the apparent elegance and power of the platform really made it invaluable for me, and I also got to know the team. I became a fan of the product, and of the people.

In the end, it became really clear to me that I was really well aligned with the vision and mission of the Netlify team. And the clincher for me was in discovering what a healthy and diverse culture Netlify seemed to have built and valued. It made it a very desirable company to want to join and I feel rather lucky to have been given the opportunity to turm my passion into my day job.

Aravind's photo

Hey Folks, Thanks for the AMA 🙏

I was curious to know how you folks pick up a new skill, Can you go into the details of your learning process.

Sarah Drasner's photo

This is a great question! Picking up new skills is so important for developers because the landscape shifts so quickly. A while back, a lot of people asked me this question so I wrote an article about it: css-tricks.com/learning-to-learn

The tl;dr is:

  • try to identify holes in your knowledge- this can include looking through course structure online, or looking at API docs, etc
  • then write down and schedule all of those pieces so that you can devote some time to it, and mark things off little by little
  • I make sure I'm practicing the new things I'm learning- if I have to learn it for a job, great! That's baked in to the process, but if I'm just trying to level up, I might make a side project so I learn it.
  • Making something I enjoy really helps me learn because I'm more incentivized to do it
  • I also pay attention to how I'm learning, that I'm doing what works for me

Hope that helps!

Francisco Quintero's photo

Software Engineer & Ruby on Rails Developer

Great method. Sarah Drasner Thanks for sharing :)

David Wells's photo

You all are prolific devs!

What are your secrets to shipping all the wonderful things?

(Productivity hacks? Magic spells? Time machines?)

Whats the secret?!?!

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

I look at what David Wells does and try to do half of it

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

Ha ha. Me too! As a stretch goal.

The other thing to mention is that we have a wonderful team of engineers, designers, documentarians... all working together to ship these features. Those of us on this AMA are often in the position of contributing to that work, but also fortunate to be able share the information about the work of a larger, and really rather gifted team.

(it's a fun part of my job to be sure)

The product team is really well organised and function brilliantly together. And we're in a happy position of being able to release many incremental improvements over time to keep pressing forward.

And we also use a time machine.

Kevin Pliester's photo

What was your first idea for Netlify? So what you write as a "salad of thoughts" on a whiteboard :D

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

Spotify clone called "Spotlify". Shopify clone called "Shoplify". its pretty easy to go for the "ify" names :)

Sarah Drasner's photo

From the founders:

Matt was building a traditional CMS on the legacy stack, and saw how the world of Frontend started to change dramatically. He talked about it with Chris and they saw that it opened a door for a new way of building for the web where they might decouple frontend and backend, building and hosting.

Matt and Chris both saw that on one hand, the legacy monolithic webapps had not only become redundant to an emerging API economy, but also increasingly insecure, and problems of scaling and performance and compatibility with modern (gitbased) workflows were becoming ever present.

So they started to brainstorm a solution: That to decouple frontend and backend, building and hosting, they actually had all the building blocks they needed:

  • Git had introduced new standards of collaboration and version control, JS frameworks, build tools, mature javascript,
  • Browsers that had gone from being document viewers to full fledged operation systems, the capabilities of API and a movement around serverless.

However there was no viable workflows - no proper glue to tie it together, and the current infrastructure and deployment tools were all architected to support a legacy web, not a decoupled one.

They thought that if they built a platform on customized infrastructure and deployment tools and the like, then you could make that decoupled web a reality. Which would be better in every way: faster, safer, more scalable, more compatible with modern workflows. That all this could help enable web developers do so much more.

Jonathan Wood's photo

Hey guys! Few questions

How do you try and bring delight to the platform with design, UX, content etc?

Sarah Drasner are you going to bring any fancy SVG animation goodness to Netlify?

Show +4 replies
Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

Ha ha, yeah... my own blog is a good testament to that. Leave it alone, Philip!! I take my hat off to the discipline I get to witness. It's a great lesson for me.

Jonathan Wood's photo

Full-Stack JavaScript Developer | Tech Writer | Meditator

The never ending blog restyling is a sure way to lose sleep :-)

Thanks Phil

Nick Kramer's photo

Thanks for doing this AMA and for everything you all do at Netlify! I love the service!

When it comes to setting up a JAMStack site, what is the best way to handle authentication with services that require API keys or some form of authentication? We obviously don't want them just hanging out in the front end willy nilly, and I've heard of having a possible serverless function or service that handles all API related calls, but I could see that possibly being abused.

I've found it hard to find a good answer for this, which could totally be improper wording.

Show +3 replies
Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

In addition to Divya's post, you might also find this example of a serverless function which acts as a proxy, adding a secret API and calling a service.

github.com/depadiernos/token-hider-inator

I find these useful to dip into... a wide range of examples and references gathered here.

functions.netlify.com/examples?search=proxy

Nick Kramer's photo

Front End Developer

Thanks again both of you for your awesome work and for some great resources!

PRANJAL AGNIHOTRI's photo

What do you think about the future of NodeJS for building very large apps? ✨✨✨

Gift Egwuenu's photo

Hi Sarah!

I'm curious to know what your role as the Head of Developer Experience at Netlify entails and how the role fits into your big picture.

Also being a very enthusiastic JAMstack user what will you say is the next big thing in the JAMstack space and how does one keep up with the latest news about JAMstack activities.

Sarah Drasner's photo

Hi Gift! ❤️

My role is wonderful- I lead a group of awesome engineers that I'm grateful to be working with every day. I develop strategies to keep a good eye on developer experience from start to finish, including going through each possible way that our product might be used and filing PRs to fix rough edges. My team speaks at conferences, develops posts and OSS repos, but members of my team also work on product engineering for part of the year. There are about 100 other things we do- I try to make sure they are all aligned with overall strategy of the company :)

How does this fit into my overall big picture? I kind of feel like every job I have has taken me a little closer to where I want to be, and this job feels like it's the most "me". I work on a product I love, surrounded by people I admire and would like to learn from, I feel trusted and supported. I'm also really happy because the management side of helping people grow their careers really interests me as well. I get a nice synthesis of keeping an eye on developer experience, which I love, managing, and also engineering work. It's a great fit.

For JAMstack in particular- I know you're already heading up one of the biggest JAMstack groups in the world (congratulations!!!). There are some big things coming for JAMstack.org that should help you keep up with news etc, so I'd say keep an eye on that space. Another is if you can't go to JAMstack conf, the videos that are released after should be pretty great- there are some good speakers at that event. I'm excited to meet Jake Archibald in person!

Cheers!

Max's photo

Your pricing model. I've been building Wordpress sites for clients and now I'm transitioning to Gatsby/Netlify stack. I don't like to be involved in managing/charging for hosting (too many stories of past developers holding their clients hostage with hosting credentials), so I always had the clients set up their own hosting accounts (Siteground, WPEngine etc) and sometimes I'd use my affiliate link to get a bit of $ back.

I appreciate the free tier Netlify offers but I definitely see how some freelance/small shops can offer Netlify hosting at 10-20$/ month and the clients would have no problems paying it.

Ideally, I'd like to have the client set up their own account, provide me with access and pay/manage their own hosting.

Do you think a set up like this is possible now?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

Hi Max,

Yes, absolutely. Why do you think there might be a problem doing this? seems relatively straightforward.

i may not see your reply so hit any of us up on twitter if you run into trouble doing this.

Tony Alves's photo

Who's your favorite community member 😉 Or, who makes the most noise!

Show +1 replies
Tony Alves's photo

😊 I was hoping for a roast, not an answer that would make me blush.

If you are new to Netlify or wondering if you should, you really should be looking at it. This is not a hosting service, this is a partner in helping making sites faster and more secure.

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

Tony we love you.

Imanol Avendaño's photo

What is the most exciting thing about working at Netlify? What is the most challenging thing that you are working on atm?

Sarah Drasner's photo

Some of the exciting things we're working on are a secret for the time being 🤫 (we'll be announcing one of those really exciting things at JAMstack London!) but something they all have in common is that it is sometimes very complicated to make something feel simple! It really pays off because it makes everything feel more intuitive, which means you need less docs, and things to explain how it works. But what's funny about it is the final product is so simple, it looks like there's not a lot of effort involved!

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

Nodding along pretty aggressively to Sarah's reply.

For me, one of the biggest challenges is in choosing what to focus on first. It feels like a really exciting time not just for Netlify, but also for the JAMstack as a category, which is wonderful, but I sometime find it hard to decide which opportunity to focus on. Especially when they are all so compelling.

Pascal's photo

Netlify is awesome. Nuxt is awesome.

Sarah do you think we'll soon have a full nuxt generate option (no API calls between pages)?

Don't you think it would be the perfect match ?

Show +1 replies
Pascal's photo

Thank you !

I know atinux is working on nuxt modules for a full generate (payload as json alongside html I think) if that can help :)

I'm sure what you're on will be great !

Sarah Drasner's photo

Yep, he and I have already spoken a bit about this- I think he's going to jump in to do some work on the module when I get it in a good state, so you'll likely see a collaboration from us 👍

Faith Odonghanro's photo

I'd like to know what netlify is, and also, what is the JAMstack?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

The JAMstack is a modern web architecture: helping people create fast and secure sites and dynamic apps with JavaScript, APIs, and prerendered Markup, served without web servers. This means Wordpress, Squarespace, Drupal, and other server-run web apps are not JAMstack (sometimes I find it helpful to define things by what they are not). Chris Coyier recently wrote a great post about how it is all about static asset hosting, and you can use as much or as little of J, A, or M as you like.

Netlify serves the JAMstack developer - you don't have to use Netlify to be JAMstack, but we just happen to be very very very very very very very very focused on those needs and provide all the tooling you might need including form handling, authentication, and serverless functions, as well as building on top of the JAMstack assumption by providing continuous deployment with instant rollbacks and branch deploys, free SSL (HTTPS) on Custom Domains, split testing, image transformation, and local development.

Milica Maksimović's photo

What fun project/tool did you discover recently? Also, is there a tool you use that not a lot of people have heard about, but they should 😃

Show +2 replies
Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

I recently stumbled on colorsafe.co and really like it!

I'd already been using tools for checking contrast ratio to make sure my color choices pass WCAG accessibility standards. (Lea Verou's contrast-ratio.com is my longtime favorite.)

But what I like about colorsafe.co is that it gives you a quick click interface for choosing colors. I find it especially handy for quickly picking slide deck colors - because not only are high-contrast color combinations good for accessibility, they also make your slides look better on projector screens in bright rooms!

Divya's photo

Developer Advocate

I too came across zzz.dog and it is amazingly fun! I've seen examples of people using it alongside React Spring for instance to create really neat 3D renders and animations. You can find lots of those examples on Codepen.

Also Josh Comeau wrote a wonderful post complete with code snippets to explain using CSS 3D transforms, which was incredibly mind blowing. joshwcomeau.com/posts/folding-the-dom

Alex Bennett's photo

What are some DX problems that y'all see coming up on the horizon that there aren't a lot of solutions for? If you could make any part of developing for web better, what would you change?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

Tons. the problem and opportunity of working on DX is that you are literally never done. Jeff Bezos has been working on the internet retail experience for 20 years and it is still Day One for him.

I think it is still too hard to write JAMstack apps. We are -early- in this paradigm, and that's why it is so hard. But every year it gets a bit easier with an ecosystem springing up around it. We got some part of the way there with Netlify Dev, but ultimately my white whale is tackling the broken promise of fullstack JavaScript. Multiple dozens of billions of dollars have been created with Rails (name a 10-15yr old decacorn tech company, it was probably built on Rails). Laravel's Ecosystem is flat out amazing.. Django gets you an awesome admin panel right out of the box. Meanwhile in JS land we futz around for hours trying to debug our node_modules and build steps. Unacceptable. If JAMstack has a chance of being productive (not just faster/more secure/decoupled), the serverless/JS ecosystem needs to drastically catch up.

Sarah Drasner's photo

+1 to swyx's answer, and I have a few more thoughts:

When I look at some of the things that have taken off recently, I see how much people are using and loving abstractions as a service.

Serverless is one such model that allows you to use event-driven logic on server side without setting up a ton of infrastructure, I think we'll see a lot more of this new way of working in the years ahead- abstracting some processes that might be automated, or simply keeping things consistent across machines we previously needed unnecessarily complex processes such as containers allow for.

That's one area. On the client side:

Personally, I think the web is capable of so so much but we're still not taking full advantage of it. Some of this needs some help from the browser side to fix what's broken and should have already shipped a while back (hello where is hardware acceleration on SVG DOM nodes helllloooo) and some of it is from the dev/design side of still kind of treating the browser like a document reader- we still build layouts like we're using tables even though we can do so so much more!

How does this affect developer experience? Devs need APIs they know will work quickly without a lot of hacks, and they also need tools to help build brilliant experiences on the fly without a ton of mental overhead. Some of this comes back to the promise of what tools like Netlify do: spend less time gluing together "kit of parts" services, knowing that your deploys will work in a streamlined manner, and you have more time to commit to user experience overall.

Mauricio Mercado's photo

What are the traits that netlify looks for when hiring engineers? What are the biggest challenges that netlify faces in terms of infrastructure?

Sarah Drasner's photo

Re: Challenges in terms of Infrastructure, from our Head of Infrastructure, Ryan Neal:

A lot of our problems fall in three big concerns:

  • scale
  • availability
  • developer productivity

Scale: We are doing 10s of thousands of requests per second near constantly across our network. That value is doing the nice "up and to the right" that makes business happy and engineers excited. That means that any service that wants to operate on that firehose of data, or be involved in the request chain, has to be able to handle throughput. Want to know something about the traffic is being served out of Singapore? The service needs to handle billions of events. Want to break that down by a few facets? It is going to be 10s millions of unique pairs, so you have to consider disk/memory/time very carefully. This makes for some fun challenges on how you write horizontally scalable services that are elastic enough to come up and down quickly.

Availability: Our customers are trusting us with their web presence, we take that very seriously. To that point we design with failure in mind all the time ("How does the system work if this fails", "How will we know it failed", etc). All of our services, from edge to origin, are built to answer these questions. They're made to be immutable, disposable, and fault tolerant.

In order to provide more 9s we also focus a lot on automation. People aren't good at managing systems, systems are good at managing systems. We are constantly looking at the system and trying to find more ways to keep it stable. In the near future we are going to be re-examining some of our core design decisions to see if we can find better ways for it to gracefully degrade and automatically repair itself. Of course, we're an always on system too - meaning we have to change the tires on the car as we are driving it.

We are in 6 cloud providers right now, growing to 8 in the next few months. Being cloud agnostic adds a lot of complexity, from simple things like "how do we authorize into the server" to "how do we fail between clouds in a reliable way". Not being able to say things like "Just use this service" means that we have to have the ownership and knowledge to effectively run a lot of core services ourselves.

Productivity: We are constantly updating the platform for both product reasons and for scale considerations. These change need to be applied quickly and safely by our developers. That means that on the infrastructure side we need to build out the tooling that will let us operate, observe, and modify the system in a deterministic way. We are always finding more things we can monitor (imho: you can never have enough insight into your system).

We also have a unique problem that our infrastructure is split in that some of it is containerized and some of it is raw boxes. This split is because we sometimes need the performance of the raw boxes (e.g. the edge nodes) and sometimes the flexibility of something like kubernetes. This means that we have to figure a way to apply changes to both and give our developers the same experience but handle the differences behind the scenes.

Sarah Drasner's photo

In terms of what we're looking for in Engineers, our Head of Product Engineering addressed that in this great post he wrote! css-tricks.com/interviewing-for-a-technical..

Yashu Mittal's photo

The team behind NetlifyCMS is already doing a great job building the self-hosted version, but do you have any plans to create a Netlify CMS which can be directly accessed from netlify.com

For example: https://app.netlify.com/sites/<sitename>/cms

Just like ButterCMS or GraphCMS?

Show +1 replies
swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

response from Shawn from the Netlify CMS team:

We always planned on having some sort of “managed” Netlify CMS offering, but we never quite figured out how to crack it. Mostly because there really isn’t anything to manage - the closest model is stackbit, and they’re really just generating a starter template for you. But any discussion of us actually hosting it rather than it being a page in your repo and on your site was always shut down, as it inherently moves away from what Netlify CMS is designed to do - both exist in and store content in your repo. The final thing is we don't want to compete with Headless CMS services, who are our biggest partners.

Yashu Mittal's photo

I see.

What you can do, instead of building a new managed CMS from scratch you can provide a manage CMS which will be same as self-hosted CMS only difference will be it will the hosting part.

All the functionality and configuration will be exactly the same so the users will be able to switch from self-hosted to managed.

slim's photo

Hi,

Thanks for the AMA.

I have some questions:

  1. How anyone of you shares his experience with others at work? Do you make some meetings at lunch time to explain new things that you learn in a conference or something ambiguous for some team members?

  2. How do you guarantee the progress of your product or company according to customers requirements and the competitive products that exists nowadays?

  3. What are the process that you use to evaluate a developer during a year in order to get promotion?

  4. According to your requirements and your experience, what are the things that you look for when you recruit software engineers? (You look for the number of year of experience first then the technologies that he used if they fit with your requirements or not? If yes, you don't think that there is no technology will be adopted forever due the birth of different languages and technologies every year and hiring someone who is experimented with X framework today could not be a good person when you will change your framework after x years?)

  5. How do you stay motivated at work :p ?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

  1. i prefer to write. if its small it can just be a slack message, but i also do internal blogposts and postmortems mobile.twitter.com/swyx/status/110301026815..

  2. nobody can "guarantee" it. but we can try to just pay attention to user needs :)

  3. above my paygrade

  4. good question, i dont think many of us believe in a strict number of years requirement, but of course it correlates with relevant experience and ability (and pay 😅).

  5. the most motivating thing is helping users and responding to their pain points. i also get to write blogposts and do talks which is motivating on its own.

Divya's photo

Developer Advocate

  1. 

We do lunch and learns at Netlify quite regularly. These are great opportunities to share what we’ve been working on with the rest of the team in a pretty informal setting. There’s also a product demo meeting biweekly where we get to share and also hear from others on the team and what they’ve been working on. It’s a great way to sync up esp since so many of us are remote!


  2. This is tough, as swyx mentioned, nothing is guaranteed. But in general users power a lot of decisions we make :) 


  3. 

We usually do yearly reviews and that’s oftentimes when this evaluation happens. Since we’re still early stage, this process hasn’t yet been formalized but will be very very soon! If you’re interested in general career progression at other companies that we kinda sorta emulate, check out progression.fyi


  4. Number of years isn’t a great way to evaluate candidates. I’ve seen developers with 10 years of experience who are not as “up to par” as a developer of 3-5 years or experience for instance. It’s all relative. Having said that, we do look at what you’ve worked on/have been working on and try to gauge if a candidate is enthusiastic about a specific area of expertise. Also, if they’re willing to learn and adapt quickly. This is hard to gauge but a coworker of mine Jacob Schatz puts it so well in this tweet -> twitter.com/jakecodes/status/11356776100532..

  5. 
For me motivation is tied directly to whether or not a task resonates with my own goals and aspirations. Sarah puts this so well in this tweet-> twitter.com/sarah_edo/status/11314240767261..

Miguel Piedrafita's photo

Hey everyone, thanks for the AMA!

What's the next big thing coming to Netlify?

Sarah Drasner's photo

Hey Miguel!

Oooo this is a good one... I'm not at liberty to say exactly what it is, but we're planning on announcing something we hope you'll love in July at JAMstack conf London! Aside from this shiny new feature, we're also working on getting some great existing features out of beta and making them even better, more flexible, and higher potential for productivity, like Netlify dev! (where you can use a CLI use Netlify locally and even share live links with your coworkers before deploying :) )

Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

As a documentation engineer, the next big thing that I'm excited about is a makeover for our docs! We've been working on re-organizing topics based on user research, ad we're also building out a beautiful new site for them to live in. We're hoping to have them all ready by the end of summer, maybe sooner. :)

Milica Maksimović's photo

Hey all 👋

Thanks for the AMA!

I was wondering if you could share what your average day at work looks like and give us some organizational tips and tricks?

Show +1 replies
Divya's photo

Developer Advocate

I love questions about productivity and organizational hacks! Especially since talking about this means I now have to be kept accountable 🙈

Organization for my day usually starts at the top of the week, since it lets me set an intention and goals that I want to accomplish. On our team, we all fill out a form noting everything we worked on last week, and the things we're planning to work on that week as well as any challenges that stand in our way. This form submission gets emailed to everyone on the team, so we're all kept in sync.

As for day to day tasks, I try to note everything I want to do on todoist when I start my day. It's so easy to lose track of time when I don't do this, because I tend to jump on things willy nilly if I don't have a specific goal set for myself. I additionally try to be intentional with my time by using a pomodoro timer app of sorts called Forest, it builds a cute tree for every block of time you focus!

Also, I'm more of a morning person, so I do heavy, time/labor intensive tasks at the start of my day; it's a productivity hack known as "Eating the Frog", if you're into productivity hacks :)

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

For me a typical day starts with some correspondence catch up. Since I'm based in the UK and most of my colleagues are in the US, they have been busy working and talking while I was asleep. So I like to try to catch up on what was going in email and on slack while I start my day and slurp my coffee.

I also spend some time seeing what has been grabbing people's attention on twitter (which is usually rather delightful as people using Netlify often seem enthusiastic or full of valuable ideas).

Then I dip in to community.netlify.com where there is also often some useful conversation or some people I might be able to help out.

Most of this is possible because of the head start I have on the day. As the US wake up, my time gets to be more in demand so I try and get my head down on some writing or technical exploration before people get up if I can.

When the US is awake I'm more likely to have some project meetings, 1:1s or team catch ups. As a distributed company (50% remote, 50% in SF) we're mindful of making connections between people even when they are remote. So we put some effort into that too.

Another big part of my job is attending or speaking at conferences. This often involves travel which, while I love it, does eat up time and quickly make everything I've written so far in this answer a work of fiction. then it can be a scramble.

Divya mentioned our weekly team planning, but beyond that, I use Things to help me list and prioritise the things I personally want to achieve that day. It helps me to get the list out of my head and onto a screen somewhere. And it gives me the chance to gleefully check things off.

slim's photo

What are the things that you look for when you choose a candidate for a job post?

Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

Of course some of what we're looking for will vary from job to job. We do our best to be clear about what skills and experience we're looking for in each job description we write. In general, though, we're big on collaboration, and we communicate a lot, so we look for people who demonstrate an ability to give and receive feedback with care and empathy, to reflect on their actions and be open to learning, and to share their thoughts and process as they solve problems and hit stumbling blocks.

In an application, one thing we usually look for is a thoughtful cover letter. It doesn't have to be fancy (don't worry if English isn't your strong suit!), but if you take the time to help us connect the dots and show us how your experiences and passions match our needs, we'll pay attention! We're thoughtful about finding a good fit, and if you show us that you thought about that, too (and didn't just use a blind shotgun approach), it means a lot.

Rou Hun Fan's photo

Will the features of the free tier of Netlify stay free? are there any plans made yet?

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Rou Hun Fan's photo

creative front-end developer

swyx Sarah Drasner thanks so much for taking the time to answer and inspiring the confidence that the free features (most probably) will stay free :)

Sarah Drasner's photo

High fives all around!

Karan Shah's photo

Hey! I have just started working with Gatsby and setup my website with the Netlify CMS. I wanted to move my blog which is currently hosted on Medium to Netlify.

I wanted to understand if there's an easy way to manage the same?

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Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

This is a great example of some tooling to export content from Medium over to something more ...JAMstacky.

I've seen a few similar to Mathieu's excellent project emerging, and something I really like is that even though many of them might target a specific static site generator or framework as their destination, they typically take the first step of grabbing the content from a Medium export, and formatting it into something suitable for a static site generator to consume.

Once content is extracted and help as markdown files, or xml, or json, or yaml... there are wonderfully broad possibilities for the static site generator you might wish to use to consume them.

Data portability FTW!

Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

Along that theme, I just learned about an awesome project enabling students to keep learning blogs they own completely by leveraging static site generators and Netlify CMS. This means they can take their content with them (and host it easily for free) after they finish school.

marco-jakob.ch/lernblog-idee

This portability and freedom has always been one of my favorite things about the JAMstack. If "web 2.0" was about user-generated content, then whatever web number we're on now (😜) is definitely about user-owned content!

Edmund Ekott's photo

Hi again, I started learning Vue not too long ago, I wanted to ask what are the techniques one can use in mastering the framework, any advice for a beginner? I’m really excited about building web apps with Vue and harnessing the full power of Netlify.

P.s I love what you guys do.

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Edmund Ekott's photo

Front End Engineer

yeah, I use Netlify functions, it's great. is it possible to build say a shopping site completely using a static site generator?

Edmund Ekott's photo

Hi, I’m a big fan Netlify, I use it to host almost anything i can, I started using Netlify functions and I must say it’s really awesome, I’m particularly new to JAMStack, i heard about it on Twitter, so I decided to do some research and I’ve got some questions, is it possible to build fully fledged web apps from the ground up following the JAMStack architecture? and if yes what are the ways one would go about building it and what are the different methods of securing the apps, for example if API keys are involved? And would the app scale well?

Divya's photo

Developer Advocate

Hey! Thanks so much for your question!

In short, yes! The JAMstack stands for JavaScript, APIs and Markup, which is an architecture for creating sites (both static and dynamic using JavAcript, API and prerenderred Markup). Basically what makes a site JAM-ey is its ability to be statically hosted on a Content Delivery Network like Netlify or Amazon’s CloudFront. The nice thing about the JAMstack (for me) is the APIs piece of it. This allows you to make a site incredibly dynamic like processing payments and doing database read/writes etc. So in a sense you get the nice bits of a full stack app without the performance latencies that often comes with it. Hurray!

There are so many ways to build a JAMstack site, so it’s hard to list them all here. But a great starting point is to start with a static site generator like Hugo, VuePress or Gatsby. It’s a great way to get started working with a JAMstack frame of mind! You can find a longer list of static site generators on staticgen.com

As for securing your applications via API keys, Netlify allows you to save your environment variables in the dashboard so you don’t have to manage that yourself. You can access that via site settings > build and deploy > environment. The really nice thing about this is that it works seamlessly with the newly released Netlify Dev workflow, which lets you replicate the netlify workflow right from your local machine. When you use Netlify Dev, and run it via netlify dev, the CLI pulls down your environment variables so you don’t even have to have a .env file on your project!

Hope that answers your questions!

Jessica Parsons's photo

Documentation engineer at Netlify

Also, if you'd like to see an example of a fully-functional, large-scale JAMstack app, you can find it right in the Netlify UI! app.netlify.com is a React app communicating with our backend APIs (mostly built with Ruby on Rails, along with some Go microservices), along with some serverless Netlify Functions.

The most interesting part is that the Netlify app frontend is actually on Netlify. So we use the Netlify UI to manage the Netlify UI! 😲 We use deploy previews to test new PRs, run split testing to dark-launch features, lock deploys when we want to time a release just right... the list goes on. We're definitely "eating our own dogfood!"

Sarthak Batra's photo

Hey, thanks for doing this AMA. Since netlify does atomic builds, when we deploy a new build, users who are on a previous build have to refresh their page to get the new assets. Are there any plans to save the assets, from say the last 10 builds, kind of like how one would do if they were serving assets from Amazon S3?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

This is a tricky one. Yes, the assets are always saved, because every deploy is immutable and you can roll back to it any time (instead of my-site-here.netlify.com it looks like deploy-239829837293872-my-site-here.netlify..).

but your question is more about how can you have a previous build reference the assets from that previous build. you can try to use your build step to inject the direct reference to the immutable deploy by id, where you can access those previous assets. however this may be overengineering the solution, as it still doesnt save you from other breakages like external api changes. in my experience the best practice is just to detect an update and prompt for a refresh.

Phil Hawksworth's photo

Developer Experience, Netlify

Also worth keeping in mind that if your site is html (rather than a self contained, JavaScript Single Page Application), then each navigation to a new page, will be making a traditional HTTP response, and be met with the lates resource held there.

So it's true that Netlify deploys are atomic, navigating to a new URL is a fresh request, so you'll not be navigating around a "stale" version of the site.

So this situation is limited to SPA's I think, and those often have mechanics to indicate something like TTL or similar to safeguard from long running stale content.

Farhana Yasmin's photo

Hi Sarah,

What's your advice for beginner developers trying to get into big companies like Netlify? How should they prepare for the interview? Who should they approach? What's the best medium according to you to get in touch with the recruiters?

In my experience, the biggest hurdle beginner developers face is "getting in touch" with the right recruiters. How do we hack this process?

Sarah Drasner's photo

Hey Farhana! Thanks for stopping by!

Our Head of Product Engineering actually wrote a really great post about interviewing at companies like ours! It's a great resource: css-tricks.com/interviewing-for-a-technical..

I don't really think you need to go through recruiters to get a job- there are tons of job posting boards or if you're interested in a job at a particular company, most have a careers page. Here's ours: netlify.com/careers

If you're just starting out without any experience, you might look into doing an internship- there are a lot of companies that do paid internships where a good percentage are offered full time positions after. I used to work at Zillow/Trulia and we did that there. The nice thing about an internship if you're starting out is that people expect that they will train you a bit more on the job, so you can enter that relationship knowing you'll get some guidance :) (Some full-time jobs will not provide that)

Hope that helps!

Caleb H.'s photo

Is there any way to open multiple ports on a netlify project? For example, to host an RTMP and HTTP server?

Aniketh Saha's photo

Thanks for the AMA, Just curious to know ,

  1. How netlify is taking Open source in their daily life ? Also,
  2. what is netlify's solution or approach towards open source project's maintainers not getting paid? How would netlify solve this? Here my open source project I mean both project which is having thousands of github star and project which are not so popular in github but having millions of downloads in registries (NPM) and they are not getting donations too as they have hidden in the dependencies trees.
Caesar Schinas's photo

When a site is deployed, is it pushed straight away to all your edge servers – so that each visitor will always get a fast page load from their nearest edge server?

Or is it stored on a single node, and the edge cache filled on demand, as with a typical CDN (eg Cloudflare) – meaning requests for uncached resources (most requests for a low-trafic site) need to be fetched across the net for many/most visitors?

Maybe this is in your docs or marketing somewhere but I didn't find a clear answer straight off. :-)

Ankit Ghosh's photo

Hie Team Netlify, I just love your platform and service. Among all I really love your redirection feature and instant rollback.

I had a small question though as you guys are the one more into the world of JAMSTACK, would you please mention some perfect tools to add comment system.

Though I know a few like Commento, Netlify Comments, Disqus and Just Comments. I am looking for more alternatives, should be fast and easy to integrate into own UI.

Yashu Mittal's photo

Yes, please build Netlify comments feature too. 😂

Just like Disqus

selva kumar's photo

Hi everyone! Thanks for the AMA. I am ASP.NET MVC developer in a startup. I want to host my pet projects, how come Netlify will be useful for me over Azure or AWS?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

If I understand ASP.NET MVC right, it is not JAMstack, so we do not support that at Netlify because we don't offer you a running server. However if you want to run your ASP.NET server as an endpoint and put your frontend assets on Netlify as a CDN, that could work.

Carl L.'s photo

Hi all, two things I think about a lot when using Netlify:

  • I feel like your pricing structure doesn't make much sense. Even with the $45 tier there's no uptime SLA? Also, maybe consider another tier between Starter and Pro. We get tremendous value from the free tier, which I'm grateful for, but I'd be happy spend $10 or $20 to get a little more.
  • Brotli support. It was mentioned in January that it's coming but there wasn't any concrete plans or dates revealed. Has anything changed on this front? I've set it up on my DigitalOcean sites and it's made a big difference. As the comment mentions on this thread (github.com/netlify/ask-netlify/issues/24), could we commit .br files to the repo and then have them properly served as a solution until the build process gets worked out?

Thanks! Carl

Sarah Drasner's photo

Hey Carl!

Re: Pricing- Uptime SLA's are supported via our Enterprise ADN, which is engineered for greater resiliency and greater performance than our standard network. Customers can always upgrade capabilities from their starter plan with things like additional seats ($15/user), additional bandwidth ($20/100gb) or advanced forms capabilities ($19/mo) - just to name a few.

Re: Brotli support- we currently have an feature request issue open for this, when we get to it depends a bit on some other pieces of our product roadmap and when we can staff it. Sorry I can't give a better answer than that, we agree it would be great! In terms of you committing .br files- we won’t automatically add the right headers for brotli even if the user compresses the files themselves. And while you can add your own custom headers, we don’t allow you to use conditionals in _headers or nelify.toml for headers and serve the brotli files if the user agent requesting the files supports it. So, not at the moment, no, but likely in the future.

Deactivated User's photo

As a start-up, did you experience a water-shed moment, when you realized that how you move forward with your business would either make or break the company? (I'm asking from an organizational strategy point of view, not so much specific interactions with investors or vendors.)

I am working on a (high-priced) SaaS product geared toward a specialty market, and am trying to figure out how to get over that initial hump of getting the first 5 clients to come on board, to get that initial momentum.

Thank you for your advice!

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

Not something we are well suited to answer, unfortunately :( Netlify started with Heavybit and our founder Mathias has spoken several times about growth and adoption. most recent video youtube.com/watch?v=OENWRNZw9q4

David Homeren's photo

Do Netlify employees get Pro features at no extra cost?

swyx's photo

dx @ netlify

How else would we be able to test them? 😎