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Netlify, the company behind a platform used by developers to build, host, and scale web projects, today announced what it calls a “new approach” to building with APIs that it hopes will boost developer productivity.
Netlify, which counts customers such as Citrix, Verizon, and Twilio, helps companies move away from traditional monolithic web apps to a decoupled architecture, where the front- and backends are separate. Using Netlify, developers connect their code repository, add their build settings, and then Netlify takes care of deployment and all the necessary infrastructure.
Netlify Graph, which is available now in open beta, is all about APIs (application programming interfaces) — it enables developers to securely read, write, and subscribe to data from third-party APIs without managing authentication tokens or having to write any API-specific code — single-click authentication is the name of the game.
“Netlify Graph simplifies how developers build, which in turn lifts up the entire ecosystem — it will also make decoupling developers’ monoliths into a Jamstack architecture much easier,” Netlify’s head of ecosystem Den Delimarsky told VentureBeat. “Teams that were previously handcuffed to monolithic plugins will be able to unlock the vast ecosystem of third-party APIs and services for their web applications.”
The announcement comes just a few months after Netlify raised $105 million and acquired OneGraph, a GraphQL-based tool for building third-party integrations. GraphQL, which Facebook open-sourced back in 2015, is helping to power the burgeoning API economy and the push towards microservices — that is, software built from smaller purpose-built components that are easier to maintain versus giant monolithic applications. GraphQL APIs give developers flexibility to query specific data from disparate sources, and makes cross-platform app development simpler.
Messy backend integrations
Built atop GraphQL, Netlify Graph promises to “eliminate the messy backend integration work” involved in working with APIs, with pre-built integrations at launch for GitHub, NPM, Salesforce, Spotify, Stripe, Box, and Contentful.
“This is a huge boost for developer productivity and accelerates time-to-market,” Delimarsky said. “There’s no denying APIs are core to building modern web applications, but we’re seeing developers spending more and more time discovering, securing, and governing all these APIs, which is actually creating more complexity and taking them away from focusing on business value. Discovering APIs can be easy, but the bigger challenge is governing and combining them into a more cohesive experience.”
And so Netlify Graph essentially gives developers a more unified way of authenticating and building using APIs, making it easier to integrate and consume third-party services directly through the Netlify interface.
After a short period in private beta which required users to specifically activate the feature, Netlify Graph is now enabled by default for all Netlify customers. While the company hasn’t revealed what other integrations it might include in the future beyond the initial five, its OneGraph acquisition gives a hint as to what might be around the corner — OneGraph currently supports Zendesk, Trello, Intercom, HubSpot, Slack, among others.
“This is only phase one and we plan to add more integrations over time,” Delimarsky confirmed.
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