Fastly buys dev platform and web IDE Glitch

CDN biz hopes merger will add a new way to use its edge services


Updated Content delivery network Fastly is purchasing Glitch, the company behind the web-based IDE of the same name.

Glitch is a full-stack platform that officially supports JavaScript, but allows coding in CSS, HTML, and other languages as well. It's designed to operate much like other cloud platforms and is able to run full-stack apps on demand, with Glitch handling all of the hardware and devs allowed to focus on coding.

By being absorbed into Fastly, Glitch vowed that the service will remain unchanged for users. "You're good, we got you. Nothing changes about your apps or your Glitch account," the company said in its announcement. It also said no employees would be lost in the merger.

Fastly focuses on edge-based delivery, which it says greatly speeds page load times. It was responsible for knocking a good portion of the internet offline last June thanks to a bug it introduced to its own system during a software deployment that caused 85 percent of its network traffic to return errors.

For its part, Fastly said that it wanted to buy Glitch after a partnership earlier this year brought Glitch to Compute@Edge, one of Fastly's core products. Compute@Edge is a distributed application platform for running apps in edge environments on Fastly hardware.

As part of the deal, Fastly will integrate Glitch with its network, which will give Glitch users access to Fastly's web application firewall, image optimization, and fast start times. Fastly also hopes to bring Glitch's community into its own development process by gathering feedback shared by users.

Glitch started life in 2017 as a product under Fog Creek Software, founded in 2000 by Joel Spolsky (chairman and co-founder of Trello and Stack Overflow) and Michael Pryor (CEO at Trello, Stack Exchange board member, and head of Trello at Atlassian). Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch, joined the company in 2016; he was also previously on the Stack Overflow board. Dash will join Fastly as VP of developer experience after the merger, which has no announced close date.

Dash describes Glitch as a "yes-code" product, by which he means one that is the opposite, philosophically speaking, from no-code platforms. "As great as these no-code tools are, there are lots of meaningful problems, and joyful creations, that can only be addressed by writing code," Dash said in a blog post.

What that means in practice is that Glitch is just an IDE that happens to live on the web. The company claims its "remixable" code allows a Glitch user to alter another's publicly published project for their own purpose. Glitch's website indicates that all public projects are able to be remixed, and private repositories are only available at the $8/month pro tier.

Glitch made news in early 2020 when its employees voted to form a union, which the company voluntarily recognized. This made Glitch the first tech company to sign a collective bargaining agreement with white-collar workers in the US.

We've asked Communication Workers of America (through which Glitch employees bargained) whether the union will survive the acquisition and will update the piece if we hear back. ®

Updated to add

The CWA told The Register that the union Glitch dissolved prior to the acquisition.

"Dramatic downsizing at the company made it clear that the business was unlikely to recover. When the collective bargaining agreement expired, there was consensus with the three remaining Glitch union members not to pursue further collective bargaining," a representative told us.

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