Streamlining workflows and reducing friction

New development server: Netlify Dev runs Netlify’s edge features on local machines

Sarah Schlothauer
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Netlify Dev offers a new experience for streamlining development cycles. Currently in public beta, it is a plugin that allows users to use features from Netlify’s infrastructure on their local machines. This new feature aims to lessen development friction and allow for developers to preview their dev work quickly with few prerequisites.

The latest offering from Netlify puts their “entire platform, right on your laptop”. Announced on April 9, 2019 at JAMstack conf in New York City, Netlify Dev is a new developer environment optimized for the JAMStack in your command line.

How will this change developer productivity and workflow?

Streamlined workflow

CEO and co-founder of Netlify Matt Biilmann showed off a demo at JAMstack conf in a keynote. According to the demo, Netfliy Dev allows users to run Netlify’s edge features on their local machines.

JAMstack (JAM stands for: client-side Java, reusable APIs, pre-built Markup) sites are known for their modern web architecture. According to, JAMstack offers better performance, higher security, and simple scalability.

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From the official announcement blog, Developer Advocate Phil Hawksworth explains more about the platform’s motivation.

As the JAMstack ecosystem has matured, developers can now use all manner of tools and services to further enrich their sites. At Netlify, we have embraced the challenge of providing tools for developers to simplify the work of building, deploying, and serving sites on the web.

Phil Hawksworth

Features & usage

Hawksworth writes:

“Netlify Dev is our next step on the road to making the experience of developing for the web as productive, simple, and predictable as possible.”

Some of the features in the current public beta include:

  • Run Netlify locally: Bring features straight to your local machine. Run netlify dev in your project folder.
  • Enable the Redirect Engine
  • Live rebuilding and reloading on your local server
  • Edge Logic layer: Create serverless functions and use add-ons to extend functionality of JAMstack sites.
  • Tool auto-detection: Automatically detects common tools (such as Gatsby, Hugo, React Static, and Eleventy) for easier setup and less configuration.
  • Remote live share: Share your dev session with a remote team member. This feature creates a shareable URL that allows a recipient to view your dev build. Its goal is to streamline the process of collaborating and previewing. According to the release blog, all changes will share in real time with remote clients and it honors build tools which support hot-reloading.

Public beta

Netlify Dev is now available as a public beta.

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Find the netlify-dev-plugin GitHub here, as well as more information in the README about its usage and functions. Before using, you will need the latest Netlify CLI version. Users must link your project to a siteID .

For further questions, the community forum offers public discussion with other users.

According to Hawksworth, more features will roll out soon. They are open for feedback, suggestions, and bug reports on Twitter, GitHub, and on the community forum.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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