I was looking for an online service to quickly prototype web development projects. Something similar to codepen, jsfiddle etc but with a bit more options to choose stacks. A service that handles deployment like replit but with better versioning support and a generous free plan. My expectations were really high but to my surprise I found two such services immediately and now I believe there must be more. Both of the services are really polished and the free plan is more than enough for prototyping my hobby projects.
This post is not a strict comparison of Glitch.com and Stackblitz.com but my experience and first impression using them. To get familiar with them I built a very simple website with a little bit of JS and CSS.
The onboarding was flawless and the value proposition was immediately clear. Without even signing up I had an idea of what this service is providing. The look and feel is very non-enterprisey but doesn’t make it any less professional. With built-in starter templates I was able to pick an appropriate template for my task and actually within minutes my application was deployed. No hiccups whatsoever. The integration with github was super seamless and the default workflow for exporting/commiting code to github was very ideal.
I tried stackblitz after glitch so the bar was pretty high but stackblitz didn’t disappoint at all. It looked really professional and felt like I was using a desktop application with all usual editing and build tools at my disposal. Github integration was again really seamless, for which I guess github should get some credit as well. Only issue that I faced was that the template that I used for my vanilla JS website didn’t work due to an open issue (https://github.com/stackblitz/core/issues/1679). But I was able to use the bootstrap plus webpack based template and after that it took only minutes to make the app up and running. Although I had to use chrome because of compatibility issues. I did face issues related to web containers (https://blog.stackblitz.com/posts/introducing-webcontainers/) but I think I haven’t used stackblitz enough to make any comment.
In my opinion the level of SaaS is unbelievable at this point. These services are acting like higher level cloud providers where there is nothing between developer and deployment. And I really have no idea how they actually support extremely generous free plans.