There’s a simple secret to building a faster website — just ship less.
Today I’m excited to publicly share Astro: a new kind of static site builder that delivers lightning-fast performance with a modern developer experience. To design Astro, we borrowed the best parts of our favorite tools and then added a few innovations of our own, including:
- On-Demand Components: Need some JS? Astro can automatically hydrate interactive components when they become visible on the page. If the user never sees it, they never load it.
- Fully-Featured: Astro supports TypeScript, Scoped CSS, CSS Modules, Sass, Tailwind, Markdown, MDX, and any of your favorite npm packages.
- SEO Enabled: Automatic sitemaps, RSS feeds, pagination and collections take the pain out of SEO and syndication.
This post marks the first public beta release of Astro. Missing features and bugs are still to be expected at this early stage. There are still some months to go before an official 1.0 release, but there are already several fast sites built with Astro in production today. We would love your early feedback as we move towards a v1.0 release later this year.
Starting a new project in Astro is easy:
# create your project mkdir new-project-directory cd new-project-directory npm init astro # install your dependencies npm install # start the dev server and open your browser npm run dev
How Astro Works
Astro works a lot like a static site generator. If you have ever used Eleventy, Hugo, or Jekyll (or even a server-side web framework like Rails, Laravel, or Django) then you should feel right at home with Astro.
You can even automatically defer components to only load once they become visible on the page with the
Embracing the Pit of Success
A well-designed system makes it easy to do the right things and annoying (but not impossible) to do the wrong things
Falling Into The Pit of Success
Poor performance is often framed as a failure of the developer, but we respectfully disagree. In many cases, poor performance is a failure of tooling. It should be difficult to build a slow website.
Astro’s main design principle is to lead developers into what Rico Mariani dubbed “the pit of success”. It is our goal to build every site “fast by default” while also delivering a familiar, modern developer experience.
By building your site to static HTML by default, Astro makes it difficult (but never impossible 😉) to build a slow site.
Astro is built by the team of open source developers behind Snowpack and Skypack, with additional contributions from the community.
Astro is and always will be free. It is an open source project released under the MIT license.
We care deeply about building a more sustainable future for open source software. At the same time, we need to support Astro’s development long-term. This requires money (donations alone aren’t enough.)
We’re inspired by the early success of projects like Tailwind, Rome, Remix, Ionic, and others who are experimenting with long-term financial sustainability on top of Open Source. Over the next year we’ll be exploring how we can create a sustainable business to support a 100% free, open source Astro for years to come.
If your company is as excited about Astro as we are, we’d love to hear from you.