Glitch, the quirky and collaborative coding site, announced a new milestone today: more than 2.5 million apps have been made on its website since it launched in 2017. (That’s up from 1 million apps just over a year ago.) On top of the milestone, Glitch also announced that it raised $30 million in funding last year, which is meant to show “how big we think the Glitch opportunity is” and that its coding tools are being built into Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code.
Glitch notes that 2.5 million is more than the number of apps that are in Apple’s App Store, but the comparison isn’t entirely apt. Apps on Glitch are decidedly smaller, simpler, and quicker to make on average. For example, many are focused, single-use things, like an app for making sign bunnies or pulling up album artwork thumbnails through an iTunes API. Others are more involved, like tools for learning to code, but the real point of Glitch is to make bite-sized features and share them with the community. Since they’re nearly all open source, others can then remix the projects into their own creations.
“People act like it’s too hard to create on the web now. It’s because the tools made it hard,” says Anil Dash, who came on as CEO of Glitch shortly before it launched. Glitch is supposed to make coding on the web accessible to everyone, so it can be as common as customizing a Myspace page used to be.
Glitch comes from the company previously known as Fog Creek Software, which is known for creating Trello and co-creating Stack Overflow. In 2018, the company renamed itself Glitch with the intention of focusing on the increasingly successful coding community.
For now, Glitch is still heavily focused on getting its message out. Its goal is to be the quickest way to create an app and get it live on the web. It’s supposed to be easy enough to use for first-time coders and powerful enough to use that experienced coders are surprised by just how much is allowed. “They can go as deep as they want to go,” Dash says. Apps receive limited server resources so they can’t do particularly intensive tasks, but users aren’t supposed to be limited in what they can build with the tools available to them.
After nearly two decades as a software developer focused on a variety of apps, the company is now dedicated solely to building out Glitch, with the belief that it has the ability to become a core web development tool on the level of GitHub or Amazon Web Services. Glitch plans to release specialized and more powerful features for businesses later this year, which is how the company intends to start making money.