The magic of GitHub and Netlify

We, at Shoot Technologies, are all visually focused individuals. Which is why we have our very own designer, Catherine Derbala. She designed our badass logo, our badass landing page, and she is designing our badass MVP.

Ya she is pretty badass.

However, she lives in Corpus Christi, TX.

The rest of the team are in Houston, which is a problem when you are a small early stage startup.

I needed an effective way of showing her, and the entire team, our progress on our website. Every change that we made on the product, everyone else needed to see and comment on it.

We are training ourselves in Agile methodology and using the Scrum framework to tackle daily tasks. Not just software side, but also business.

Back to our story. I was on the search for something that’ll be easy to implement. I didn’t want to host the website myself. It had to be quick, cost effective, and low energy.

I reached out to a friend I met on Twitter through the #100DaysOfCode challenge, Jacobo. He helped me out previously when I was just starting out learning HTML/CSS. Jacobo is a badass freelance web developer from Venezuela. He introduced me to something called Netlify.

Let me tell you something, it changed my life.

I love that design.

Netlify is a Content Delivery Network provider and static site hosting platform that allows you to get your website live in a matter of minutes. It is one of the leading forces behind the JAMstack revolution. Netlify’s work with Smashing Magazine is one of the reason I am still a huge fan.

Now back to our story.

So I am going to talk about how we at Shoot Technologies utilized Netlify. There numerous ways you can do the same. So, to get started, you can login with your Bitbucket, GitLab, or GitHub account.

In this case I logged in with my GitHub account and immediately, all my repositories are picked up by Netlify. I can search through all my repos to find the one I need. For the purposes of this article, I will be using the repository that contains a version of our landing page.

See that?

Unlike GitHub pages, you can generate a static site for ANY of your branches. That is basically how we did it.

Our developer, Yetunde, was working on one branch and I was working on another. This allowed us to keep not only Catherine updated on our progress, but the rest of the team. Each change was one commit away, allowing us to focus more on building and refining the product.

All it contains is an index.html file and then folders containing the styles, images, JavaScript, etc. You know the drill. Then click on “Deploy site” and wait for the render.

You will be taken to the above page. The name “loving-gate-198546” is basically the name for your generated site. Heroku users are aware of this all too well.

And BOOM! It generates a link once it has passed all the tests where it checks to see if you have all the requirements for a static site.

Click here to see it really working ->

Notice something? That’s right. It’s ALREADY secured via HTTPS. Netlify generates a SSL certificate for your site. I can, of course, change the name something simpler, but it does look pretty cool.

Now, when I want to show the team how the work has been so far, no matter where they are, they can see it if they have that link.

The overall process only takes a few minutes. Since then, I have used Netlify to work on my Hugo projects and I am about to start working on a test GatsbyJS site.

By the way. IT’S FREE. If you are building a site for a small restaurant, you don’t even have to go and host it somewhere else. You can do it on Netlify. Their terms of services lists out the limitation for free accounts.

I am current student at the University of Houston studying Computer Science. I also do photography on the side. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Shoot Technologies is based in Houston, Texas and graduated from the University of Houston’s RedLabs Start-up Accelerator. We’re currently in Y-Combinator’s Startup School Program.

Check out our pitch at Bayou Startup Showcase, along with all the other amazing teams we shared the stage with: