What is Glitch?
Glitch is the friendly community where you’ll find or create the app of your dreams. Here’s a look at the ideas that help make Glitch something truly special.
A year ago, we launched Glitch to the world. Since then, over a million people have become part of the community, creating amazing apps, bots, websites, art projects, virtual reality experiences, interactive infographics and much more.
But we wanted to take a moment to clearly explain what Glitch is about, and why we think it’s a place that everybody on the web will find valuable. This is Glitch:
- A community where you can find cool apps and websites you can’t find anywhere else. Think of it as being like YouTube or SoundCloud, but for apps or bots or VR experiences instead of videos or songs.
- The most innovative, powerful collaborative platform for creating, remixing and hosting apps. We’re evolving “developer tools” into a set of creative and expressive tools that people of any skill level can use to create the web.
- An effort to make the web into a creative medium where everybody expresses themselves and owns their work. We’re an independent company that cares deeply about making tech more accessible, more inclusive, and more empowering, and Glitch is how we’re doing that.
Now, those ideas can mean a lot of different things, whether you’re a person looking for cool VR experiences to check out, an artist who wants to use the web as another outlet to express an idea, an educator who wants to teach a room full of students how to create an app, an experienced coder who wants to launch a new startup without dealing with the drudgery, or an activist who needs to share essential information that others can quickly reuse.
All of those people, and more, are who we’re making Glitch for—and we’re just getting started.
The 10 Glitch Principles
Just as important as the technology that enables Glitch are the principles that make Glitch special. We hope you’ll take a look and offer your feedback on how we can put them to work as we build Glitch with you.
- Glitch is for everyone. Simple: We want Glitch to be welcoming, friendly, useful and safe for anyone, anywhere to use to create or share or discover. Whether it’s for your personal project, your community or organization, or for your business, Glitch wants to help you create.
- Start from something that works. This one’s not so obvious: When you create things on Glitch, you start by remixing a project that already works. That means your odds of successfully creating something are much higher than if you just started with a pile of parts. We want to increase the chance that you’ll start with something other people can see and respond to, and not get frustrated just getting things to work.
- Your bug is your bug. This is related to “start from something that works”— if your Glitch project or app isn’t working right, it’s because you made a mistake. And that’s okay! Everybody makes mistakes. But the point is that you should know it’s because of something you did, not some mysterious problem that you can’t see or solve.
- Defaults express values. The choices we make should, by default, help the most people share the most ideas, in a way that’s safe, predictable and expressive. In technology, usually everything is possible, but lots of things aren’t easy. We want the settings you get out of the box to be the ones that are most likely to yield delightful results.
- Coding is creative and expressive. Our reference points in creating Glitch are the tools people use to create art and literature and films and music — the tools of creation. This is because we think expressing oneself through code is as valuable and powerful as any other form of expression. (And if the thing you want to express is a simple tool to solve a boring problem, that’s cool too.)
- We don’t work alone. This is one of our core values at Fog Creek Software, the company behind Glitch. It manifests in a lot of ways, the simplest being that Glitch lets multiple people create code at the same time, in the same place. But it’s a principle that goes much deeper, to the philosophy that all ideas start by building on the work of others, and all innovation happens in the context of communities sharing ideas and inspiration.
- Everyone is a newbie all the time. Because tech culture in general, and programming culture in particular, has often erected too many barriers to too many groups, we want to be explicit that Glitch is about tearing those barriers down. And a key insight is that, whether you’ve been coding for one day or for decades, part of the delight of technology is that we’re all learning new things every day. So no matter your level of experience, you’re a newbie in some way, and Glitch is designed for newbies of every skill level.
- Learning is fun! Most technology platforms, especially those used to make websites or apps, talk about how they “don’t force you to learn” when you want to create something. But we think learning is fun, if it leads to real, meaningful results, and isn’t just drudgery that isn’t relevant to the topic at hand. So with Glitch, we solve the annoying or frustrating parts of building an app or website, so you can focus on just learning the good stuff.
- You own your stuff. This should seem obvious, but these days on the Internet, it’s not: You should own what you create. With Glitch, you do own it. That’s true at the legal level—you choose the license for your work, from standard copyright to completely public domain to any open source license you want. But it’s also true philosophically, because Glitch has no lock-in, so you can export your code and run it anywhere you want. You’re in control.
- Sustainability matters. Finally, we care a lot about making Glitch a meaningful platform for the long term. Our company is 18 years old — that’s ancient in Internet terms. And we’re independent, privately held, have no outside investors, and care about being transparent and open in our business model and business processes. All of this matters for Glitch because we want our community to be as invested in its long-term, sustainable success as we are.
Much of what we’ve captured in the Glitch principles are things we’ve learned from some of the core ideas that have made the Internet so powerful, principles like Postel’s Law (“Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others.”), the Principle of Least Surprise (“In interface design, always do the least surprising thing.”), and key insights from the Unix philosophy.
But just as much as we reference any technical precedents, we look at everything from urban design to artistic movements to efforts to advance justice or equity, and we see those as influences on how Glitch will grow and evolve.
Most of all, we find our inspiration in our community, from the new and surprising things you create, and the ways you push us to bring Glitch to even more creative people. We can’t wait to see what you create!