Build process improvements for plugins installed from the Netlify app

We have recently deployed some changes to how plugins from the Netlify Plugins Directory are installed and run during builds.

Essentially, we are no longer pre-installing all directory plugins into the build image used by our buildbot to run site builds. Instead, we install only the plugins you’ve selected, alongside other build dependencies, and cache them between builds. This new method has multiple benefits:

  • Reduces the current size of the build image by 35%, and prevents it from growing with each new plugin added to the directory. This translates to faster startup times for build containers, so that all builds get up and running faster.
  • Reduces the time between when a plugin is approved and merged into the plugins repo and when it’s available in the Plugins Directory. Previously, this process required a release of our infrastructure that could delay plugin publication for hours or days. Now it happens in seconds.
  • Enables plugins to use the site’s Node.js dependencies. This allows removing inefficient workarounds used in many plugins. This also means that users of the Next on Netlify plugin will be able to specify custom Next.js versions.
  • Helps fix some minor issues related to Node.js version mismatch between plugins and the site using them.

This update requires no changes on your part, but if you have any questions, feel free to post them here or in a new topic!