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Cloudflare acquires PartyKit to allow developers to build real-time multi-user applications

2024/04/05

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Cloudflare acquires PartyKit to allow developers to build real-time multi-user applications

We're thrilled to announce that PartyKit, an open source platform for deploying real-time, collaborative, multiplayer applications, is now a part of Cloudflare. This acquisition marks a significant milestone in our journey to redefine the boundaries of serverless computing, making it more dynamic, interactive, and, importantly, stateful.

Defining the future of serverless compute around state

Building real-time applications on the web have always been difficult. Not only is it a distributed systems problem, but you need to provision and manage infrastructure, databases, and other services to maintain state across multiple clients. This complexity has traditionally been a barrier to entry for many developers, especially those who are just starting out.

We announced Durable Objects in 2020 as a way of building synchronized real time experiences for the web. Unlike regular serverless functions that are ephemeral and stateless, Durable Objects are stateful, allowing developers to build applications that maintain state across requests. They also act as an ideal synchronization point for building real-time applications that need to maintain state across multiple clients. Combined with WebSockets, Durable Objects can be used to build a wide range of applications, from multiplayer games to collaborative drawing tools.

In 2022, PartyKit began as a project to further explore the capabilities of Durable Objects and make them more accessible to developers by exposing them through familiar components. In seconds, you could create a project that configured behavior for these objects, and deploy it to Cloudflare. By integrating with popular libraries such as Yjs (the gold standard in collaborative editing) and React, PartyKit made it possible for developers to build a wide range of use cases, from multiplayer games to collaborative drawing tools, into their applications.

Building experiences with real-time components was previously only accessible to multi-billion dollar companies, but new computing primitives like Durable Objects on the edge make this accessible to regular developers and teams. With PartyKit now under our roof, we're doubling down on our commitment to this future — a future where serverless is stateful.

We’re excited to give you a preview into our shared vision for applications, and the use cases we’re excited to simplify together.

Making state for serverless easy

Unlike conventional approaches that rely on external databases to maintain state, thereby complicating scalability and increasing costs, PartyKit leverages Cloudflare's Durable Objects to offer a seamless model where stateful serverless functions can operate as if they were running on a single machine, maintaining state across requests. This innovation not only simplifies development but also opens up a broader range of use cases, including real-time computing, collaborative editing, and multiplayer gaming, by allowing thousands of these "machines" to be spun up globally, each maintaining its own state. PartyKit aims to be a complement to traditional serverless computing, providing a more intuitive and efficient method for developing applications that require stateful behavior, thereby marking the "next evolution" of serverless computing.

Simplifying WebSockets for Real-Time Interaction

WebSockets have revolutionized how we think about bidirectional communication on the web. Yet, the challenge has always been about scaling these interactions to millions without a hitch. Cloudflare Workers step in as the hero, providing a serverless framework that makes real-time applications like chat services, multiplayer games, and collaborative tools not just possible but scalable and efficient.

Powering Games and Multiplayer Applications Without Limits

Imagine building multiplayer platforms where the game never lags, the collaboration is seamless, and video conferences are crystal clear. Cloudflare's Durable Objects morph the stateless serverless landscape into a realm where persistent connections thrive. PartyKit's integration into this ecosystem means developers now have a powerhouse toolkit to bring ambitious multiplayer visions to life, without the traditional overheads.

This is especially critical in gaming — there are few areas where low-latency and real-time interaction matter more. Every millisecond, every lag, every delay defines the entire experience. With PartyKit's capabilities integrated into Cloudflare, developers will be able to leverage our combined technologies to create gaming experiences that are not just about playing but living the game, thanks to scalable, immersive, and interactive platforms.

The toolkit for building Local-First applications

The Internet is great, and increasingly always available, but there are still a few situations where we are forced to disconnect — whether on a plane, a train, or a beach.

The premise of local-first applications is that work doesn't stop when the Internet does. Wherever you left off in your doc, you can keep working on it, assuming the state will be restored when you come back online. By storing data on the client and syncing when back online, these applications offer resilience and responsiveness that's unmatched. Cloudflare's vision, enhanced by PartyKit's technology, aims to make local-first not just an option but the standard for application development.

What's next for PartyKit users?

Users can expect their existing projects to continue working as expected. We will be adding more features to the platform, including the ability to create and use PartyKit projects inside existing Workers and Pages projects. There will be no extra charges to use PartyKit for commercial purposes, other than the standard usage charges for Cloudflare Workers and other services. Further, we're going to expand the roadmap to begin working on integrations with popular frameworks and libraries, such as React, Vue, and Angular. We're deeply committed to executing on the PartyKit vision and roadmap, and we're excited to see what you build with it.

The Beginning of a New Chapter

The acquisition of PartyKit by Cloudflare isn't just a milestone for our two teams; it's a leap forward for developers everywhere. Together, we're not just building tools; we're crafting the foundation for the next generation of Internet applications. The future of serverless is stateful, and with PartyKit's expertise now part of our arsenal, we're more ready than ever to make that future a reality.

Welcome to the Cloudflare team, PartyKit. Look forward to building something remarkable together.

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Developer WeekAcquisitionsCloudflare WorkersAIDurable Objects

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Sunil Pai|@threepointone
Rita Kozlov|@ritakozlov_
Cloudflare|@cloudflare

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