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7x faster builds gives Solana the freedom to experiment

Solana has promised to be "fast forever", so when their development team started struggling with slow builds and painful feedback cycles, they were quick to find a solution. After switching to Next.js on Vercel, builds went from 40 minutes to complete to less than 10.

Along with increased speed, the move helped Solana and their Solana Labs team improve developer experience and make changes more efficiently and effectively—without impacting their customers. Thanks to the interplay between local development of Next.js and production environment of Vercel, they were able to ship their most recent web project in half the time.

“The way our previous solution handled plugins and versioning was convoluted, and the development environment was unfriendly. At the end of the day, it was really tough to get things done. Now with Next.js, it’s an order of magnitude easier for our devs.”

- Ryan Shea, Head of Web at Solana Labs

Next.js made updating to new versions seamless and allowed Shea’s team to spend more time building their product. And by deploying to Vercel, the team could collaborate with ease. Prior to Vercel, the team only had a Notion page to track feedback during staging and production.

Today, Vercel Preview Deployments allow Solana to view changes for every commit, making it easier to receive feedback. The team also appreciates Vercel’s environment variable handling and integration with GitHub. 

“Vercel makes it easy to collaborate with the rest of Solana Labs. We’re able to effectively chart progress and share the most recent deployments," says Shea. "All of that is seamless and turnkey. We don't have to worry about managing the staging pipeline and ensuring that it reflects production accurately. Vercel makes it simple.”

Thanks to Vercel and Next.js, the Solana Labs team is no longer constrained by slow builds or data sourcing. With more time for experimentation, the possibilities are endless—from advancing cryptocurrency to bringing Web3 innovation to a global audience.

Want to learn more about how you can build better developer experiences with Vercel? Get in touch with us.