Today Gleam v1.0.0 has been released! This is the first “stable” release of the language (more on what that means later) and a big milestone for the ecosystem.

It has been a long journey and I’m proud of both the technology and the community that we’ve built here with Gleam. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part in any way, you’ve all contributed to the project getting here in meaningful ways of all sizes.

What’s Gleam?

Gleam is a programming language that tries to make your job as a writer and maintainer of software systems as predictable, stress-free, and enjoyable as possible.

The language is consistent and has a small surface area, making it possible to learn in an afternoon. Coupled with a lack of magic and a strong desire to have only one way of doing things, Gleam is typically easy to read and understand. Reading and debugging code is more difficult than writing new code, so we optimise for this.

Gleam has robust static analysis and a type system inspired by languages such as Elm, OCaml, and Rust, so the compiler serves as a programming assistant, giving you additional context to help you make the change you want to make. Don’t worry about writing perfect code the first time round, with Gleam refactoring is low risk and low stress so you can continue to improve your code as you learn more about the problem at hand.

Running and administrating software is as important as writing it. Gleam runs on the Erlang virtual machine, a mature and battle-tested platform that powers many of the world’s most reliable and scalable systems, such as WhatsApp. Gleam can also run on JavaScript runtimes, making it possible to run Gleam code in the browser, on mobile devices, or anywhere else.

Gleam looks like this:

import gleam/json
import gleam/result.{try}
import my_app/person
import wisp.{type Request, type Response}

pub fn handle_request(req: Request, ctx: Context) -> Response {
  use json <- wisp.require_json(req)

  let result = {
    use data <- try(person.decode(json))
    use row <- try(person.insert(ctx.db, data))

  case result {
    Ok(json) -> wisp.json_response(json, 201)
    Error(_) -> wisp.unprocessable_entity()

What does Gleam v1 include?

This version covers all the public APIs found in the main Gleam git repository, that is:

The Gleam standard library and other packages maintained by the core team will be getting an accompanying v1 release shortly afterwards. Before these are released we will be making pull requests to popular community packages to relax their package manager version constraints to ensure that the update to v1 is as smooth as possible for all Gleam users.

What does v1 mean?

Version 1 is a statement about Gleam’s stability and readiness to be used in production systems. We believe Gleam is suitable for use in projects that matter, and Gleam will provide a stable and predictable foundation.

Gleam follows semantic versioning, so maintaining backwards compatibility is now a priority. We will be making every effort to ensure that Gleam does not introduce breaking changes. The exception to this is for security and soundness issues. Should a critical bug of this nature be discovered we reserve the right to fix the security issue, even if some programs were taking advantage of the bug.

What’s next for Gleam?

Gleam is a practical language intended for making real things, so our focus for Gleam post-v1 is to be split between productivity for Gleam users and sustainability for the Gleam project.

Productivity for Gleam users

As well as not introducing breaking changes we will also be avoiding language bloat. It’s easy to keep adding new features to a language to aid with specific problems, but with each new language feature or new way of solving a problem the language as a whole becomes more complex and harder to understand. Simplicity is a feature in Gleam and that will not change going forward. There is scope adding new features to the language, but we will be doing so extremely conservatively. Any new feature has to be generally useful and enable new things not otherwise possible in Gleam, while being a worthwhile trade for the added complexity it brings to the language.

Rather than adding new features to the language we will be continuously improving the Gleam developer experience and enhancing real-world productivity. Initially the focus will be on improving the Gleam language server as it is immature compared to the rest of the Gleam tooling. We will also be working on all the libraries and such that folks will likely want when making production systems in Gleam, with an initial focus on development of websites and web services.

Documentation is also a priority. We want to have tutorials and guides for all manner of tasks in Gleam. It should always be easy to find how to do something in Gleam, so you can focus on achieving your goal.

Sustainability for the Gleam project

Gleam is not a project from Microsoft or Google, it’s a community project. There is one full-time developer working on Gleam (me!) and a number of part time volunteers who do excellent work. With this small team we need to be efficient with our efforts. Anything we work on needs to be impactful and meaningful to the whole Gleam community, we cannot afford to spend time on niche or unimportant situations.

Internal documentation is also important. As an open source project we want folks to be able to open up the codebase and make their contribution as easily as possible. So far the feedback has been that the Gleam compiler and build tool are easy to contribute to. This is encouraging, and we will continue to work on this to ensure that the Gleam project never gets to a point where only a select few people are able to meaningfully contribute to its maintenance.

The last part of sustainability is financial.

I am able to afford to work on Gleam full time thanks to the support of the project’s sponsors on GitHub Sponsors. The largest contributor is, who provide approximately half the funding. Thank you! We wouldn’t be here today without your support!

Going forward I would like to diversify the funding with more corporate sponsors, as well as other revenue streams. I earn less than half of what I would make with the median lead developer salary in London, the city in which I live. This is enough money for me to get by, but I would very much like to earn around what I would if I had some other job.

Long term I would like to be able to financially reward the regular contributors to Gleam. The folks in the core team are wonderfully talented and they should be rewarded appropriately for their work.

Lucy, Gleam's cute pink starfish mascot

Hello, Lucy!

Gleam’s mascot, Lucy, has had little bit of a glow-up! 💖

Lucy’s a kind and friendly little starfish who enjoys strawberry ice cream and functional programming. The rest of Lucy’s story is up to the community to tell. Thank you to suppyluppy for this wonderful redesign and for starting Lucy’s canon.

To go with Lucy’s new look we’ve also snazzied up the website up a little and adjusted the colours for legibility. We hope you like it!

Right, that’s everything! Thank you to all the fantastic people who have made this v1.0.0 release possible through sponsorship or code contributions:

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy Gleam v1 💜

Try Gleam