What is GatsbyJS?

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 9th March 2021

GatsbyJS is a Static Website Generator (SSG) that is based on React and supplemented with GraphQL. Altogether these tools not only work effectively but also create a pleasant developer experience. Despite the fact that it is called SSG, Gatsby resembles a framework because of its functionality. If you want to unleash the full potential of this SSG, take advantage of GatsbyJS web development by OTAKOYI.

Well, you may also wonder why this piece of software is called in such a way. The thing is that the name was inspired by the letter written by Fitzgerald to his editor. He described that his new book will be: “something new — something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned,” and as you may have guessed, he was talking about The Great Gatsby.

Gatsby loads webpages incredibly fast because of the use of static files. It will help you in splitting the code, effective media loading, and back-end rendering. Everything mentioned above comes with vanilla GatsbyJS, but even if you want some more, there is still a possibility to get it if you connect a plugin. However, even without the crutches, it converts the site you made into an HTMS file, which is uploaded to the host, and this makes the work simple and effective.

Why Gatsby?

Currently, you may be using your React and feel satisfied with your life. However, after trying Gatsby, you will not want to return to your ordinary life, and I have three reasons for that. Follow me, and learn about them.

First and foremost is the use of GraphQl. This one really does the magic with your data. It gathers information from wherever you tell it, fetches it faster than your dog fetches the stick. You may tell it to gather data from JSON, CMS, or any off-the-shelf API. After that, Gatsby uses GraphQl to create a server to make use out of this info. Then, if you need some of this data, it is still in one place where you can get it.

Secondly, Gatsby’s community is here to help you. Despite the fact that it is new, there are a lot of community members. Moreover, you can easily download a lot of documentation concerning Gatsby, and if you need to figure out how to work with GraphQL, which may sound intricate, these documents will still help you.

Finally, Gatsby is a smart choice because of the good performance of the software you develop with it. Not only it is convenient for the developers but also for the final users: easy to code, and pleasant to use.

What technical background do I need?

Usually, when people hear about GastbyJS for the first time, they tend to refuse to use it due to the fact that they do not know React and GraphQL, and the time they would spend learning these sounds unworthy. The fact is that you can start using Gatsby knowing only one of the two mentioned above because in this case, Gatsby will not be such a big deal for you. For instance, if you know React, you can catch up with GraphQL by using documentation and detailed examples. The program will allow you to think like you are building software in React, and GraphQL will be a supplement that you learn along the way. 

In fact, you can still use Gatsby without GraphQL and instead make standard API calls, but it is pointless. In this case, why not use pure React? If you do not know a thing or two, better try to learn it along the way, all the more so it is easy with Gatsby.

How to begin using Gatsby?

If you want to begin working with GatsbyJS, then you should visit the official website gatsbyjs.org and seek the documents and manuals there.

Besides the things mentioned above, the use of Gatsby presumes starters. These are the templates that will impressively facilitate your work. You have to know the basic structure of your website beforehand because this will help you choose the right template.

For instance, if your website will be a sort of blog, there are ready-made templates, which you can use. These starters contain the necessary pre-configurations as well as the elements of style. Thus, Gatsby does a big chunk of work instead of you. 

If you cannot find the right starter, you can always use a default one and install the data source plugin you need. It would be much more clear if you try this starter tutorial, which you can find on Gatsby’s official website. By doing that, you will quickly learn the basics of GatsbyJS.

Are there be any updates?

GatsbyJs is a relatively new technology. The initial release was in 2017, and a major update was the next year. Here are the changes that were implemented:

  • Webpack was upgraded from version 1 to version 4 that provides much better performance, which is especially perceptible for the developers.
  • A technology similar to React Router was adopted. This one was conceived to improve the development of single-page applications.
  • GraphQL was improved in such a way that now you can use it in any query. The thing is that in GatsbyJS 2017 version, GraphQL could only be used on the surface level of React components. 
  • React was also upgraded to version 16, and now it is possible to use Context, Fragments, and everything new that this version includes.

To sum up, the tendency of SSG frameworks is becoming more and more popular these days. Such websites are quick and easy to develop as well as they work fast and provide users with a pleasant experience. For this purpose, Gatsby uses top technologies, such as React, webpack, and GraphQL, and it does its work especially well. However, Gatsby is not the only tool that can help you with this task, but the more competitors, the faster is the progress. 

Categories: Tech