Using Gatsby - Part II

November 30th, 2017

After a little more experimenting, I've finally landed at a good place with GatsbyJS (Gatsby). Here's my blog source.

If you haven't already, read the Gatsby tutorial. My blog was derived from it.


GraphQL is the key that makes everything come together nicely. I admit, it's not easy to understand at first, and I've only just scratched the surface.

For the purpose of my blog, I am using GraphQL to make queries on the file system. This, Gatsby handles the magic of running the GraphQL server in order for these queries to work.

Here is a file system query, using the remark plugin, which helps convert the static assets into usable html... because after all markdown is just text!

query IndexQuery {

  // Using allMarkdownRemark from Gatsby plugins.
  // Sorting is passed in as a param here.
  // Here I order DESC on the front matter date.

  allMarkdownRemark(sort: {fields: [frontmatter___date], order: DESC}) {
    totalCount // This I was setup in the gatsby-node.js file.
      edges {
        node {
          // front matter data
          frontmatter {
            date(formatString: "DD MMMM, YYYY")
          // Slug is generated from the gatsby-node.js file
          fields {

So we've stubbed out the data that would be returned to us in the GraphQL query here. In this case, I am grabbing all nodes (files) with allMarkdownRemark. Each node is a file, with it comes the data.

With it, we can easily map each actual post:{ node }) => ...

Just a note, gatsby will inject the data via props, so long as you have a grapql query defined. Check out this file for an example.


For me, I already had a droplet setup with Apache running (this could be nginx or whatever you'd like, apache is just running static assets away).

I use mina as my deployment and adding this in was no problem at all.

For now the biggest deployment pain point is running gatsby build on the server takes about 20-30 seconds. This feels slow to me, but I get it. It's compiling down all of my blog posts and other static assets into a flat file system that can be used without javascript.


I have a lot of improvements I'd like to make. I think typography is expensive and google doesn't do a great job of caching their static assets (2 hours for a font expires?).

Some improvements could be, async loading non-critical assets (like fonts, other css, etc), also don't include typography by default, it's not fast and should be opt-in.

Other than that, Gatsby is pretty fast. Out of the box, there's just not much room for improvement. Here are my webpage speed test results.


One of the things I noticed using gatsby develop is the live reloading doesn't always pick up on changes. I am constantly refreshing my page and/or starting stopping the service locally when changes are made to GraphQL queries, updates to the filesystem, and renaming or editing posts.

Another issue I had was all of the extras the default build comes with. I ended up refactoring out glamor and glamorous in favor of classnames, which to me is much better, at least for now. I do plan on looking into these packages more.


All in all, GatsbyJS is excellent. I look forward to improving the performance and helping the community in anyway I can. Give it a shot.

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