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Evan Stern
Evan Stern
September 17, 20193 min
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MachineServant is built using GatsbyJS and hosted on Netlify

There are numerous blog posts explaining how to build your website and host it using Gatsby and Netlify. I won't be diving into the details too heavily but I will provide a few resources at the end of the post. Future posts may get into more of the technical details and challenges.

Mostly, I want to ramble about some of the design decisions, tools, and general thoughts I've had after using GatsbyJS for a while.

Check out my updated overview of GatsbyJS

What is GatsbyJS?

If you're not familiar with it, GatsbyJS is a framework built on top of React that generates static web sites from your React components.

All your site information is served up to your React components via GraphQL queries and a the GatsbyJS build process uses your React components combined with those queries to generate static web pages based on your code.

The result is an exceedingly fast web site with an outstandingly simple and intuitive build process.

GatsbyJS is awesome

I've been wanting to use GatsbyJS for quite some time. Occasionally I am asked to build static web sites for marketing or personal use and until Gatsby the go-to for this kind of work has always been Wordpress. I'm not a Wordpress guy. I've done it in the past and pretty much hated it.

I already know React though. And I was intrigued by a static site generator built on top of a framework that I enjoy.

I also wanted to learn a bit more about GraphQL. I have not had much of a chance to really dig into it before. So far my experience has been positive.


I opted to create this site using Typescript.

That decision required some research and a bit of trial and error. There are plugins for Typescript in Gatsby but there is some configuration required and it isn't perfect.

One of the things I noticed is that because GatsbyJS is a static site generator, the code you write is passed through to a transpiler which negates the ability for you to do "build time" type checks on your code.

Whereas when using "Create React App" you'd get build time errors, in GatsbyJS, you simply don't.

You can get around this by writing scripts to do the checking for you on demand and you can set your editor up to surface errors for you but it's not exactly the same as having actual build errors preventing you from doing stupid stuff in Typescript.

More to come

I'll update this topic with a bit more detail in my next post.

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