What Is GatsbyJS Really? Understanding It The Right Way, So That You Can Be Productive Quickly

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Tapha Ngum

Published: 2020-09-12

GatsbyJS

Thinking about things in the right way helps tremendously in then dealing with those things. 

To best and most easily use Gatsby, it's best we first start by understanding what it really is.

If you’re familiar with React (you should be if you’re reading this post), you’ll understand that it is a library for building user interfaces with the use of ‘components’, which are essentially pieces or sections of a page, imbued with JavaScript for added functionality.

The React ecosystem has a ton of extensions, plugins and components made by other people that add to the core React functionality and give a developer like you a lot of ability to build things quickly at a high level.

Examples include: React Redux, which makes managing ‘state’ or more simply ‘data’ within your React code easy.

There is tremendous upside to having all these libraries available. As it saves you, the developer, time in building by not having to make them yourself.

It does however, make getting the right ‘combination’ of extensions, plugins and components together to make something that works, harder.

It’s the same way that, when you want to cook a dish and don’t have the recipe, it can be hard to select all the right ingredients to ultimately end up with the best dish.

This problem is solved by combining these ingredients or in the React case, components, plugins, etc in a standardized framework, that comes together bundled as one. Kind of like a recipe.

This is what GatsbyJS is.

It gives us a standard recipe for building a fast, high-performance React based static site with nothing but a few simple commands. 

This is a godsend for most developers, as it ultimately saves time and energy, in the same way that a standard recipe saves time and energy for a cook.

Let’s now dive into what the elements that make up a Gatsby site are, so that we can understand how to extend our Gatsby recipe and add a blog element to our site.

Part 2: How To Add A Blog To Your Gatsby Site - A Quick & Simple Guide

End Note: One thing to remember so as to not get intimidated by a front end framework like Gatsby, is as we’ve mentioned above, it is simply a unique method of organizing and combining React code. Not some big black box. It’s just one big React recipe for building static sites!

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