david stevens

believing the impossible

Building For Production With Gatsby, Part 1

2018-09-05 david stevensdevelopment


My collective thought leaders diverge from soft skills, startup culture, remote work, to developer rage, but I instantly reacted when I saw this tweet:


Why does it feel like new app tutorials aren’t actually teaching me anything? Where do I squeeze in professional development with earning my keep, pursuing healthy hobbies, and being present with family?

Enter Gatsby.

What is Gatsby?


Imagine you’re the newly hired junior associate of tech recruiting. Your client asked for a rockstar developer but you know nothing, so you Google “web development”. Nothing useful there except a dated Wikipedia entry. How about “modern web development”?

Ok, now you’re looking for someone who knows a few things: advanced CSS, a JavaScript framework (not jQuery), API interactions, performance optimization…

What if you, the (aspiring/junior/mid/senior) developer, don’t know all those things?

Gatsby is a modern development framework that includes all the above:

✅ Javascript (React)
✅ Prebuilt CSS (CSS-in-JS)
✅ API reusability (GraphQL)
✅ Blazing performance (Webpack/PWA)

Why Gatsby?


I’m not a JS junkie who only uses frameworks baked in the last 6 months. I’ve paid dues at both the mouth of node_modules and DLL hell, so if you tell me to try something new, it better be worth it. Why couldn’t you just learn all those topics on your own?

Here’s my pitch:

Gatsby opens with what you need to know, polishes up what you think you know, and runs everything else under the hood.

Prefer to drive at a slower pace? This is for you.

Prefer to jump right in and go? That is for you.

Prefer to stop using vague car metaphors? Me too.

Gatsby’s components are well-documented and easy to read, and the entire source for the project is on Github. Bravo to the team for making it so accessible.


If you hadn’t already guessed, this site is built with ❤️Gatsby.

Next: Part 2 will cover some setup issues, custom functionality, and thoughts for future improvement!


David Stevens is a web developer with a decade’s worth of mistakes and problem solving to show for it. He loves finding ways to be more efficient, doing things with intensity, and sleeping outdoors. You can find him here and on Twitter, except when he’s spending time with his wife and daughter.