Gatsby powers more than 200 thousand websites around the world. It is an excellent framework to build static websites. It is one of the many tools that supports the Jamstack approach to web development, which allows apps and sites to run without the need for a web server.

This tutorial will discuss everything you need to know about Gatsby. It covers static site generators, the Jamstack approach, and all aspects of Gatsby core parts and use cases.

A dynamic website, however, uses browser-side rendering. The web pages are different every time the user refreshes them. This can be due to time zones, locations and users’ behaviour.

Each page element on static websites is a part of the design. Developers will need to create different versions of each page element. This can lead to problems.

Static site generators are a great CMS (content management system) option to quickly build static websites. It allows developers to use pre-built themes, so they don’t need to code each static page element.

A static site generator has the following benefits:

    • Better performance. Static website generators use the prerender technique to create pages in advance.
    • You can customize your site in many ways. There are hundreds of pre-built themes or plugins, but developers can also create their own using their preferred languages and frameworks.
    • Technological advances. Static site migration is possible because of modern developer tools. These include languages, frameworks and libraries. These tools allow developers to optimize performance beyond what the traditional web application stack can offer.
    • Lighter back-end. A static site generator doesn’t need an active back-end as they only use it for data source during construction. They don’t require much server-side programming because they don’t have to query the server constantly for data fetching.
    • Enhanced security. static site generators allow developers to use a front-end and back-end CMS system. Static sites are safer because they don’t allow for many entry points.

A static site generator will read content from markup files at build time before it reaches a Content Delivery Network (CDN).. The static content will be created using a set template and delivered to the CDN.

Content is stored on the CDN and made available to users whenever they need it.

GatsbyJS uses React which is one of the most popular static site generators on the market. The Gatsby site processes data through the GraphQL API and merges them into static files.

Apart from Gatsby’s, there are many excellent static site generators like Next.JS and Jekyll. 11ty and Pelican.

Jamstack: What is it?

Jamstack is a key component of modern software architecture. The Jamstack architecture is based on client-side JavaScript and pre-built Markup . It helps to improve website performance, security, as well as scalability.

Let’s take a look at each component of Jamstack architecture.

    • JavaScript. This programming language allows developers to create interactive web elements such as clickable buttons and animated maps.
    • API. The set of programming codes that allows data transmission between multiple software programs. An API lets users log in to an app using Google, LinkedIn and Facebook.
    • Markup. Markup code is a combination of HTML and CSS. It provides formatting information for browsers. The first structures web content by defining title, headings and paragraphs. CSS styles the HTML content using fonts, colors and columns.

Jamstack is a method for client-side web development that has been a popular choice for static site generators.

Jamstack websites do not require a database unlike sites built with Drupal or WordPress. GatsbyJS sites can be hosted by developers using an Object Storage Service, (OSS), and a CDN. This eliminates the need to have a web server.

What Does Gatsby Do?

Gatsby web development innovative features like code splitting or content mesh allow developers to use static files to build lightning-fast websites quickly.

The Command by gatsby

Automatically code-splits JavaScript packages. Gatsby can load only the HTML, CSS and JavaScript code, instead of the entire app. This is why a Gatsby website feels extremely fast.

Content mesh refers to the relationship between Gatsby’s three main features.

    • CMS services. These services could include Contentful, WordPress and Shopify. CMS services allow content creation and offer a hub for data collection.
    • Frameworks for development. React and GraphQL are the modern development tools in Gatsby.
    • Deployment tools. Integrated with Netflify or Vercel. Gatsby creates static files that are ready for deployment.

Gatsby will prefetches resources using a CMS or markdown file and each one will have its own designated folders.

Gatsby, for example, creates folders to store every web page that is sourced from a CMS. When a user types, it will display the following:

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