Thoughts on Gatsby Days event for February 2020 in Los Angeles CA
The Iron Cove Solutions dev team went to Gatsby Days Los Angeles this week (February 3rd). This is a meeting surrounding a new tech framework called GatsbyJS.
What is GatsbyJS?
Simply put, GatsbyJS is a PWA. What the heck is a PWA? Well, it stands for Progressive Web App and PWAs take advantage of cutting edge technologies to try to combine the best of the web and mobile apps. Without getting too geeky, PWAs try to make your website act and feel like a mobile app. The apps on your phone that you like are fast and easy to use and that's one of the reasons they're your favorite apps. Read More About PWAs
Our website is made with GatsbyJS. A couple of years ago we decided to leave the world of WordPress and jump to Gatsby. We grew tired of how slow it was, old plugins breaking and not having the granular control we wanted. We needed something super fast and after researching different solutions, GatsbyJS and Contentful was the solution we chose. You're on our website now. Click on the different links and you'll see just how fast it is.
Gatsby is a static site generator and that is one of the reasons it is so blazingly fast. Much of the modern-day dev tools are built-in to Gatsby and so you don't have to get bogged down in Webpack and tree shaking stuff. It just works. It deploys super easy too. We just save our changes and push it to our GitHub repo and when that happens it fires an event that Netlify (another amazing company) listens for and Netlify runs a build script that recreates our site in a couple of minutes. All the code is optimized and we use a cool React SEO component (Helmet) to make our pages easily searchable on the web. We write all our content in an easy to use Headless CMS called Contentful. GatsbyJS, Netlify and, Contentful work great together and if we told you how little we are paying to run and host our site, you wouldn't believe us.
Bottom Line. We love GatsbyJS and decided to spend a day with the Gatsby community (which just happens to be awesome and super helpful)
Kyle Mathews, a co-founder of Gatsby Inc started the event off by talking about where Gatsby is today and where it is going tomorrow.
Dustin Schau gave us the "what's new" and what's coming with Gatsby Cloud. The cool thing about this technology is the Real-time Preview. This is great for developers so you can see a live demo of your site while working on it in preview. There is a free tier to check out if you want to see how it works.
Gatsby is Fast
Grant Gildwell gave a 15-minute talk on just how Gatsby is so freaking fast.
Kyle Boss gave an amazing talk on how he now creates WordPress Blogs in React instead of PHP.
Trevor Harmon gave a talk on working with Gatsby and Shopify. In our opinion, Gatsby and Shopify weren't as smooth a process as we would like but after listening to Trevor, it seems that the Shopify plugin is new and improved and Trevor gave some tips on how to make it smoother. We will dig into Shopify and Gatsby again.
MDX and Documentation
Kathleen McMahon gave an amazing presentation on how easy it is to write beautiful and easy to read documentation as you build your Gatsby React components. If your documentation is poor, you really should look into this.
The last few presentations showed how GatsbyJS was growing in Africa and how one US university decided on using Gatsby to help teach students to code quickly and effectively. The last presentation was on how important accessibility is with your websites.
As Linda Watkins from Gatsby gave the closing remarks, we grabbed our bag of swag (lots of stickers which developers love to splash all over their laptops) and headed home filled with new ideas to help make our Gatsby site even better.
If your site is slow and you want a better dev and end-user experience we highly recommend you check out GatsbyJS. If you have any questions or need help with Gatsby development, give us a call and we would be happy to guide you through the process.