Renato Software

How to create a blog with Gatsby

August 16, 2020

Hi there, first post here! And the first one is how I configured this blog. As the title say I used Gatsby and this is hosted on Github pages.

Installing and configuring

First of all, you will need installed:

  • node.js (at the time of this post I’m using version 12)
  • VS Code (or other editor)
  • git

After that, to install the Gatsby CLI to generate the project:

npm install -g gatsby-cli

And to create a new project in a directory called my-blog:

gatsby new my-blog

This command will use a pre-configured starter for blogging websites.

To test if it is working, enter the new directory created and run:

npm install
gatsby develop

Using your browser you can check if the blog is working accessing the url http://localhost:8000.

Open the project in VS Code (or your preferred editor) and edit the file gatsby-config.js. In the siteMetadata section change the infos with your own blog info.

If you have a Google Analytics account, you set your Google Analytics ID in the section gatsby-plugin-google-analytics. You can comment this section if you will not use Google Analytics.

To customize the avatar, copy your image replacing the profile-pic.jpg in the content/assets directory.

I also customized the text in the file bio.js and the footer in the file layout.js, both are in the src/components directory.

To change the fonts, you can install a theme for the Typography plugin. To see what themes are available check the typography.js webpage. In my case I chose the De Young theme, so I ran the command:

npm install typography-theme-de-young

After that, edit the file src/utils/typography.js to use the new typography.

Creating posts

The posts go into content/blog. Each post has a directory and a inside. The directory will be the url path of the post and the contents are written in Markdown. You can see the examples created to see how to write a new post.

After you create your own post you can delete the examples (I needed to restart my develop server after deleting them).

Publish to Github pages

To create you Github page repository, follow the instructions on this website.

You will need to install the gh-pages lib to manage the development mode and the build for publish on Github.

npm install gh-pages --save-dev

Delete the .git directory. We will reconfigure it. The branch develop will have the development code and the branch master will be the built blog that will be published.

rm -rf .git

git init
git checkout -b develop
git add .
git commit -m "Initial blog commit"
git push -u origin develop

Be sure that all the above commands were succesful. We will clean the master so that it will have only the built project:

git checkout master (for me I got an error saying the branch didn't exist, so I needed to recreate the master branch)
rm -rf *
git add .
git commit -m "Cleaning master"
git checkout develop

So back to the develop branch, configure package.json adding this to the scripts section:

"deploy": "gatsby build --prefix-paths && gh-pages -d public -b master"

If you will not use the github default domain and instead will configure your own domain, you can remove the —prefix-paths parameter.

And to deploy your blog, run:

npm run deploy

For each post you create or modify, you will need to deploy again. And don’t forget to commit and push your develop branch to save your work on your github repository.

And that’s it. Now access your github page and see your new blog.

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