Lessons learned from building our new site in Gatsby, Part 1

Lessons learned from building our new site in Gatsby, Part 1Lessons learned from building our new site in Gatsby, Part 1

First, a bit on the why

Updating, refreshing, and re-building your website in today's digital landscape is a must. It applies to everyone, including companies like ours. We recently undertook a plan to update, refresh, and add some additional content to our own site. Adding additional pages, an improved project questionnaire, as well as a more refined back-end structure that will enable us to quickly iterate and add additional content.  

As an aside - if you're thinking about performing a site refresh, redesign, or rebuild, don't fret! Web refreshes provide an opportunity to not only set yourself apart from a UX/UI perspective, but also to re-think your content in more engaging ways. As designers come up with new features, new interactions, and new language for your brand, they'll usually deliver those new items with a set of content constraints that force you to rethink, reword, and even expand upon topics you had previously not given much thought to - an important tool in helping you engage your company in content authoring.

Choosing a platform

In preparation for some up coming headless Drupal work, we wanted to explore some of the more modern static site generators. While our original, plain, and truthfully somewhat barren, site, was developed using HUGO (at the time, merely a decision predicated by my strong desire to play with the GO language), we wanted our new site to be more in-line with where the industry is at, and this meant React, and subsequently, our focus turned to GatsbyJS.

Our biggest driver with choosing to use GattsbyJS, is the tight integration with GraphQL based API's, and its strong connection with Ghost, our preferred blogging platform of choice. We wanted a platform that would help us grow the content on our site, and enable the rapid development of new features, components, and pages. We're already using some of this Ghost/Gatsby integration with the Latest Posts component in the footer of our site - but we're excited to expand on this and pull over the full blog in the coming weeks.

As well, we wanted to shift some current development focus onto React, and the community that surrounds it. While my own personal background comes mainly from spending the better part of the last decade building PHP based systems on top of Drupal, WordPress, and Laravel, we here at Eightfold are constantly working on new projects, and projects coming in the door are increasingly becoming more and more JavaScript heavy, a trend we don't see slowing down any time soon.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we dive a bit deeper on some of the technical challenges we faced working with React (and Gatsby in particular), and how we think the future for Gatsby is even brighter.

Have any questions about how we built our site, or more of our feelings on GatsbyJS? Feel free to reach out to me directly at steven@eightfold.io