Roman Veselý Software Engineer from Slovakia. Somewhere between trees and bytes of code.

Moved to Gatsby

Up until now, this site ran on PHP, but as time passed I felt like it needed a change. I’ve been interested in the JAMstack since I’ve heard about the term some two years ago. I also work with React in my job so it was obvious I would reach for Gatsby.

Previously I used Statie, PHP static site generator, and was pretty much satisfied with it as it met my needs. I’ve written my very first blog posts about it, and also made it’s own homepage to help Tomas, author of the tool, to spread the word. But over the time my toolset has changed, and one of my dearest features, Latte templating system, has been removed from the tool - which made me a bit sad. Although I truly understand this move and appreciate Tomas’ effort in creating and maintaining the project, it was time to move on.

It’s not my first Gatsby project, though. I used it for Paralelná Polis Košice, which used the first version of the tool in the beginning and was refactored to the second version when it became available. So, I felt pretty much confident starting a new project as I thought I gained some good experiences.

I’ve identified three main things that slowed me down during the refactoring more than I expected:

  • Statie aimed for simple sites and blogs - global $posts array was available throughout the files
  • Gatsby and its ecosystem have a very vital development - there are numerous ways of how to do things, so you have to constantly think about how to approach even the basic stuff
  • I needed to switch from template-based system to React components

So, the whole process took twice as much time as I expected, while I still miss some features I previously had. That makes me think if my decision of switching the tools does worth it. If I will use effortless React components in blog posts in the future, maybe it will. One can say that Gatsby generates fast websites, and it’s true, but pure HTML sites Statie generates are as fast. Actually, with Statie I had 100 points in performance Lighthouse test, while 97 points with Gatsby :).

List of missing features and things to fix:

  • the active menu item “notes” when reading a blog post - there is no longer such item in the main navigation df7cc15
  • image max-width and usage of Gatsby advanced image - done in 08c736d
  • HTML in the lead paragraph - style removed in 36c0748
  • images for social sites - I used my PHP package, and still can, but not as a part of the project
  • <abbr> element in pages/posts - done in 757b5b0
  • JSON feed - it doesn’t matter as it was probably not used by anyone

I will come back and update the list accordingly.