Jessa Sparks

Hello World

May 26, 2019

Welcome to my new blog/website! I wasn't necessarily planning to start a blog, but I stumbled upon a tweet about a new .dev TLD (top level domain) being released. I thought it would be pretty cool to have so I quickly snatched it up.

I decided this would be a good opportunity to try out Gatsby, a React framework for creating "blazing fast" websites. I attended a dsmJS talk about it several months ago and it looked interesting. Overall I found Gatsby to be pretty easy to use. It has plugins available for just about everything I needed to do and the documentation is great. Blogs and static sites are definitely in Gatsby's wheelhouse, but it can be used for applications too.

Gatsby has a lot of options for how to pull in content. To keep it simple I chose to write my blog posts in Markdown files within my repo. It seems like that could become unmanageable if I blog a lot so I'll need to look into a content management system at some point. Gatsby is able to integrate with a lot of different content management systems, as well as APIs.

For hosting I chose to go with Netlify. I've heard a lot of good things about it on Twitter so decided to give it a shot. I've only been using it for a few days, but so far I like that it can integrate with my repository to do continuous deployment. I was a little worried turning that setting on, but I guess that just means I need to follow a proper branching strategy instead of committing everything directly to master. It can also build a live preview of your site from a pull request or a specific branch so you can see what it would look like deployed. Best of all, Netlify has a free tier that meets the needs of a hobby project. In the past I've used Firebase to host Gimme. It also has a very generous free tier, but would be overkill for my website since I don't need a database.

While working on my website I was able to dip my toes a little bit into React and GraphQL, but I wouldn't say I have enough experience to really have an opinion at this point. JSX was really weird and gross to me at first, but I've gotten used to it. My next side project will be using Next.js, a server-side rendering React framework, so I hope to learn more about React as I work on that.

Tags: Development