When I saw that
sakib.dev was available, I couldn't resist myself. How could I? A
.dev with just my short name, can you believe it? Even though I already had a domain name, I purchased it.
So now that I had this cool domain name, the task of building a portfolio could no longer be procrastinated. I was already a fan of static site generation. I used jekyll in the past. So, obviously I chose Gatsby.
The primary purpose of the site is to show off my projects and skills. The question is, do I need a personal blog? I am writing on Medium for a while now. What's the point of writing on a personal blog that no one would visit when I can write on medium and get a good channel to reach readers? But then when I write on medium, it doesn't feel like the contents are totally mine.
So what I decided was that, from now on, I will write on my personal blog and then I will import the articles on medium.
Adding a blog to a Gatsby site is easy. There are many ways, I went for Mdx. With that, I write my blog posts in
.mdx file with additional info in frontmatter. Then using the node API of Gatsby, I query for every post file in the filesystem and create a static page for every post using a template. And if I want, I can import and drop React components in my markdown. Like this one:
It's cool. Right?
I also pull my medium posts and link them from the site. If a post is published both on medium and this site, I add the medium slug of the post in the frontmatter of the
.md file. So, no duplicate posts are shown.
The cool thing about Gatsby is that there's a lot of plugins out there that has already solved the most common problems for you. Like optimizing images. With this plugin, I can drop images of any size in my source directory and then query for only for the size I want to use, or for a set of url to different sizes of the image. So in smaller or low res displays only smaller size of the image is loaded. This gives the site a performance boost. It uses sharp internally to process the images. I can also crop the image smartly. And when the images are being loaded, a vector trace of the image is shown, just like medium. I was blown away by how much this plugin can do.
I'm not very good with design. I can tell a when design looks good. But I don't know how to make a design look good. But this time, instead of just grabbing a free template, I tried actually to design the site myself.
Since Gatsby lets you use react, you get to use all the libraries written for react. So I just grabbed react-reveal for some cool animations.
Deploying with CD was effortless with netlify. No configuration was needed at all.
All pages are pre-fetched with ajax. This comes out of the box with Gatsby. It's nice to see pages loading instantly.
Syntax highlighting is done with gatsby-remark-prismjs. I modified a prismjs theme for me.
Comments are handled with facebook comments plugin.
Wrote a small script to fetch the README files of my projects on GitHub and generate project posts with them by adding additional info in the frontmatter.
Posts can be filtered via tags. There are some special tags that are added later to separate English and Bangla posts, posts from medium and posts from this site.
So far I am very satisfied with Gatsby. Combined with a headless CMS, you can build any kind of site with Gatsby. I love the way they try to do most of the things on build time. The resulting site is blazing fast.
The only drawback is probably build speed. This site takes like 4-5 minutes to build on netlify. So if your site needs to update every few minutes, Gatsby is probably not for you.
And even though the gatsby project is pretty old by now, the ecosystem is evolving pretty fast. It happened twice to me: I encountered a problem and found out that someone has created an issue reporting the same problem less than twenty four hours ago. I was amazed.
If you like this site, feel free to clone it and customize it further for yourself. The source code is available here. Many things like social links, intro, skills didn't have to be hard codded, but they are. Sorry about that.
So what do you think? Are you building your next site with Gatsby? And please let me know if you have any advice or suggestions for me.
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