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My top 5 key takeaways from the GatsbyJS and Kontent Tech Meetup

Date: 20 November 2019
Reading time: 6 mins

Ilesh presenting at MMT Tech Meetup - GatsbyJS and Kontent

For those of who may know me, I’m a big fan of GatsbyJS -  the product, their vision and how they are evolving in the current technology space, where we all know nothing ever stands still. 

Powered by querying data using GraphQL, GatsbyJS is an important open source framework based on the hip and trendy ReactJS – a key player in the pursuit of increasingly fast websites and applications. 

The Gatsby community has grown swiftly, driven by the passion and enthusiasm of its members. Gatsby have been quick to leverage this advocacy and actively encourage everyone to get involved in promoting and contributing to Gatsby. Running meetups and events is common within the Gatsby community and is something we’re delighted to support.   

Our first MMT Tech Meetup covered various Gatsby topics and you can see my top 8 key takeaways from the event here.

In mid-November we hosted our second MMT Tech Meetup, here in our very own Soho office, covering both Gatsby and Kentico Kontent. As well as the presentations, there was plenty of networking afoot and some fascinating discussions on topics such as Gatsby Incremental Builds, Gatsby working with Docker, Kentico Kontent publishing content with web hooks and many more.

I could spend a while trying to summarise all of the great stuff to come out of the Tech Meetup but to make it a little easier, I’ve pulled together my top 5 takeaways from the evening’s presentations and discussions: 

  1. Gatsby Themes are more powerful than you think
    Creating a simple website or application with Gatsby is pretty easy to do with the excellent tutorials and the training materials provided by Gatsby. However, when you start to introduce more complexity into your website or application, you cannot just rely on ready-made themes. That’s not to say that you can’t reuse what other developers have created! Why reinvent the wheel?!

    In my presentation, I introduced the audience to Gatsby Themes. Gatsby Themes are community driven and allow you to install a theme created for a specific functionality. The advantage is that it saves you lots of time and effort for something that can be installed via an NPM Package and provide excellent enhancements to your website or application. 

    Here are some examples taken from the Gatsby Theme Jam, which happened earlier this year - Gatsby Themes LegalCountdown timer and Whoocommerce
  2. Gathering the localised data from Kentico Kontent
    Ondrej Polesny from Kentico presented how to utilise the localisation aspects in the headless CaaS CMS, Kentico Kontent.

    There is a wide array of different data structures and types that can be returned from a Kontent Gatsby website and it is vital to utilise the GraphiQL Explorer to help you see what is available using GraphQL. 

    Ondrej showed us that to help with identifying and retrieving the appropriate data, you should be utilising the following two Kontent data fields:
    - System.language
    - Preferred_language

    Using this will allow you to deliver localised content correctly on your website or application. 
  3. Transitioning from .Net Core to Gatsby
    Take it easy on the .Net developers out there who are transitioning to front end technologies from .Net, was just one of many advice provided by Matt Nield from Ridgeway in his presentation. 

    He talked about his personal journey on the steps he took to transition his personal website, which was built with .Net Core and hosted on Azure and how he moved it over to Gatsby and Netlify

    It’s important to take your time and focus on key learning courses and online tutorials, not forgetting the awesome Gatsby Tutorials as well, which all of the areas he recommended. 

    Moving to a solution like Gatsby can also help you achieve high scores on you Google Lighthouse Audits, which is another reason to shift over if you haven’t already!
  4. Kontent Template Manager offers you more than templates
    As part of my presentation, I talked about the Kontent Template Manager, which offered the user lots of capabilities that they may not be aware of. You can import content, migrate content and remove content from Kentico Kontent. Which are all awesome things to use when needed. 

    However, another benefit to the template manager was that there is where you can get started with using Kontent Templates. This allows you to start focusing on new websites which would have been built specifically for you to take them on and customise to your requirements. I would heavily recommend checking out the Kontent with Gatsby Template, which would allow you to have a Gatsby site utilising Kentico Kontent in very quick to follow steps!
  5. Multilingual Gatsby made easy
    There are lots of things to consider when building localised websites and applications. If you then include Gatsby and Kontent into the mix, then you would need to consider how you can achieve this and render elements out accordingly. 

    This is where Gatsby Plugins come into play and help with it. Ondrej showed us that there are lots of plugins out there, but the one to use for this the Gatsby-plugin-l18n, which allows the GraphQL query to use the Gatsby template allowing the components to be adjusted appropriately for the language selections. 


There you have it, my top 5 key takeaways from our MMT Tech Meet-up event covering Gatsby and Kentico Kontent.

Interested in attending or speaking at one of our Tech Meetup? 

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Just drop me a message (Ilesh.m@mmtdigital.co.uk) if you’re interested and when a new event is planned, I will let you know.