Hi I'm Greg

and I'm a front-end web developer

How to install, setup and add new content to a Blog starter

2018-03-28 greg lobinskiinstruction

You install the starter like any other GatsbyJS starter - with the following GatsbyJS CLI command.

gatsby new [NEW_SITE_DIRECTORY_FOR_YOUR_BLOG] https://github.com/greglobinski/gatsby-starter-personal-blog.git

Of course you have to install the GatsbyJS CLI first, but I assume the PersonalBlog is not the first GatsbyJS starter you are installing so the CLI is already installed on your computer.

I do not recommend the PersonalBlog as your starting point with GatsbyJS. If you have no experience at all with GatsbyJS please go through the official Tutorials first.

After GatsbyJS CLI finishes installation you should be able to run gatsby develop command. Run the command from the inside of the newly created directory.

gatsby develop

You will see something more or less like this:

λ gatsby develop
success delete html and css files from previous builds — 0.277 s
success open and validate gatsby-config — 0.024 s
success copy gatsby files — 0.079 s
success onPreBootstrap — 3.538 s
success source and transform nodes — 0.676 s
success building schema — 0.839 s
success createLayouts — 0.026 s
success createPages — 0.169 s
success createPagesStatefully — 0.059 s
success onPreExtractQueries — 0.010 s
success update schema — 0.270 s
success extract queries from components — 0.337 s
success run graphql queries — 0.687 s
success write out page data — 0.015 s
success write out redirect data — 0.002 s
success onPostBootstrap — 0.001 s

info bootstrap finished
 DONE  Compiled successfully

You can now view gatsby-starter-personal-blog in the browser.

That means you can see the blog running in your web browser under the http://localhost:8000/ address.

Folders structure

This is the starter’s main folders structure.

  ├── .cache
  ├── content
  ├── node_modules
  ├── src
  └── static


To easily customize all texts of the blog, not only posts, I extracted all content to its own separate folder.

The folder contains four subfolders.

  ├── content
  │   ├── meta
  │   ├── pages
  │   ├── parts
  │   └── posts


There is a config.js file inside the /content/meta/ folder.

  ├── content
  │   ├── meta
  │   │   └── config.js

Content of the config.js file.

module.exports = {
  siteTitle: "PersonalBlog - a blog starter for GatsbyJS", // <title>
  shortSiteTitle: "PersonalBlog GatsbyJS Starter", // <title> ending for posts and pages
  siteDescription: "PersonalBlog is a GatsbyJS starter.",
  siteUrl: "https://gatsby-starter-personal-blog.greglobinski.com",
  siteImage: "preview.jpg",
  siteLanguage: "en",
  // author
  authorName: "greg lobinski",
  authorTwitterAccount: "greglobinski",
  // info
  infoTitle: "greg lobinski",
  infoTitleNote: "personal blog",
  // manifest.json
  manifestName: "PersonalBlog - a blog starter for GatsbyJS",
  manifestShortName: "PersonalBlog", // max 12 characters
  manifestStartUrl: "/",
  manifestBackgroundColor: colors.bg,
  manifestThemeColor: colors.bg,
  manifestDisplay: "standalone",
  // social
  authorSocialLinks: [
    { name: "github", url: "https://github.com/greglobinski" },
    { name: "twitter", url: "https://twitter.com/greglobinski" },
    { name: "facebook", url: "http://facebook.com/greglobinski" }

Edit values of the object’s properties according to your needs.


Every blog post has its own folder.

  ├── content
  │   ├── posts
  │   │   ├── 2017-10-01--two-things-are-infinite
  │   │   ├── 2017-10-03--be-who-you-are
  │   │   ├── 2017-10-05--you-only-live-once

When you change or add new post, remeber to keep up with the post folder name pattern.


There are three obligatory parts:

  • a post date prefix YYYY-MM-DD,
  • a separator -- (two dashes)
  • a slug

Only posts inside properly named folders are displayed on the blog post list.


The same way as posts, every page has its own folder.

  ├── content
  │   ├── pages
  │   │   ├── 1--about
  │   │   ├── 2--starters
  │   │   └── success

When you change or add new page, remember to properly use the page folder name pattern.


There are three parts.

  • a page order number prefix No (one or more digit)
  • a separator -- (two dashes)
  • a slug

Only pages inside folders with order prefix are displayed in the Info menu.


Through parts you can edit content of elements which are parts of the blog’s layout, like an author note under a post or a footer.

  ├── content
  │   ├── parts
  │   │   ├── author.md
  │   │   ├── footnote.md
  │   │   └── info.md

Environment variables

The starter uses some external services:

To make them work you have to secure some access data. All services are free or have generous free tiers big enough for a personal blog.

Create a file in the root folder called .env with content like below.


Change ... to real strings. Do not use quote marks. Put data strings after the equal signs. Like in the example below.


You do not have to create .env file just after the instalation. The gatsby develop command should work without it. At least it works on my localhost environment. If you get an GraphQL Error using gatsby develop just after the installation, create the .env file with the variables like above, even with empty string as the values.

For gatsby build you absolutely need a real Algolia access data, without it the gatsby build command will throw an error.

If you want to delay singing-up to Algolia you can temporarily turn off gatsby-plugin-algolia. Open the gatsby-config.js file in the root folder and comment or remove the gatsby-plugin-algolia setup.

plugins: [
    // {
    //   resolve: `gatsby-plugin-algolia`,
    //   options: {
    //     appId: process.env.ALGOLIA_APP_ID ? process.env.ALGOLIA_APP_ID : "",
    //     apiKey: process.env.ALGOLIA_ADMIN_API_KEY ? process.env.ALGOLIA_ADMIN_API_KEY : "",
    //     indexName: process.env.ALGOLIA_INDEX_NAME ? process.env.ALGOLIA_INDEX_NAME : "",
    //     queries,
    //     chunkSize: 10000 // default: 1000
    //   }
    // },
      resolve: `gatsby-source-filesystem`,

But hey, it’s not diffucult or long to setup your Algolia account for the starter.


That’s all for the first step. Now you should have a running blog with your own data running on your localhost. In the next post we will talk how to change the look of your blog. Stay tuned.