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Gatsby and WordPress

Gatsby and WordPress is an interesting combo to watch. On one hand, it makes perfect sense. Gatsby can suck up data from anywhere, and with WordPress having a native REST API, it makes for a good pairing. Of course Gatsby has a first-class plugin for sourcing data from WordPress that even supports data from popular plugins like Advanced Custom Fields.

On the other hand, Gatsby is such a part of the JAMstack world that combining it with something as non-JAMstack-y as WordPress feels funny.

Here’s some random thoughts and observations I have about this pairing.

  • Markus says this combination allowed him to “find joy again” in WordPress development.
  • A world in which you get to build a WordPress site but get to host it on Netlify, with all their fancy developer features (e.g. build previews), is certainly appealing.
  • Scott Bolinger has a five-minute tour of his own site, with the twist of some of the pages can be statically-built, and other parts dynamically loaded.
  • There is a GraphQL plugin for WordPress, which I suppose would be an alternate way to yank data in a Gatsby-friendly way. Jason Bahl, the wp-graphql guy, literally works for Gatsby now and has “Development sponsored by Gatsby” as the plugin’s Twitter bio. It’s unclear if this will be the default future way to integrate Gatsby and WordPress. I sort of suspect not, just because the REST API requires no additional plugin and the GraphQL plugin takes a little work to install. Anecdotally, just installing it and activating it triggers a fatal error on my site, so I’ll need to work with my host on that at some point because I’d love to have it installed.
  • We see big tutorial series on the subject, like Tim Smith’s How To Build a Blog with WordPress and Gatsby.js.
  • Getting a WordPress site on static hosting seems like a big opportunity that is barely being tapped. Gatsby is just an early player here and is focused on re-building your site the React way. But there are other tools like WP2Static that claim to export a static version of your WordPress site-as is then upload the output to a static host. Ashley Williams and Kristian Freeman get into that in this video (starting about 20 minutes in) and host the result on a Cloudflare Workers site.