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The Gatsby Framework: Dynamic, Fast Websites and Apps Built to Scale

Shawn Brackat

Technology Director, Forum One

Forum One’s technology team has been digging deep into Gatsby lately to explore new ways of building highly performant web sites, that are efficient to develop, easy to scale, and secure. As a CMS-agnostic solution, Gatsby is able to bring data in from anywhere.

As an agency that works with mission-driven organizations, our technical team has the responsibility of identifying and implementing strong, impactful platform solutions. We build websites that carry social impact messaging to those who need it, and apps that increase engagement with important causes.

Whether it is from our nonprofit, foundation, association or government agency clients, a common need is to develop or relaunch a platform to increase impact. This can often be on a tight timeframe or campaign deadline — and with specific, personalized data and communications needs. 

Where Gatsby gets great

In a word: speed. Built with performance in mind, a standard Gatsby site with minimal configuration achieves impressive Google Lighthouse scores. Lighthouse, a developer tool for Chrome, scores websites on a variety of speed and performance metrics, including speed index and time to interactive. The faster your users can interact with your site, the better change you have for conversion (e.g., sign-ups, donations, downloads) to take place.

Speed is great, but what about content? Perhaps you are already using a CMS, but need to connect to another third party API. Or maybe you really love markdown. Gatsby doesn’t care about the source of you data. Using plugins from a robust community-supported ecosystem, Gatsby can pull in data from a variety of sources and use GraphQL to create highly-specific queries. There are plugins for the major open source CMSs like Drupal and WordPress, as well as headless CMSs like contentful and sanity.io.

Because Gatsby is built in React, developers can create reusable components and take advantage of fast rendering through the virtual Document Object Model (DOM) to create highly-dynamic user interfaces.  

If a custom platform needs to be developed within a tight deadline, this is where I see the Gatsby framework fit like a glove. Gatsby provides a foundation that allow developers to quickly build excellent apps and sites. For a great overview, check out this presentation by Jason Lengstorf.

But it’s not just about getting something out the door as fast as possible. Dynamic and interactive user experiences are made possible through React, which allows for really sleek and modern designs that make any platform stand out for its users. 

Gatsby in action

Nonprofits, foundations, associations and government agencies often have priorities that need to be addressed and products to be launched within a short time frame to meet a particular need or support a timely cause. Gatsby is well placed to allow organizations’ technical teams to move quickly to develop robust, secure and effective platforms that reach audiences. 

More about the Gatsby framework

If you think Gatsby might be the solution to your next digital platform challenge, get in touch today. We’d be happy to talk through the details.

 

Written By

Shawn Brackat

Technology Director, Forum One