Morteza Heidarpour Morteza Heidarpour

Gatsby Days London Features Multiple WordPress Presentations

Gatsby Days London kicked off yesterday with a lot of momentum after Gatsby Inc. announced a $15M Series A funding round last week. The one-day conference is the third in a series of Gatsby Days that have been held in other cities. They are designed to give the community an opportunity to meet in person and hear more about the future of the project from its creators and contributors.

Gatsby creator Kyle Mathews gave the keynote address and described what he sees as a shift from the LAMP-stack CMS era to “content mesh” architecture.

“Monolithic CMSs were invented in 90s — they’re now migrating to become specialized modular services,” Mathews said. Gatsby provides the presentation layer for this new architecture and its plugin layer connects out to multiple content sources.

An informal survey of attendees showed that roughly a 1/3 were experienced at working with Gatsby and the majority of those in the audience were newer users or simply curious to learn more. Although Gatsby is currently geared primarily towards developers, Mathews described how the project is working towards enabling people in other roles who also work on websites.

“We’re thinking really hard about how we can help everyone who works on a website, not just developers,” Mathews said. “Right now, Gatsby is essentially for developers, but our goal isn’t to help developers per se. Our goal is to help amazing websites be created.

“This matters because the world runs on websites. More and more essential services that everyone relies on are websites and web apps, and we want to help with that. Developers are a key part of building websites but the actual process of building a web property is an incredible cross functional job for an organization to take on.” This process often includes designers, content editors, marketing professionals, and others.

Gatsby, Inc.’s first cloud service, CMS Preview, was inspired by this goal of assisting non-developers who work on websites. It shows content authors immediate feedback when they change content, which the team found to be a common requirement in most editorial workflows.

Mathews also said that the project’s design system library, Gatsby Theme UI, is another aspect of site creation aimed at making it more friendly for designers.

“The goal of this is that designers and other non-developers can build Gatsby sites without building any code,” he said.

Mathews covered some technical updates to Gatsby core and how the company is growing its team. A recording of the live broadcast is available on YouTube.

WordPress Sessions at Gatsby Days London: How to Use WPGraphQL and ACF as a Content Source, and Building and Selling Gatsby + WordPress Sites

Gatsby Days London featured presentations on several WordPress-related topics. Alexandra Spalato spoke about using WordPress as a source for Gatsby, demonstrating how to use WPGraphQL and Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) in a WordPress installation that produces content for a Gatsby front-end.

“The vibe at Gatsby days was fantastic, the beautiful Venue with round tables, the enthusiastic community where you can find people from WordPress, Drupal and others, all interested by Gatsby.” Spalato said.

She found the event to provide a good balance between talks and networking, with unconference sessions devoted to WordPress, themes, Drupal, PWA, component libraries, migrating to Gatsby, and other topics.

“For me it was fantastic to speak there, as Gatsby is the bridge between my two worlds – WordPress and JavaScript/React,” Spalato said. “It was my first real public talk and the feeling that people loved it and learned something is extremely rewarding, so I plan to do lot of more talks at WordCamps about Gatsby in the near future.”

Horacio Herrera gave a presentation on building and selling Gatsby + WordPress sites. He shared the process he uses to sell Gatsby-powered projects to clients as high-performing websites. For a week leading up to his Gatsby pitch, Herrera uses Speed Curve to track a client’s website performance and then uses WPO stats to demonstrate how performance improvements have helped competitors and industry leaders succeed.

The emerging Gatsby ecosystem is one to keep an eye on, as the project intensifies its focus on providing deeper integrations for popular CMS’s. How these related technologies intersect with WordPress will impact developers’ expectations and choices for the architecture of their websites in the future.

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