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A Brief Introduction to Gatsby Themes

theianjones profile image Ian Jones ・2 min read

What is a Gatsby Theme

Gatsby themes are not just visual paint to a gatsby site or a preset design like a wordpress or hugo theme.

Themes allow you to package up the functionality of any gatsby site in a sharable and extenible way.

Themes are NPM installable Gatsby sites - Chris Biscardi

Why would you use a Gatsby theme

A Gatsby theme can be many different things:

  • preset, configurable gatsby-config
  • ui theme (dark mode vs light mode)
  • data sourcing (from contentful, json files etc)
  • component library

You can install as many themes in one gatsby site as you need. When you are developing themes, you can use themes in your gatsby config as well. Themes allow you to seperate your code into different parts easily.

How to use a theme (docz)

Generate a new site and install gatsby-theme-docz.

npx gatsby new docz-theme-example
cd docz-theme-example && yarn add gatsby-theme-docz

Add the theme to your gatsby config:

// gatsby-config.js
module.exports = {
  __experimentalThemes: ['gatsby-theme-docz'],
}

Head over to your src/pages directory and add an mdx file.

// src/pages/helloworld.mdx
# Hello from MDX!

Now, you can spin up your gatsby site:

gatsby develop

Now visit localhost:8000/helloworld or whatever you called your new file. The docz theme will generate a page for each .mdx file in your project.

Since you are in an mdx file, you can import any React component and use it

// src/pages/helloworld.mdx
import Layout from '../Components/Layout'

export default ({children}) => <Layout>{children}</Layout>

Now you will see the default <Layout/> wrapping your mdx file.

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