I am proud to announce Gatsby Manor, a gallery of themes for Gatsby. After 5 months of development, Gatsby Manor is now in public alpha. Check out our themes then use our getting started guide to kickstart your Gatsby project.
Gatsby Manor is built on top of Gatsby to provide a painless way of building websites with reusable React components we call themes. We even have a cleverly named npm module for theme management called Jay 😄.
With Jay you can download a theme from our collection, and mount it as a default theme. Styles are applied instantly without server restarts or additional lines of code. Because of React, interactivity is supported out of the box.
Want to switch themes? No problem. Jay can archive themes for later use in a themes folder in your local directory. Edit and swap themes as often as you want and Jay will manage the process. Want to learn more? Read our docs!
How it all started
The idea began when I decided to update my personal website. I wanted a way to rebuild my website with ease however the approaches were less than exciting.
Building a new site myself would require a lot of time. My imagination often runs wild when it comes to web design and what is supposed take a day of work turns into weeks of site iterations. The joys of web development often causes me to over-engineer simple websites. Not to mention that building a development environment alone is the biggest requirement when starting from scratch. Therefore another option needed to be explored.
Wordpress would be the fastest solution to build a website but I wanted to be able to rapidly prototype on customs themes. Unfortunately, understanding the architecture to develop themes on this stack would require additional time. Not to mention I dislike PHP (#sorryNotSorry 😅) therefore this option was a clear loser. I tried Hugo and Jekyll. They gave me the right mix of speed and control. But their templating languages were unappealing as long term options.
When I stumbled onto Gatsby, I found the golden goose. I already worked with React before, therefore I could prototype rapidly. The development environment gave me a tight feedback loop out of the box. And I had all the control in the world for enhanced interactive features.
The development process
Once settled on Gatsby, I started working on my personal website. Within 2 hours I wanted to prototype with different design elements because I found inspiration from html5up templates. However I did not want to discard my work so far.
I decided to make a new directory to store my outdated work, like a true digital hoarder. A few more hours passed and I found myself yarning for my original design choice because the new design was too complex. I knew this situation would occur again (sometimes I can be indecisive 😅) so I decided to build a small cli tool to switch between themes easily. But first I needed a name, and Jay seemed the most clever since I was working with Gatsby.
As I was debugging code one day, I stumbled onto a feature request for a theme system. At that moment, I decided I was going to build a theme solution for the community. Five months later, Gatsby Manor was born.
Gatsby Manor is in public alpha stage. There are plenty of Github contributions to go around. To get started, try out a Gatsby Manor theme using our tutorial on getting started. Open an issue if you see an area of improvement. Follow and send us positive vibes on Twitter using @TheGatsbyManor.