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Shannon Soper

UX researcher and educational psychology fan. Teaches piano and keeps up with her dog's Instagram fans @dgtrwatson.

5 min read · May 31st 2018

Open Sourcing Gatsby Workshops

In April and May, we hosted 2-day Gatsby workshops in both San Francisco and NYC and want to share what we learned and resources you can use to host your own Gatsby workshops. A big thank you to all the developers who came to these workshops, and another big thank you to Ryan Florence for organizing the workshop logistics; check out his company’s website at workshop.me. Ryan has been an awesome supporter of Gatsby and a longtime fan, so yes, the workshop.me site is built on Gatsby :).

We will keep improving these workshops and hope you’ll help us do that! Share your ideas and report how these workshops go for you in the Open source repo through issues and PRs (if you ran into problems with the workshops and/or have ideas of how to improve them) or Twitter if you want to share an upcoming workshops you’re running.

What we learned in the first few workshops

Here is a photo of how many notes I took during our first workshop in San Francisco (I crossed out notes as I converted them to issues in GitHub):

Photo of my workshop outline with notes scribbled all over it

And that’s just one page of notes (there were many more). The biggest takeaways were:

  • People wanted to know how Gatsby works, so we drew this diagram and nearly everyone said it was helpful:

Diagram of how Gatsby build time and run time works

  • This diagram helped them understand why adding extra plugins to their Gatsby sites doesn’t slow them down (because plugins do their work at build time, not at runtime)
  • People wanted to know how Gatsby works with React and GraphQL, and we’re still working on diagrams to illustrate those concepts
  • If React and GraphQL are new to people, they seem to be the most difficult parts of learning to use Gatsby

New tutorials!

People are interested in tutorials that go beyond the basic Tutorial, so we created three new tutorials:

Why you might want to host a workshop

Here are some advantages that we experienced in the workshops; if these appeal to you, you could consider hosting your own workshop at your work, a meetup, or any other setting that makes sense!

  • Dedicated time and place to learn: it’s easier to set aside time to learn something new when you are in a room with other people doing the same thing
  • Quicker problem-solving: you can usually get answers to your questions and solve problems faster than you could otherwise
  • Customized content: the workshop host can customize the workshop for the group’s needs ahead of time by sending out a survey, and the workshop can shift focus depending on real-time needs and questions of the group and individuals

We’d love to hear how it goes and hope that you’ll use the resources below.

Where to find workshop resources

Please use the following links to find workshop materials in the Gatsby open source repo:

We hope these workshop materials help you share Gatsby at work, meetups, and wherever else it makes sense. Let us know how it goes and how you customize or modify these workshops!

How you can contribute

If you’d like to contribute to making workshops and tutorials more awesome, here are a few of the many issues we created in the Documentation Project as a result of what we learned in the workshops; contributions welcome! (Note: we used the main tutorials in the workshops, so edits and improvements to the tutorials also improve the workshop)

  • Good first issue: Emphasize file names with (bold, italics, headers, or some other way) when people copy and paste code, because it’s easy to miss where you’re supposed to paste it with the current format
  • Good first issue: Make it clear in tutorial part 0 and workshops that all instructions are built assuming that you have installed VS Code and Prettier because those work well with React
  • Add a copy button to code examples because people often missed backticks if their screen resolution didn’t make the ticks very visible

We loved hosting workshops and plan to keep developing the resources as we learn. We’re so grateful for the workshop attendees and their feedback.

And just as a reminder: we will keep improving these workshops and hope you’ll help us do that! Share your ideas and report how these workshops go for you in the Open source repo through issues and PRs (if you ran into problems with the workshops and/or have ideas of how to improve them) or Twitter if you want to share an upcoming workshops you’re running.

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