Node Interface

The “node” is the center of Gatsby’s data system. All data that’s added to Gatsby is modeled using nodes.

The basic node data structure is as follows:

id: String,
children: Array[String],
parent: String,
// Reserved for plugins who wish to extend other nodes.
fields: Object,
internal: {
  contentDigest: String,
  // Optional media type ( to indicate
  // to transformer plugins this node has data they can futher process.
  mediaType: String,
  // A globally unique node type choosen by the plugin owner.
  type: String,
  // The plugin which created this node.
  owner: String,
  // Stores which plugins created which fields.
  fieldOwners: Object,
  // Optional field exposing the raw content for this node
  // that transformer plugins can take and further process.
  content: String,
...other fields specific to this type of node

Source plugins

New nodes are added to Gatsby by “source” plugins. A common one that many Gatsby sites use is the Filesystem source plugin which turns files on disk into File nodes.

Other source plugins pull data from external APIs such as the Drupal and Hacker News

Transformer plugins

Transformer plugins can also create nodes by transforming source nodes into new types of nodes. It is very common when building Gatsby sites to install both source plugin(s) and transformer plugins.

Nodes created by transformer plugins are set as “children” of their “parent” nodes.

  • The Remark (Markdown library) transformer plugin looks for new nodes that are created with a mediaType of text/x-markdown and then transforms these nodes into MarkdownRemark nodes with an html field.
  • The YAML transformer plugin looks for new nodes with a media type of text/yaml (e.g. a .yaml file) and creates new YAML child node(s) by parsing the YAML source into JavaScript objects.


Gatsby automatically infers the structure of your site’s nodes and creates a GraphQL schema which you can then query from your site’s components.