Blog.

Getting started with this template

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sandypockets
sandypockets

Getting started

These steps will guide you through creating your own local copy of the project. You'll learn how to quickly get it up and running, so you can get back to creating your content.

This app was built and tested with Node 14. It uses React 17.0.2, the latest version of Next, and Tailwind CSS 2.2.4. Check out the package.json file for a complete list of dependencies.

Use create-next-app

Create Next App is the fastest way to begin using this blog starter. You can use NPM or Yarn, but Yarn is recommended.

  1. Replace my-new-blog in either of the examples below (with whatever you'd like to use as the root directory), and run the command.
# with npm
npx create-next-app --example https://github.com/sandypockets/nextjs-blog-starter/tree/main my-new-blog

# with yarn
yarn create next-app --example https://github.com/sandypockets/nextjs-blog-starter/tree/main my-new-blog
  1. Once the project is created, change into the directory.
cd my-new-blog
  1. Install dependencies.
yarn install

or if you used npm

npm install

Development server

You can start the development server with yarn, npm, or next.

# yarn
yarn dev

# npm
npm dev

# next
next dev

Once the server is running, visit http://localhost:3000 in your browser.

Constants

Set up each of the constants, much like you would a .env, in the lib/constants.js file.

export const EXAMPLE_PATH = 'blog-starter'
export const CMS_NAME = 'Markdown'
export const HOME_OG_IMAGE_URL = 'https://og-image.vercel.app/Next.js%20Blog%20Starter%20Example.png?theme=light&md=1&fontSize=100px&images=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.vercel.com%2Fimage%2Fupload%2Ffront%2Fassets%2Fdesign%2Fnextjs-black-logo.svg'
export const BLOG_NAME = 'Next.js Blog Starter'
export const KEYWORDS = 'starter, blog, next.js, template'
export const DESCRIPTION = 'A starter blog template for Next.js'
export const AUTHOR = 'sandypockets'
export const LANG = 'en-CA'
export const GITHUB_REPO = 'https://github.com/sandypockets'

Generate a sitemap and robots.txt

Sitemaps are an important part of SEO. This section walks through adding your base URL to the sitemap generator. The generator runs automatically after each build, generating a new sitemap each time you update your blog.

The generated sitemap can be found in public/sitemap.xml. This command also generates a new public/robots.txt file.

  1. Open the scripts/generate.sitemap.mjs file.
  2. On Line 5, replace https://blog-starter.sandypockets.dev with your own blog's website.
  3. On Line 6, replace en-CA with your preferred locale (en-UK, en-US, etc.). This is used to determine the format of the date stamp in the sitemap.

When you're ready to test it:

  1. Run yarn build
  2. Check the public/ directory for the sitemap.xml file and robots.txt file.
  3. Run yarn start
  4. Visit http://localhost:3000/sitemap.xml

If you see the xml sitemap, then it was successful.

RSS Feed

An RSS feed is available for the blog at /feed.xml. However, you must first configure the RSS generator to use your own URL.

  1. Open the scripts/generate-rss.mjs file.
  2. On Line 7, replace the https://blog-starter.sandypockets.dev value of BLOG_URL with your own.

When you're ready to test it:

  1. Run yarn build
  2. Check the public/ directory for the feed.xml file.
  3. Run yarn start
  4. Visit http://localhost:3000/feed.xml

If you see the xml RSS feed, then it was successful.

Set up Google Analytics

You will need to have your Google tag ID. If you do not have one, or do not have a Google Analytics account, you can sign up at analytics.google.com

  1. Create a copy of the .env.local.example file, and name it .env.local. In the terminal, run:
cp .env.local.example .env.local
  1. Grab your Google tag ID from your Analytics account, and replace the G-XXXXXXXXXX in the new .env.local file you just created.

Set up SendGrid

You will need a free SendGrid account, which allows you to send up to 100 emails each day. Replace the REPLACE-WITH-YOUR-API-KEY text in the `.env.exa

  1. Get your SendGrid API key from your SendGrid account.
  2. Open the .env.local file that you created when setting up Google Analytics.
  3. Replace REPLACE-WITH-YOUR-API-KEY with your actual API key from SendGrid.

Storybook

Storybook is handy for crafting and tweaking components. Styling components in isolation this way can help make them more composable, since they're less reliant on the environment they're rendered in. Storybook runs on a separate server, so you can run it alongside the development server if you prefer.

  1. To use Storybook, start the Storybook server.
yarn storybook
  1. Visit http://localhost:6006/ in your browser.

Building for production

While it's always a good idea to check out the build, it is especially important with Tailwind CSS. Tailwind purges unused classes to keep the build size light. However, if you've added classes dynamically with JavaScript, then you should be sure those classes weren't removed during build. Learn more in the Optimizing for production section of the Tailwind docs.

  1. Start building.
yarn build
  1. Once building is complete, run the build.
yarn start
  1. Visit http://localhost:3000 in your browser.

Adding content

Learn how to add content like blog posts or pages.

Add a blog post

  1. Add a new Markdown file (.md) to the /_posts directory.
  2. Add the required front matter (described below) and adjust it as needed.
  3. Images related to the post should be stored in within the appropriate the /public/assets/blog directory. It is recommended you create a new folder for each blog post to prevent the images files from growing unwieldy.
  4. That's it. Your new post will show up alongside the others on your homepage.

Note: The slug is the path that will be displayed, and is based on the title of your .md file. For example, kobe.md becomes localhost:3000/posts/kobe

How it works

Blog posts are stored in the /_posts directory as Markdown files. To create a new post, simply add a new markdown file (.md) to the /_posts directory. Each post must include the appropriate front matter.

To create the blog posts we use remark and remark-html to convert the Markdown files into an HTML string, and then send it down as a prop to the page. The metadata of every post is handled by gray-matter and also sent in props to the page.

Front matter

An example of the required front matter:

Note: The formatting of the front matter is important. Ensure the indentation remains the same.

---
title: 'A blog starter you actually want to use'
excerpt: 'There are hundreds of different blog starters out there. But none felt quite right. So I built my own. Based off the basic Next.js Blog Starter, but now with several handy features like dark mode (using local storage) or Google Analytics. It comes with Storybook too.'
coverImage: '/assets/blog/dynamic-routing/tree.jpg'
date: '2021-08-24T05:35:07.322Z'
author:
  name: sandypockets
  picture: '/assets/blog/authors/sandypockets_avatar.jpg'
ogImage:
  url: '/assets/blog/dynamic-routing/tree.jpg'
---

Adjust the value of each key as needed.

Add a page

Next.js makes routing easy. All pages live in the /pages directory. The file names used in that directory will map to the path in the browser.

Example: /pages/cool-page.jsx becomes localhost:3000/pages/cool-page

Manage global data

Global variables, like your blog's name, or your GitHub URL, can be managed in /lib/constants.js

You can adjust the blog's metadata (some of which relies on the global variables described above) can be adjusted in the /components/Layout/Meta.jsx component.