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Docs and Website Components

The site has a handful of components that have been developed to facilitate writing new content for the blog and the docs. There are also components that help organize and lay out content in various pages across the website.

This guide documents what components are available and explains how to use them. You can also refer to the code for this page on GitHub to see to how each component can be used, because they are all embedded here!

Information about authoring in Markdown and styling components on the site is also listed.

Globally available components

A variety of components have been written to help with formatting code and content across the blog and the docs and don’t need to be imported.

Guide List

The <GuideList /> is a component that renders an h2 heading and a list of links to child docs nested below the current doc in the site’s information architecture. It is often used on overview pages like the Headless CMS guide where many other pages are nested below it to show what a docs section contains.


The Guide List component takes one prop:

  • slug (required) - the value of which is already available on every page’s context on by default

The slug is used to find a matching value in one of the yaml files that sets up the hierarchical structure for how the guides in the docs, tutorial, and contributing section are organized. It finds the matching entry in the hierarchy and renders the pages that are children of it in a list.

The component can be used like this:


When rendered in a page, the Guide List looks like this:

In this section:

This example has the prop slug="/docs/headless-cms/" set, and can be seen on the doc for Headless CMS

Egghead Embed

To embed video content from Egghead on the site, there is an <EggheadEmbed /> component that adds an iframe with the video inline with other content.


The Egghead Embed component takes two props:

  • lessonLink - the URL of the lesson from Egghead
  • lessonTitle - the name of the lesson that is used to add more information to the embedded iframe.

It can be used like this:


Rendered, it looks like this:

Video hosted on

Pull Quote

The <Pullquote /> component is used to call out a quote in the blog. It applies borders and styles that make a section of the content pop out to readers.


The Pull Quote component takes two optional props, and uses the children it wraps to populate its inner content:

  • citation - the reference of the person or entity that made the quoted statement
  • narrow - styles the pull quote by removing the left and right negative margins, keeping it inside the parent container. This prop is not used in the blog to help the quote stand out, but could be used in docs where it’s necessary to keep content from overlapping with other sections of the layout, such as the Table of Contents.

It is used like this:


Rendered, the component looks like this:

To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.Winston Churchill

Layer Model

The <LayerModel /> was made to help explain concepts of how Gatsby works at a high level. It conceptually breaks Gatsby into different layers and shows how data is pulled, aggregated, and eventually rendered as an app. It’s used on docs pages to help explain how Gatsby works at different levels.


The Layer Model component takes one prop:

  • initialLayer - defaults to Content, can be one of Content, Build, Data, View, App that correspond to the different layers


When used, it looks like this:

GraphQL Response
data: {
  site: {
    title: "Home"
    description: "Gatsby tips"

Data returned by GraphQL comes back in the exact same shape that you asked for it, without having to travel across the network because it was already gathered at build time.

Since all data is combined in the data layer, it's even possible to query multiple sources at the same time.

Horizontal Navigation List

The <HorizontalNavList /> was made for the Glossary, and renders a list of links to alphabetical subheadings on the page in a horizontal format.


The Horizontal Nav List component takes two props:

  • slug - which is provided in the props of the page by default
  • items - an array of strings for items to render and wrap with a <Link /> to subheadings

The docs on use the gatsby-remark-autolink-headers plugin to automatically apply hover links to heading tags across docs pages. Because it automatically creates links to subheadings on pages like the glossary, the Horizontal Nav List can supply matching links (like "guide-list" which would align with the automatically created link at /docs/docs-and-website-components#guide-list).


Rendered, it looks like this:

Writing content in Markdown

New docs and blog posts are added to the docs folder inside the Gatsby repository. They are stored as .md (Markdown) or .mdx (MDX) files and can be written using Markdown, or using inline JSX thanks to MDX. Writing in Markdown will output tags that are styled according to Gatsby’s design guidelines.

You can read more about writing in Markdown in the Markdown syntax guide.

Code blocks

Code can be formatted using regular Markdown syntax, but the docs site has additional enhancements that can be used thanks to various Gatsby plugins that aren’t all native Markdown.


Code blocks are wrapped in 3 backticks. A language can be added immediately after the first set of back ticks to provide syntax highlighting for the language. A title of the file can be added after the language. Line highlighting can be included in the code block by commenting highlight-line, or highlight-start followed by a highlight-end.

In order to demonstrate how to use code blocks in a doc without your triple backticks being styled and formatted automatically (just like the example above), you can wrap a set of triple backticks in quadruple backticks like this:


The above code block is rendered like this:

Line numbers and line highlighting can be added to code blocks as well, and is explained in detail in the gatsby-remark-prismjs README.

Styling components on with Theme-UI

Styles on the site are applied using Theme-UI, which allows for theming across the site based on design tokens (also called variables).

Design tokens

Design tokens are used to consolidate the number of colors and style attributes that are applied to components throughout the site. By limiting the styles that can be applied, the site stays consistent with the guidelines for color, typography, spacing, etc.

Tables listing design tokens that are used on the site can be found in the design guidelines.

The sx prop

The sx prop from Theme-UI allows you to access theme values to style elements and components, it should be used wherever possible. The prop is “enabled” by adding theme-ui’s JSX pragma at the top of a js file.

It is still okay to directly import tokens, e.g. mediaQueries or colors directly from www/src/gatsby-plugin-theme-ui if it helps your specific use case — for example when global CSS is required, when passing theme values to other libraries or plugins, when authoring complex responsive styles, etc.

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