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Gatsby on Windows

Setting up your environment for building native Node.js modules.

Many Gatsby plugins and themes require building native Node.js modules, e.g. Sharp (a common Gatsby dependency used for image processing). To do so, you need a functional build environment (Python and Visual C++ Build Tools).

The recommended way to setup your build environment on Windows is to install the windows-build-tools package by running npm install windows-build-tools -g on an admin PowerShell console. Upon installing this package, it downloads and installs Visual C++ Build Tools 2015, provided free of charge by Microsoft. These tools are required to compile popular native modules. It will also install Python 2.7, configuring your machine and npm appropriately.

If your windows-build-tools installation stalls after Visual Studio Build Tools finishes, this remedy might help.

If npm install still fails…

Sometimes the windows-build-tools won’t properly install the required libraries. This is true if you already have a regular .NET development environment setup. This has been reported on Windows 10 x64 (and possibly other architectures or Windows versions).

This might be your problem if, after running npm install on a Gatsby site, you see compilation errors such as node-gyp or sharp or binding.gyp not found.

If you suspect this is your problem, download the Visual Studio Community 2015 Package (also available from this direct download link) and install only the part of the package that interests us : Programming languages > Visual C++ > Common tools for Visual Studio 2015. Be sure to download the 2015 version of VS Community. For Visual Studio 2017, see instructions below. You can uncheck everything else. You don’t need to install the full VS2015 Express on your system and this won’t mess up your existing VS201x installs.

Common tools for Visual Studio 2015 inside the VS 2015 Community Package

Then run the commands on Gatsby:

For Visual Studio 2017, download Visual Studio Community 2017 and install the Desktop development with C++ workflow. You can uncheck everything else.

Desktop development with C++ workflow

In case you’ve already installed Visual Studio 2017, run the Visual Studio Installer.

Visual Studio Installer

In the products list, select the “More” dropdown beside Visual Studio 2017 and select Modify option. On the next screen select the Desktop Development with C++ workflow.

Visual Studio Installer

Then run the commands on Gatsby:

You should then be all set.

If that still doesn’t work, refer to the node-gyp npm package homepage for further instructions and contact the node-gypteam on GitHub.

gatsby-plugin-sharp requires Node x64

Some plugins which depend on native NPM dependencies require the Node x64 build of Node.js. If you’re struggling to install gatsby-plugin-sharp, try installing Node x64 and removing node_modules and running npm install.

gatsby-plugin-sharp requires libvips

Sharp uses a C library, libvips. If you are having issues while installing Sharp, try removing C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\npm-cache\_libvips.

Windows Subsystem for Linux

If the installation of dependencies or developing on Windows in general gives you headaches, Windows 10 provides a great alternative: Windows Subsystem for Linux. It lets you run most command-line tools, utilities, and applications in a GNU/Linux environment directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a virtual machine. In the above scenario you would download e.g. Ubuntu, open the terminal, install Node, and run sudo apt-get install build-essential in the terminal — and the compilation works way more reliable. Please note that you have to delete any existing node_modules folder in your project and re-install the dependencies in your WSL environment.

You can also visit Gatsby on Linux to learn more.

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