How to Build a Simple Blog Using React and GraphQL

Published Nov 09, 2017Last updated Nov 18, 2017
How to Build a Simple Blog Using React and GraphQL

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a simple blog using React, GraphQL and Cosmic JS. This is going to be the fastest and most light-weight blog built on a modern technology stack. Let’s get started.

TL;DR

View the demo
Install the Simple React Blog on Cosmic JS
View the codebase on GitHub

Getting Started

Make sure that you have Node.js and NPM installed on your machine, if not, visit the Node.js website to install the latest version.

Let’s start by creating a folder for our app. In your favorite terminal run the following commands:

mkdir simple-react-blog
cd simple-react-blog

Now let’s add a package.json file to import all of our dependencies for our app:

vim package.json

Add the following to our package.json file:

{
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "node server.js",
    "build": "next build",
    "start": "next build; NODE_ENV=production node server.js"
  },
  "dependencies": {
    "axios": "^0.16.2",
    "express": "^4.16.2",
    "lodash": "^4.17.4",
    "next": "^4.0.3",
    "next-routes": "^1.1.0",
    "react": "^16.0.0",
    "react-dom": "^16.0.0"
  }
}

It’s a pretty light dependency list for a pretty light app. So what we will install is:

  1. Axios for our promise-based HTTP client to get content from to the Cosmic JS GraphQL API.
  2. Next.js as our React Universal framework.
  3. Next routes for dynamic routes.
  4. Express for our server-side web app framework.
  5. React to handle our user interface.

Our scripts are necessary for starting our app in production and development.

Run the following command to install our dependencies:

npm i

Building Our Blog

Next, let’s begin building our blog pages. Create a pages folder and add the index.js file:

import axios from 'axios'
import _ from 'lodash'
import Footer from './partials/footer'
import Header from './partials/header'
import helpers from '../helpers'
import config from '../config'

export default class extends React.Component {
  static async getInitialProps({ req }) {
    const query = `{
      objects(bucket_slug: "${config.bucket.slug}") {
        _id
        type_slug
        slug
        title
        metadata
        created_at
      }
    }`
    return await axios.post(`https://graphql.cosmicjs.com/v1`, { query })
    .then(function (response) {
      return {
        cosmic: {
          posts: _.filter(response.data.data.objects, { type_slug: 'posts' }),
          global: _.keyBy(_.filter(response.data.data.objects, { type_slug: 'globals' }), 'slug')
        }
      }
    })
    .catch(function (error) {
      console.log(error)
    })
  }
  render() {
    if (!this.props.cosmic)
      return <div>Loading...</div>
    return (
      <div>
        <Header cosmic={ this.props.cosmic }/>
        <main className="container">
          {
            this.props.cosmic.posts &&
            this.props.cosmic.posts.map(post => {
              const friendly_date = helpers.friendlyDate(new Date(post.created_at))
              post.friendly_date = friendly_date.month + ' ' + friendly_date.date
              return (
                 <div className="card" data-href={`/${post.slug}`} key={post._id}>
                  {
                    post.metadata.hero.imgix_url &&
                    <a href={`/${post.slug}`} className="blog-post-hero blog-post-hero--short" style={{ backgroundImage: `url(${post.metadata.hero.imgix_url})`}}></a>
                  }
                  <div className="card-padding">
                    <h2 className="blog__title blog__title--small">
                      <a href={`/${post.slug}`}>{post.title}</a>
                    </h2>
                    <div className="blog__author">
                      <a href={`/author/${post.metadata.author.slug}`}>
                        <div className="blog__author-image" style={{ backgroundImage: `url(${post.metadata.author.metafields[0].imgix_url}?w=100)`}}></div>
                      </a>
                      <div className="blog__author-title">by <a href={`/author/${post.metadata.author.slug}`}>{post.metadata.author.title}</a> on {post.friendly_date}</div>
                      <div className="clearfix"></div>
                    </div>
                    <div className="blog__teaser droid" dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{__html: post.metadata.teaser}}></div>
                    <div className="blog__read-more">
                      <a href={`/${post.slug}`}>Read more...</a>
                    </div>
                  </div>
                </div>  
              )
            })
          }
        </main>
        <Footer />
      </div>
    )
  }
}

There are a few things happening here:

  1. We are importing our essential modules: Axios, Lodash, and other helpers and components.
  2. We are pulling in some partials: Header and Footer, you can reference these partials from the codebase on GitHub.
  3. We query the Cosmic JS GraphQL API to only return the stuff we need: _id, type_slug, slug, title, metadata and created_at.
  4. We set the main props in our component to the cosmic object. And use lodash to parse through Posts and Global Object types.
  5. We return our posts array data and image URLs into our main blog feed.

Single Post Query

For our single post, we add a post property to our props. Post is found by matching the query.slug to the Object slug:

const gql_query = `{
  objects(bucket_slug: "${config.bucket.slug}") {
    type_slug
    slug
    title
    content
    metadata
    created_at
  }
}`
return await axios.post(`https://graphql.cosmicjs.com/v1`, { query: gql_query })
.then(function (response) {
  return {
    cosmic: {
      posts: _.filter(response.data.data.objects, { type_slug: 'posts' }),
      global: _.keyBy(_.filter(response.data.data.objects, { type_slug: 'globals' }), 'slug'),
      post: _.find(response.data.data.objects, { slug: query.slug }),
    }
  }
})
.catch(function (error) {
  console.log(error)
})
}

Check out the full file on GitHub

Conclusion

This is the abridged version of the Simple React Blog available for download in the Cosmic JS Apps page. The full codebase includes a single post page view as well as a page dedicated to each author’s posts. View the full codebase on GitHub and deploy this app in a few clicks from your Cosmic JS dashboard by installing the app to your Cosmic JS Bucket.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you have any questions reach out to us on Twitter and join our community on Slack.

Discover and read more posts from Tony Spiro
get started
Enjoy this post?

Leave a like and comment for Tony

6