Gatsby.js vs. React.js - Understanding the Relationship

By Sumeet Shroff
Last Updated On : September 7, 2023
Gatsby.js vs. React.js - Understanding the Relationship

Gatsby.js and React.js are two names that come up often when talking about building high-performance, dynamic web apps in the always-changing world of web development. Both are written in JavaScript, but their different goals and sets of features make them different. This guide will show what Gatsby.js is, how it is different from React.js, and what the two frameworks have in common and where they are different. Every web worker, whether they are just starting out or have been doing this for years, needs to know how Gatsby.js and React.js are related.

What is Gatsby.js?

Before we compare, let's take a step back and talk about what Gatsby.js is.

Gatsby.js: An Overview

Gatsby.js, or just "Gatsby," is a free and open-source static site generator (SSG) that uses cutting-edge web technologies to make websites that are highly dynamic, engaging, and load very quickly. It was made popular by Kyle Mathews in 2015, and now many web designers and writers use it.

Gatsby is a system that was built on top of other technologies. React.js was a key part of how it was built. Webpack is used to package assets, and GraphQL is used to access data. Gatsby's main goal is to make building websites easier and faster by providing a platform that takes care of many of the complicated and time-consuming details.

Key Features of Gatsby.js

Here are some of the key features that make Gatsby.js stand out:

Static Site Generation: With static site generation, pages load quickly. During the building process, Gatsby makes basic HTML files.

Automatic Code Splitting: Gatsby automatically splits JavaScript packages to speed up the first start and use less resources.

Image Optimization: Built-in image processing makes sure that pictures are the right size and are compressed so that the system doesn't slow down.

Serverless Architecture: Gatsby websites can be stored on serverless platforms like Netlify, Vercel, or AWS Lambda, which let them grow or shrink based on how many people visit them.

CDN Integration: By using a content delivery network (CDN), you can be sure that your website will be stored and served from data hubs all over the world, making sure that users don't have to wait too long.

GraphQL for Data Fetching: Gatsby uses GraphQL to quickly get data from many different sources, and you can ask for only the information that a page needs.

Built-In SEO: Gatsby has built-in SEO tools like the ability to handle metadata and make a sitemap.

Progressive Web App (PWA) Support: Gatsby could be set up as a Progressive Web App (PWA), which would give mobile users an app-like experience.

Rich Plugin Ecosystem: Gatsby has a strong plugin environment, which means it can be changed to fit the needs of a wide range of projects.

How Gatsby.js Relates to React.js

We now know what Gatsby.js is, so let's see how it works with React.js.

React.js: The Foundation

Most user experiences are made with the JavaScript tool React.js, or just React. Facebook made React, which has a component-based design and a virtual DOM (Document Object Model). These features have made it very famous in the world of web development. React makes it easier to make dynamic, interactive web apps by breaking down the user interface into modular, reusable parts that can be changed on their own when the data changes.

React's key features include:

Component-Based Architecture: UI components are used to build applications, which makes both making them and keeping them up to date easier.

Virtual DOM: The virtual DOM in React cuts down on the number of changes to the DOM, which speeds up the framework.

Unidirectional Data Flow: When data only goes in one way, it's much easier to keep track of and predict how an app will act.

React Hooks: Hooks in React let you access state and other React features without writing class components. This makes component logic much simpler.

React Router: React Router is a system that is often used in React apps. It handles navigation and routes.

Gatsby.js and React.js: Similarities and Differences

Gatsby.js and React.js are both written in JavaScript and have some things in common. However, they are also made in different ways to do different things. Let's see how they measure up against each other:

1. Purpose and Use Case:

Gatsby.js : Why and how you might use Gatsby.js The main goal of Gatsby is to make it easier to make basic websites and online apps. It works especially well for blogs, marketing sites, and reference websites where the information doesn't change often.

React.js: on the other hand, is a set of tools that can be used to make live, interactive websites. It works well with SPAs, real-time changes, and user experiences that are hard to understand.

2. Rendering:

Gatsby.js : Before the site is made, Gatsby.js, which is used for displaying, makes static HTML files. This makes it so that pages load very quickly the first time.

React.js: React.js uses client-side rendering to show its components so that changes and interactions can happen in real time. It works great for projects that need real-time information and user involvement.

3. Data Fetching:

Gatsby.js: Gatsby.js uses GraphQL to get data, which lets writers ask for data from multiple sources at the same time while the app is being built. The information is then passed to the components as props.

React.js: The React.js system doesn't force you to use a certain way to get data. Traditional REST APIs, GraphQL, and other tools for getting data are just some of the choices developers have.

4. Routing:

Gatsby.js: Gatsby.js, for example, has a built-in routing system that makes it easy to build complex route patterns for static websites. It makes pages based on how the files are organised, so it may use a route method that is based on files.

React.js: Even though React doesn't come with a routing solution out of the box, it can be used with other routing tools like React Router to handle movement within an app.

5. Development Workflow:

Gatsby.js: Thanks to tools like Hot Module Replacement (HMR), Gatsby makes it easy to check on your work in progress.

React.js: With React.js, you can choose the right tools and libraries to make your development process fit your needs. HMR and other parts of the development process depend on the working setting and the tools that are used.

6. Ecosystem:

Gatsby.js: Gatsby has a large community of tools and themes that can be used to make static websites. It makes things like optimising for search engines, working with pictures, and managing content easy.

React.js: React.js can be used for a wide range of projects because it has a large set of packages and tools. It is often combined with other tools and systems to make programmes that do a lot.

7. SEO and Performance:

Gatsby.js: Gatsby.js Both search engine optimisation (SEO) and speed are important to Gatsby. Its method for making static sites makes pages that load fast and have search engine optimisation tools built in.

React.js: By design, React doesn't improve speed or search engine efficiency. But coders can do these optimisations by hand or with the help of other programmes and tools.

8. Server-Side Rendering (SSR):

Gatsby.js: Gatsby.js does not have server-side rendering (SSR) built in for changing content because it is mainly used to build flat sites.

React.js: Combining React.js with a server-side rendering tool like Next.js makes server-side rendering (SSR) possible.

When to Choose Gatsby.js or React.js

Whether you choose Gatsby.js or React.js will depend on the wants and goals of your project. Depending on the following, one may be better than the other:

Choose Gatsby.js When:

You Need a Static Website: Gatsby.js is your best bet if you want a site that doesn't change.js is a great way to make a static website, blog, instruction site, or any other tool with a lot of text. It works well for these kinds of applications because it can pre-render and is optimised for SEO.

Performance is Critical: Gatsby really shines when it comes to performance problems like page load times and site speed. It does this by making static sites and automatically optimising them.

Content Doesn't Change Frequently: Gatsby is a flexible and easy-to-use CMS that works well for websites that don't change very often. Material really shines when it can be made and saved in real time.

You Prefer a Simplified Development Workflow: You'd rather have a development process that goes more quickly, right? Gatsby is a great choice for writers who want to get started quickly because of its flexible structure and large number of plugins.

Choose React.js When:

You're Building a Dynamic Web Application: React.js is the best way to build a web app that changes over time. React.js is a better choice if your project needs live changes, engagement, and complicated user interfaces. You can use it to make online apps that change and have lots of features.

Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is Needed: Why SSR (Server-Side Rendering) is Important With SSR tools like Next.js, React can be used to do server-side rendering, which can help with SEO and other things.

You Need Full Control: React offers more flexibility and allows you to choose your data-fetching methods, routing solutions, and other aspects of your application's architecture.

You're Building a Single-Page Application (SPA): You're making a single-page app, or SPA: React.js is a great choice if you want to make an interactive, single-page application that is handled on the client side.

Gatsby.js and React.js are both built on JavaScript, but they were made to do different things and have different pros and cons. Gatsby.js is a great choice for content-focused systems because it makes it easy to make flat sites that are both fast to load and designed for search engines. React.js, on the other hand, is a flexible set of tools for making live, engaging user experiences and cutting-edge online apps.

Gatsby.js and React.js are two important web development tools that you need to know how to use together. You can choose the framework that works best for your project from options like Gatsby.js for static websites and React.js for interactive web apps. Both systems have a large number of busy users, a lot of how-to guides, and other resources that can help you with your development work.

Why do you think that Gatsby is better than React?

It doesn't matter which one is "better" between Gatsby and React. Instead, web workers should learn how to use each tool to its fullest potential by taking into account its pros and cons. Gatsby and React are both important parts of the web development environment, but they are not rivals. Find out here what makes them different and how you can use them together.

Gatsby: The Static Site Generator


Gatsby is an SSG, which stands for "static site generator." It works best for making static websites that run fast and are well-optimized. Sites with a lot of information, like blogs, reference sites, marketing pages, and portfolios, can gain a lot from its use.


Performance: Gatsby generates basic HTML files as it is being built, which makes pages load very quickly. SEO Optimization: With Gatsby, it's easy to make websites that do well in search engine results because they are already optimised for SEO. Content Management: It works with a wide range of CMSs to make getting and managing material easier. Automatic Code Splitting: Gatsby makes it easier for pages to load by breaking up big JavaScript files into smaller pieces. Rich Plugin Ecosystem: Gatsby has a lot of apps that let you add a wide range of features to your site, like optimising images and integrating data. Serverless Deployment: Sites made with Gatsby can be stored on serverless platforms, which make it possible to scale up or down as traffic changes.

Use Cases:

Gatsby is a great choice when speed and performance are the most important things, but the content isn't likely to change much. Some examples are blogs, business websites, and online libraries of information.

React: The JavaScript Library for UIs


React is the JavaScript tool that is most often used to make user interfaces. Its major goal is to make it easier to make websites that are interactive and easy to use. It lets developers handle state well and build UI components that can be used again and again.


Dynamic Web Applications: React is good at making single-page applications (SPAs) that can be updated in real time and have live user interfaces. Component Reusability: React supports the creation of components that can be used more than once. This cuts down on duplication and makes it easier to plan and build user interfaces. Virtual DOM: The virtual DOM in React makes sure that the real DOM is changed quickly, which speeds things up. Data Fetching Flexibility: Since React doesn't force writers to use a certain way to get data, they can use whatever method they want (like REST or GraphQL).

For Example: Use Cases:

Use React when your work will benefit from information that is always changing or growing, user interfaces that are hard to understand, or exchanges that happen in real time. Gatsby and React are not incompatible in most situations, and they often work well together:

Hybrid Applications: A combination application can be made by putting together Gatsby and React. Gatsby could be used for the application's standard marketing pages and blog, while React could be used for the application's interactive features.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): Gatsby can be set up as a Progressive Web App (PWA), which means it will start quickly at first and can be used even when a user isn't linked to the internet. Use React parts to make your PWA more interactive.

Content-Driven Sites with Interactive Elements: If your website is mostly content but also has interactive parts like comments or a search bar, Gatsby can handle the pages with a lot of content, while React components can handle the interactive parts.

Server-Side Rendering (SSR): Server-Side Rendering (SSR).js is a system for server-side rendering (SSR) that combines React components with server-side rendering. This helps with projects that need changing material and optimisation for search engines.

Content Management with Gatsby: Gatsby is a useful tool for content writers because it can work with a number of CMS systems. With react components, this info can then be shown in real time.

Gatsby and React are two different tools for building websites. Gatsby is great for making fast, flat, content-focused websites, while React is great for making dynamic, collaborative web apps. Which one you choose will depend on how your project is set up. Gatsby and React are both popular web development platforms, and they often work well together to make a website that is both dynamic and fast. When used together in a smart way, they can help you finish your task better than each one alone.


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