Blog Posts by Andrew B. Collier / @datawookie


SSH Tunnel: Local Port Forwarding

SSH tunnels are a powerful and secure method for transmitting data over potentially unsecured networks. They allow users to establish an encrypted connection between their local machine and a remote server, providing a secure and private pathway for data. An SSH tunnel will allow a service running on a remote machine to appear as if it is running on a local machine. This is also known as port forwarding.

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Batch Resolving Merge Conflicts

Sometimes when you run get merge you will be confronted with a huge load of merge conflicts. However, if you are lucky there might be a clear rule which you can apply to each of those conflicts, either

  • accept current change (change on current branch or ours) or
  • accept incoming change (incoming change from other branch or theirs).

In this case you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by specifying a particular merge strategy option.

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Externalise CSS

By default Gatsby will embed CSS into the <head> of each HTML page. This is not ideal. In this post I take a look at how to move that CSS into an external file and how the contents of that file can be optimised to remove unused CSS.

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Dynamic Routing

Month of Gatsby

Suppose that you want to make your site routing a little more flexible. For example, rather than just going straight to a 404 page if the path is not found, you might want to try and guess an appropriate (and valid!) path. This is where dynamic routing comes into play.

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Custom 404 Page

Month of Gatsby

Setting up a custom 404 page can add something special to your site. It provides you with the opportunity to do something memorable in the unfortunate event that a user asks for an unknown page.

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Gatsby on Netlify

Deploying a Gatsby site can feel like a daunting task, especially with the array of potential hosting platforms. Among them, Netlify is a strong contender due to its seamless integration and deployment process. This post will show how to get your Gatsby site live on Netlify.

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Cookies & Headers from Selenium

One of my standard approaches to scraping content from a dynamic website is to diagnose the API behind the site and then use it to retrieve data directly. This means that I can make efficient HTTP requests using the requests package and I don’t need to worry about all of the complexity around scraping with Selenium. However, it’s often the case that the API requests require a collection of cookies and headers, and those need to be gathered using Selenium.

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Adding robots.txt to a Gatsby Site

There are a couple files which can have an impact on the SEO performance of a site: (1) a sitemap and (2) a robots.txt. In a previous post we set up a sitemap which includes only the canonical pages on the site. In this post we’ll add a robots.txt.

A Gatsby site will not have a robots.txt file by default. There’s a handy package which makes it simple though. We’ll take a look at how to add it to the site and a couple of ways to configure it too.

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Update Sitemap for Canonical Pages

The principal purpose of a sitemap file is to inform search engines about the pages on a website that are available for crawling. It provides a list of URLs along with additional metadata about each URL to help search engines more intelligently crawl the site. If there are multiple page versions on a site then the sitemap should include only the canonical versions of those pages.

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Gatsby Site Versions

Month of Gatsby

We’re now going to bring together what we have been building in the previous two blog posts. First we added the raw AsciiDoc source into the GraphQL schema. Next we used AsciiDoc preprocessor directives to include conditional content into the rendered content pages. Specifically, we conditionally included content on pages depending on the value of a version attribute which was dynamically inserted into the raw AsciiDoc front matter. Now we are going to set up a URL structure which includes a version number and list the available documentation versions from the landing page.

Suppose that you have a product which is undergoing rapid development. Each new release of the product is assigned a unique version number. The product documentation is diligently updated in line with the evolving product. Ideally the documentation should be consistent with the latest release of the product. However, not all of your users will be using the latest version, so they should also be able to access older versions of the documentation.

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