Implementing /projects Page on Gatsby Site with GitHub API

July 12, 20204 min read • #gatsby #github #react #programming

React lifecycle methods and Hooks work the same way in Gatsby as they do in React projects. In this article, we'll be using Hooks to make API calls to GitHub API. Hooks are available with a simple import statement.

On this site, I have three pages where I need to fetch data from APIs as of now- on /projects page, I fetch the stars count, forks count, description and homepage for my projects hosted on GitHub and on /linklog and /microblog, I source content from my Mastodon toots that are tagged with #linklog and #microblog respectively. I will be describing how to implement the latter in a future blog post.

We'll be using functional components and as such React's useEffect and useState Hooks in this tutorial. Some other things you should be familiar with are async / await, template strings, destructuring and try / catch.

First, create a file named github-api.js in src/services directory and copy the following code into the file:

import axios from "axios"

const baseUrl = "https://api.github.com/"

export const fetchData = async ({ project }) => {
  try {
    const {
      data: { description, homepage, stargazers_count, forks_count },
    } = await axios.get(`${baseUrl}repos/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.name}`)
    return {
  } catch (error) {
    return project

Here, we'll be using a third-party library called axios to make requests to the API. We could use the native fetch API for this but axios makes it a lot easier to do advanced stuff like cancelling requests. Next, we are assigning required values to variables. Then, we are creating an asynchronous function called fetchData that takes in a project object as an argument and calls the API, then returns an object with description, homepage, stargazers_count, forks_count properties. These are the only values that we need from the data we get in return from the API. Hence, we destructure these values firsthand. If the request fails, the function will return the initial value for project that we can use as a fallback.

We will be importing the fetchData function in our component and call it inside the useEffect hook.

Now, create a component in src/components called GitHubStats.js and put the following code inside:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from "react"
import { fetchData } from "../services/github-api"


const GitHubStats = ({ project }) => {
  const [starsCount, setStarsCount] = useState(0)
  const [forksCount, setForksCount] = useState(0)
  const [description, setDescription] = useState("")
  const [projectHomepage, setProjectHomepage] = useState("")

  const starsgazersURL = `https://github.com/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.name}/stargazers`
  const forksURL = `https://github.com/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.name}/network/members`

  useEffect(() => {
    const fetchGitHubData = async () => {
      const res = await fetchData(project)


  }, [project])

  return (
      <a href={`https://github.com/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.name}`}>
      ]: {description}
      <br />
      {projectHomepage && [
          Homepage: <a href={projectHomepage}>{projectHomepage}</a>
          <br />
          <span>Stars</span>: <a href={starsgazersURL}> {starsCount}</a>{" "}
          <span>Forks</span>: <a href={forksURL}> {forksCount}</a>

export default GitHubStats

The GitHubStats component takes a project object as a prop and calls the fetchData function which returns an object with description, homepage, stargazers_count and forks_count keys. On a succesfull API call, these keys will be populated with latest data from GitHub. If the API call fails, these values will contain the respective values for keys in the project object that we pass.

Now, we can import the GitHubStats component in our src/pages/projects.js page:

import React from "react"
import { Link } from "gatsby"

import Layout from "../components/Layout"
import GitHubStats from "../components/GitHubStats"

const projects = [
    name: "project-one",
    description: "Project One description.",
    homepage: "https://project-one.org/",
    stargazers_count: 10,
    forks_count: 5,
    name: "project-two",
    description: "Project Two description.",
    homepage: "https://project-two.org/",
    stargazers_count: 5,
    forks_count: 2,

const ProjectsPage = () => {
  return (
        {projects.map((project, idx) => (
          <li key={idx}>
            <GitHubStats project={project} />

export default ProjectsPage

We create an array of objects with backup data to use if API call fails. Then, we map through each of the project and render GitHubStats component passing in the project as prop. And that's it!

Some things you could now try might be styling the page or separating the backup data into a directory for better separation of concerns.

Last Updated: July 13, 2020
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