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Implementing /projects page on Gatsby site with GitHub API

Jul 12, 2020 · Last updated: Jul 13, 2020 ·
Posted in weblog#tech
Categories: gatsby, github, react

On /projects, I am using GitHub's REST API to populate the stars count, forks count, description and homepage for my projects hosted on GitHub. Let's see how!

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

export const fetchData = async (project) => {
  try {
    const {
      data: { description, homepage, stargazers_count, forks_count },
    } = await axios({
      method: 'get',
      url: `${baseUrl}repos/${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.repo}`,
      timeout: 3000,
    return {
      starsCount: stargazers_count,
      forksCount: forks_count,
  } catch (error) {
    return project

We are using axios to make requests. We could also use the native fetch API for this but axios makes it very easy to set timeout, cancel requests and set authorization headers if we need to authenticate with an access token. GitHub API requires a token to make 60+ requests per hour.

The asynchronous function fetchData takes in a project object as an argument and calls the API, then returns an object with description, homepage, starsCount, forksCount properties. If the request fails, the function will return the initial value for project that we can use as a fallback.

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

Create a component in src/components called github-stats.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(project.starsCount)
  const [forksCount, setForksCount] = useState(project.forksCount)
  const [description, setDescription] = useState(project.description)
  const [homepage, setHomepage] = useState(project.homepage)

  const starsgazersUrl = `${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.repo}/stargazers`
  const forksUrl = `${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.repo}/network/members`

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


  }, [project])

  return (
      <a href={`${GITHUB_USERNAME}/${project.repo}`}>
      : {description}
      <br />
      Homepage: <a href={homepage}>{homepage}</a>
      <br />
      Stars: <a href={starsgazersUrl}>{starsCount}</a> &bull; Forks: <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, starsCount and forksCount 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 values from the project object that we pass.

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

import React from 'react'

import Layout from '../components/layout'
import GitHubStats from '../components/github-stats'

const projects = [
    repo: 'project-one',
    description: 'Project One description.',
    homepage: '',
    starsCount: 10,
    forksCount: 5,
    repo: 'project-two',
    description: 'Project Two description.',
    homepage: '',
    starsCount: 5,
    forksCount: 2,

const ProjectsPage = () => {
  return (
        { => (
          <li key={project.repo}>
            <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 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, using an object to store the state instead of multiple useState calls, or separating the backup data into the src/data/ directory for better separation of concerns.