One issue I was struggling to fully understand regarding
getStaticPaths() in Astro was… why?
As I “sneak-previewed” when I described adding an RSS feed to this Astro blog, generating a page for each
tag from all my blog posts can be done with dynamic routing. This is the concept I set out to learn to start the new year, since thus far, all my pages have been created via Astro’s automatic static routing which only requires placing
.astro files somewhere under the
Dynaming Routing to create pages that… “aren’t there”
The way dynamic routing first made sense to me was to think of using it for “creating pages that aren’t there.” (This initial way of thinking of it has helped me understand it more fully. But, this was how it started.)
It seemed weird to me to (need to?) use dynamic routing to eventually end up at
rainsberger.ca/posts/my-first-post because… it already existed via static routing! If
src/pages/posts/my-first-post.astro) exists, then Astro creates that url automatically and I can totally “get to” a page for that blog post. I didn’t understand examples I found about creating post pages/urls dynamically because I didn’t understand why I’d need to do that. (So, I think my brain kind of turned off in protest.)
(It also probably didn’t help (me) that
getStaticPaths() is also used elsewhere, and isn’t just an Astro thing. So, I never thought to look outside of Astro to figure out what this was, nor did I have prior experience with it to bring to Astro and be like, “Oh, cool. So just like how I do this thing in NextJs…“)
So, the first thing that helped me get started with Astro’s dynamic routing was to envision the specific use case of making a page that wasn’t automatically created statically because I hadn’t put a file somewhere.
src/pages/posts/my-first-post.md but I did NOT have anything like
src/pages/posts/tags/blogging.md. However, I understood that dynamic routing would let me make pages at those URLS even without those files.
Creating a ‘Tag List’ page
I did know how to make
src/pages/tags/index.astro, and I didn’t even need
getStaticPaths() to do it. So, I started there.
This page is statically generated, since it’s an Astro page component file somewhere under
/src/pages. Its content uses
Astro.fetchContent(), just like my Blog Page or my Full Post Archive page that fetch information about all my Markdown blog post files (ie: content from the Markdown front matter, including its array of tags).
The difference is that this time I need to create a
Set of my tags, so that each tag is only listed once. Then I can display each element of the set.
Creating individual tag pages
But now for making a page that doesn’t exist! Magic!
Page slugs / url routes
To create url routes of the form
rainsberger.ca/tags/tagname, I need to create
[tag] in brackets indicates that this one file will create dynamic routes for multiple different tag names.
Because I’m making pages, I still need to structure this
.astro file like a proper Astro Page Component: it either needs full
<html></html> or needs an Astro Layout. Since I want this page to look like the rest of my pages, I’ll import in the front matter, then wrap my content in my regular
The content I want to render is some information about each of my blog posts that happen to be tagged with one specific tag. So, I’ll need a way to access all my posts (even if I don’t display all of them on a particular page).
This page needs to:
- fetch info about all my posts
- sort my posts in date order
- create a set of tags used from all the posts
And then this page needs to return (for rendering as HTML):
- an array of tag name (
params)/posts with that tag name (
Astro Page Component
Everything except the
getStaticPaths() function looks very much like an Astro page I’ve created before where I’ve fetched content from my Markdown posts and rendered them to the page.
Once we get our
posts from our
getStaticPaths() function, we can create any content layout we want using that tag name, and all the content normally available from a Markdown post’s front matter like title, date, url, description, hero image etc.
Using getStaticPaths() to fetch tag and post data
This function will do my fetching, sorting, creating and adding to a set of tags and return a set of filtered posts corresponding to each tag.
And now… yes, we have tags! You can see the list of tags and you can click on any tag to be taken to its tag page.
Linking to tag pages elsewhere on the site
You might notice that on this post’s page itself, you can see a list of clickable tags generated from its front matter:
tags: ["blogging", "astro"]. This is an array that can be used in any
.astro component that fetches your front matter data.
Now that I have tag pages, I can update my
MarkdownPostLayout.astro so that each post displays its own linked tags. Here’s a simplified version of this nested layout, which is itself inside my
<BaseLayout> (so that these posts look like all my other pages). I’m displying each tag, linked to its own tag page, between the posts title and the author/date.
Similarly, I updated both my main Blog page showing my recent posts, as well as my full Post Archive listing to include these linked tags along with other post content.
I think it’s safe to say you can now find tags all over the place on this blog! So, you have no excuse for not checking them out. ;)