#How to setup

In order to provide a straightforward method for our engineers to add new blog posts to our Gatsby blog (here), I decided to experiment with Visual Studio Code Dev Containers After trying it out, I can confidently say that it is a fantastic tool!

Visual Studio Code Dev Containers allow developers to work in a fully-featured development environment, regardless of their local setup. This makes it easy for our engineers to update our blog, as they can do so within a consistent and reliable environment.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the ease of use and functionality of Visual Studio Code Dev Containers. I believe it will be a valuable tool for our team.

Our blog is built on Gatsby with A theme from Pitayan

Let us jump into how I configured this.

#Pre prerequisites

You need Docker desktop and vscode installed on your system. Follow the quick setup guide here

#1. Create folder structure

First create a folder named .devcontainer in your Gatsby root directory.

#2. Create devcontainer.json

Create a new file named devcontainer.json

This config will also install necessary extensions in your vscode instance to work better with markdown.

// For format details, see https://aka.ms/devcontainer.json. For config options, see the
// README at: https://github.com/devcontainers/templates/tree/main/src/javascript-node
	"name": "Fortytwo Blog container",
	// The image to use for the container, in this case a JavaScript Node environment
	"image": "mcr.microsoft.com/devcontainers/javascript-node:0-18",

	// A volume mount for the node_modules folder to persist across container restarts
    "mounts": [

	// A list of ports to forward from the container to the host machine
	"forwardPorts": [
		// Port for the Gatsby server
		// Port for the Live reload server

	// A command to run after the container is created
	"postCreateCommand": "sh .devcontainer/post-create.sh",

	// Customizations specific to the VS Code editor
    "customizations": {
        "vscode": {
          "extensions": [

	// Option to run the container as the root user (uncomment to use)
	// "remoteUser": "root"

#3. Create post-create.sh file

I am using a simple post-create.sh file to have more control of the commands that I want to run after the container has started.


# Jump into correct folder
cd /workspaces/amestofortywo-blog

# Install Gatsby CLI
sudo npm install -g gatsby-cli

# Setup and install prereqs 
sudo npm install

# Increase node memory allocation
export NODE_OPTIONS="--max-old-space-size=5096"

# Wipe all cache node_modules and package-lock.json file
gatsby clean

# Run development instance
gatsby develop

#4. Open container

Now, open your project in vscode and choose

Open folder in dev container
Open folder in dev container

You container should start building now, first time it will take some time. Next time it will connect right away!

vscode will actually let you know when the site us up and running. :D

Container ready
Container ready

#5. Browse and build

Your Gatsby site should now be available on http://localhost:8000/ and reload everytime you write something in vscode.

#Extra: The button

Open in Dev Containers

Oh, it is also possible to add a button to you repo that automatically clone and opens everything in vscode for you

NB: I do have some difficulties passing Github SSH keys to the container because im using 1Password for mye keys. Cloning and using HTTPS from Github should work better until I figure this one out. Read more here


Setting up Visual Studio Code Dev Containers for a Gatsby blog is a straightforward process that can greatly benefit a team of engineers. The Dev Container offers a consistent and reliable environment for developers to work in and eliminates the need for a locally set up environment. With the steps outlined in this blog post, you can easily set up Dev Containers for your own Gatsby blog of whatever you want to develop.

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Written by

Remi Vandemir@remivandemir

Partner and Director, Amesto Fortytwo

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