In this Astro JS tutorial, we will see how to create an AstroJS site from spinning up a local development server right up to getting the app into the cloud and hosted. Although we will build a fairly simple site, we will see some important Astro features like hydration in action. We will also take advantage of Astro’s Islands architecture to add Svelte and React components. This is just a quick introduction to Astro so be sure to explore the related posts and videos listed at the bottom of the page to boldly go further!
We build a simple app which shows YouTube videos in Svelte and React as well as an Astro Markdown component. We will do that in three steps. First of all is the setup, which should take a couple of minutes. Then we will add our own content to the minimal app we created in the previous step. Finally, we will see how to deploy the app to the cloud.
You spin up a new Astro project from the command line. First you need to create a new directory for the project, then change into that directory and spin up Astro. We will be using Svelte and React in our Astro JS tutorial app. We can configure Astro to use these as part of the setup. Let’s do that now, running these commands:
init astro step, select Minimal. Then in
astro add step enter yes so Astro configures React and Svelte for
you. We disable telemetry here, skip that step if you want to keep telemetry enabled. After the final
step you should have a dev server running. The Terminal will give you the URL for it so you can open
it in your browser. Typically it will be running on
http://localhost:3000/ . However, Astro will automatically find a free port if there is already something running on
Open up the browser using the given URL and you should just see the word ‘Astro’ in black text. We will add our own content to this minimal app next.
Just before moving on, open up
astro.config.mjs in the project root
folder. This is Astro’s main config file. You will see the setup tool has imported the necessary
Svelte and React integration packages and added them to the config for you.
In this section we are going to build out our app, and learn a little about the structure of an Astro project in the process. We will also see how to add vanilla CSS styling in Svelte.
Astro routing works similar to NextJS, Remix and SvelteKit. Astro generates pages from files in
src/routes. So the file you
saw in the browser is generated from the content in
src/routes/index.astro. Let’s look at that file next.
Replace the content in the file with this:
We have a fair bit in here. Broadly the file has three sections. The first is the frontmatter in
6. In the first line
we import our global stylesheet. We will create that file in a moment. We also add the components
/ CSS background. Though the other two sections might look a little more familiar. In the
section. In our case, we are just importing items which we will use in the main markup.
The main markup (lines
looks a lot like HTML, with a
body section. As well as regular HTML elements, we use our ReactVideo and SvelteVideo components.
The final section contains styles. The styles in this file will be automatically scoped just to the content of this file. Our app will not work for the moment; we need to add some of the new content we reference in the frontmatter first.
client:load directive in lines
we tell Astro to hydrate our components. Because of this, when we click the buttons in the app,
We will put our components in a new
src/components directory. You might
notice though that the import statement mentions
is just an alias for
src/components which we will use for convenience.
For the alias to work, we need to update the
tsconfig.json file in
the project root folder. Let’s do that:
You will notice we also defined
$styles. You can add any other
aliases that might make sense for the project you are working on. Note we only add these for
convenience, they are optional and as an example we could instead have written
import '../styles/styles.css'. I prefer the alias, as well as looking neater, on larger projects where you might have to
traverse multiple directories to get to your file, the syntax is more manageable.
Speaking of styles, lets add our global styles. Astro works with SCSS, Tailwind and other styling
frameworks. To keep this project simple, and also because modern CSS is now quite powerful, we
stick to vanilla CSS. Create a
src/styles folder and inside, add a
styles/css file with the following content:
src/styles/styles.css — click to expand code.
58 you will notice
we have some self-hosted fonts. We will download those to our project shortly. At the bottom of the
file you will see we have some style for our react component. We take a different approach for the
Svelte component taking advantage of in-built scoped styles, similar to what we have for the
Next we can paste in the React code. Create a
and then create a Video.jsx file with the following content inside:
The final component we need to add is the Svelte one. The app should work again once we have this
in place. Create the
Video.svelte file in the components folder, with
We mentioned that we are using self-hosted fonts above. For the hosting to work,we need to include
the fonts in our repo so our host can serve them. Download the Roboto Font in Regular, 400 and 700 . Extract the zip and then create a new
fonts folder in the project’s
public folder. Drop the four unzipped files in that folder. The public folder is for anything which
we do not need Astro (or Vite, under the hood) to process. As well as fonts, web manifest files for
PWA and favicons fall into this category.
We won’t optimise fonts here, just to get finished a little quicker. There is a nice video which focusses on self-hosted fonts in Astro together with optimisation. If you are interested in optimisation, do take a look. You can save 80% on some fonts files, especially where, for example you only use the 900 weight font in titles.
The app should be working just fine now, with a nice Roboto sans serif font and all the colours. Try pressing the buttons below the React and Svelte components to check they work. You should notice the background colour change.
The next step is to build the site locally to check it is all working as expected. Run these
commands to build and preview the site (stop the dev server with ctrl
If all is well, commit the code to a git repo and upload it to your GitHub or GitLab account, so
we can host it as a static site. You might notice your site gets built to the
dist directory in your project. There is no need to include this in your repo as your host will generate
the site there for you.
It is worth adding a
.nvmrc file to the project root folder whichever
host you are using. This will tell the host know which version of node to use. We will go for the long-term
support (LTS) version which is
16 at the time of writing:
Although we have used
pnpm in this tutorial to build the site, for
maximum compatibility, in the cloud use
npm run build as your build
command. We just mentioned that Astro outputs projects to the
directory, so on your host console, set the build output directory or publish directory to
Here are screenshots for Netlify and Cloudflare Pages which should help you out. Other services will be similar. Select the Astro preset if your host has
one, then just check the build command and output / publish directory is
In this post we have run through the pipeline for building a static Astro site. We have seen:
- how to spin up a new Astro project with Svelte and React integrations,
- how you can add global CSS styles, local scoped styles and style React components with plain CSS,
- configuration for deploying your static Astro site to the cloud.
The Astro JS tutorial code is in the Rodney Lab GitHub repo . You can also try it on Stackblitz .
I hope you found this article useful and am keen to hear how you will the starter on your own projects as well as possible improvements.
- Astro should work on any host able to build static sites with node. We have seen more detailed build instructions for Netlify and Cloudflare Pages, though you should also be able to get a hassle-free build on Render, Vercel and other similar services.
- Astro lets you define import aliases which are essentially syntactic sugar. They let you use an absolute alternative path in your import statements. Because this path is absolute rather that the default relative paths, it does not need to be updated if you move your source file from one folder to another. On top, the syntax is cleaner. We have seen how to define your own custom aliases in the tsconfig.json file.
- We have seen a few different ways to add stying in Astro. We can add a global stylesheet and import this into astro pages with the regular ES Module import syntax. For less complex apps, we can add React component styling here. On top we can add locally scoped styles in a script tag at the bottom of an Astro page. As this is also a Svelte feature we can style Svelte component in this way too. Using these styling methods, Astro is able to optimise our CSS.
Have you found the post useful? Would you prefer to see posts on another topic instead? Get in touch with ideas for new posts. Also if you like my writing style, get in touch if I can write some posts for your company site on a consultancy basis. Read on to find ways to get in touch, further below. If you want to support posts similar to this one and can spare a few dollars, euros or pounds, please consider supporting me through Buy me a Coffee.
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