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Edvins Antonovs

How to add Utterances to your dev blog

I have constantly been debating whether I need a comment system. Previously, I've been a WordPress user for many years and always had comments turned on. Since I moved from WordPress ~2 years ago and built this blog using GatsbyJS, I decided not to have any comments. Maybe I was fed up with constant bots which were spamming me.

I also had previous experience with the Disqus comment system, but I'm not a big fan of ads and wanted a lightweight solution for my static website. I also didn't want to implement a comment system for myself, it could be an excellent option to use it as a learning experience to code and write about it, but sadly I only have a little time for this.

As time passed, my writing list became more prominent, and more people were trying to reach me. That's when I started thinking I needed a comment system.

In the past few years, I have seen many technical blogs adopting utterances as a comment system. Utterances built on the GitHub Issues means that all data is stored at GitHub. Additionally, it's free and open-source, and there is no tracking or ads. Moreover, everyone except my wife or mom, who reads my blog, is probably a developer or future developer and has a GitHub account to leave a comment.

How Utterances works

When Utterances loads, the GitHub issue searches API to find the issue associated with the page based on url, pathname or title. If it cannot find an issue that matches the page, no problem, utterances-bot will automatically create an issue the first time someone comments.

Setup

The whole setup took me roughly 10 minutes to do.

I've gone through the configuration section to understand how it works.

Then I searched for existing npm packages and selected the most downloaded/up-to-date one -utterances-react.

Then created a new Comments component file and used the utterances-react package example code. I changed a few settings like repo, but then I realised I have a dark mode switch on my website. Therefore I want my comment box to adapt to the select colour mode. I use theme-ui, so I extracted the colorMode from the useColorMode() hook and used it to determine the currently active theme.

comments.js
1const Comments = () => {
2 const [colorMode] = useColorMode();
3
4 return (
5 <Utterances
6 repo="ummahusla/edvins-io"
7 issueTerm="pathname"
8 theme={colorMode === 'dark' ? 'github-dark' : 'github-light'}
9 crossorigin="anonymous"
10 async={false}
11 style={`
12 & .utterances {
13 max-width: 950px;
14 }
15 `}
16 />
17 );
18};

The last step is to use <Comments /> where we want to display that comment section. In my case, it's the bottom of thepost.js file.

post.js
1const Post = (...) => {
2 return (
3 <Layout>
4 ...
5 <section>
6 <MDXRenderer>{post.body}</MDXRenderer>
7 </section>
8 <section>
9 <Comments />
10 </section>
11 ...
12 </Layout>
13 );
14};

My blog is open-source, so you can see the actual Pull Request for me adding utterances here.

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