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Tutorial: Medium claps button using React with Gatsby and Firebase

10 months ago β€’ 1 min read

I love the claps button in Medium. I find it so much more original than Youtube/Facebook like button.

But if you want to replicate it in your Gatsby blog (or any other JAM stack), you don't have any server to store the claps count.

Fortunately, that isn't a real problem thanks to cloud databases.

In this tutorial we'll see how to use Firestore - Firebase database - to store the claps counts for our blog posts.

Step 1: Creating a clap-button React component

This is just a simple button:

// blogPostTemplate.js

const ClapsButton = () => {
    return (

Let's now manage the state to display the claps counter and update it on click: let's also add a counter to display the new claps given by the reader

// blogPostTemplate.js

const ClapsButton = () => {
    const [clapsCounter, setClapsCounter] = useState(0);
    const [newClaps, setNewClaps] = useState(0);

    const incrementClapsCounter = () => {
        setClapsCounter(prevState => prevState + 1)
        setNewClaps(prevState => prevState + 1)

    return (
            <button onClick={incrementClapsCounter} >πŸ‘</button> {clapsCounter} claps

I like to use styled-components to style my react components:

// blogPostTemplate.js

const StyledClaps = styled.div`
  padding-top: 24px;
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: row;
  align-items: center;
  font-size: 0.8em;
  position: relative;
  button {
    outline: 0;
    background: white;
    width: 58px;
    height: 58px;
    border-radius: 50%;
    border: 1px solid lightgrey;
    font-size: 2em;
    margin-right: 8px;
    cursor: pointer;
  &::before {
    content: '${props => '+' + props.newClaps}';
    background: var(--carbon);
    opacity: 0;
    color: white;
    padding: 8px 12px;
    border-radius: 3px;
    position: absolute;
    z-index: 1;
    top: 3px;
    left: 6px;
    transition: opacity .2s 1s, top .2s 1s;
  &:active::before {
    opacity: 1;
    top: -12px;
    transition: opacity .2s, top .2s;

little caveat: if you use conditional styling with "content" you need to surround it with quotes... I know it's weird πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Step 2: Storing data in cloud database with Firestore

First, you need to create an account on firebase.google.com and create a project.

Next install gatsby-plugin-firebase and firebase:

$ npm install --save firebase gatsby-plugin-firebase

Import firebase in gatsby-browser.js (if you haven't already, create the file):

// gatsby-browser.js

import "firebase/firestore"

Configure firebase in gatsby-config.js with your firebase config file. You can find it in the project settings.

// gatsby-config.js

    resolve: 'gatsby-plugin-firebase',
    options: {
        credentials: {
          apiKey: process.env.FIREBASE_API_KEY || 'none',
          databaseURL: process.env.FIREBASE_DATABASE_URL || 'none',
          projectId: process.env.FIREBASE_PROJECT_ID || 'none',
          appId: process.env.FIREBASE_APPID || 'none'

Create a file called .env to the root of you project and add the environment variables:

// gatsby-config.js


You can now create your database:

  1. click on cloud firestore and create database
  2. pick test mode to debug
  3. create a collection called 'claps' and add a first document (corresponding to one post). Give it the slug of your post to access it easily. That's it!

Now let's go in your blog post template and fetch that data!

// blogPostTemplate.js

useEffect(() => {
      .then(res => {
        if (!res.data()) {
          console.log('no matching document');
        } else {
      .catch(err => console.log(err));
}, []);

Next we need to update the database when we increment the counter:

// blogPostTemplate.js

const incrementClapsCounter = () => {
    setClapsCounter(prevState => prevState + 1);
    setNewClaps(prevState => prevState + 1);

    // if the document doesn't exist yet, it will create it
      .set({ claps: clapsCounter + 1 })    // Be careful state is updated once outside the function
      .catch(err => console.log(err));


And that's all there is to it. It was way easier thant I thought πŸ˜….

You can now deploy and set your environment variables. I personaly use Netlify which makes it super simple.

Thanks for reading, if you have questions or just want to say hello please do on Twitter @achrafnotashraf!

0 claps