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Build a Full-Stack React Application

Create a simple todo app with Remult using a React frontend

In this tutorial, we are going to create a simple app to manage a task list. We'll use React for the UI, Node.js + Express.js for the API server, and Remult as our full-stack CRUD framework. For deployment to production, we'll use railway.app and a PostgreSQL database.

By the end of the tutorial, you should have a basic understanding of Remult and how to use it to accelerate and simplify full stack app development.

Prefer Angular?

Check out the Angular tutorial.

Prerequisites

This tutorial assumes you are familiar with TypeScript and React.

Before you begin, make sure you have Node.js and git installed.

Setup for the Tutorial

This tutorial requires setting up a React project, an API server project, and a few lines of code to add Remult.

You can either use a starter project to speed things up, or go through the step-by-step setup.

Option 1: Clone the Starter Project

  1. Clone the react-vite-express-starter repository from GitHub and install its dependencies.
sh
git clone https://github.com/remult/react-vite-express-starter.git remult-react-todo
cd remult-react-todo
npm install
  1. Open your IDE.
  2. Open a terminal and run the dev npm script.
sh
npm run dev
  1. Open another terminal and run the dev-node npm script
sh
npm run dev-node

The default "Vite + React" app main screen should be available at the default Vite dev server address http://127.0.0.1:5173.

At this point, our starter project is up and running. We are now ready to move to the next step of the tutorial and start creating the task list app.

Option 2: Step-by-step Setup

Create a React project using Vite

Create the new React project.

sh
npm create -y vite@latest remult-react-todo -- --template react-ts
cd remult-react-todo

Run into issues scaffolding the Vite project?

See Vite documentation for help.

In this tutorial, we'll be using the root folder created by Vite as the root folder for our server project as well.

Install required packages

We need Express to serve our app's API, and, of course, Remult. For development, we'll use tsx to run the API server.

sh
npm i express remult
npm i --save-dev @types/express tsx

Create the API server project

The starter API server TypeScript project contains a single module that initializes Express, and begins listening for API requests.

  1. Open your IDE.

  2. Create a server folder under the src/ folder created by Vite.

  3. Create an index.ts file in the src/server/ folder with the following code:

ts
// src/server/index.ts

import express from "express"

const app = express()

app.listen(3002, () => console.log("Server started"))

Important

Our server Node.js project is using the CommonJS module system.

Therefore, it is important to remove the "type": "module" entry from the package.json file created by Vite.

json
// package.json

"type": "module", // <- remove this

Don't worry, this does not cause any side-effects.

Bootstrap Remult in the back-end

Remult is loaded in the back-end as an Express middleware.

  1. Create an api.ts file in the src/server/ folder with the following code:
ts
// src/server/api.ts

import { remultExpress } from "remult/remult-express"

export const api = remultExpress()
  1. Add the highlighted code lines to register the middleware in the main server module index.ts.
ts
// src/server/index.ts

import express from "express"
import { api } from "./api"

const app = express()
app.use(api)

app.listen(3002, () => console.log("Server started"))

Final tweaks

Our full stack starter project is almost ready. Let's complete these final configurations.

Enable TypeScript decorators in the React app

Add the following entry to the compilerOptions section of the tsconfig.json file to enable the use of decorators in the React app.

json
// tsconfig.json

{
...
  "compilerOptions": {
    ...
    "experimentalDecorators": true // add this
   ...
  }
...
}

Proxy API requests from Vite dev server to the API server

The react app created in this tutorial is intended to be served from the same domain as its API. However, for development, the API server will be listening on http://localhost:3002, while the react app is served from the default http://localhost:5173.

We'll use the proxy feature of Vite to divert all calls for http://localhost:5173/api to our dev API server.

Configure the proxy by adding the following entry to the vite.config.ts file:

ts
// vite.config.ts

//...

export default defineConfig({
  plugins: [react()],
  server: { proxy: { "/api": "http://localhost:3002" } }
})

Run the app

  1. Open a terminal and start the vite dev server.
sh
npm run dev
  1. Add an npm script named dev-node to start the dev API server in the package.json.
json
// package.json

"dev-node": "tsx watch src/server"
  1. Open another terminal and start the node server
sh
npm run dev-node

The server is now running and listening on port 3002. tsx is watching for file changes and will restart the server when code changes are saved.

The default "Vite + React" app main screen should be available at the default Vite dev server address http://127.0.0.1:5173.

Remove React default styles

The react default styles won't fit our todo app. If you'd like a nice-looking app, replace the contents of src/index.css with this CSS file. Otherwise, you can simply delete the contents of src/index.css.

Setup completed

At this point, our starter project is up and running. We are now ready to move to the next step of the tutorial and start creating the task list app.

MIT Licensed | Made by the Remult team with ❤️