Setting up Reactjs using Webpack 4 and Babel 7

Setting up Reactjs using Webpack 4 and Babel 7

In this tutorial we will be setting up our very own reactjs from scratch using webpack and babel, so grab your pen and paper lets spin the learning wheel.

In this tutorial we will be setting up our very own reactjs from scratch using webpack and babel, so grab your pen and paper lets spin the learning wheel.

Almost everyone who started out to learn reactjs was introduced to create-react-app, which is an awesome way to bootstrap any reactjs project. We were happy with it since you can just run a simple command, then boom your reactjs app development is ready. But at some point in your career you'd want to configure everything from scratch to fit a particular purpose.

Table of Contents

  • Setting up the Project
  • Setting up Webpack
  • Setting up Babel
  • Setting up React
  • Connecting React Component to the DOM
  • Finishing Touches
  • Conclusion
Setting up the Project

Before you can get started, you should make sure to have an installed editor and terminal on your machine. In addition, you will need an installed version of node with npm. Make sure to have setup everything of it before you continue to read.

Before we start writing any code, lets create a new directory where our project will stay. In any location on your computer, run the following in your terminal

mkdir webpack-babel-react-starter
cd webpack-babel-react-starter

We need to initialise our project with a package.json file, since we are going to install some packages that is vital for the setup. Simply run yarn init -y

For this tutorial i will be making use of yarn as my package manager, if you are using npm, make sure you run the corresponding command, it should work as expected.

Setting up Webpack

Webpack is one of the most popular bundler out there. It internally builds a dependency graph when it processes your application, this graph maps every module your project needs and generates one or more bundles. Since version 4.0.0, webpack does not require a configuration file to bundle your project, nevertheless it is incredibly configurable to better fit your needs.

let's install it by running:

yarn add webpack --dev

We also need to install the webpack cli

yarn add webpack-cli --dev

After installing this two packages, you will notice a new addition in our project, the node_modules and devDependencies section in our package.json file. Next thing to do is to add the webpack you just install into the package.json file.

"scripts": {
  "build": "webpack --mode production"
}

At this point you don't really need a configuration file to get started, which is a cool addition to webpack 4

Setting up Babel

Modern javascript is written in ES6 or ES7, but not every browser understands this modern javascript, it's at this juncture we need babel to do the heavy lighting for us. Babel is a tool-chain that is mainly used to convert ECMAScript 2015+ code into a backwards compatible version of JavaScript in current and older browsers or environments. Checkout there docs for more info about what they can do for you.

React components are mostly written in ES6, with the concept of imports, class and other ES6+ features, which older browsers do not understand. Webpack on it's own does not know how to transform or better still transpile the ES6 code to ES5 code. But their is hope for us, webpack have this concept of loaders, a webpack loader takes something as the input and produces something else as the output.

For our setup, we will use babel-loader which is webpack loader that will transpile our ES6 code for us. Before we start using babel-loader, we need to install some packages and setup babel preset env which will target the particular javascript version we want to transpile to.

let's install all the dependencies:

yarn add @babel/core @babel/preset-env @babel/preset-react babel-loader --dev

We also need to setup our babel config file, create a new file in the root directory called .babelrc and write the following configuration to it

{
  "presets": ["@babel/env", "@babel/react"]
}

The above configuration will ensure that babel transpiles our react code, which is JSX and any other ES6+ code we have to ES5 code.

Now is the perfect time to create a minimal webpack configuration for our project. Create a webpack.config.js file in the root directory and write the following configuration for it

module.exports = {
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /.(js|jsx)$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        use: {
          loader: "babel-loader"
        }
      }
    ]
  }
}

What the above configuration does is that for every file with a js or jsx extension, excluding the node_modules folder and it's content, webpack uses babel-loader to transpile the ES6 code to ES5. With this done, lets head over to writing our react component.

Setting up React

We will be creating a very simple react component, that renders a text and a button, but in order to make use of react we need to install some dependencies, react and react-dom .

yarn add react react-dom

After installing those, create a new folder in the root directory, let's call it src inside it create index.js file

In the index.js file write the following code:

import React from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";

const Index = () => {
  return (
    
      
        
          React Page {" "}
        
        

        <a
          className="button-line"
          href="https://github.com/deityhub"
          target="_blank"
        >
          Know more
        
      
    
  );
};

export default Index;

It's time to test things out and see how powerful webpack is. Open up your terminal once again and run

yarn run build

If it's successful you should see a dist folder created for us by webpack, and inside it is an index.js file which have minified version of our ES5 code. Why is the code minified, if you remember in our build script in package.json we specified a --mode production flag after the webpack command, under the hood, webpack will generate a minified version of our ES5 code. To see a readable format of the transpiled code, you can swap the --mode production with --mode development

Yay!, the output was great but that's not what we really want for our react app, we want our transpiled code to be visible in our browser. So let's setup html and also css(scss) to work with our webpack.

Connecting React Component to the DOM

We need to setup an html file so that our react component can be rendered on the dom, but we can't just create a random html file and hook up our react to it using react dom. So to achieve this we need to install the package html-webpack-plugin

yarn add html-webpack-plugin --dev

Adjust your webpack.config.js file to look like this

const path = require("path");
const HtmlWebpackPlugin = require("html-webpack-plugin");

module.exports = {
  entry: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.js"),
  output: {
    path: path.join(__dirname, "build"),
    filename: "bundle.js"
  },
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /.(js|jsx)$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        use: {
          loader: "babel-loader"
        }
      }
    ]
  },
  plugins: [
    new HtmlWebpackPlugin({
      filename: "index.html",
      template: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.html")
    })
  ]
};

If you notice, we are adjusting the input and output so we have a bit more control over the naming and target of our files.

Nextup is to create an html file inside src folder, let's call it index.html and then paste the following code into it



  
    
    
    React, Webpack, Babel Starter Pack
    
  
  
     You need to enable JavaScript to run this app. 
    
    

  

Since we are in the src let's make some adjustments to our react component, first we create a new folder components then inside this folder a two files app.js and app.scss then make this following adjustments to our code:

In ./src/index.js

import React from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";
import App from "./components/app";

ReactDOM.render(, document.getElementById("app"));

In ./src/components/app.js

import React from "react";
import "./app.scss";

const App = () => {
  return (
    
      
        
          React Page {" "}
        
        

        <a
          className="button-line"
          href="https://github.com/deityhub"
          target="_blank"
        >
          Know more now
        
      
    
  );
};

export default App;

In ./src/components/app.scss

body {
  background: linear-gradient(253deg, #0cc898, #1797d2, #864fe1);
  background-size: 300% 300%;
  -webkit-animation: Background 25s ease infinite;
  -moz-animation: Background 25s ease infinite;
  animation: Background 25s ease infinite;
}

.full-screen {
  position: fixed;
  top: 0;
  right: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  left: 0;
//you need to setup file-loader in webpack before you can use images
  background: url("../../assests/image/background.png");
  background-size: cover;
  background-position: center;
  width: 100%;
  height: 100%;
  display: -webkit-flex;
  display: flex;
  -webkit-flex-direction: column;
  //_ works with row or column_

  flex-direction: column;
  -webkit-align-items: center;
  align-items: center;
  -webkit-justify-content: center;
  justify-content: center;
  text-align: center;
}

h1 {
  color: #fff;
  font-family: "Open Sans", sans-serif;
  font-weight: 800;
  font-size: 4em;
  letter-spacing: -2px;
  text-align: center;
  text-shadow: 1px 2px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);

  &:after {
    display: block;
    color: #fff;
    letter-spacing: 1px;
    font-family: "Poiret One", sans-serif;
    content: "React project powered by webpack and babel with support for sass";
    font-size: 0.4em;
    text-align: center;
  }
}

.button-line {
  font-family: "Open Sans", sans-serif;
  text-transform: uppercase;
  letter-spacing: 2px;
  background: transparent;
  border: 1px solid #fff;
  color: #fff;
  text-align: center;
  font-size: 1.4em;
  opacity: 0.8;
  padding: 20px 40px;
  text-decoration: none;
  transition: all 0.5s ease;
  margin: 0 auto;
  display: block;

  &:hover {
    opacity: 1;
    background-color: #fff;
    color: grey;
  }
}

@-webkit-keyframes Background {
  0% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
  50% {
    background-position: 100% 50%;
  }
  100% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
}

@-moz-keyframes Background {
  0% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
  50% {
    background-position: 100% 50%;
  }
  100% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
}

@keyframes Background {
  0% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
  50% {
    background-position: 100% 50%;
  }
  100% {
    background-position: 0% 50%;
  }
}

We will be adding some styling in addition to the html and react component that we will render in the dom. So before we run our code to test it, we need to configure our webpack so it will know how to handle any .css or .scss file being passed through it.

yarn add css-loader sass-loader mini-css-extract-plugin node-sass --dev

sass-loader being installed here is used by webpack to convert our .scss to a .css file that the browser understands, and under the hood it makes use of node-sass to achieve this. Then mini-css-extract-plugin as the name suggests, abstract all our css files into a single css file, instead of the normal behaviour that webpack offers, which is to bundle your css file with the final .js output file which then injects the css into your rendered html output when you run the code.

Open up your webpack config file and adjust your code to look like this

const path = require("path");
const HtmlWebpackPlugin = require("html-webpack-plugin");
const MiniCssExtractPlugin = require("mini-css-extract-plugin");

module.exports = {
  entry: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.js"),
  output: {
    path: path.join(__dirname, "build"),
    filename: "bundle.js"
  },
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /.(js|jsx)$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        use: {
          loader: "babel-loader"
        }
      },
      {
        test: /.(css|scss)$/,
        use: [MiniCssExtractPlugin.loader, "css-loader", "sass-loader"]
      }
    ]
  },
  plugins: [
    new HtmlWebpackPlugin({
      filename: "index.html",
      template: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.html")
    }),
    new MiniCssExtractPlugin({
      filename: "[name].css",
      chunkFilename: "[id].css"
    })
  ]
};

There is a point to note here, the order of your loaders in the webpack config file matters a lot, because webpack processes the loaders from right to left. So using the test for css files for example, it will run sass-loader first, then css-loader and finally MiniCssExtractPlugin.

There is one more thing to do, let's install webpack dev server, this will create a development server for us and monitor our files for any changes during development.

yarn add webpack-dev-server --dev

Then open your package.json file and make the following adjustments in your scripts tag

"scripts": {
    "start": "webpack --mode development",
    "dev": "webpack-dev-server --mode development --open",
    "build": "webpack --mode production"
  }

That's to much code right?, so let's test our code by running yarn run dev

if everything went well, you should see something like this on your browser.

Finishing Touches

If you followed this tutorial step by step, I'm quite confident that you will end up knowing and mastering the usage of webpack and babel. Going forward i want us to add two more features to this project, just to demonstrate that you can extend or add more features tomorrow when working on a more advanced react project than this.

Open your terminal and install this packages

yarn add file-loader @babel/plugin-proposal-class-properties --dev

file-loader will handle all the scenario where we want to import an image or an svg or even a gif while @babel/plugin-proposal-class-properties will handle react class components and static class properties.

In webpack.config.js adjust it to look like this

const path = require("path");
const HtmlWebpackPlugin = require("html-webpack-plugin");
const MiniCssExtractPlugin = require("mini-css-extract-plugin");

module.exports = {
  entry: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.js"),
  output: {
    path: path.join(__dirname, "build"),
    filename: "bundle.js"
  },
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /.(js|jsx)$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        use: {
          loader: "babel-loader"
        }
      },
      {
        test: /.(css|scss)$/,
        use: [MiniCssExtractPlugin.loader, "css-loader", "sass-loader"]
      },
      {
        test: /.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|mp3|svg)$/,
        use: [
          {
            loader: "file-loader",
            options: {
              name: "[path][name]-[hash:8].[ext]"
            }
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  },
  plugins: [
    new HtmlWebpackPlugin({
      filename: "index.html",
      template: path.join(__dirname, "src", "index.html")
    }),
    new MiniCssExtractPlugin({
      filename: "[name].css",
      chunkFilename: "[id].css"
    })
  ]
};

In .babelrc file, also adjust it to look like this

{
  "presets": ["@babel/env", "@babel/react"],
  "plugins": ["@babel/plugin-proposal-class-properties"]
}

Finally run yarn run dev to make sure everything is stile working.

Conclusion

If you made it thus far, congratulation you deserve a pizza, because not everybody that started out to learn something new eventually completes it. I want you to work on what you've learnt in this tutorial, extend the configuration and build something awesome from it. You can checkout the github link to the complete code.

Thanks for reading

If you liked this post, share it with all of your programming buddies!

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Learn ReactJS with Webpack 4, Babel 7, and Material Design

Learn ReactJS with Webpack 4, Babel 7, and Material Design

Quick and simple, fast guide on integrating ReactJS with Webpack, Babel and Material Design. This is a short tutorial which will get your ReactJS app running with Webpack and Babel.

Quick and simple, fast guide on integrating ReactJS with Webpack, Babel and Material Design. This is a short tutorial which will get your ReactJS app running with Webpack and Babel.

**React **is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and it has three main characteristics:

  • Declarative
  • Component-Based
  • Learn Once, Write Anywhere

**Webpack **is an open source JavaScript module bundler. Its main purpose is to bundle **JavaScript **files for usage in a browser, yet it is also capable of transforming, bundling, or packaging just about any resource or asset. **Webpack **takes modules with dependencies and generates static assets representing those modules.

Babel is a toolchain that is mainly used to convert ECMAScript 2015+ code into a backwards compatible version of **JavaScript **in current and older browsers or environments. Here are the main things **Babel **can do for you:

  • Declarative
  • Component-Based
  • Learn Once, Write Anywhere

How to use CSS in JS with React / CSS & Inline Styling

How to use CSS in JS with React / CSS & Inline Styling

In this tutorial, you will learn how to style your components in react. I will take a look at how you can use inline styles, regular CSS classes, CSS modules or react styled components...

CSS in JS isn't unique to React, however, I'm a little React fanboy and it happens to be one of my favorite JS libraries to write front end applications with, so I'm going to be talking about CSS in JS solutions specifically with React and how I feel about them!

Introduction with regular CSS

Before we dive into anything I think we should take a look at what we can accomplish with some good ol' CSS in the context of a React application.

// Button.js
import React from 'react'
import './Button.css'

const Button = () => {
return(
<button className="button button-green">
I think I'm green
</button>
)
}


/* Button.css*/
.button{
border-style: solid;
border-width: 2px;
border-radius: 2rem;
}

.button-green {
background-color: green;
border-color: white;
color: white;
}

So this looks fairly normal, right? It looks like some regular HTML and CSS besides the className. If you're not familiar with React class === className because class is a reserved word in JS, and since JSX is HTML with embedded JS this is a nono.

Issues I have run into using CSS with React

Before we start here I need to state that I am definitely not an expert or guru of CSS. I can kick my feet around with it and make responsive rules that look alright. I can't name any crazy CSS tricks or create an animated Pikachu in pure CSS.

Because of this, I'm not going to even pretend to talk about all the pitfalls with CSS or any new features with CSS that aim to fix these pitfalls, so I'm going to drop this excellent resource from 2014. I'll let you decide if it still holds up! ;)

Global Namespaces

Are you saying I'll be able to use BEM?
When the time comes, you won't have to.

If you took a look at that link I put up above, you'll notice that global namespaces are the first issue it covers with CSS. However, we've all felt this tremor, which is why naming conventions like BEM exist.

.button and .button-green from our CSS example is already 2 global namespaces we introduced.

As an application grows, I've found that the CSS rules are written also grows continuously. Creating unnecessary duplicate styles with small tweaks and unused styles bulking up the application. While there are configs out there to make sure unused CSS isn't included in your bundle, they don't vanish from your codebase and that sucks.

Loose Coupling

While you can structure your react app so that your component styles exist in the same directory as your component, there's nothing in your component file strictly tying it together. Instead, you're referencing the rules you've specified for your selectors. Despite the file structure, those styles can be referenced elsewhere; It's just another thing to think about.

Clunky Controls

When using just CSS you're more or less stuck controlling all your styling changes based on changing the class of an element. While this seemed maybe more natural with something like Vanilla Javascript or JQuery, it always felt hacky to me when using React. You have this direct access to your view all in separated components yet we're throwing all this logic to reference different combinations of CSS classes.

I know Inline Styling

Another way to style your React app without any modules is inline styling. Now, pay no attention to the person in the back yelling about how bad inline styling can be, because that's actually me in disguise. We were all taught that inline styles in HTML are bad and class-based styles were rad. However, this is JSX.

// Button.js
import React from 'react'

const Button = () => {
const buttonGreen = {
backgroundColor: "green",
border: "2px solid white",
borderRadius: "2rem"
color: "white"
};

return(
<button style={buttonGreen}>
I think I'm green
</button>
)
}

This doesn't look so bad right?

You may notice that the CSS rules here don't quite look the same. Instead of seeing Kebab Case we are using Camel Case for our rules. They are mapped out in a Javascript Object with their values wrapped in quotations as a string

Global Namespaces

In our inline styling example, buttonGreen is local to that file, so we can have as many buttonGreen vars as we want across the application without running into any conflicts or following any specific naming conventions!

Loose Coupling

With these styles being locally defined, you can't use these styles unless you go through the effort to exporting and importing them; Ideally, there are enough steps to stop the bad things from happening.

I think it also promotes developers to use React in a more intended way to create generic components that can be reused.

Clunky Controls
// Button.js
import React from 'react'

const Button = ({backgroundColour, colour, children}) => {
const buttonStyles = {
backgroundColor: backgroundColour,
color: colour,
border: "2px solid white",
borderRadius: "2rem"
};

return(
<button style={buttonStyles}>
{children}
</button>
)
}


// SomePage.js
import React from 'react';
import Button from 'Button';

const SomePage = () => (
<Button backgroundColour="blue" colour="white">I'm going to be blue</Button>
)

Now, this is a super simple example but we can see that we have given our Button specific control over the colours through some props that's passed into the component. I like this approach because it's self-documenting and it keeps all the logic in the component; I know exactly what the prop in the component is controlling and the usage of the component is very clear that it's setting the backgroundColour to blue and the colour to white.

What I don't like about Inline Styling

Using objects for styles

I'm not a fan of this syntax for styling. It's enough of a departure that can cause enough tedious work converting CSS into Javascript objects replacing ; with ,, wrapping rules in "", and casing the keys into camel case. It's also scary enough for your designers that this approach can get shut down at the sight of it.

Inline styling is still inline

At the end of the day, this is still inline styling and your HTML will still end up with those ugly style attributes.

Would I personally use Inline Styling in React?

Nope.

But that's not the end for dear old CSS in JS! There are some pretty cool packages out there that do cool stuff and try to solve all kinds of issues regarding readability, scalability, and performance with CSS in JS.

In this series, I'm going to try and look at a diverse pool of these solutions whether they are highly rated or buried underneath.

As of writing this, I have used Styled Components, Emotion, and JSS. If you think one is really cool feel free to drop a comment about it!

Originally published by Phil Tietjen at dev.to

=====================================

Thanks for reading :heart: If you liked this post, share it with all of your programming buddies! Follow me on Facebook | Twitter

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Teaching CSS to JavaScripters

Some JavaScript professionals do not know CSS as well as they’d like to. In order to help them, PPK decided to write a book “CDD for JavaScripters”, where he will explain CSS in terms that JavaScripters will understand.

But what are those terms? What kind of teaching would JavaScripters expect? Is there a CSS mental model that is different from a JavaScript mental model? Is CSS a programming language? Does that matter for teaching or learning CSS?

PPK will give a brief outline of where he’s standing right now on these questions. The majority of the session will be used for a discussion with the audience. How should he teach CSS? Why is it so hard for some to understand it? What are the least-understood parts of CSS? We hope this discussion will yield valuable feedback.


Thanks for reading

If you liked this post, please do share/like it with all of your programming buddies!

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Further reading

The Complete JavaScript Course 2019: Build Real Projects!

Vue JS 2 - The Complete Guide (incl. Vue Router & Vuex)

JavaScript Bootcamp - Build Real World Applications

The Web Developer Bootcamp

New ES2019 Features Every JavaScript Developer Should Know

Best JavaScript Frameworks, Libraries and Tools to Use in 2019

12 tips for writing clean and scalable JavaScript

10 JavaScript Charting Libraries for Every Data Visualization Need