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Apollo Universal Starter Kit with Hot Code Reload of backend & frontend

Apollo Universal Starter Kit is an boilerplate for Universal web app development built on top of Apollo, GraphQL, React, Express with SQL storage support and Twitter Bootstrap integration. Hot Code Reload of backend & frontend using Webpack and Hot Module Replacement to reflect your changes instantly and help you stay productive.

Hot Code Reload demo


Getting Started

  1. Clone starter kit locally.
git clone
cd apollo-fullstack-starter-kit
  1. Install dependencies.
npm i
  1. Create sample SQLite database schema.
npm run migrate
  1. Seed sample database data.
npm run seed
  1. Run starter kit in development mode.
npm start
  1. Point your browser to http://localhost:3000
  2. Change any app code and see the changes applied immediately!
  3. Open app in multiple tabs, try to increase counter in one tab and then switch to another tab. You will see that counter value updated there as well, because counter is live updated via subscriptions.

Deploying to Heroku

  1. Add your app to Heroku
  2. Allow Heroku to install build time dependencies from the devDependencies in package.json: Settings -> Config Variables -> Add, KEY: NPM_CONFIG_PRODUCTION, VALUE: false.
  3. Deploy your app on Heroku

Heroku Demo

You can see latest version of this app deployed to Heroku here:


  • Webpack for backend

    This starter kit is different from most of the starter kits out there, because it uses Webpack not only for frontend, but for backend code as well. This enables powerful Webpack features for backend code, such as conditional compilation, embedding non-js files and CSS stylesheets into the code, hot code reload, etc.

  • Hot Code Reload for backend and frontend

    Hot Code Reload for backend is done using Webpack. When Webpack prepares hot patches on the filesystem, SIGUSR2 signal is sent to Node.js app and embedded Webpack Hot Module Runtime reacts to this signal and applies patches to running modules from filesystem. Hot code reload for frontend is using Webpack Dev Server and Hot Module Replacement to apply patches to frontend code. Hot patches for React components are applied on the frontend and backend at the same time, so React should not complain about differences in client and server code.

  • Server Side Rendering with Apollo Redux Store sync

    On the initial web page request backend fully renders UI and hands off Apollo Redux Store state to frontend. Frontend then starts off from there and updates itself on user interactions.

  • Optimistic UI updates

    This example application uses Apollo optimistic UI updates, that result in immediate UI update on user interaction and then, after data arrives from the server, UI state is finalized.

  • GraphQL API

    GraphQL is used as very flexible and much faster API in terms of bandwidth and round-trips, compared to REST. GraphQL requests are batched together automatically by Apollo

  • GraphQL subscription example

    GraphQL subscription is utilized to make counter updating in real-time.

  • SQL and arbitrary data sources support

    Knex code to access SQLite is included as an example of using arbitrary data source with Apollo and GraphQL. NoSQL storage or any other data source can be used the same way.

  • Powerful stylesheets with Hot Reloading

    Twitter Bootstrap in form of SASS stylesheets is used for styling demo application. Application has stylesheet in styles.scss for global styling which is Hot Reloaded on change. React components styling is done by Aphrodite CSS.`

  • Babel for ES2017 transpiling

  • ESLint to enforce proper code style


Copyright © 2016 SysGears INC. This source code is licensed under the MIT license.

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