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Good things come in pairs

Looking to mix up a backend with express/sequelize and a frontend with react/redux? That's boilermaker!

Follow along with the boilerplate workshop to make your own! This canonical version can serve as a reference, or a starting point. For an in depth discussion into the code that makes up this repository, see the Boilermaker Guided Tour


To use this as boilerplate, you'll need to take the following steps:

  • Don't fork or clone this repo! Instead, create a new, empty directory on your machine and git init (or create an empty repo on Github and clone it to your local machine)
  • Run the following commands:
git remote add boilermaker
git fetch boilermaker
git merge boilermaker/master

Why did we do that? Because every once in a while, boilermaker may be updated with additional features or bug fixes, and you can easily get those changes from now on by entering:

git fetch boilermaker
git merge boilermaker/master


Now that you've got the code, follow these steps to get acclimated:

  • Update project name and description in package.json and .travis.yml files
  • npm install
  • Create two postgres databases (MY_APP_NAME should match the name parameter in package.json):
export MY_APP_NAME=boilermaker
createdb $MY_APP_NAME
createdb $MY_APP_NAME-test
  • By default, running npm test will use boilermaker-test, while regular development uses boilermaker
  • Create a file called secrets.js in the project root
    • This file is listed in .gitignore, and will only be required in your development environment
    • Its purpose is to attach the secret environment variables that you will use while developing
    • However, it's very important that you not push it to Github! Otherwise, prying eyes will find your secret API keys!
    • It might look like this:
process.env.GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID = 'hush hush'
process.env.GOOGLE_CLIENT_SECRET = 'pretty secret'
process.env.GOOGLE_CALLBACK = '/auth/google/callback'


  • To use OAuth with Google, complete the steps above with a real client ID and client secret supplied from Google


Linters are fundamental to any project. They ensure that your code has a consistent style, which is critical to writing readable code.

Boilermaker comes with a working linter (ESLint, with eslint-config-fullstack) "out of the box." However, everyone has their own style, so we recommend that you and your team work out yours and stick to it. Any linter rule that you object to can be "turned off" in .eslintrc.json. You may also choose an entirely different config if you don't like ours:


Running npm run start-dev will make great things happen!

If you want to run the server and/or webpack separately, you can also npm run start-server and npm run build-client.

From there, just follow your bliss.


Ready to go world wide? Here's a guide to deployment! There are two supported ways to deploy in Boilermaker:

  • automatically, via continuous deployment with Travis.
  • "manually", from your local machine via the deploy script.

Either way, you'll need to set up your deployment server to start. The steps below are also covered in the CI/CD workshop.


  1. Set up the Heroku command line tools
  2. heroku login
  3. Add a git remote for heroku:
  • If you are creating a new app...

    1. heroku create or heroku create your-app-name if you have a name in mind.
    2. heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev to add ("provision") a postgres database to your heroku dyno
  • If you already have a Heroku app...

    1. heroku git:remote your-app-name You'll need to be a collaborator on the app.


NOTE that this step assumes that Travis-CI is already testing your code. Continuous Integration is not about testing per se – it's about continuously integrating your changes into the live application, instead of periodically releasing new versions. CI tools can not only test your code, but then automatically deploy your app. This is known as Continuous Deployment. Boilermaker comes with a .travis.yml configuration almost ready for continuous deployment; follow these steps to the job.

  1. Run the following commands to create a new branch:
git checkout master
git pull
git checkout -b f/travis-deploy
  1. Run the following script to finish configuring travis.yml : npm run heroku-token This will use your heroku CLI (that you configured previously, if not then see above) to generate an authentication token. It will then use openssl to encrypt this token using a public key that Travis has generated for you. It will then update your .travis.yml file with the encrypted value to be sent with the secure key under the api_key.
  2. Run the following commands to commit these changes
git add .travis.yml
git commit -m 'travis: activate deployment'
git push -u origin f/travis-deploy
  1. Make a Pull Request for the new branch, get it approved, and merge it into the master branch.

NOTE that this script depends on your local origin Git remote matching your GitHub URL, and your local heroku remote matching the name of your Heroku app. This is only an issue if you rename your GitHub organization, repository name or Heroku app name. You can update these values using git remote and its related commands.

Travis CLI

There is a procedure to complete the above steps by installing the official Travis CLI tools. This requires a recent Ruby, but this step should not be, strictly speaking, necessary. Only explore this option when the above has failed.

That's it! From now on, whenever master is updated on GitHub, Travis will automatically push the app to Heroku for you.

Cody's own deploy script

Your local copy of the application can be pushed up to Heroku at will, using Boilermaker's handy deployment script:

  1. Make sure that all your work is fully committed and merged into your master branch on Github.
  2. If you currently have an existing branch called "deploy", delete it now (git branch -d deploy). We will use a dummy branch with the name deploy (see below), so and the script below will error if a branch with that name already exists.
  3. npm run deploy _ this will cause the following commands to happen in order: _ git checkout -b deploy: checks out a new branch called deploy. Note that the name deploy here is not magical, but it needs to match the name of the branch we specify when we push to our heroku remote. _ webpack -p: webpack will run in "production mode" _ git add -f public/bundle.js public/ "force" add these files which are listed in .gitignore. _ git commit --allow-empty -m 'Deploying': create a commit, even if nothing changed _ git push --force heroku deploy:master: push your local deploy branch to the master branch on heroku _ git checkout master: return to your master branch _ git branch -D deploy: remove the deploy branch

Now, you should be deployed!

Why do all of these steps? The big reason is because we don't want our production server to be cluttered up with dev dependencies like webpack, but at the same time we don't want our development git-tracking to be cluttered with production build files like bundle.js! By doing these steps, we make sure our development and production environments both stay nice and clean!


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