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node/express scaffolding for SSR outside of Sitecore Content Delivery

This is a sample setup showing one one of how you can configure rendering server on top of node.js and Express.

The setup is using sitecore-jss-proxy that enables request proxying to Sitecore CD along with the http cookies to enable tracking, personalization and contact identification.

This is a sample setup that is not officially supported by Sitecore.

You can use this as a starting point to unlock deployment of your JSS apps to any managed node.js hosting environment (Azure App Service, Heroku, IBM BlueMix, you name it).

Pre-requisites

  1. Your Sitecore instance needs to be configured with JSS.Server and the API Key provisioned. Read more here how to set it up.

    LayoutService API should be returning output if you make the following request to your Sitecore instance. http://sitecore-host/sitecore/api/layout/render/jss?item=/&sc_apikey={YOUR_API_KEY}

  2. Build your JS app bundle with jss build.

    You can use any of the JSS sample apps. Other apps must support server side rendering (JSS integrated mode) to operate with this project.

  3. Deploy the build artifacts from your app (/dist or /build within the app) to the sitecoreDistPath set in your app's package.json under the proxy root path. Most apps use /dist/${jssAppName}, for example $proxyRoot/dist/${jssAppName}.

Another way to deploy the artifacts to the proxy is to change the instancePath in your app's scjssconfig.json to the proxy root path, and then use jss deploy files within the app to complete the deployment to the proxy.

Setup

Open config.js and specify your application bundle and connection settings to your Sitecore CD instance. config.js is heavily commented for your perusal.

Environment Variables

The following environment variables can be set to configure the proxy instead of modifying config.js, for environments where this is more desirable like containers:

Parameter Description
SITECORE_JSS_SERVER_BUNDLE Path to the JSS app's server.bundle.js file.
SITECORE_API_HOST Sitecore instance host name. Should be HTTPS in production.
SITECORE_LAYOUT_SERVICE_ROUTE Optional. The path to layout service for the JSS application. Defaults to /sitecore/api/layout/render/jss.
SITECORE_API_KEY The Sitecore SSC API key your app uses.
SITECORE_PATH_REWRITE_EXCLUDE_ROUTES Optional. Pipe-separated list of absolute paths that should not be rendered through SSR. Defaults can be seen in config.js.
SITECORE_ENABLE_DEBUG Optional. Writes verbose request info to stdout for debugging. Defaults to false.

Build & run

  1. Run npm install

  2. Run npm run start

You should be able to see the following message: server listening on port 3000! and see all the communication between this server and your Sitecore CD instance in the console.

More info on this setup can be found here.

Production Notes

  • Ensure that debug: false in config.js. Console output will cause terrible scaling.
  • Customise error.html in case your app throws HTTP 500 errors.
  • Load test the proxy prior to launch to ensure proper performance levels for your needs.