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A Starter Kit for React+Flux and Express+Postgres
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*** Base now supports ***

  1. Username and Password Sign-in and Sign-up with password hashing
  2. Integration tests on server endpoints


Alt text

Base is a seed / starter kit for a modern web application stack, scaffolded out with a baseline level of security. Built with ReactJS, Flux, Express, and Postgres.

Demo Site

View the demo at


Check out the


The philosophy around Base was to roll out a baseline set of security features for protection against common web application threats to give developers a kick start when building out their app.

We're not trying to be a silver bullet, but we are aiming to give developers as big a kick start as possible.

Some of the other why's include:

A starter kit and reference implementation for Facebook's ReactJS+Flux.

We love React+Flux and think you will too. Base scaffolds out React components along with related Flux actions and stores, and provides a starter framework for getting a ReactJS front-end chatting with an Express / Postgres back-end.

Secure web application stack using OAuth2.

We wanted a starter kit that scaffolds out a baseline implementation of a modern secure web application.

A light and scalable Web Server

Express and NodeJS provides a powerful and scalable web stack as a base. Other than this, we don't impose any other framework choice on the server side.

An RDBMS Alternative

MongoDB is a very popular persistent store on the web, and with many good reasons. But we think there are many apps out there where an RDBMs is still the most relevant choice. We chose Postgres as a fast, scalable, open source, and well supported RDBMS option.


The Stack:

Gulp + Webpack + React + Flux + Express + Postgres + Passportjs + Bootstrap + Jade + Mocha + Chai.

  1. React+Flux Scaffolding
  2. React-router
  3. WebPack+Gulp
  4. Postgres
  5. NodeJS Express web server


  1. PassportJS for OAuth2
  2. Username and Password Sign-in and Sign-up
  3. Social logins (Google and Facebook)
  4. HelmetJS for header protection mechanisms
  5. TLS/SSL By default
  6. XSS protections
  7. CSRF protections
  8. Secure sessions


Manual Install Requirements

Before running the install scripts for Base, there's a few manual steps that you'll need to do to get up and running.

  • A running instance of PostgreSQL is required. The latest version of PostgreSQL can be found here: pgAdmin - the defacto admin platform for PostgreSQL can also be downloaded here:
  • When you install Postgres, open up pgAdmin, and create a brand new empty database. The Gulp scripts don't create this database automatically. The name of this database needs to be indicated in your DB connection string in your .env file.
  • To prep Base for social logins, you will need to setup your app's OAuth details for each of the respective providers you intend to use (Facebook login, Google login etc)- more details here
  • To run Base locally in development and to use social logins, OAuth providers (Facebook, Google) need an actual resolvable domain to use for the redirect URI. localhost won't cut it for the redirect URI's. You will need to edit your hosts file (on a Mac /etc/hosts) and add the line: <your-app-domain>.com

Setting your environment settings and config

Configs are stores in .env files in the root directory of Base that correspond to the running NODE_ENV value. So if you're running in development, Base will look for development.env config in the root directory of your project. Config is loaded into your app using dotenv, and can then be accessed throughout your app using config.js

By default .env files are in .gitignore to avoid checking in secrets and settings, so you will need to manually create .env files in your repository.

NEVER check in your configs to repositories. Secrets, credentials and other sensitive settings generally exist in these files so we need to make sure these are kept out of VCS.

There is however a sample.env file (not used by Base, and excluded from .gitignore) that exists with an example list of settings that Base recognizes and supports. You can use sample.env as a starting point to fill out your config settings. Copy this file and rename the copies to development.env, test.env, production.env etc for each NODE_ENV you have.


Base uses Gulp + Webpack as it's build system. To install base for your app:

$ git clone MyApp
$ cd MyApp
$ npm install -g gulp           # Install Gulp task runner globally
$ npm install                   # Install Node.js components listed in ./package.json


Once you clone the repo, install the dependencies, and set your configs, you will need to bootstrap the database with the initial tables.

To bootstrap a NEW database, simply run:

$ gulp bootstrap

BE CAREFUL to run this on any existing DB instance and this will wipe and reset the database to initial Base settings. This includes wiping all data, tables, and schemas

The bootstrap script also creates self signed certs for use in development. In the sample.env file, the TLS.KEY, TLS.CERT, and TLS.CA settings have default values for SSL used for development, so it's safe to copy these over to development.env.

Running Base

  • Check that you have a running instance of Postgres and that your DB is live.
  • Make sure your port in your .env profile matches your running Postgres port
  • Make sure that you have an empty DB already created. gulp bootstrap does not create a DB automatically, just the tables

then to run the application, type:

$ gulp


Base has a suite of tests that runs against a test database. Mocha + Chai are used as the test frameworks.

To run the tests, you will need to make sure you have a running instance of a test Postgres DB.(e.g. postgres://postgres:postgres@localhost:5432/base-test).

The settings for your test environment can be entered in your test.env config file. NODE_ENV=test uses only a small number of settings that are present in other environments, for example, the Oauth login settings aren't relevant for test runs.

More test coverage coming, an ongoing task...

Once this is setup, run the tests by:

$ gulp test

Production Build

Base can build out a production distribution in a dist folder. To build out a version for distribution type:

gulp build:dist --release

This will copy over a production.env file into the dist folder, whilst keeping out any self-signed certs generated.

SFTP the contents of this folder to your VPS and run npm install to install all of the dependencies.

After this, you can point ForeverJS (or PM2) to your server.js file in your dist folder on your production server to run the app.

On the roadmap, Yeoman generators, and Heroku deploys


Base is under MIT license - LICENSE.txt

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