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Minimal React Starter

A starter project with React, Babel, and Webpack.

This starter is as minimal as possible while still including Babel and Webpack.

Create Project

git clone


npm install


  1. node server.js

  2. Open http://localhost:3000/.

Build it from Scratch

Starter projects can be difficult for beginners to use because of all the moving pieces. To help you understand this starter project, there is a 7-step walkthrough showing how to create it from scratch.

Why Minimal?

The primary purpose of this project is learning.

For learning, a minimal starter project is best. Too many dependencies can cause confusion for a beginner. The process of selecting and adding what you need to a minimal project can be a good way to learn.

Why not more Minimal?

Babel and Webpack are the two tools that I view as completely essential in a React project.

There are no other tools that I have used consistently in every single React project that I have built, no matter how large or how small.

Babel: Even if you are just writing a quick test, you will likely want to use JSX in your components rather than writing out React.createElement over and over.

Webpack: Webpack serves as both the web server and the JavaScript bundler. The only alternative to using a bundler would be to include a <script> tag for each of your .js files, and that gets messy very quickly, even in a simple project.

More Details

  • No CSS. For experiments or tests, put your styles in index.html in a <style> tag. For real projects, pick from these style tools.
  • No Flux. If you need it - try Redux or MobX!
  • Webpack is run with the express and webpack-dev-middleware.
  • The 'content base' is set to www. Any files in that directory will be served by express.


HMR is not supported in the master branch for simplicity. If you would like HMR support, you can see the changes that add HMR support or you can directly clone the HMR branch:

git clone -b hmr


As minimal a react starter as you can get... while also using ES6/Babel and Webpack.







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