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A canvas for creating React Web Apps with a Node backend and a MySQL connection
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client updates to use reactstrap components Nov 14, 2017
.gitignore Add the client Dec 19, 2016
package-lock.json Update client package and fix breaking changes in react-router Jun 26, 2017
package.json update version of server packages Jun 26, 2017
start-client.js Provide sample MySQL database for server testing Dec 19, 2016

Deprecated -see Code Style Guide for info on js app development for BCBI

Canvas Web App for React-Node-MySQL

This is a fully working canvas for a React Web App with the following characteristics:

Getting this App up and running

  1. First of all Install or update NVM and Node (if you haven't done so)

  2. Clone this repository:

git clone MyWebApp
  1. Set up testing database

In the terminal log in as root and used the sample.sql file included in this repo

mysql -u root
mysql> source sample.sql;

At this point you can test the actual connection to the database.

mysql> use books;
mysql> show tables;

You should get:

| Tables_in_books |
| authors         |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)
  1. Install server and client packages
npm install
cd client
npm install
  1. Start both server and client
npm start

The last lines of the output should be

Starting the development server... 

Compiled successfully!

The app is running at:


Note that the development build is not optimized.
To create a production build, use npm run build.

You can now point your browser to http://localhost:3000/!

If you are interested on re-creating this app from scratch, we've documented most of the steps. This app was initially based on this great blog post and their repository. It may be a good idea to follow that post first, before tackling ours - which adds more features e.g., redux, sagas, routes...

Install or update NVM and Node


I used homebrew - althrough not officially supported. But I have not yet run into any issues

brew update
brew install nvm
source $(brew --prefix nvm)/

Follow directions on screen

You should create NVM's working directory if it doesn't exist:

  mkdir ~/.nvm

Add the following to ~/.bash_profile or your desired shell
configuration file:

  export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
  . "$(brew --prefix nvm)/"

You can set $NVM_DIR to any location, but leaving it unchanged from
/usr/local/Cellar/nvm/0.32.0 will destroy any nvm-installed Node installations
upon upgrade/reinstall.


nvm install node

Follow any recommendations on screen e.g

nvm use --delete-prefix v6.6.0

If your enviroment is not up-to-date

  • Possibly NVM
brew update
  • Get latest npm
npm install -g npm@latest
  • Update global npm packages
npm update -g

Starting from scratch

Create your App folder, init repo

mkdir MyWebApp
cd MyWebApp
git init
...(add readme, commit, set up origin, push)

Set up the SERVER

  • MyWebApp/server.js

The file is an example of what it may look like for a server that: * Serves at port 3001 * Uses static index.html when in production mode * Connects to a MySQL pool (pools allow handles reconnecting) * Has a server-api that the client side can talk to

  • MyWebApp/package.json

Contents where borrowed and slightly modified from this file. Note: Our local copy depends on MySQL instead of SQLite

  • MyWebApp/start-client.js

Contents where borrowed from this file

Test the SERVER

  • Minimal testing

Within the top directory

npm install -s
npm run server

At this point you should see:

NODE_ENV:  undefined
Find the server at: http://localhost:3001/
  • Testing the database

In the terminal log in as root and used the sample.sql file included in this repo

mysql -u root
mysql> source sample.sql

At this point you can test the actual connection to the database.

Start your server again:

npm run server

Then, submit a query to your db - from another terminal window:

curl localhost:3001/api/books?firstName=William | jq '.'

You should see

  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100    71  100    71    0     0   2257      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  2290
    "last_name": "Shakespeare",
    "first_name": "William",
    "middle_name": null

Set up the CLIENT

That's what we use create-react-app for:

create-react-app client

Test the CLIENT (bare-bones):

cd client
npm start


The server is ready to receive queries but at this moment, there are no requests sent from the client. To do so, we create a client interface

* client/Client.js

The main function in this file doing the query is

    function search(query) {
      return fetch(`/api/books?firstName=${query}`, {
        accept: 'application/json',
* [Bootstrap Table](

Install module:

npm install react-bootstrap-table --save

Add CSS to public/index.html (inside body)

<link rel="stylesheet" src="">

Add the proxy

We need Webpack development server proxy our API requests to our API server

// Inside client/package.json
"proxy": "http://localhost:3001/",

Add Bootstrap, React Router, Redux and Redux-Saga

For Bootstrap follow this instructions

We will

React-Router hadles routing in our single-page application on the client side

npm install --save react-router
npm install --save react-router-bootstrap

Redux handles our Application (global) state

npm install --save react-redux

Redux-Saga handles waiting for our asychronous calls (similar to promises)

npm install --save redux-saga
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