What to watch
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What to watch.


The intent of this web application is to regularly download metadata about movies. The movies are then filtered based on their critic and user score, and those that remain are available to be viewed by the user. At a later time, the user can look at the available movies and decide to "save" or "dismiss" each movie.

Movies that are saved remain in the system until the user has an opportunity to add the movies to some wishlist of their own. The saved movies can then be dismissed. All dismissed movies are cleaned up and removed from the system.

Technical Details

This web application has both server side and client side components:

The server side is a Node.js application, using Express to serve the APIs and Mongo/Mongoose as the data storage solution. Passport security is configured using bcrypt encryption.

The client side is a React/Redux application, simply using fetch to make API calls to the server side. CSS Modules are used within the React components. Webpack is responsible for bundling the client side, and integrated into the Express application for hot reloading in the development environment.

Babel is used throughout both the server and client sides. In the production environment, the server side is compiled down to ES5, and Webpack generates the single module used for the client side application.

Tests are written using Mocha/Should for both the server and client side code. Linting is handled using ESLint and Sass Lint. Travis CI is used as the CI framework for branch and pull request builds.

Run the Application

To run the application, some initial setup is required:

Install Node

Since this is a Node.js project, please make sure Node is installed on the machine. A recommended install method is to use nvm which installs Node into your home directory.

This project requires Node v4 or above, recommended v6.

Install Dependencies

Once Node is installed, from this project's root directory run the following command to install the project dependencies:

$ npm install


This application requires a connection to a Mongo Database. This database can be run locally or remotely, with the connection information specified in the configuration or in environment variables at startup time. For more information on the configuration parameters, please see the Configuration section.

Create User

This application requires an authenticated user to access the APIs. A script is available in the root of this project to create a user to use locally if needed. Edit the setup.js file in the project root to suite your needs, and once ready, run the following command to populate the user:

$ ./node_modules/.bin/babel-node setup.js

This assumes you have installed babel-node via the npm install command above.

Start the App

This project is configured to load separate configuration based on the environment where it is run (for example, development vs production). The environment is specified via the NODE_ENV environment variable. If no environment is specified, it will default to development.

To start the application (in development mode), execute the following command:

$ npm start

This script will call babel-node to run the server side code in an "esnext" environment. This compiles all the server side source code into ES5 to run via node (it caches the compiled code to memory). This also runs webpack in a "development" manner that similarly loads all the packs to memory and serves them up when requested. This is to allow dynamic updates while developing.

(It is not advised to run babel-node in production environment, so an alternate path is taken for npm run production. Please see below for more details.)

The current available environments include:

  • development
  • production


In production mode the application is setup to use minified assets. The build task produces both compiled server side assets and minified webpack client side assets. To execute this task, run the following command:

$ npm run build

The production-build task performs the same actions as the build task, but removes any development dependencies and only retains those files necessary to run the server in a production environment. This was done to limit the size of the deliverable.

$ npm run production-build

(Note that both the build or production-build tasks produce the same build assets -- it is only required to run one command.)

Once the build assets are generated, to start the server in the production environment, execute the following command:

$ npm run production

This command does not watch for file changes and only serves up what was produced during the production-build script execution. This was done to allow a separate "production" process to monitor the state of the server, and not restart automatically if changes are made to the file system.


Most all of the app's configuration is held within the server/config/index.js file. Some of these values can be specified via environment variables. Below is a list of those variables:

  • Node Server
    • PORT : The port for the node application server, defaults to 3000 in all environments.
  • Client Session
    • SESSION_NAME : The name of the cookie used to store the client session, defaults to watchlist.
    • SESSION_SECRET : The passphrase used to encrypt the client session cookie.
  • Mongo
    • MONGO_PROTOCOL : The protocol for the mongodb connection, defaults to mongodb://
    • MONGO_HOST : Hostname for mongodb, defaults to localhost
    • MONGO_PORT : Port for mongodb, defaults to 27017
    • MONGO_DB : Database for mongodb, defaults to watchlist
  • Movies API
    • MOVIES_DOMAIN : The domain used to retrieve movie data.
    • MOVIES_API : The API (URL) used to retrieve movie data.
    • MOVIES_LIMIT : Limit on the amount of movies retrieved, defaults to 100.
    • MOVIES_TYPE : Type of movies to retrieve, possible values include in-theaters and opening, defaults to in-theaters.
    • MOVIES_SORT_BY : How to sort the movies retrieved, possible values include popularity and release, defaults to popularity.
    • MOVIES_REQUEST_ENCODING : Encoding of the HTTP request, defaults to binary. See the request options documentation for more details.
  • Movie Filter - Attributes here define how the movies are filtered after they are retrieved from the movies API. These rules are listed in order of evaluation within the filter, so if a movie does not match the first rule, it can still be included by matching the next rule, and so on.
    • TOP_MOVIES_INDEX : Number of movies to include from the start of the list (so with a value of 10, the first 10 movies would be included in the filter). Defaults to 0.
    • MIN_USER_SCORE : Minimum user score to include in the filter if the movie has not yet been included, defaults to 70.
    • MIN_CRITIC_SCORE : Minimum critic score to include in the filter if the movie has not yet been included, defaults to 80.
    • MIN_USER_CRITIC_SCORE : Minimum user AND critic score to include in the filter if the movie has not yet been included, defaults to 60.
  • Movie Trailer API
    • MOVIE_TRAILER_DOMAIN : The domain used to retrieve movie trailer data.
    • MOVIE_TRAILER_API : The API (URL) used to retrieve movie trailer data.
    • MOVIE_TRAILER_API_MOVIE_ID_PLACEHOLDER : The string placeholder within the movie trailer API which should be replaced with the movie ID. Defaults to MOVIE_ID.
    • MOVIE_TRAILER_LIMIT : Limit the amount of trailers retrieved, defaults to 1.
  • Movie Cleanup
    • MOVIE_CLEANUP_MODIFIED_DAYS_AGO : Dismissed movies that have NOT been modified as recently as this many days ago will be deleted. For example, the default value is 90, meaning dismissed movies that have not been updated in 90 days (either by a movie update or a user action) will be removed at next scheduled cleanup.


There are tests for the client and server side code, which use Mocha as the test framework. Running the test script will lint the files and run the tests. This can be done by executing the following command:

$ npm test

To only run the mocha tests, execute:

$ npm run test:mocha

To run the mocha tests in a "watch" mode:

$ npm run test:watch

Test App

A test application is available to test out components used within the main application. To run the test app, execute the following command:

$ npm run test-app

The contents of the test application are not included in the webpack bundle used in the main application. The TEST_APP environment variable is used to determine which application index.js file to use, which imports in the necessary files.