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Your favorite comics emailed to you each morning.
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Inbox Comics

Your favorite comics emailed to you each morning.

Services & Frameworks used

Client (UI)

  1. ES6 Typescript & TSLint
  2. Zeit Now for deployment
  3. Zeit Next.js for SSR (server-side-rendered) React framework and routing
  4. Apollo Client (GraphQL) with react-hooks library for communication with server
  5. SCSS modules (my personal CSS-in-JS solution of choice, though I realize it's a touchy subject)

Server (Back-End)

  1. ES6 Typescript & TSLint
  2. Zeit Now for deployment
  3. Apollo Server (GraphQL) for communication with client
  4. MongoDB Atlas for our database cluster
  5. Mongoose for interacting with mongodb database
  6. ElasticEmail for sending emails-- would not recommend, but is the cheapest option and we have very basic needs.

Why this project is open-sourced

It is a good question. I don't expect the business logic that is specific to the service to be helpful to anyone else. However, it does make good use of what I think are some of the best modern web-app frameworks, such as speedy server-side react in the form of Next.js, a flexible but well-defined database schema and interaction layer in the form of MongoDB/Mongoose, and everyone's favorite client/server interaction layer: GraphQL (specifically, Apollo Client and Apollo Server). It also provides an excellent example of using Zeit as a deployment platform (which I have grown to appreciate very much). Consequently, this repo can serve as a starter pack for developing modern web apps in 2019.

Developer Instructions

Getting environment set up.

  1. Clone the repo with $ git clone
  2. $ cd ./inbox-comics
  3. Install tools you might or might not already have.
    1. Install Homebrew by following the instructions at
    2. Install npm with $ brew install npm.
    3. Install MongoDB with $ brew install mongodb.
    4. Install Zeit Now with $ npm install -g now
  4. Install client package dependencies with $ cd ./client and $ npm install.
  5. Install server package dependencies with $ cd ./server and $ npm install.
  6. Get a database dump from the server by following the instructions on after logging in with your credentials.

Starting the server locally


  1. $ cd ./server
  2. Create a .env file in this directory. This file is not tracked in git because it contains secrets. Put the following there as contents:

The elasticemail_api_key parameter is empty because it is the same as production and therefore secret-- ask @elijahcarrel directly what the API key is. The other information is local-specific and do not match the (secret) production values.

Starting the server

  1. First, in a separate tab or window, start the mongo daemon with $ mongod --config /usr/local/etc/mongod.conf
  2. $ cd ./server
  3. Start the server with $ npm run start
  4. Server is now running on http://localhost:3000.

Starting the client locally

  1. $ cd ./client
  2. Start the client with $ npm run start
  3. Client is now running, and visible in a web browser, on http://localhost:4000.

Deploying the server

  1. $ cd ./server
  2. $ now --prod
  3. Server is now deployed to

Deploying the client

  1. $ cd ./client
  2. $ now --prod
  3. Client is now deployed to

Opening a local database console.

  1. Open a local database console with $ mongo ic. Note that this connects to your local database, not to the production one.
  2. In the database console, you can run commands like > db.users.find({}); or > db.syndications.findOne({ identifier: "calvinandhobbes" });

Opening a production database console.

  1. The URL and password for the production database are, of course, secret. Ask @elijahcarrel.
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