Isomorphic Hello World with React and Node
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Isomorphic Hello World with React and Node

While working through sample after sample for Node.js and React.js, I experienced a pattern that wasn’t very helpful. Instead of truly starting from scratch, the samples kept walking through step-by-step of cloning a working solution. They’d start with “Step 1: paste this fully-working code into this file” and “Step 2: paste this fully-working code into this other file.” I was having a hard time finding a breakdown of the concepts being applied.

I wanted to learn by starting truly from scratch and building the app up in logical, incremental steps. This tutorial uses the following high-level approach:

  1. Create a Hello World web server in Node.js
  2. Use React’s JSX syntax to define component content
  3. Use Gulp to improve the development workflow
  4. Extract a React.js component from the code and render it on the server
  5. Introduce a client-side React.js component (without JSX) to render on the page
  6. Refactor the client-side component to use JSX
  7. Integrate the server-side and client-side React.js usage, achieving an “Isomorphic” page

These 7 major steps are achieved over the course of 20 detailed iterations on the project, starting from nothing and building a functioning isomorphic page. Let’s get started by getting Node.js serving a “Hello World” page.

View this tutorial at