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The project that turns stumptown-content into web pages
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Build Status


These steps should get you started, locally, straight away:

git clone --recursive
cd stumptown-renderer
make install
nf start
open http://localhost:3000

To really understand how it starts and how to break down the various tools, open Procfile or the Makefile. Or, read on...


stumptown-experiment is a couple of things:

  1. It's the source of truth. The content comes in the form of .md files and associated .yaml files that supplies the required metadata. These files are what's expected to be edited, with pull requests, by people who want to improve the content.

  2. Recipe definitions. It's a bit like a template if you like. Each section of content is broken up into pieces, by keys, such as prose.short_description. What the recipes do is they dictate how these pieces are supposed to be put together in a final block of HTML.

  3. Scripts that convert .md files (with their respective .yaml file) into blocks of HTML strings. These are put into .json files keyed by the pieces for each content page. Once transformed from .md to .json, together with the recipe, you can construct a final block of HTML

What this project does is;

From content in stumptown, produce a block of HTML using React components.

But this project also attempts to make those pages ready for viewing in a browser. It uses create-react-app to define a HTML template and the React components within are used in two different ways:

  1. You execute the command line program to produce ready-to-statically-serve .html files that can be opened without an application server. (e.g. Nginx or Netlify)

  2. All the React components that are used by the cli are usable in the browser too. For every produced <page>/index.html file there's also a <page>/index.json which contains all the information to be able to render it client-side after an XHR request gathers the information.


If you haven't already done so, run:

cd where/you/want/to/clone/it
git clone --recursive
cd stumptown-renderer

You need a decent version of node, yarn, and npm.

After you have cloned the repo and want to pull in upstream changes run:

git pull origin master
git submodule update


To do local development, there are many services to start. The simplest is to use nf which is a dev dependency that gets installed by the root package.json:

make install
nf start

That will start a React dev-server at http://localhost:3000. If you change any of them files in client/src it will reload and refresh your browser. If you edit any of the Markdown files in stumptown it will repackage that file and refresh your browser too.

Note! We hope to use, as an alternative to nf, docker-compose. See But even then, using docker-compose should and will be optional.


Open two terminals. In one, run (this will take a little time the first time):

make run-server

In another terminal:

make run-dev

Now you should have two servers:

  1. http://localhost:3000 (open this in your browser)

  2. http://localhost:5000

Note that when you run the React dev server (on localhost:3000) it depends on the files built by stumptown and consequently built by the cli. You can now hack on the key React components and just refresh the browser to see the effect immediately. If you want re-build the content made available to the React components, open another terminal and run:

make build-content

To re-run any of the installation and build steps you can, at any time, run:

make clean


The beauty of a Makefile is that it's a recorded "snapshot" of some good working default commands. If you're trying to do something slightly different, such as hacking on some feature, you can open the Makefile and take inspriation from it rather than thinking it's the only way. So, open it and learn how the default commands work.

For example, the most important command beyond the active development one mentioned in the section above is:

make deployment-build

That one does "everything" and you end up with a full directory that has all the static bundles of JavaScript, CSS, and the .html files. That directory can be shipped to a static hosting platform like AWS S3 for example.

If you're actively working on a piece of content in stumptown-content but for convenience you don't want to mess with the stumptown-content that is available here in this project as a git submodule (named stumptown), then you can set the STUMPTOWN_CONTENT_ROOT environment variable. For example:

cd ~/projects/stumptown-renderer
# running 'make build' now would use ~/projects/stumptown-renderer/stumptown
STUMPTOWN_CONTENT_ROOT=~/stumptown-content make build
# or
STUMPTOWN_CONTENT_ROOT=~/stumptown-content make deployment-build

Security Auditing

To check that all node modules are up to date to secure versions you can run

make yarn-audit-all

It will execute yarn audit in each directory where possible. To remedy yarn auditing warnings, refer to the official yarn documentation.

Linting (formatting)

Linting is done with Prettier. It's checked in CI but also installed as a git hook. The configuration (i.e. our choices) are deliberately omitted which means it applies all the default choices from stock Prettier. For example, line width 80, 2 spaces indentation, semicolon strings, single quotes, no trailing commas, etc.

To check all files once run:

make lint-check

To only check the files you have touched in the current git stage:

make lint-dev

Note this command does not complain, it fixes. Meaning, if you make an edit to a .js file and accidentally violate the Prettier rules, simply running this will fix the violation. For example:

emacs client/src/app.js
make lint-dev

To run all Prettier checking but across all relevant files and not just the ones you've touched run:

make lint-check

And if you just want to format all existing files (might be useful after you've run yarn upgrade prettier --latest for example):

make lint-format

Server-Sider Rendering

Usually, when doing local development work you don't need server-side rendering. But it's a luxury to have for these reasons:

  1. It's faster for the sake of SEO and will work in any non-JavaScript enabled browser.

  2. When all possible URLs are pre-generated and uploaded as static files you don't need a clever server that knows to "reroute" all (non-static) URLs to /index.html.

  3. If you can, with the cli, generate every single possible file ready for static serving there's an opportunity to do expensive post-processing such as extracting critical CSS or calculating nonce for CSP headers.


Deployment means that you prepare one whole single directory that is all that is needed. This build directory is ready to ship to wherever you host your static site. Build everything with:

make deployment-build

What it does is a mix of make run-server and make run-dev but without starting a server. It also, builds a index.html file for every document found and processed by the cli. This whole directory is ready to be uploaded to S3 or Netlify.

Goals and Not-Goals

Number one goal right now: Being able to turn a stumptown content into a HTML block that you can view in a browser.

Another useful goal is that building HTML pages is the ultimate litmus test to check that the whole chain works. If a pull request is made against content/html/properties/video/ you should be able to render that. If the rendering fails, it's most likely due to a serious problem in the the (or the meta.yaml) file.

It's not a goal to slot this perfectly into kuma. First and foremost the React components, that takes the .json from stumptown's packaging, can produce a valid DOM as a string.

It's not a goal to have every feature that kuma has.

Nice To Haves

In principle since every piece of content (transformed) is available it can be used to feed a graph so that we can have automatic relevant links. E.g. the html/content/properties/video/ should know that html/content/properties/canvas/ is available and within the same reach.

Also, we can use the content to feed a full-text search engine. Be that Elasticsearch or FlexSearch it will need a dynamic server which we don't yet have.

At the moment, a cli produces the fully viewable index.html files. This has advantages that we can prepare every single page in something like a deployment script or a build step in CI. But we could also start a Node ExpressJS server and do the same thing there. The URL is the input instead of the file path on disk.

Upgrading Packages

First, to find out which applications have out-of-date packages, run:


It won't stop if any one app has outdated packages. It will go through all of them. Suppose that it mentions outdated packages, go into the app folder and run something like this:

cd cli
yarn outdated  # optional if you already know from ./bin/
yarn upgrade webpack --latest

Upgrading React

React is used in at least two places; the client and the cli. It's important that both of these project folders have the same version of React so that server-side rendering and client-side rendering have matching version.

Also, react and react-dom should be upgraded at the same time since they share release cycles. To help with all of this, run:


Icons and logos

The various formats and sizes of the favicon is generated from the file mdn-web-docs.svg in the repository root. This file is then converted to favicons using To generate new favicons, edit or replace the mdn-web-docs.svg file and then re-upload that to

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