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Intl edit details page saved changes Apr 13, 2019
aws remove Button component in favour of Antd Button. Apr 10, 2019
build/messages/client/modules Person Detail form editor and tests Apr 24, 2019
client remove dummy.js files from coverage tests Apr 24, 2019
config/blueprints Update react (& friends) to 16x Jul 4, 2018
server Person Detail form editor and tests Apr 24, 2019
.babelrc VP-79 tools for translators and I18N support Mar 28, 2019
.dockerignore feat: Improve dev/build process, node>=6, npm@5 Jun 3, 2018
.editorconfig Initial editorconfig Feb 18, 2016
.eslintignore basic person detail page Apr 23, 2019
.eslintrc fix(webpack): proper isomorphic assets loading Jun 14, 2016
.gitignore VP-12 docker compose files for production Mar 21, 2019
.travis.yml Use npm@6 explicitly in TravisCI Jun 4, 2018 feat: add code of conduct Jun 7, 2016
CONTRIBUTORS my first commit. modified contributors file. Apr 23, 2019 Remove mongodb port mapping Jun 4, 2018
Dockerfile Remove unnecesary files from Dockerfile Jun 4, 2018
LICENSE Changed licence to MPL-2.0 Mar 14, 2019 Update Apr 17, 2019
docker-compose-ecs-atlas.yml Add AWS control scripts Mar 22, 2019
docker-compose-ecs-dev.yml Add AWS control scripts Mar 22, 2019
docker-compose-ecs.yml Add AWS control scripts Mar 22, 2019
docker-compose-production.yml Add AWS control scripts Mar 22, 2019
docker-compose.yml Add AWS control scripts Mar 22, 2019
index.js Only expose frontend build files through express Jun 7, 2017
mern.json feat(generators): add generator config and blueprints for generators Jun 3, 2016
nodemon.json fix hot reloading on docker Oct 11, 2016
package-lock.json update package lock Apr 9, 2019
run added some helpful scripts Mar 27, 2019
translations.babel Added some translation examples Mar 28, 2019
webpack.config.babel.js Landing page with antd theme Apr 4, 2019 Landing page with antd theme Apr 4, 2019 fix to production build, add env var for post scripts Apr 5, 2019


Join the chat at License: MPL 2.0

Support education and innovation in New Zealand Schools with industry experts and volunteers in the classrooms

I want to join the community

You don't need permission to help - its open.

This is an open source project and you are welcome to contribute at any level you feel comfortable. Find out more about the project at the Website and then...

  1. Say hi or ask questions in the gitter chat room above
  2. email to tell us about yourself
  3. Start Reading documentation
  4. Build the code - below
  5. Add yourself to the CONTRIBUTORS file, check it in and send us a pull request - see this ticket VP-82
  6. Come along to a Drop in Wednesday Afternoon or after work social at our Auckland office
  7. Come along to one of our developer events - see for the latest details.

Just let me build it is based on the MERN (MongoDB, Express, React+Redux, Node) software stack and everything should work out of the box. There are two choices:

  1. install NodeJS and MongoDB and run locally.
  2. install Docker and run in a container.

Install NodeJS and MongoDB and run locally.


You will need:

  • git You may already have it. Verify with git --version

  • nodejs. Verify this with node -v which should return a current version. e.g. v11.12.0

You will also need to be connected to the Internet and be prepared for some downloads. (sometimes corporate firewalls make this difficult - go get a coffee and use theirs.)

  • MongoDB or setup a free account in the cloud - but if you do this you will need to change the MONGO_URL=mongodb://localhost:27017/vly-test connection string in your environment or in package.json to point at your cloud URL.

For mac users brew install mongodb should be all you need to do.

  • start the mongodb service


Get the source code

git clone
cd vly1
npm install

npm install may take several minutes as it pulls in all the dependent packages.

Available Commands

  1. npm start - starts the development server with hot reloading enabled

  2. npm run bs - bundles the code and starts the production server

  3. npm run test - start the test runner

  4. npm run watch:test - start the test runner with watch mode

  5. npm run cover - generates test coverage report

  6. npm run lint - runs linter to check for lint errors

When you run npm start it will take a couple of minutes to start up and there's a pause when nothing seems to be happening - be patient, webpack and babel are processing all the files. Once you see the message " is running on port: 8000! Be Awesome!" then you can open your browser at http://localhost:8000.

If you see the message "Please make sure Mongodb is installed and running!" then go back and start mongod.

Press control+C to exit the node application.

Install Docker and run in a container.

You can use this option if you quickly want to see what the application looks like.

You will need:

Get the source code

git clone
cd vly1
npm install

Start the Containers

docker-compose up -d --build

Note this may take a few minutes the first time you run it as it will download some images. Also once the command returns the services are still starting up so it will be a minute before you can visit the webpage.

You are in.

You will now be able to see the application (if not then ask for help on our gitter channel.


To halt the containers run:

docker-compose down 

More information at Using Docker and Docker Compose

File Structure

Webpack Configs

MERN uses Webpack for bundling modules. There are four types of Webpack configs provided (for development), (for production), webpack.config.server.js (for bundling server in production) and webpack.config.babel.js (for babel-plugin-webpack-loaders for server rendering of assets included through webpack).

The Webpack configuration is minimal and beginner-friendly. You can customise and add more features to it for production build.


MERN uses express web framework. Our app sits in server.js where we check for NODE_ENV.

If NODE_ENV is development, we apply Webpack middlewares for bundling and Hot Module Replacement.

Server Side Rendering

We use React Router's match function for handling all page requests so that browser history works.

All the routes are defined in client/routes.js. React Router renders components according to route requested.

// Server Side Rendering based on routes matched by React-router.
app.use((req, res) => {
        location: req.url
    }, (err, redirectLocation, renderProps) => {
        if (err) {
            return res.status(500).end('Internal server error');

        if (!renderProps) {
            return res.status(404).end('Not found!');

        const initialState = {
            posts: [],
            post: {}

        const store = configureStore(initialState);

        fetchComponentData(store.dispatch, renderProps.components, renderProps.params).then(() => {
            const initialView = renderToString(
                <Provider store = {store} >
                  <RouterContext {...renderProps}/>

            const finalState = store.getState();

            res.status(200).end(renderFullPage(initialView, finalState));
        }).catch(() => {
            res.end(renderFullPage('Error', {}));

match takes two parameters, first is an object that contains routes, location and history and second is a callback function which is called when routes have been matched to a location.

If there's an error in matching we return 500 status code, if no matches are found we return 404 status code. If a match is found then, we need to create a new Redux Store instance.

Note: A new Redux Store has populated afresh on every request.

fetchComponentData is the essential function. It takes three params: first is a dispatch function of Redux store, the second is an array of components that should be rendered in current route and third is the route params. fetchComponentData collects all the needs (need is an array of actions that are required to be dispatched before rendering the component) of components in the current route. It returns a promise when all the required actions are dispatched. We render the page and send data to the client for client-side rendering in window.__INITIAL_STATE__.


Client directory contains all the shared components, routes, modules.


This folder contains all the common components which are used throughout the project.


Index.js simply does client side rendering using the data provided from window.__INITIAL_STATE__.


Modules are the way of organising different domain-specific modules in the project. A typical module contains the following

└── Post
    ├── __tests__                    // all the tests for this module goes here
    |   ├── components               // Sub components of this module
    |   |   ├── Post.spec.js
    |   |   ├── PostList.spec.js
    |   |   ├── PostItem.spec.js
    |   |   └── PostImage.spec.js
    |   ├── pages
    |   |   ├── PostPage.spec.js
    |   |   └── PostViewPage.spec.js
    |   ├── PostReducer.spec.js
    |   └── PostActions.spec.js
    ├── components                   // Sub components of this module
    |   ├── Post.js
    |   ├── PostList.js
    |   ├── PostItem.js
    |   └── PostImage.js
    ├── pages                        // React Router Pages from this module
    |   ├── PostPage
    |   |   ├── PostPage.js
    |   |   └── PostPage.css
    |   └── PostViewPage
    |       ├── PostViewPage.js
    |       └── PostViewPage.css
    ├── PostReducer.js
    └── PostActions.js


Importing Assets

Assets can be kept where you want and can be imported into your js files or css files. Those fill be served by webpack in development mode and copied to the dist folder during production.

ES6 support

We use babel to transpile code in both server and client with stage-0 plugin. So, you can use both ES6 and experimental ES7 features.

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