Universal React and Redux, Webpack boilerplate
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Marvin Work & Co

Universal React and Redux, Webpack boilerplate.

Marvin is internal project by Work & Co. We love React and use it a lot. So Marvin is meant to be a starting point for our React projects. But as we love open source too, it is publicly available for anyone interested in using it.


Name comes from a fictional character Marvin, android from the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book as a homage to it's author Douglas Adams.

Table of contents

What is this?

Opinionated boilerplate for kicking off React/Redux applications.

It includes complete, minimal react app. By complete we mean it has examples for:

  • components (both container/views and regular ones)
  • routes
  • reducers (redux + redux-saga)
  • actions (both sync and async),
  • postcss (with autoprefixer)
  • dummy API (using awesome Star Wars API)
  • assets (images + inline SVGs)


  • React
  • React router v4
  • Redux
  • Redux-Saga
  • Redux DevTools (you need to have browser extension installed)
  • Universal rendering with async server data
  • Webpack 3 (development and production config)
  • Hot Module Replacement
  • Immutable reducer data
  • Babel - static props, decorators
  • PostCSS (with autoprefixing)
  • Linting
  • Git hooks - lint before push
  • Tree shaking build
  • Import SVGs as React components


  • Internationalization
  • Tests


Tested with node 8.

PLEASE NOTE if you downloaded a zip, after unpacking, make sure you copy hidden (dot) files as well. A lot of people forget to do so, and project won't run without Babel configuration in .babelrc.

Clone or download, navigate to folder, and install dependencies:

npm install

npm tasks

Once dependencies are installed following npm tasks are availble:

  • start - starts client app only in development mode, using webpack dev server
  • client:dev - same as start
  • client:build - builds client application
  • client:preview - runs client application in production mode, using webpack dev server (use for local testing of the client production build)
  • server:dev - starts server app only in development mode (use for testing server responses)
  • universal:dev - runs both server and client in watch mode, automatically restarts server on changes
  • universal:build - builds both server and client

There are other tasks as well which shouldn't be used on their own.

Running client in dev mode

npm start
# or
npm run client:dev

Visit http://localhost:8080/ from your browser of choice. Server is visible from the local network as well.

Build client (production)

Build will be placed in the build folder.

npm run client:build

If your app is not running on the server root you should change publicPath at two places.

In webpack.config.js (ATM line 76):

output: {
  path: buildPath,
  publicPath: '/your-app/',
  filename: 'app-[hash].js',

and in source/js/constants/routes (line 1):

const publicPath = '/your-app/'; // Don't forget the trailing slash (`/`).

Development server will be available at http://localhost:8080/your-app/.

Running client in preview production mode

This command will start webpack dev server, but with NODE_ENV set to production. Everything will be minified and served. Hot reload will not work, so you need to refresh the page manually after changing the code.

npm run client:preview

Universal dev mode

npm run universal:dev

Visit http://localhost:8080/ from your browser of choice. Both server and client will be rebuilt on change. Again no hot module reload.

Universal build (production)

npm run universal:build

copy package.json and build folder to your production server

install only production dependencies and run server

npm install --production

node ./build/server.js

Removing server rendering related stuff

If you are not using server rendering first run:

node remove-universal.js

then you have to manually remove unused code from source/js/config/store.js which is marked with:

// Remove if you are not using server rendering.

Remove unused tasks

You should remove unused tasks from package.json and unused params from source/js/config/store.js too. Client app is going to work without this but it is better to remove them as they just create noise.

If anyone is willing to automate this, help will be greatly appreciated.

Browser support

Modern browsers and IE10+.

Known issues

These are known bugs that affect development mode only.

  • In some versions of Safari cheap-eval-source-map results in "Can't find variable: SockJS". To solve it change webpack.config.js:

    // from
    devtool: IS_PRODUCTION ? false : 'cheap-eval-source-map',
    // to
    devtool: IS_PRODUCTION ? false : 'source-map',
  • Hot module reload is not working in IE 10. To test the app in development mode you'll need to change inline to false in webpack/dev-server.js

      inline: false, // Change to false for IE10 dev mode


ESLint is set up by extending eslint-config-airbnb, with some options overridden to our preferences.

npm run lint

Linting Git hooks

Linting pre-push hook is not enabled by default. It will prevent the push if lint task fails, but you need to add it manually by running:

npm run hook-add

To remove it, run this task:

npm run hook-remove


Async server data

Follow the example in source/js/server.js.

High level concept - define list of sagas per route to resolve and store the data before returning response to the client.

  • When defining a saga, based on isServer param return an action instead of yielding it.
  • In server.js import your sagas, and define express routes with saga dependencies. Just pass array of sagas to handleRequest method. If you want to pass URL params add req.params as the fourth param.
  • On store creation these sagas will be run on server when route is matched.
  • Express server will wait for saga tasks to finish and preload data to client's redux store. If any of the tasks fail, store will be returned with initial data.

Importing images in CSS

Please note that paths to images in CSS files are relative to source/css/index.css as it imports all of the other .css files.

.BackgroundImgExample {
  background-image: url(../assets/img/book1.jpg);

Importing SVGs as components

Just import your .svg files from the source/assets/svg/ folder, and you are good to go.

import CircleIcon from 'svg/circle.svg';

// then in your render

<CircleIcon />