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anthony-campolo

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a first look at redwoodJS part 2 - routes, layouts

We basically wrote the tutorial the way that we wanted the code to work and then we made the tutorial work by writing the code. As opposed to README-Driven Development, this is Tutorial-Driven Development.

Tom Preston-Werner - Full Stack Radio

Part 2 - Routes, Layouts

In part 1 we installed and created our first RedwoodJS application with the Redwood CLI. We used:

  • yarn create redwood-app to generate the initial app
  • redwood generate page
    • HomePage folder containing a HomePage file containing a HomePage component
    • AboutPage folder containing an AboutPage file containing an AboutPage component

We were able to navigate between the different pages in our browser by entering /about for the About page or a slash (/) for the Home page. Depending on your experience with React this may have been surprising to you.

If you've worked on routing in React before you know that to achieve this there needs to be an entirely different package imported containing the router and then your routes need to be wrapped in a <BrowserRouter> or <Router> component to give the router access to your pages. Well guess what.....

2.1 Routes.js

// web/src/Routes.js

import { Router, Route } from '@redwoodjs/router'

const Routes = () => {
  return (
    <Router>
      <Route path="/about" page={AboutPage} name="about" />
      <Route path="/" page={HomePage} name="home" />
      <Route notfound page={NotFoundPage} />
    </Router>
  )
}

export default Routes
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In our web/src folder we have a file called Routes.js. When we used the CLI to generate HomePage and AboutPage we also created these routes.

Components from web/src/pages are auto-imported. Nested directories are supported, and should be uppercase. Each sub-directory will be prepended onto the component name. For example:

web/src/pages/HomePage/HomePage.js -> HomePage
web/src/pages/Admin/YoPage/YoPage.js -> AdminYoPage

2.2 App.js

The other file in our web/src folder is index.js which is our root component that ReactDOM renders to the screen.

All components are composable in React. This encourages the creation of reusable UI components that present data that changes over time. Web application UIs were traditionally built using templates or HTML directives.

But in React you always have a root component that contains other components and those components can contain other components.

// web/src/App.js

import { FatalErrorBoundary, RedwoodProvider } from '@redwoodjs/web'
import { RedwoodApolloProvider } from '@redwoodjs/web/apollo'

import FatalErrorPage from 'src/pages/FatalErrorPage'
import Routes from 'src/Routes'

import './index.css'

const App = () => (
  <FatalErrorBoundary page={FatalErrorPage}>
    <RedwoodProvider titleTemplate="%PageTitle | %AppTitle">
      <RedwoodApolloProvider>
        <Routes />
      </RedwoodApolloProvider>
    </RedwoodProvider>
  </FatalErrorBoundary>
)

export default App
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If that's confusing just give it some time and it'll start to click as this series goes on. The important take away is that we have three nested layers:

RedwoodApolloProvider

Redwood Apps come ready-to-query with RedwoodApolloProvider, which is a Provider that wraps ApolloProvider. But with a bit of configuring, you can swap out RedwoodApolloProvider for your client of choice.

For an example of configuring your own GraphQL Client, see the redwoodjs-react-query-provider. You can also install react-query directly into your project and fire away with the fetch() API.

Why would someone do this? If you don't import RedwoodApolloProvider it won't be included in your bundle size. This will reduce one of your heaviest client dependencies. There are also a variety of different default caching strategies across different clients.

2.3 Link

Matching URLs to Pages is the first half of the equation when it comes to routing. The other half is generating links to your pages. We want to add a link to the page for navigating between our home and about pages. We'll need three things in our HomePage.js:

  1. Import Link and routes from @redwoodjs/router
  2. <Link to={}>About</Link>
  3. Pass routes.about() into <Link to={}>
// web/src/pages/HomePage/HomePage.js

import { Link, routes } from '@redwoodjs/router'
import { MetaTags } from '@redwoodjs/web'

const HomePage = () => {
  return (
    <>
      <MetaTags
        title="Home"
        description="The home page of the website"
      />

      <header>
        <h1>ajcwebdev</h1>

        <nav>
          <ul>
            <li>Home</li>
          </ul>
          <ul>
            <li><Link to={routes.about()}>About</Link></li>
          </ul>
        </nav>
      </header>

      <main>This page is the home!</main>

      <footer>
        <h3>Find me online:</h3>

        <ul>
          <li><a href="https://dev.to/ajcwebdev">Blog</a></li>
          <li><a href="https://twitter.com/ajcwebdev">Twitter</a></li>
          <li><a href="https://github.com/ajcwebdev">GitHub</a></li>
        </ul>
      </footer>
    </>
  )
}

export default HomePage
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Link generates a link to a route. The routes object can access URL generators for any of the routes. These are called named route functions because they are named after anything you include in the name prop of the Route.

Return to the browser to see the changes to your Home page.

01-HomePage-with-about-link

Click the link to be brought to the About page.

02-AboutPage

Now we want to be able to navigate back to HomePage once we are on AboutPage. We'll do the exact same three steps except we pass in routes.home() instead of routes.about() because we want to navigate to HomePage.

// web/src/pages/AboutPage/AboutPage.js

import { Link, routes } from '@redwoodjs/router'
import { MetaTags } from '@redwoodjs/web'

const AboutPage = () => {
  return (
    <>
      <MetaTags
        title="About"
        description="The page that tells you about stuff"
      />

      <header>
        <h1>ajcwebdev</h1>

        <nav>
          <ul>
            <li><Link to={routes.home()}>Home</Link></li>
          </ul>
          <ul>
            <li><Link to={routes.about()}>About</Link></li>
          </ul>
        </nav>
      </header>

      <main>
        <p>This page tells you about stuff!</p>
      </main>
    </>
  )
}

export default AboutPage
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Return to your About page

03-AboutPage-with-return-home-link

There is now a link that will take you back to the Home page when clicked.

2.4 redwood generate layout

You've probably been on a website before. Usually there's some kind of navigation bar at the top and footer at the bottom that stays consistent as you travel around the website. Redwood's folder structure is designed to make this really easy.

04-layouts

Remember how I said everything is a component containing other components? Pages contain components and your layout will contain all of your pages. This is natural to do in React because pages and layouts are themselves components.

We can generate a file for our layout with yarn redwood generate layout or yarn rw g layout. This will work a lot like the generate page commands from earlier.

yarn rw g layout blog
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✔ Generating layout files...
  ✔ Successfully wrote file `./web/src/layouts/BlogLayout/BlogLayout.test.js`
  ✔ Successfully wrote file `./web/src/layouts/BlogLayout/BlogLayout.stories.js`
  ✔ Successfully wrote file `./web/src/layouts/BlogLayout/BlogLayout.js`
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This will create a folder inside web/src/layouts instead of web/src/pages because we are generating a layout and not a page.

└── layouts
    └── BlogLayout
        │── BlogLayout.js
        │── BlogLayout.stories.js
        └── BlogLayout.test.js
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2.5 BlogLayout

// web/src/layouts/BlogLayout/BlogLayout.js

const BlogLayout = ({ children }) => {
  return <>{children}</>
}

export default BlogLayout
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children is where the magic will happen. Any page content given to the layout will be rendered here.

// web/src/layouts/BlogLayout/BlogLayout.js

import { Link, routes } from '@redwoodjs/router'

const BlogLayout = ({ children }) => {
  return (
    <>
      <header>
        <h1>ajcwebdev</h1>

        <nav>
          <ul>
            <li><Link to={routes.home()}>Home</Link></li>
          </ul>
          <ul>
            <li><Link to={routes.about()}>About</Link></li>
          </ul>
        </nav>
      </header>

      <main>{children}</main>

      <footer>
        <h3>Find me online:</h3>

        <ul>
          <li><a href="https://dev.to/ajcwebdev">Blog</a></li>
          <li><a href="https://twitter.com/ajcwebdev">Twitter</a></li>
          <li><a href="https://github.com/ajcwebdev">GitHub</a></li>
        </ul>
      </footer>
    </>
  )
}

export default BlogLayout
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Now we'll add a <BlogLayout> wrapper around the content returned in our HomePage and AboutPage components.

// web/src/pages/HomePage/HomePage.js

import { MetaTags } from '@redwoodjs/web'
import BlogLayout from 'src/layouts/BlogLayout'

const HomePage = () => {
  return (
    <>
      <BlogLayout>
        <MetaTags
          title="Home"
          description="The home page of the website"
        />

        <p>This page is the home!</p>
      </BlogLayout>
    </>
  )
}

export default HomePage
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We can remove the import for Link and routes from HomePage since those are now inside the BlogLayout.

// web/src/pages/AboutPage/AboutPage.js

import { MetaTags } from '@redwoodjs/web'
import BlogLayout from 'src/layouts/BlogLayout'

const AboutPage = () => {
  return (
    <BlogLayout>
      <MetaTags
        title="About"
        description="The page that tells you about stuff"
      />

      <p>This page tells you about stuff!</p>
    </BlogLayout>
  )
}

export default AboutPage
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The import statement uses src/layouts/BlogLayout and not ../src/layouts/BlogLayout or ./src/layouts/BlogLayout. This is a convenience feature so you don't need to worry about the nesting of your folders.

src is an alias to the src path in the current workspace.

  • When working in web, src points to web/src
  • When working in api, src points to api/src

If we look at HomePage it should look and behave the same way as before except we have turned our title in the <h1> tag into a HomePage link.

05-HomePage-with-BlogLayout

AboutPage is the same except we have removed the link to return Home since we can now click the title.

06-AboutPage-with-BlogLayout

In the next part we'll start working with a database and learn how to create, retrieve, update, and destroy blog posts.

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