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Azizi Yazit
Azizi Yazit

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CLI in React

React and CLI

React have its own CLI but currently they are only supporting creating an app (create-react-app). create-react-app used to generate the boilerplate version of a React application thru command line.

npx create-react-app my-app
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create-react-app has taken care of setting up the main structure of the application as well as a couple of developer settings. Most of what you see will not be visible to the visitor of your web app. React uses a tool called webpack which transforms the directories and files here into static assets. Visitors to your site are served those static assets.

Each of React app that you or your team created have the same structure which is great for consistency across applications.

However UI development is not only app but also developing a components, modules and pages. Developer should know what need to be developed by looking at the wireframe that been provided by the designer.

Without defined structure, you will have mixture of structure in your applications

Dev 1

  • Dashboard page
  • Header component
  • Card component
  • Graph component

Dev 2

  • Dashboard page
  • Header module (container for search component, icons component and dropdown component)
  • Statistic module (container for 1 variant of card component)
  • Multi variant Card compound component

Dev 3

  • Admin page

If 3 developers working on same project, you might getting 3 different structure used in the project, yuck!

CLI for generate the boilerplates (component, module and page) will added benefit of providing a consistent structure.

Lets start by setting up the CLI tool (plopJS)

1. Setup the CLI

We use plopJS, the micro-generator framework via command-line. plopJS template is using powerful templating-engine called Handlebars. Handlebars provides the power necessary to let you build semantic templates effectively.


  • Add plopJS into package.json
"devDependencies": {
  "plop": "^2.3.0"
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and run:

npm install
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2. Define the structure


Container for modules. Page manage communication between modules inside it.

 <ModuleA />
 <ModuleB />
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Container for components. Module manage communication between components inside it.

 <ComponentA />
 <ComponentB />
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Feature for the module.

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3. Create a plopfile config

  • Create "plopfile.js" create the plopfile.js in the same path as package.json.
module.exports = function (plop) {

    plop.setGenerator('component', {...})

    plop.setGenerator('module', {...})

    plop.setGenerator('page', {...})

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For this tutorial/article, we will go thru on creating generator for a component. Complete generators can be found here


  • script file

  • test file

  • style file

  • and index file

save all the templates inside folder plop-templates

4. Create a generator

As informed, we will show generator for component only.

Everything seem to be ready, lets test the generator.

I add new npm task "cmd" that will run "npx plop". If all of above setup correctly, you will see list of generators to choose

start answering the question and once completed you see the component been generated

And lets is walkthrough what have been generated:

  • Card.js


  • Card.test.js

  • index.js


CLI makes it easy to create an app, page, module and component that follows the best practices and structure defined by you and your team. Developers have other things to worry about and by automating component generation not only save their time but increase efficiency.

You can download the full source code here.

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