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Create a React project without Create-React-App

Pere Sola
Account Manager @Stripe during the day. Full stack software developer after-hours. @LambdaSchool graduate
Updated on ・3 min read

Most of my React projects have so far been spun up with Create React App. I recently completed a Frontend Masters course where the trainer does a good job explaining how to create a React project from scratch. I thought I would write about it, so that I can remember the steps involved so I can remember and others can learn too:

  1. Create a folder in your computer. Open with your code editor.
  2. Create a src folder in your project and create a file called index.html.
  3. Add a skeleton HTML file (you can use Emmet) - type html:5 in your VSCode
  4. Inside <body></body>, create:
<div id="root"></div>
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  1. Create a script tag inside body:
<script src="./App.js"></script>
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  1. Create a style.css file inside src folder and add your CSS in the head of your HTML file:
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">
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TOOLING

NPM

  1. Initialise npm: npm init -y (make sure node and npm are installed: node -v & npm -v). It creates a package.json file.

PRETTIER

  1. npm i -D prettier
  2. Create format script in package.json: "format": "prettier \"src/**/*.{js,html}\" --write"
  3. Run prettier when file is saved by default: install Prettier in your code editor. Tick Editor: Format On Save (in VSCode) and Prettier: Require Config.
  4. Create .prettierrc file in the root folder of the project:
{}
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Now Prettier will run every time file is saved.

ESLINT

  1. Install stuff:

npm i -D eslint eslint-config-prettier
npm install -D babel-eslint eslint-plugin-import eslint-plugin-jsx-a11y eslint-plugin-react // config eslint for react
npm i -D eslint-plugin-react-hooks // config eslint for hooks

  1. Create .eslintrc.json config file:
{
"extends": [
     "eslint:recommended", 
     "plugin:import/errors",
     "plugin:react/recommended",
     "plugin:jsx-a11y/recommended",
     "prettier", 
     "prettier/react" // << you don't need it anymore since it has been merged into "prettier" https://github.com/prettier/eslint-config-prettier/blob/main/CHANGELOG.md#version-800-2021-02-21
],
"rules": {
     "react/prop/types": 0, // unless you do prop types
     "no-console": 1, // it will be a warning
     "react-hooks/rules-of-hooks": 2,
     "react-hooks/exhaustive-deps": 1, // has to do with effects
},
"plugins": ["react", "import", "jsx-a11y", "react-hooks"],
"parserOptions": {
     "ecmaVersion": 2018,
     "sourceType": "module", // means we will be using import export
     "ecmaFeatures": {
          "jsx": true
     }     
},
"env": {
     "es6": true,
     "browser": true,
     "node": true
},
"settings": {
     "react": {
          "version": "detect"
     }
}
}
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  1. Then, inside package.json file, we create a new script:

"lint": "eslint \"src/**/*.{js,jsx}\" --quiet" // quiet reports errors only https://eslint.org/docs/user-guide/command-line-interface

You can now run npm run lint.

GITIGNORE

  1. Inside root directory, create .gitignore file. It won't commit the files/directories in the remote repo. Example used in the course:
node_modules/
.DS_Store << if you are in a Mac
.cache/
coverage/
.vscode/
.env
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PARCEL

  1. Parcel is extremely hands-off, no config needed. It is a bundler, it bundles your dev code ready for production. Install npm install -D parcel-bundler. And then, in package.json, we create a new script:
"dev": "parcel src/index.html"
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  1. Then when you run npm run dev it bundles the code (it creates a .cache directory that can be ignored. Bable is built into Parcel.

You will also need a build commant to deploy your app in, let's say, Netlify: "build": "parcel build src/index.html". Then, in Netlify, set the build command to be npm run build and the publish directory to be dist.

REACT & REACTDOM

  1. npm i react react-dom

  2. Create App.js file inside src folder and type:

import React from 'react';
import { render } from 'react-dom'; // or >> import REACTDOM from 'react-dom'

const App = () => {
     return (
          <div>Whatever</div>
     )
};

render(
     <App />, 
     document.getElementById('root')
);
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