React - setup and getting started
In this tutorial, learn how to setup React on your local machine and get started with the very basic program.
In this tutorial we will learn how to get started with this framework and at the end of it we will able to set up, run and test a basic text displayed in the browser.
Tools & Libraries used:
- React 16.x
- NodeJS 6.x
- NPM 5.x
Note: This tutorial tested on a Mac OS V10.13 machine. For developers using windows machine, command syntax will change a bit.
We need NodeJS 6.x and NPM 5.x installed for build pipeline of React project. See reference section to know more about installing these prerequisite.
When we are starting a single page web project from scratch, we should use NPM or NPX toolchain to get the skeleton code and run the project in development mode.
$ sudo npm install -g create-react-app $ create-react-app 01-getting-started
Previous commands create a standard React project structure with required files to build and run the single page application in development phase. Understand, it just provides you a bare minimum structure, we are the one who extend it with best practices to manage our source code in more structure way.
NodeJS single page app project structure
Before going ahead, let’s start the local development server to checkout how the default app looks.
$ cd 01-getting-started $ npm start
It will build the project and start a local web server on port 3000, and it looks like it. We will add more details further.
ReactJS default app landing page
An existing project
We don’t need to make much change in the existing project structure to use React in that. Try React in a standalone component first to get started and slowly extend it further.
Using npm to install react dependencies in existing project
npm install –save react react-dom
We can also include react js files in the HTML file directly like it. (We are using CDN hosted js files)
<script crossorigin src="https://unpkg.com/react@16/umd/react.development.js"></script> <br> <script crossorigin src="https://unpkg.com/react-dom@16/umd/react-dom.development.js"></script>
ES6 and JSX
We recommended to use React with babel to enable ES6 and JAX support. These improve development efficiency.
Let say we have to display Hello World text inside a paragraph. See how we can do it in plain JS and JSX.
const pElement = React.createElement('p', null, 'Hello World');
const pElement = <div>Hello World</div>;
Well JSX syntax looks very similar to scripting language syntax, but it is very powerful, which we will see further in React tutorial series.
We recommend JSX to create UI element.