React At Home

May 26, 2016

This is a tutorial on installing React in a dev environment on my home machine. I really want to get to a point where I am installing this on Virtual Box running a Linux variant but I don't have that kind of time today. I stole all of the code and the idea and explanations from Mastering React - React Fundamentals: Environment Setup so visit him and like his video.


Go to terminal and get ready to rock out with NPM. Navigate into the folder you want your project to live in with cd foldername and then get ready.

$ npm init

Hit return to race through all the project name fields (or enter them as it is not relevant to this tutorial working) and type 'yes' at the end.

$ npm install react react-dom --save

$ npm install babel webpack webpack-dev-server -g

$ npm install babel-loader babel-core babel-preset-es2015 babel-preset-react

$ touch index.html App.js main.js webpack.config.js

Note the -g flag for global install so you only have to install babel and webpack once.

Now open the folder in your IDE of choice.

codey code code

in the file webpack.config.js (that compiles the JS and launch our development server)

module.exports = {
  entry: './main.js',
  output: {
    path: './',
    filename: 'index.js'
  devServer: {
    inline: true,
    port: 3333
  module: {
    loaders: [
        test: /\.js$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        loader: 'babel',
        query: {
          presets: ['es2015', 'react']

Now we save and open index.html to put in our site skeleton and our React entry point.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <meta charset="utf-8" />
  <title>React App</title>
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1" />
  <div id="app"></div>

  <script src="index.js"></script>


Hit save, and now we open App.js to make some components.

import React from 'react';
class App extends React.Component {
    return <div>Hello, World</div>

export default App

Save this, and onto main.js for some connective tissue between our components and the HTML.

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import App from './App';
ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById('app'))

Save again, and pop on into package.json swap out the 'test' key-value pair in 'scripts' to the following:

  "name": "react",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "webpack-dev-server"
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "react": "^15.1.0",
    "react-dom": "^15.1.0"

Back to the Terminal

We are ready to fire it up!

$ npm start

If you recall we used 3333 as our port in the webpack.config.js and here it is, fired up. On the same machine, go to localhost:3333 and you should see 'Hello, World' which is the message in your App.js file. In fact, what is cool about the ol React setup here is that if you go to your App.js file and change the words in the <div> and hit save, the site updates automatically without needing a refresh.

When you are sick of your project, Control-C will exit NPM.