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Minimal React Express SSR Working Example in 10 lines of Code

What we expecting is calling some URL and got back the HTML.

The traditional way the web work before web app.

Usual way: Template engine

The normal way achieving this is using the “template engine” or “rendering engine”. It is the engine that fill html with the data.

The simplest form of the engine work like below:

const template = `<h1>{{ word }}</h1>`
const data = 'Hello'
// Engine
template.replace(/{{ word }}/, word)

The normal engine is: pug , ejs ,handlebars etc.

The differences among them is the syntax and styles.

Use React as Rendering engine

But sometimes when you have a team already familiar with React, why not just using React for this simple tasks.

The demo is here below

const express = require('express')
const app = express()
const ReactDOMServer = require('react-dom/server')
const React = require('react')
const element = React.createElement('div', null, 'Hello')
const rendered = ReactDOMServer.renderToStaticMarkup(element)
app.get('/', (req, res) => {
res.send(rendered)
})
app.listen(3333, () => {
console.log('Working on 3333);
});

What is missing?

  • Normal syntax of React component → need barbel
  • Normal flow of Express render and injected data i.e. render(page, data)

Production setup

We add the engine here express-react-views actually it implements something like above code plus the missing part.

const express = require('express')
const app = express()
app.set('views', __dirname + '/views')
app.set('view engine', 'jsx')
app.engine('jsx', require('express-react-views').createEngine())
app.get('/', (req, res) => {
return res.render('index', {word: 'hello world'})
})
app.listen(3333, () => {
console.log('Working on 3333);
});

Then creating the views folder containing index.jsx this name must match the name in res.render(‘index’) and below is the React component

import React from "react";
export default function App({word}) {
return (
<div>
<h1>{word}</h1>
</div>
);
}

Here we are. Got Hello world.

Cheers !

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