React + Express No-Fluff Boilerplate

A boilerplate project for anyone interested in making a project that uses React and Express.

This repository is a bootleg of @NimaBoscarino’s React Rails Boilerplate. It uses the same React app, but replaces the Rails server with an Express server.

Note! This boilerplate has no fluff! That means that there’s nothing set up for you to do authentication stuff, there’s no Redux stuff, and there’s no React Router stuff. On the Express end, there is no session storage or database connection.

The main important bit is that the React project has proxy set to localhost:8080 in the package.json file, and that the Express app listens to port 8080 in server.js. Take a look!

You can (and perhaps should) rename the directories express-back-end and react-front-end if you want– The name doesn’t matter.

Running the projects

You need TWO terminal windows/tabs for this (or some other plan for running two Node processes).

In one terminal, cd into react-front-end. Run npm install or yarn to install the dependencies. Then run npm start or yarn start, and go to localhost:3000 in your browser.

In the other terminal, cd into express-back-end. Run npm install or yarn to install the dependencies, then npm start or yarn start to launch the server.

In the browser, you can click on the button and see the data get loaded.

If this doesn’t work, please message me!

Next steps

From here, you can start working on your project!

As soon as the dependencies are installed, your Express server can serve JSON and static assets (like images) in response to API calls from the React app. You can get started on developing your React app, routing plan, etc. right away! Any request that isn’t handled by React is passed on to the Express server. That means that you can call a route like /api/users from React using fetch, axios, or something else, and Express will receive it as though they originated from the same app. For routing, best practice is to namespace all of your data routes to /api, so that they don’t clash with other routing schemes, like React Router.

At some point, you’ll likely want to install and configure a database driver for Postgres or MongoDB– Refer to past projects for hints on how to do this.

And don’t forget to update the README!

Example Projects

You might want to look at examples of projects that have used this boilerplate for hints on how to extend it. Here are a few:

If you’d like your project added to the list, please shoot me a message.


Please contact me on Slack (@garrettgsb) or Nima at [email protected] if you have any questions, requests, or feedback, or post an issue to this repo. If you are using the boilerplate, I’d love to hear from you as well!


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