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Building a Full-Stack Application with React, TypeScript, and Node.js


Picture of the author (Gustavo Maltez)

Gustavo Maltez

January 20, 2023
5 min read

Are you looking to build a robust full-stack web application? In this blog post, we will explore the process of building a full-stack application using the powerful combination of React, TypeScript, and Node.js. This technology stack allows for efficient development, maintainability, and scalability.

Why React, TypeScript, and Node.js?

React is a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Its component-based architecture and virtual DOM make it highly efficient and provide a seamless developer experience. By incorporating TypeScript, a statically-typed superset of JavaScript, we gain the advantages of type checking, better code maintainability, and improved collaboration.

On the server-side, Node.js allows us to build scalable and performant web applications. With its event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, Node.js can handle a large number of concurrent connections and provides excellent performance. Combining React on the client-side and Node.js on the server-side allows for a seamless full-stack development experience.

Setting up the Project

To get started, let's set up a basic project structure. We'll use create-react-app to scaffold the frontend and set up the backend with Express.js.

First, create a new React project:

npx create-react-app my-app

Next, initialize the backend with npm:

mkdir backend && cd backend
npm init -y

Then, install Express.js and TypeScript:

# Inside the 'my-app' directory
npm install axios react-router-dom

# Inside the 'backend' directory
npm install express

Creating the Frontend

Now that we have our project structure in place, let's start building the frontend. Open the src/App.js file and replace the contents with the following code:

import React from 'react';

const App = () => {
  const something = '123';
  
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Welcome to my Full-Stack Application!</h1>
      <p>Something: {something}</p>
    </div>
  );
};

export default App;

This simple example demonstrates how to create a basic React component and render it in the browser. We've defined a variable something and displayed its value within a paragraph element.

Creating the Backend

Next, let's create a simple Express.js server. Create a new file called server.js in the backend directory and add the following code:

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const port = 5000;

app.get('/api/data', (req, res) => {
  const data = { message: 'Hello from the backend!' };
  res.json(data);
});

app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`Server is running on port ${port}`);
});

In this code snippet, we've set up a basic Express server that listens on port 5000. We've also defined a simple API endpoint /api/data that returns a JSON response.

Connecting the Frontend and Backend

To connect the frontend with the backend, we can use the axios library for making HTTP requests. Open the src/App.js file again and update it with the following code:

import React, { useEffect, useState } from 'react';
import axios from 'axios';

const App = () => {
  const [message, setMessage] = useState('');

  useEffect(() => {
    axios.get('/api/data')
      .then((response) => {
        setMessage(response.data.message);
      })
      .catch((error) => {
        console.error(error);
      });
  }, []);

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Welcome to my Full-Stack Application!</h1>
      <p>Something: {something}</p>
      <p>Message from the backend: {message}</p>
    </div>
  );
};

export default App;

In this updated code, we've introduced the useEffect hook to make an HTTP GET request to the backend API /api/data. The response message is stored in the message state variable and rendered on the page.

Running the Application

To run the full-stack application, open two terminal windows. In the first window, navigate to the my-app directory and start the React development server:

npm start

In the second window, navigate to the backend directory and start the Node.js server:

node index.js

Now, open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000. You should see the frontend of your full-stack application, displaying the welcome message and the data retrieved from the backend.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You've successfully built a full-stack application using React, TypeScript, and Node.js. We've explored the benefits of this technology stack and walked through the process of setting up the project, creating the frontend and backend, and connecting them together.

This is just the beginning of what you can achieve with React, TypeScript, and Node.js. Feel free to explore further and build more complex features for your full-stack applications.

Happy coding!


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