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Building a Full-stack Application with TypeScript and React Using Remult

Building a Full-stack Application with TypeScript and React Using Remult

A full-stack application is made up of frameworks, libraries, and tools for developing two separate domain applications: the backend and the frontend. Building these two applications can be very hectic, especially if the frameworks used are developed from different programming languages or if one developer is working on both sides of the application.

However, we’re grateful to the Javascript developers for creating backend frameworks that allow us to use Javascript to build both the client and server sides of our application. The Remult developers expanded on this concept by developing a framework that allows us to build both the client and server sides of an application in a single project rather than having two separate projects. We’ll explore how this can be implemented in this tutorial. Then, we’ll learn how to build a full-stack application with TypeScript and React using Remult.

What Is Remult?

Remult is a full-stack TypeScript CRUD framework with a frontend type-safe API client and a backend ORM that uses entities as a single source of truth for your API. It saves developers time by abstracting all repetitive or poorly designed code, resulting in a more flexible web application. It makes full-stack app development easier by using only TypeScript code that’s easy to follow and refactor, and it fits well into any existing or new project.

Why Use Remult?

Below are some of the reasons developers use Remult:

  • It has a secure auto-generated TypeScript API model and classes that are consumed by frontend type-safe queries that can also be used as third-party applications.
  • It’s a simple CRUD application that interacts with the database directly from the frontend and does not require any boilerplate, so data transformations, validations, and CRUD events are easily controlled.
  • It uses a type-safe coding style to find and manipulate data on both the backend and frontend code.
  • It eliminates redundant and error-prone duplication with model metadata and declarative code that impacts both the frontend and the backend.

Prerequisites

This is a hands-on tutorial, so to follow along, be sure that the following requirements have been met:

Project Setup

Without further ado, let’s scaffold a Remult React application using Vite by running the command below:

npm create -y vite@latest remult-react-blog -- --template react-ts
cd remult-react-blog

The above commands will scaffold a new React project with the following folder structure:

📦remult-react-blog
┣ 📂public
┃ ┗ 📜vite.svg
┣ 📂src
┃ ┣ 📂assets
┃ ┃ ┗ 📜react.svg
┃ ┣ 📜App.css
┃ ┣ 📜App.tsx
┃ ┣ 📜index.css
┃ ┣ 📜main.tsx
┃ ┗ 📜vite-env.d.ts
┣ 📜.gitignore
┣ 📜index.html
┣ 📜package.json
┣ 📜tsconfig.json
┣ 📜tsconfig.node.json
┗ 📜vite.config.ts

In order to get the React application running, change the directory into the project folder, install the required packages, and start the application by running the commands below:

cd remult-react-blog
npm install

Now, let’s set up the backend of the application.

Install Dependencies

The first step in setting up the backend is to install the required dependencies. We’ll use Express for the backend, and since Remult creates both the backend and frontend in one project, we’ll need to have them running concurrently. So run the commands to install Express and the Remult SDK, and use ts-node to run the application in development.

npm i express remult
npm i --save-dev @types/express ts-node-dev concurrently

Next, wait for the installation to be completed and proceed to creating the backend.

Create the Backend

With the required packages for the backend setup installed, create a TypeScript config file and add the configurations below:

{
"extends": "./tsconfig.json",
"compilerOptions": {
"module": "commonjs",
"emitDecoratorMetadata": true,
"esModuleInterop": true
}
}

Then, create a server folder in the src folder. Next, in the server folder, create an index.ts file and make an Express server with the code snippets below:

import express from 'express';
const app = express();

app.listen(3002, () => console.log("Server started"));

Since the application is using the Common.js module, you need to remove the "type": "module" entry from the package.json file created by Vite.

Next, create an api.ts file on the server and load Remult in the backend as an Express middleware with the code snippet below:

import { remultExpress } from 'remult/remult-express';
export const api = remultExpress();

Then, register the Remult API middleware in the server/index.ts file with this code snippet:

Import {api} from “./api”;
app.use(api);

Next, update the tsconfig.json file to enable TypeScript decorators in the React App with the entry below:

"experimentalDecorators": true

A Remult application is configured to run the frontend and backend from the same domain in production. However, in development, the API server listens to http://localhost:3002, while the frontend listens to port http://localhost:5173. Therefore, you need to use the Vite proxy feature to divert all requests to the API to http://localhost:5173/api. To do this, update the vite.confg.ts file with the code snippet below:

export default defineConfig({
plugins: [react()],
server: { proxy: { '/api': 'http://localhost:3002' } }
})

Next, update the package.json file to add a start script to run the application in development with the entry below:

"dev": "concurrently -k -n \"API,WEB\" -c \"bgBlue.bold,bgGreen.bold\" \"ts-node-dev -P tsconfig.server.json src/server/\" \"vite\""

Now, run the application with this command:

npm run dev

Connect to a Database

With the backend created, let’s proceed to connecting the application to a MongoDB database to store our blog data. To get started, install the MongoDB package by running the command below:

npm i mongdb

Then, update the server/index.ts file and connect it to MongoDB with the following code snippet:

import { remultExpress } from 'remult/remult-express';
import { MongoClient } from 'mongodb';
import { MongoDataProvider } from 'remult/remult-mongo';

app.use(remultExpress({
dataProvider: async () => {
const client = new MongoClient("mongodb://localhost:27017/local");
await client.connect();
return new MongoDataProvider(client.db('blogs'), client);
}
}));

With the above code snippet, we imported the remultExpress middleware, the MongoClient class and the MongoDataProvider class. The remultExpress middleware takes a dataProvider object as an argument, which allows us to connect to the database. We also created a client instance from the MongoClient client class passing in the database URI and established a connection using the calling-the-client-connect method.

Create a Blog Entity

Now, with the connection to our database established, let's create a Blog entity to define and create our blog model. To do this, we’ll create a shared folder in the server folder. We’re saving it in this file because Remult classes are shared between the frontend and backend. This means we can access in the frontend any class created in the backend.

In the shared folder, create a blog.ts file and add the code below:

import { Entity, Fields } from 'remult';

@Entity('blogs', {
allowApiCrud: true
})

export class Blogs {
@Fields.uuid()
id!: string;

@Fields.string()
title = '';

@Fields.string()
coverImage = '';

@Fields.string()
content = '';
}

In the above code snippets, we imported the Remult Entity and Fields decorators. We used the Entity decorator to create a blogs entity, which will be translated to a model in our MongoDB base with the fields we defined in the Blogs class using the Fields decorator. We also set allowApiCrud to true in the @Entity decorator to allow us perform CRUD operations on this entity.

Next, update the server/index.ts file to register the entity in the remultExpress middleware with this code snippet:

import { Blogs } from './shared /blog';

app.use(remultExpress({
dataProvider: async () => {
const client = new MongoClient("mongodb://localhost:27017/local");
await client.connect();
return new MongoDataProvider(client.db('test'), client);
},
entities: [Blogs],
}));

In the above code snippet, we imported the Blogs entity and registered it to the application in the array of entities object.

Create CRUD Operations

Now let’s create our CRUD functions to Create, Read, Update and Delete a blog from our database.

First, you need to create a blogController.ts file in the server/shared folder. In the blogController.ts file, add the following:

import { BackendMethod, remult } from "remult";
import { Blogs } from "./blog";

export class BlogsController {

@BackendMethod({ allowed: true })
static async create(title: string, coverImage: string, content: string) {
const newBlog = await remult.repo(Blogs).save({ title, content, coverImage })
return newBlog
}
static async getAll() {
return await this.blogRepo.find();
}
static async getOne(id: string) {
return await this.blogRepo.findId(id)
}
static async updateOne(id: string, title: string, coverImage: string, content: string) {
return await this.blogRepo.update(id, { title, coverImage, content })
}
static async deleteOne(id:string) {
return await this.blogRepo.delete(id)
}

In the above code snippets, we imported the Remult BackendMethod decorator and Remult object. The BackendMethod decorator tells Remult to expose the methods we defined in the BlogsController as API endpoints. Then, we used the remult.repo method to create a repository for our Blogs entity. This provides us with the methods we need to perform CRUD operations in each controller method.

Next, you also need to register the BlogsController like you did for the Blogs entity in the server/index.ts file. This can done with the code snippet below:

import { BlogsController } from './shared/blogController';

app.use(remultExpress({
dataProvider: async () => {
const client = new MongoClient("mongodb://localhost:27017/local");
await client.connect();
return new MongoDataProvider(client.db('test'), client);
},
entities: [Blogs],
controllers: [BlogsController]
}));

Handle the React Frontend

We’re done setting up the backend part of the application. Now, let’s move to our React frontend and consume the API’s we’ve created in our backend.

To get started, create a controllers folder in the src to create some React controllers for your application.

First, create a Form.ts file in the controllers folder, and add the code below:

import { useState } from "react";
import { BlogsController } from "../server/shared /blogController";
export function Form() {
const [title, setTitle] = useState("");
const [coverImage, setCoverImage] = useState("");
const [content, setContent] = useState("");

const create = async () => {
await BlogsController.create(title, coverImage, content);
};
return (
<div>
<div className="mb-3">
<label htmlFor="exampleFormControlInput1" className="form-label">
Title
</label>
<input
type="email"
className="form-control"
id="exampleFormControlInput1"
onChange={(e) => setTitle(e.target.value)}
/>
</div>
<div className="mb-3">
<label htmlFor="exampleFormControlInput1" className="form-label">
Cover Image
</label>
<input
type="email"
className="form-control"
id="exampleFormControlInput1"
onChange={(e) => setCoverImage(e.target.value)}
/>
</div>
<div className="mb-3">
<label htmlFor="exampleFormControlTextarea1" className="form-label">
Content
</label>
<textarea
className="form-control"
id="exampleFormControlTextarea1"
rows="3"
onChange={(e) => setContent(e.target.value)}
></textarea>
</div>
<div className="mb-3">
<button className="btn btn-primary" onClick={()=> create()}>Add</button>
</div>
</div>
);
}

In the above code snippet, we imported the BlogsController class so we can access the API endpoints that we defined there. We also created a state variable to store the blog title and coverImage content values from the form data. We made a create function called the create endpoint from our BlogsController class, passing the variables we defined for the form values to create a new blog.

We need this form to display in a modal when clicked. Therefore, we need to create a Modal.tsx file in the controllers file to create a Modal component. This can be done by using the code snippet below:

import { Form } from "./Form";

export function Modal() {
return (
<div
className="modal fade"
id="staticBackdrop"
data-bs-backdrop="static"
data-bs-keyboard="false"
tabIndex="-1"
aria-labelledby="staticBackdropLabel"
aria-hidden="true"
>
<div className="modal-dialog">
<div className="modal-content">
<div className="modal-header">
<h5 className="modal-title" id="staticBackdropLabel">
Create New Blog
</h5>
<button
type="button"
className="btn-close"
data-bs-dismiss="modal"
aria-label="Close"
></button>
</div>
<div className="modal-body">
<Form />
</div>
</div>
</div>
</div>
);
}

In the above code, we used the Bootstrap classes to create a modal for the form component. Then, we imported the Form component and rendered it in the modal body.

Next, we’ll need to add a clickable button to show the modal component we just created. To add a button in the header part of the application, create a Header.ts file in the controllers folder and add the code below:

import { Modal } from "./Modal";

export function Header() {
return (
<nav className="navbar navbar-light bg-light">
<div className="container-fluid">
<a className="navbar-brand">Blog App</a>
<button
className="btn btn-primary"
data-bs-toggle="modal"
data-bs-target="#staticBackdrop"
>
Add New
</button>
</div>
<Modal/>
</nav>
);
}

Now, let’s update the code in the App.tsx file to make the Header component available, read the blog data from our backend, and render it to users with the following:

import { useEffect, useState } from "react";
import { Header } from "./components/Header";
import { BlogsController } from "./server/shared /blogController";
import { Blogs } from "./server/shared /blog";

function App() {
const [blogs, setBlogs] = useState<Blogs[]>([]);
useEffect(() => {
const fetchData = async () => {
const blogData = await BlogsController.getAll();
setBlogs(blogData);
};
fetchData();
});
const deleteBlog = async (id:string)=>{
await BlogsController.deleteOne(id)
}
return (
<div className="App">
<Header />
<div className="container">
<div className="row">
{blogs &&
blogs.map((blog: Blogs) => {
return (
<div className="card" style={{ width: "18rem", margin:"20px" }} key={blog.id}>
<img
src={blog.coverImage}
className="card-img-top"
alt="..."
/>
<div className="card-body">
<h5 className="card-title">{blog.title}</h5>
<p className="card-text">
{blog.content}
</p>
<a href="#" className="btn btn-sm btn-danger" onClick={()=>{
deleteBlog(blog.id)
}}>
Delete
</a>
</div>
</div>
);
})}
</div>
</div>
</div>
);
}
export default App;

Also, with the above code snippet, we created a delete function to delete blogs from our database by calling the deleteOne endpoint using the BlogsController controller class.

Next, open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:5173, and you should see the output on the screenshot below:

Click the Add New button to create a new blog.

Now, create your first blog by clicking the Add button.

Conclusion and Resources

In this tutorial, we learned how to build a full-stack application with TypeScript and React using Remult. We began by learning what Remult is and why a developer would use it to build full-stack web applications. Then, we built a blog application with CRUD operations as a demonstration.

Now that you’ve learned about Remult, how would you use it in your next project? To learn more about Remult, check out the official documentation.

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