Book Image

A Blueprint for Production-Ready Web Applications

By : Dr. Philip Jones
Book Image

A Blueprint for Production-Ready Web Applications

By: Dr. Philip Jones

Overview of this book

A Blueprint for Production-Ready Web Applications will help you expand upon your coding knowledge and teach you how to create a complete web application. Unlike other guides that focus solely on a singular technology or process, this book shows you how to combine different technologies and processes as needed to meet industry standards. You’ll begin by learning how to set up your development environment, and use Quart and React to create the backend and frontend, respectively. This book then helps you get to grips with managing and validating accounts, structuring relational tables, and creating forms to manage data. As you progress through the chapters, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of web application development by creating a to-do app, which can be used as a base for your future projects. Finally, you’ll find out how to deploy and monitor your application, along with discovering advanced concepts such as managing database migrations and adding multifactor authentication. By the end of this web development book, you’ll be able to apply the lessons and industry best practices that you’ve learned to both your personal and work projects, allowing you to further develop your coding portfolio.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)
Part 1 Setting Up Our System
Part 2 Building a To-Do App
Part 3 Releasing a Production-Ready App

Installing NodeJS for frontend development

As we want our app to run in the browser, we will need to write the frontend in JavaScript or a language that compiles to it. There are many good choices, but I’ve chosen to use TypeScript as it is JavaScript with the addition of typing (as in, it is the same basic language). This means it is close to the required runtime language and has the additional safety and documentation from the typing.

As we will be writing the frontend in TypeScript, we will need NodeJS installed to compile TypeScript to the JavaScript that will run in the browser. NodeJS is best installed with the system package manager as follows:

brew install node
scoop install nodejs

Unlike Python, where we installed a specific package manager, NodeJS comes with one called npm. We’ll use npm to manage the frontend dependencies and tooling. npm also includes the npx tool that we will use to run one-off scripts.

As with the backend, we’ll separate the frontend code into a frontend folder. Then, we’ll use the create-react-app tool in this new folder to set everything up by running the following command in the project directory:

npx create-react-app frontend --template typescript

It should give the following folder structure:

└── frontend
    ├── node_modules
    ├── public
    └── src

Of the files also installed, only the frontend/package.json, frontend/package-lock.json, frontend/tsconfig.json, frontend/.gitignore, frontend/src/react-app-env.d.ts, and frontend/public/index.html files matter at the moment, so you can delete or adapt the other files as you’d like.

We can now focus on the specific NodeJS tooling for fast development.

Formatting the code

TypeScript does not have an official format/formatter; however, Prettier is the de facto formatter. We should add it to the project as a development dependency by running the following command in the frontend directory:

npm install --save-dev prettier

The --save-dev flag

We use the --save-dev flag here as these tools are only required to develop the frontend, and therefore do not need to be installed when running in production.

By default, Prettier does not add trailing commas, which is different from the style used in Python. To be consistent and therefore not have to think about this, Prettier can be configured by adding the following section to frontend/package.json:

"prettier": {
  "trailingComma": "all" 

The following command will then run Prettier over our code:

npx prettier --parser typescript --write "src/**/*.{ts,tsx}"

We’ve now installed the tooling to format the code and we can focus on the tooling to lint it.

Linting the code

In the preceding section, we required a linter to type check our Python code, however, as we are using TypeScript, we do not need to install anything extra to type check. However, we can install linters to check for other bugs; the de facto linter for TypeScript and JavaScript is eslint, which is installed by running the following command in the frontend directory:

npm install --save-dev eslint 

By default, eslint is not compatible with Prettier; fortunately, the eslint-config-prettier package configures eslint to be compatible. It is installed by running the following command in the frontend directory:

npm install --save-dev eslint-config-prettier

As with the backend, we should order our imports using eslint-plugin-import, which is installed with npm as follows:

npm install --save-dev eslint-plugin-import

These linters are then configured by replacing the existing eslintConfig section with the following in frontend/package.json:

"eslintConfig": {
  "extends": [

The highlighted lines will already be present.

eslint can be run over our code via the following command:

npx eslint "src/**/*.{ts,tsx}"

eslint can also fix some of the issues it identifies via the use of the --fix flag as follows:

npx eslint --fix "src/**/*.{ts,tsx}"

We’ve now installed the tooling to lint the code and we can focus on the tooling to test it.

Testing the code

The create-react-app tool used earlier also installed a test runner called Jest, which we can invoke by running the following:

npm run test

Jest allows for tests to be written using an expect syntax, as shown in the following example:

test('addition', () => {
  expect(1 + 1).toBe(2);

With the testing tooling present, we can focus on analyzing the built bundle.

Analyzing the bundle

The frontend code will be delivered as bundles (in chunks) to the user. These bundles, especially the main bundle, should be small so that the user isn’t waiting too long for the code to be downloaded. To check the bundle size and analyze what is included in each bundle, I use source-map-explorer, which is installed by running the following command in the frontend directory:

npm install --save-dev source-map-explorer

Before we can analyze the bundle sizes, we first need to build them by running the following command:

npm run build

Then, we can analyze them via this command:

npx source-map-explorer build/static/js/*.js

The output from the preceding command is shown in Figure 1.2:

Figure 1.2: The output from source-map-explorer showing that the main bundle is 141 KB

Figure 1.2: The output from source-map-explorer showing that the main bundle is 141 KB

Each bundle should be as small as possible, with a good rule of thumb being that bundles should be split when the bundle exceeds 1 MB. We’ll find that we need to do this when we add a password complexity analyzer to the frontend in Chapter 4, Creating a Reusable Frontend with React.

Scripting the commands

To match the backend, we want to add the following commands:

  • npm run analyze to run the bundle analyzer
  • npm run format to run the formatting tooling and format the code
  • npm run lint to run the linting tooling
  • npm run test to run the tests

As npm run test is already present, we only need to add the other three. This is done by adding the following to the scripts section in frontend/package.json:

"scripts": {
  "analyze": "npm run build && source-map-explorer \"build/static/js/*.js\"",
  "format": "eslint --fix \"src/**/*.{ts,tsx}\" && prettier --parser typescript --write \"src/**/*.{ts,tsx}\"",
  "lint": " eslint \"src/**/*.{ts,tsx}\" && prettier --parser typescript --list-different  \"src/**/*.{ts,tsx}\"",
  "start": "react-scripts start",
  "build": "react-scripts build",
  "test": "react-scripts test",
  "eject": "react-scripts eject"

The highlighted lines will already be present in the section.

With the frontend tooling in place and accessible via the easy-to-remember commands, we can now do the same for the infrastructure.