Move React files into custom directories

This morning I tried to rebuild my instapaper clone for Nextcloud from PHP and plain javascript to React, but I needed to move the compiled javascript and CSS files into a custom directory structure for the nextcloud app release. I’m using create-react-app and react-app-rewired and apparently there is no simple way to modify the output directory „build“ to something different.

To avoid additional tools and steps in my process, I decided to write a piece of javascript and execute it with node after building my app via npm. To do this I created the following file move.js next to package.json:

const path = require('path');
const fs = require('fs');

const build = path.resolve(__dirname, 'build');
const target = path.resolve(__dirname, '..');

const errorLogger = (err) => err && console.log(err);

[path.join(target, 'js'), path.join(target, 'css')].forEach(dir =>
  fs.readdir(dir, (err, files) => {
    if (err) throw err;
    files.forEach(file => fs.unlink(path.join(dir, file), errorLogger));

// copy javascript+css into custom directories
fs.readdir(build, (err, files) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  // copy javascript+map files
  files.filter(file => {
    return file.endsWith('.js') || file.endsWith('.map');
  }).forEach(file =>
    fs.copyFile(path.join(build, file), path.join(target, 'js', file), errorLogger)
  // copy CSS files
  files.filter(file => {
    return file.endsWith('.css');
  }).forEach(file =>
    fs.copyFile(build + '/' + file, target + '/css/' + file, errorLogger)

Now I can modify my npm scripts in package.json:

"scripts": {
  "build": "react-app-rewired build && node move.js"

When running npm build the files are now copied into the proper directories for JS and CSS in my nextcloud app structure.

Building a simple blog with NodeJS and Express

After installing NodeJS and creating a basic web application with
I wanted to get deeper into the world of node and build
another simple, but useable web app. Because I like to blog, I decided
to build a blog.

You can check out the result at https://github.com/MoriTanosuke/blode/
and clone it.

I decided to stick with express and jade as my templating
engine, because I already now how to use those. But because this blog is
made with jekyll and I like to think that I can eventually replace
the jekyll blog with a node blog, I wanted my blog entries written
in Markdown. Fortunatly, node can easily display markdown with

I started with a simple route that walks down into a directory “blog”,
gets all files and renders a template when the files are fetched:

exports.list = function(req, res){
  var walk = require('walk'), fs = require('fs'), options, walker;
  // walk into directory "blog"
  var walker = walk.walk('blog');
  var fs = new Array();
  walker.on("file", function(root,file,next){
    // get the file, but remove file extension
    var f = root + "/" + file['name'].substring(0, file['name'].lastIndexOf('.'));
    // push without /blog prefix
  walker.on("end", function() {
    res.render('blog', { title: 'Entries', files: fs })

Then I created a simple view named ‘blog’ which displays all the files:

h1= title
!=partial('listing', {files: files})

Ok, I cheated a little bit, because the actual file listing is done in a
partial, which basically is a reusable part of a view. The partial
‘listing’ isn’t complicated either:

  - each file in files
      a(href='#{file}') #{file}

As you can probably tell, this jade partial will render a simple unordered list with links
to the given files. Ok, so now I have a list of files under directory /blog. What happens
when I click one of the links?

Another route takes over:

exports.entry = function(req, res){
  var md = require('node-markdown').Markdown;
  res.render('entry', { content: md('' + require('fs').readFileSync('blog/'
     + req.params.year + "/" + req.params.month + "/" + req.params.day + "/"
     + req.params.title + ".markdown")), title: req.params.title });

Now this route builds a filename from the given parameters, reads its
content, renders the content as markdown and renders the template ‘entry’:

div.entry !{content}

      a(href='/') back

  p Feel free to add your comment system here.

Again, a very basic template. I simple put all the markdown into a
div with class entry, add a link to the homepage and another div
for a later addition of comments, probably using disqus.

Now I have 2 routes: one route walks through my filesystem and gets a list
of files, another route displays the given content and adds a very basic
navigation. What’s missing at this point is the connection between the

Here is the relevant part from my app.js file that connects my routes
with actual URLs the user enters into the browser address bar:

app.get('/', routes.list);
app.get('/:year/:month/:day/:title', routes.entry);
app.get('*', function(req, res){ res.send('Uh, what?', 404); });

The first route shows the homepage with the list of entries. The second
route displays an entry when the user clicked a link. The third route is
an error handler that will display a very helpful error message when the
user enters a non-existant URL.

Remember, if you want to check out my code, clone me from github and run
the blog on your own machine:

    git clone git@github.com:MoriTanosuke/blode.git
    cd blode
    node app.js

Now you can open http://localhost:3000 and check the blog out.

For my development I used a very nice script, node-supervisor. It
watches your files and restarts node when needed. That way every time I
save a file in my editor, the server restarts and I can reload the page to
see my changes. Just run the application with supervisor instead of node:

npm install node-supervisor
   supervisor app.js

I really like my development cycle fast and without manually restarting stuff
every couple of minutes.

The one thing gone awry

When I tried to put a basic stylesheet in place, I noticed that I couldn’t
open the stylesheet at http://localhost:3000/stylesheets/style.css. I thought
about this for a couple of minutes and verified that the file is actually
in the directory /public/stylesheets in my application.

After searching the internets I found that in my app.js the following lines
were present:

  // ...
  app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/public'));

If I got the explanation right, this means that my own routes come before
the static assets. So when I tried to open my stylesheet the error handler
kicked in because none of my 2 other rules applied. The solution to this is
re-ordering the configuration:

  // ...
  app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/public'));

Now the static assets are always served before my own routes apply.
Everything works, my stylesheet is in place.