My first dive into the front-end sea

Posted on November 1, 2017 by Sidharth Mishra

My dive into the front-end sea began with my decision to make myself this personal website.

I thought of using Webpack, ES6(or Purescript or Livescript), Babel, Yarn and React.js for my personal website.

Note: Of course, jQuery was implicit xD


Webpack allows us to develop Javascript application in modular way, that is - Webpack is a bundler that bundles all the dependencies together.

Webpack defines itself as:

“At its core, webpack is a module bundler for modern JavaScript applications. When webpack processes your application, it recursively builds a dependency graph that includes every module your application needs, then packages all of those modules into one or more bundles.” [2]

Installing yarn:

I installed yarn through npm by using the following command:

npm install -g yarn

Another alternative for installing yarn is installing it via Homebrew on macOS.

brew update && brew install yarn

Note: At the time of writing this log, yarn was at version 1.2.1

yarn --version # 1.2.1

The dive begins:

1. Project directory setup:

mkdir static-site-gen && cd static-site-gen

yarn init

yarn like npm created a package.json at the project root.

My package.json looked like:

  "name": "static-site-gen",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Creating React.js card for displaying my GitHub projects",
  "main": "main.js",
  "author": "Sidharth Mishra",
  "license": "MIT",
  "private": false

2. Webpack installation:

Installed webpack through yarn using the command below:

yarn add webpack webpack-dev-server path

yarn add html-webpack-plugin

Once installed, yarn.lock file and node_modules directory were visible in the project directory.

The html-webpack-plugin plugin is used because React uses JSX (Javascript and XML) and ES6. Many browsers do not support ES6 and JSX yet. Then, after babel transpiles the ES6 and JSX code into ES5 and babel-loader bundles the JS code, the bundled output is inserted into the app.html file automatically by the html-webpack-plugin.

Next, created a file named webpack.config.js in the project directory.

/* node.js imports */
const path = require('path');
const HtmlWebpackPlugin = require('html-webpack-plugin');   // webpack plugin import
/* node.js imports */

const HtmlWebpackPluginConfig = new HtmlWebpackPlugin(
    template: __dirname + '/src/app.html',
    filename: 'app.html',
    inject: 'body'

module.exports = {
  entry: __dirname + '/src/app.js',
  output: {
    path: __dirname + '/bin',
    filename: 'app.bundle.js'
  module: {
    loaders: [
      { test: /\.js$/, loader: 'babel-loader', exclude: /node_modules/ },
      { test: /\.jsx$/, loader: 'babel-loader', exclude: /node_modules/ }
  plugins: [HtmlWebpackPluginConfig]
  • The entry key requires the entry file for the application (also the index.js or main.js)

    An entry point indicates which module webpack should use to begin building out its internal dependency graph. After entering the entry point, webpack will figure out which other modules and libraries that entry point depends on (directly and indirectly).

    I had it set to:

    entry: __dirname + '/src/app.js'      // __dirname is the Node.js global constant referring to the present working directory
                                          // since webpack.config.js is located in the project root, __dirname is the project root.
  • The output key requires the location in which the bundled JS code is meant to be saved. (something like the dist or build or bin directories)

  • The loaders key property helps in transformations that occur in the application. More info here

3. Babel and Babel preset installation:

Babel is a transpiler used to transpile ES6 code into ES5 because ES6 is not yet supported by all browsers.

yarn add babel-loader babel-core babel-preset-es2017 babel-preset-react --dev

touch .babelrc

Note: --dev flag is used since Babel is a development dependency.

Added the following snippet to the .babelrc` file:

  "presets": [

The above snippets informs Babel about compiling ES6 and React’s JSX.

4. React setup:

As per the information provided in the webpack.config.js file, I created a directory named src inside the project directory.

mkdir src && cd src

touch app.js app.html

I added the following content to the app.html:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
  <title>My first dive into the front-end sea</title>

  <div id="root">


Then I added the following content to the app.js:

alert("My first dive into the front-end sea begins with comprehension of react");

5. Running the setup:

To run the application, I added the script field into my package.json

  "scripts": {
    "start": "webpack-dev-server"

After saving everything, used the following command to run:

yarn start --watch

Webpack bundled everything and launched a server at localhost:8080. But to visit the page I had to visit localhost:8080/app.html

After installing all the dependencies my package.json looked like:

  "name": "static-site-gen",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Creating React.js card for displaying my GitHub projects",
  "main": "main.js",
  "author": "Sidharth Mishra",
  "license": "MIT",
  "private": false,
  "dependencies": {
    "html-webpack-plugin": "^2.30.1",
    "path": "^0.12.7",
    "webpack": "^3.8.1",
    "webpack-dev-server": "^2.9.3"
  "devDependencies": {
    "babel-core": "^6.26.0",
    "babel-loader": "^7.1.2",
    "babel-preset-es2017": "^6.24.1",
    "babel-preset-react": "^6.24.1"
  "scripts": {
    "start": "webpack-dev-server"

Rest continued in Part#2


[1] Kayode, T. “Setting up react with webpack 3.0, yarn and babel”,

[2] Webpack,