Steven HicksAboutSpeaking

Maybe I was wrong about React

So many places to start

There are a lot of examples of how to set up a project with React, and very little direction on the best route. The first time I tried to do this, I ended up with a whole lot of analysis paralysis, and couldn't figure out where to even start.

It depends on how you learn

A lot of the advice you get on how to learn React and its ecosystem is to learn each individual piece, one thing at a time. Definitely DO NOT start with a "starter kit", they say. That isn't going to teach you anything, they say.

But suddenly in retrospect I'm realizing, that is why I struggled so much the first time I tried to learn React. I am not that kind of learner. I am a "give me a real live working example and I will tweak things until they break and learn from all the mistakes I make" kind of learner.

And what is the best way to fire up a working example of something? Yeoman. Find a generator that fits your tech stack, and start there.

Yo let's do this

So off to yeoman.io/generators we go...where we search for 'react', and get....tons....and tons....of results.

Yeoman React search

Looking through some of the results, I see one that has the things I'm looking for - react-webpack-redux, which is really an extension of another generator, react-webpack. The things I want out of the box, and the things this generator offers out of the box, are...

  • Redux
  • ES2015
  • Unit testing
  • Sass or Less

The moment of truth

So following the directions, we install the generator via npm, then generate a new site with yeoman.

yo react-webpack-redux

After answering a few questions for setup, comes the moment of truth. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to just start the app with

pre npm start

and HOLY CRAP I CAN AND IT JUST WORKS OH MY GEEZ HOW MUCH TIME DID I WASTE TRYING TO DO THIS THE LAST TIME!!!

The verdict - Oh my goodness this actually is kind of easy!

Well, jeez. This was so much easier than the first time I tried to set up a React project. I am very pleased. I am beyond very pleased. I am actually in complete disbelief and wish I had realized it could be this easy this the first time. This makes learning React a much more tolerable proposition.