17. Project Structure

Here’s what I did to achieve a structure that I’m able to grasp a bit better.

  1. Create a /src folder that will hold source files that will be built/transformed
  2. Move the /Components folder to /src/Components
  3. Move the /assets/index.js file to /src/Pages/index.jsx
    • We introduced ‘Pages’ here because that’s really what this file was for–page-specific scripts
    • Renaming to a .jsx file positions us for using JSX too, even though we’re not yet doing so
  4. Move the /index.jsx file to /src/server.jsx
    • “server” is really a more appropriate name
    • We’ll reserve “index” for pages
  5. Delete the /lib folder to get rid of the stale files that were generated
  6. Create a /bin folder that we’ll start to use instead of /lib

The gulpfile.js needs to be updated to reflect the changes.

var gulp = require('gulp')
  , gulpReact = require('gulp-react')
  , gulpNodemon = require('gulp-nodemon')
  , gulpWatch = require('gulp-watch')
  , source = require('vinyl-source-stream')
  , browserify = require('browserify')

gulp.task('watch-jsx', ['build'], function() {
    gulpWatch('src/**/*.jsx', {
        ignored: 'bin/' }, function() {

gulp.task('jsx', function() {
    return gulp.src('src/**/*.jsx')

gulp.task('build', ['client-scripts'])

gulp.task('client-scripts', ['jsx'], function() {
  return browserify('./bin/Pages/index.js').bundle()

gulp.task('node', ['client-scripts', 'watch-jsx'], function() {
        script: 'bin/server.js',
        ignore: ['gulpfile.js'],
        ext: 'js jsx'

gulp.task('default', function() {

After killing the running Gulp process, ensuring the /lib folder is deleted, and restarting Gulp, we’re almost back to working. There are just a few more details to finish below. The end result will be a new structure that will be easier to work with.

    /                   - Configuration and other general files
    /src                - Source files that will be built/transformed
    /src/Components     - React JSX components
    /src/Pages          - Script files with page-specific code
    /bin                - Build/transform output
    /bin/Components     - React components after JSX transform
    /bin/Pages          - Page-specific script files ready for use in the browser

We’ll make a couple of little housekeeping changes to tidy things up. In /src/server.jsx, we should change the message passed to the <HelloWorld> component and also change the path to the script file to reflect the new structure, and also update our routes to handle requests to /pages. The client will no longer make requests into our Components folder either, because the scripts needed from there get bundled into /pages/index.js, so we can remove that route.

var React = require('react')
  , HelloWorld = require('./Components/HelloWorld')
  , express = require('express')
  , path = require('path')

var app = express()
app.use('/pages', express.static(path.join(__dirname, 'Pages')))

app.get('/', function (req, res) {
  res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/html'})
  var html = React.renderToString(
        <title>Hello World</title>
        <HelloWorld from="server.jsx, running on the server" />
        <div id="reactContainer" />
        <div id="reactHelloContainer"></div>
      <script src="/pages/index.js"></script>


console.log('Server running at http://localhost:1337/')

And then in /src/Pages/index.jsx, we’ll make a change to the message it passes to the HelloWorld component too.

var helloInstance = React.createFactory(HelloWorld)( {
  from: "index.jsx, transformed and running on the client" } );

Don’t forget to change the references to the Components at the top of /src/Pages/index.jsx.

From: <pre class="brush: js"> var HelloWorld = require(‘../lib/Components/HelloWorld’) var Timestamp = require(‘../lib/Components/Timestamp’) </pre>

To: <pre class="brush: js"> var HelloWorld = require(‘../Components/HelloWorld’) var Timestamp = require(‘../Components/Timestamp’) </pre>

This will reflect the changes to our folder structure. Gulp should build correctly now.

Next » Using JSX for the Pages