Welcome to ReactProps

React Props

We will learn a bit about React props by continuing to expand the week02-rest-basics program. We will try to understand properties, and to see how they can be passed from one component to another.

In this assignment we are trying to create something that looks a bit like this:

React Props UI

At the top we see some data from our GitHub account. Yours will, of course, differ from what I see in my app. Next we see a call to one or more Micro Servers. Finally, we see the original data retrieved from our /foo/api route developed in a previous assignment.

Define Terms

There are a few terms we need to know here:

The Github API is a web API. It allows us to make calls across a network, but spares us the arcane details found in SOAP and WSDL.


Since we are often working on a single project that has multiple phases, let's create a Git tag marking our current status:

$ git tag -a v3.0.0 -m "Start Week03"
$ git push origin v3.0.0
$ git tag -n1

The first command creates a tag that has a message associated with it. The message works much like the message in a commit.

The second command pushes the tag from your local machine to the cloud.

The last command lists your tags and their message on one line. If you have only a single tag, it is not particularly useful, but once you have multiple tags you will see how helpful this can be. Increase the value of the number after -n? to see more information about your tag. You can read about tags here:

You might create multiple tags for an assignment, but one of the tags should be made just after you commit and push the code you want me to see. Then turn in that tag with the assignment.

New Branch

If you have not already done so, create a new branch called Week03. You must put your homework for week three in this branch! (You can do it!)

git branch Week03
git checkout Week03

Write some code, commit your work. Push it:

git push --set-upstream origin Week03

Images and CSS

Let's change the revolving image found at the top of our default create-react-app program perhaps called something like Week02-RestBasics. I found images here:

It's easy to swap in one of the these images for the default spinning "atomic logo". For instance, employ wget like this to help you get the job done:

cd src
mkdir images
cd images
wget https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Tree-of-Life_Flower-of-Life_Stage.svg

Now modify the import statement in App.js that loads your logo. You should load the image you downloaded instead. Note that I have picked an SVG file which should both be small and should load quickly.

Depending on your tastes and the image you choose to load, you may also want to edit the background-color for the .App-header in App.css.

To find more images you might like, try this search in Chrome/Chromium:


In Google, turn to the images page. Select tools, and select Labeled for non-commercial reuse or something similar.

Also, let's put our images and CSS in their own folders:

You will need to make some changes to your code after doing this. In fact, you may have to play with these paths several times over the course of this assignment.


The key goal will be to move App.js to components/App.js. Then break App.js into discrete components such as components/Header.js, components/GetFoo.js and components/SmallNumbers.js.

For instance:

git mv App.js components/.

Right now, we are doing, or in the process of doing, two things in App.js. We are calling, with fetch, our server with the following routes:

Module Route Description
App.js /api/foo Get file, status, result
Micro01.js /bar Call You Rang in Micro Services
GitUser.js /user Get user information from GitHub

Each module will contain

We have not implemented the server side code of the GitUser call, but we will do so later in this assignment. So we might as well get started. Just set up a module with the four pieces described above and assume we will define the details later.

You will need to include code to properly maintain the state of each component. For instance, App.js will contain code for maintaining the following properties:

Micro01, on the other hand, will only track state for one property called youRang.

For now, put all the buttons in the render method for App.js. Do not include them in the other modules. The buttons should have the following labels:

Finally, you will need a module called components/Header.js that contains only the header:


After looking at this, we might decide that index.js is doing too much, and App.js should either be renamed or we should change its task by refactoring it. Let's do two things:

Module Route Description
App.js None Load components
Header.js None Show Header
FooApi.js /api/foo Get file, status, result
Micro01.js /bar Call You Rang in Micro Services
GitUser.js /user Get user information from GitHub


In index.js pass in some default numbers to components/App.js:

const appInit = {
    file: 'File name will be placed here.',
    status: 'status will go here',
    result: 'result will go here',

class App extends Component {

    render() {
        return (
            <div className="App">
                <ApiFoo appInit={appInit} />

export default App;

And then use it in App.js:


You can also use PropTypes to get better warnings at runtime for props type mismatches.

PropType warnings at run time

First install the prop-types package:

npm install --save prop-types

Then add the tool to your program:

import PropTypes from 'prop-types';

class App extends Component {
  constructor(props) {
      this.state = {
              file: props.appInit.file,
              status: props.appInit.status,
              result: props.appInit.result

App.propTypes = {
    appInit: PropTypes.shape({
        file: PropTypes.string,
        status: PropTypes.string,
        result: PropTypes.string

export default App;

Do something similar for all your modules.

You can read more about PropTypes here and here and here.

Put appInit in its Own File

I called mine app-init.js, and for now, mine happens to be in the src directory, but ultimately we might want to refactor and move it elsewhere.

Of course, you will now need to import this data into index.js and into your tests:

import appInit from './app-init';

Query the GitHub API

Install request: npm install --save request

In server/routes/api.js add this method. If you have GitHub account, use yours, not mine:

var request = require('request');

router.get('/user', function(req, res, next) {
    const options = {
        url: 'https://api.github.com/users/charliecalvert',
        headers: {
            'User-Agent': 'request'

    request(options, function(error, response, body) {
        console.log('error:', error);
        console.log('statusCode:', response && response.statusCode);
        console.log('body:', body);
        const jsonBody = JSON.parse(body);
       console.log('body:', JSON.stringify(body, null, 4));
       res.send({error: error, response: response, body: jsonBody});


We should refactor our code now. In the server/routes folder create a file called git-api.js. Move the method shown above into that file. Modify server/app.js to load routes/git-api.js. Modify our client side code to call the new git-api/user route.


As you refactor your components, your tests might need to change. For instance, if you move the H1 for your app into components/Header.js, you might need to change your tests. Consider this code:

import App from './App';

// Code omitted here

it.only('renders and reads H1 text', () => {
    const wrapper = shallow(<App />);
    const welcome = <h2>Welcome to React</h2>;

It will likely end up like this:

import Header from './components/Header';

// Code omitted here

it.only('renders and reads H1 text', () => {
    const wrapper = shallow(<Header />);
    const welcome = <h2>Welcome to React</h2>;

HINT: When writing your tests, don't forget that App now has an attribute/parameter passed to it.

Logger Console

Here are Three steps to a poor man's logger:

Perhaps a bit like this:

constructor() {
    this.state = {
        file: 'File Result will be placed here.',
        foo: 'waiting for express server'

    // SET quiet TO false TO SEE DEBUG MESSAGES    
    this.quiet = true;
    this.debug('GetFoo constructor called');

debug = (message) => {
    if (!this.quiet) {

getFoo = () => {
    const that = this;
        .then(function (response) {
            return response.json();
        }).then(function (json) {
            that.debug('parsed json', json);
            that.setState(foo => (json));
        }).catch(function (ex) {
            console.log('parsing failed', ex);

Refactor Tests

Move your tests and ElfDebugEnzyme into their own folder called src/__tests__.

Refactor your tests into modules that might look a little like this:

That's two underscores, the word tests, followed by two more underscores.

Some of the individual file names are not right for this project, but this screenshot should help you get a sense of what your directory structure should look like.

Project Structure

Turn it in

First commit and push. Then tag and push. Designate the directory and branch in your repo where you did your work:

Props Single Node Error

Please go here:


Please look here:


This is an outdated section, and no longer necessary. More specifically, you should already have bower_components in your .gitignore if you don't, put it there. I am, however, keeping this section for now in case some specific person needs to do this. However, most students can just ignore this entire section.

Unless you are sure you mean to do it. make sure that components is not listed in your .gitignore files.

Modify the hidden file .bowerrc to reference public/bower-components.

Add bower-components to .gitignore:

# Dependency directories

Once again, be sure that you remove components from .gitignore

Here is server/views/layout.jade after this change with bower-components instead of components:

doctype html
    title= title
    link(rel='stylesheet', href='/stylesheets/style.css')
    link(rel='stylesheet', href='/bower-components/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.css')
    block content