Additional hints on getting WebCraft converted to React.

Git Ignore

If you haven’t done so already, add add two items to your .gitignore file:


These can both be big files, and care easily reproduced from existing source, so there is no need to check them in. If you are checking them in at this time, remove them with code like these:

git rm public/javascripts/bundle.js
git rm public/javascripts/bundle.js.map


There are two bugs in isit-site-tools that need to be fixed. The simplest way to get the fix is to merge in the code from the upstream repository that you forked earlier. I ran the following from the root of isit-site-tools:

git pull git@github.com:charliecalvert/isit-site-tools.git

Our changes are preserved in this process. In other words, it will not cause the require statements that we inserted with the find and sed commands to be changed back to their original values.

NOTE See point 5 in this documentation for confirmation that your changes will not be lost.

Please also see this: which would probably simplify the process, but I have not tried it yet:

Below I describe the changes in detail, but you should not actually have to do anything, since the merge described above made the necessary changes.

Bugs: The Case of the Wrong Config File

Please read the section called Bugs before reading more.

Isit-Site-Tools has a file a bug in it. It is currently found here:


The file is meant to show how to use isit-site-tools. Unfortunately, I’m currently using it as an entry point into the isit-site-tools library.

isit-site-tools can be configured to use either the local version of the configuration file, or a remote version. By default, it uses the local version. This is not what we want in this case. So we need to explicitly ask it to use the remote version. Here is the fix, which involves passing in a variable called useLocalConfig:

function runConfig(user, siteDirsOffset, useLocalConfig) {
    'use strict';
    return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
        if (typeof useLocalConfig !== 'undefined') {
            config.useLocalConfig = useLocalConfig;
            .then(function(configuration) {
                createMarkdown(configuration[user], siteDirsOffset)
            .catch(function(err) {
                throw err

In isit-web-crafts the method is called from here:


The new call looks like this, where the important change is in the third parameter to walkRunner:

router.get('/walk', function(request, response) {    
    walkRunner('calvert', request.query.siteDirsIndex, false)
        .then(function(report) {
        .catch(function(err) {
            throw err;

Bug: The Case of the Missing Markdown

Please read the section called Bugs before reading more.

The WebCrafts program looks in the directory it is configered to look in for Markdown files. The directory is specified in the ElvenConfig.js file. If it finds Markdown files, it converts them to HTML. If it finds a directory contains no Markdown files that have changed since the most-recent-date sepecified in the config file, then it blows up.

The problem is in a file called:


Here is the fix to the walker.makePage from that file:

walker.makePage = function(details, callback) {
    'use strict';

    details.callback = callback;

    // if we found nothing then return nothing
    if (details.directories.length === 0) {
    } else {
        details.directories.forEach(function(directory, index) {
            makePage.run(directory, index, details);

The key change is the line that looks for an empty directories property and return to emtpy arrays if it is found. Otherwise, the details.directories object is iterated with forEach and the markdown found in the directories is converted to HTML. The code called by makePage.run note only performs the conversion, but also returns an object with detailed information about which files were converted. That object is then passed to our client so that the user can see what the the program did.

Bug: The Case of the Missing Highlight

Please read the section called Bugs before reading more. In short, this is done automaticlly, just read it.

This was the big change that has been holding me up from using this version of the app.

We have better support now for highlighting and perhaps for bootswatch. The changes are to two methods to a file called create-markdown in markdown-to-html/private:

function createDetails(report, directoryToWalk, destinationDir, highlight, bootswatch) {
    return {
        report: report,
        bootswatch: bootswatch,     <=== HERE
        directoryToWalk: directoryToWalk,
        destinationDir: destinationDir,
        directories: walkCore.getDirectories(report),
        highlight: highlight,       <=== HERE
        testRun: true

The changes are in the header for the method, and in the two places called out in the code.

Also this method was changed:

module.exports = function (configSummary, directoryIndex) {
'use strict';
  return new Promise(function(resolve, reject) {
      const directoryToWalk = configSummary['base-dir'] + configSummary['site-dirs'][directoryIndex];
      const destinationDir = configSummary['destination-dirs'][directoryIndex];
      const mostRecentDate = configSummary['most-recent-date'];
      const bootswatch = configSummary.bootswatch;  <=== HERE
      const highlight = configSummary['highlight']; <=== HERE
      fs.access(directoryToWalk, fs.F_OK | fs.R_OK, function(err) {
          if (err) {
          } else {
              elfLog.details('Folder to Walk: ' + directoryToWalk);

              walkCore.buildFileReport(directoryToWalk, '.md', mostRecentDate, function(report) {
                  elfLog.nano('In buildFileReport callback');
                  const details = createDetails(report, directoryToWalk,
                       destinationDir, highlight, bootswatch); <=== HERE
                  pageMaker(details, configSummary, destinationDir)

The React MakeHtml files

There are three:

  • MakeHtml.js
  • MakeHtmlDropDowns
  • MakeHtmlHomeButton

Two DropDowns

Right now we are just trying to create a relatively simple effect. We want:

  • Two DropDowns
    • The first has the siteDirs from the ElvenConfig.json file.
    • The second has the destinationDirs from the config file.
  • If you select the one or the other, the matching item appears automatically.
  • If you click a RaisedButton labeled Generate HTML then the markdown files in the siteDirs directory should be converted into HTML found in the destinationDirs directory.
  • Only the files updated after the mostRecentDate from the config file will be processed. If there are no such files in the chosen directory, then the program returns an empty array.

Watch this video for details:

I’ll leave it up to you to create the DropDowns and the Button. For now, we can put this all in MakeHtmlDropDowns, but later we may refactor.


Here is the state for the MakeHtmlDropDowns.js file:

this.state = {
    walk: 'Generate HTML',
    siteDir: 'unknown',
    destDir: 'unknown',
    configSummary: [],
    value: 1

In module global scope just below the import statements, declare two arrays:

const siteDirs = [];
const destDirs = [];

There was a method in this file called something like handleChange. It should become handleSiteDir. A second method should be called handleDestinationDir. These methods are referenced in our JSX:


Here was handleChange:

handleChange(event, index, value) {

This is using ES6, but it might be clearer like this:

handleChange(event, index, value) {
    this.setState({value: value});

Change its name to handleSiteDir and in the setState method also set state.siteDir to:


And set destDir to:


Right similar code to for handleDestinationDir.

NOTE: We don’t actually do anything with state.siteDir and state.destDir. But we may display them later, or use them for debugging or delete them. At any rate, get them to work so you are sure you see what is going on here.

Generate HTML

When the button is clicked it should generate call makers/walk route in routes/makers:

generateHtml() {
    //walking.runWalkReact('qSingle', this.state.siteDir, this.state.destDir);
    const query = '/makers/walk?siteDirsIndex=' + this.state.value;
    var that = this;
        .then(function(response) {
            return response.json();
        .then(function(configSummary) {
            console.log(JSON.stringify(configSummary, null, 4));
            // CALL that.setState to **state.configSummary** to configSummary.htmlFilesWritten
        .catch(function(ex) {
            console.log('parsing failed', ex);
        //Object.keys(configSummary).map(function (key) { return configSummary[key]; });

You’ll need a PRE tag in your JSX to display state.configSummary

Generate Images

Creating web pages from images.

At the end of your ElvenConfig.json file there should be a section that looks like this:

"elvenImages": [
        "name": "doc",
        "baseDir": "The base directory where the images to be processed are found",
        "cloudPath": "Base string found in markdown files",
        "createSmallImages": true
        "name": "california",
        "baseDir": "/var/www/html/images",
        "cloudPath": "/images",
        "createSmallImages": true
        "name": "california1",
        "baseDir": "/var/www/html/images",
        "cloudPath": "https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3bucket01.elvenware.com",
        "createSmallImages": true
        "name": "california2",
        "baseDir": "/var/www/html/images",
        "cloudPath": "/images",
        "createSmallImages": true

We want to concentrate on the last two sections, called california1 and california2. They have a basedir set to /var/www/html/images. We should combine the name and the baseDir to point to a specific directory that we will populate with images:


Before proceeding further, be sure that:

  • Apache is installed
  • The /var/www/html/images/ directory exists.
  • ~/ElvenImages exists.

If necessary, create the directories listed in the latter two bullet points. If /var/www/html does not exist, then install Apache2:

sudo apt-get install apache2

I have sample images in a file found here:

Download them and unzip them in /var/www/html/images/:

cd /var/www/html/images/
unzip ~/Downloads/california.zip

Now run WebCrafts, navigate to the Make Image page, and press the Create Image Page button. A series of files should be created in ~/ElvenImages.

Arrow Functions in React

Sometimes we call bind in our constructors:

this.foo = this.foo.bind(this);

foo() {}

Alternatively we can use Arrow Functions:

foo = () => {}

The advantage here is that we no longer need to explicitly call bind in our constructors. Instead, we use ES6 arrow functions, and this is automatically bound to the function.

To enable this syntax, install babel-preset-stage-0

npm install babel-preset-stage-0

Then, in webpack.config.js add the stage-0 preset:

module: {
    loaders: [{
        test: /.js?$/,
        loader: 'babel-loader',
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        query: {
            presets: ['env', 'stage-0', 'react']

Turn it in

Push and tell me repo and branch. Check for:

  • Bug fixes for isit-site-tools
  • MakeHtml files works
    • Two dropdowns work in sync
    • It generates HTML from markdown
  • Generates HTML based on images