Create React App (CRA) templates were introduced quite recently and there is not much info present on how to create them. In this article, I’m going to share my experience of developing a custom template and releasing it to the NPM.
CRA templates are a way to automate the routine setup. Basic Create React App CLI execution generates an app without any React Router, linter, prettier setup, so you need to add all of this dependencies on your own and configure them, but why waste time when you know from the beginning that you’ll be building an app with Redux, for example. Templates could help with that. It’s a way to generate an app with all the deps and tools you need. Of course, if such template exists ;) No worries! You can build your own!
CRA (Create React App) basic templates
Currently, there are only two official CRA templates present:
you could generate CRA from a template by simply providing — template flag.
npx create-react-app my-app — template typescript# oryarn create react-app my-app — template typescript
Building your own CRA template
1. Starting a project
To start building CRA template I would start with generating a new project with CRA itself
yarn create react-app your-cra-template-name
Adjust package name in your package.json with cra-template-[your-custom-template-name].
Note, that it should start with the cra-template- prefix. This way CRA knows that this would be an actual template.
2. Remove dependencies and setting up tools
Remove everything you don’t need from the CRA app and add everything you need.
3. Create a template
When your project is ready to become a _template_ you need to do some preparation.
3.1 Create template/ folder
From your project root create `template/` folder.
3.2 Add gitignore file to the template/ folder
Add `gitignore` into the created template folder `template/gitignore`. You can copy `gitignore` from the CRA but don’t forget to remove the `.` in front of the file.
cp .gitignore template/gitignore
Please note: it is important that the `gitignore` file inside the template folder should be without ”.” in front!
This way CRA would know that you’re creating a template and it will replace this file later. Otherwise, you’ll receive build failures.
3.3 Create `template.json` at your project root
List all of your `dependencies` and `scripts` that you need for the new app created from your template to have. For example
"lint": "eslint --ext .js,.jsx,.ts,.tsx ./",
"fix": "eslint --ext .js,.jsx,.ts,.tsx --fix ./"
3.4 Copy “src/” and “public/” folders into your “template/” folder
cp -a ./src/. template/src && cp -a ./public/. template/public
3.5 Copy any configuration files that you might want to include with your template
cp .eslintignore .eslintrc .prettierrc tsconfig.json README.md template/
Prepare the template for publishing to the NPM (Node package manager)
Prepare your `package.json`
Add the license, author, description, description, keywords, repository URL, bugs URL. You find a good example in my template package.json
Add `main` and `files` properties
It’s important to point CRA where to look while building your app from the template. Adding ‘main’ and `files` points to proper files.
“files”: [“template”, “template.json”]
I’d suggest using a pre-publish script to make it easier for incremental template updates
For your convenience, you can add pre-publish scripts
"clean-files": "rm -rf ./template/public ./template/src && rm -f ./template/.eslintrc",
"copy-files": "cp -a ./src/. template/src && cp -a ./public/. template/public && cp .eslintrc template/",
"prepublishOnly": "yarn clean-files && yarn copy-files"
Publishing to the NPM
When everything is ready you can publish your package to the NPM
Create an npm account
If you haven’t already, navigate to the npm sign up and create an account.
Log in to npm via terminal
From your project root login to npm with your credentials
Publish your package to the npm with public access
npm publish --access public
If the name of your package is already taken you’ll receive an error on this step — just try another name or scoped packages. When publishing was successful you can start using your template. Happy coding!
A quick start Redux + TypeScript Create React App template
I created an opinionated quick start Create React App (CRA) template with configured Redux, TypeScript, React Router, Enzyme, and custom ESlint configuration.
Just install and play with it already. It configures TypeScript with Redux project with tons of useful tools and configurations, like automatic code formatting and ESLint setup for the TypeScript.
npx create-react-app your-project-name --template typescript-redux# oryarn create react-app your-project-name --template typescript-redux
`npx` command installs the most recent stable version of CRA from npm.
--template parameter points to this template, note that `cra-template-` prefix is omitted.
You know the pain. You start a new project from scratch and need to configure it again and again. It needs routing, ok you setup Router, then you need Redux — ok, oh 😩 Redux boilerplate is taking so much time to type. Wait… what if you could have all the tools you want just from the beginning? I want to focus on building amazing projects and not spending hours configuring them. That’s why I’ve created this template. It’s here for you to use.
Try it now!
Hopefully, you found something useful in this article for you ;) Thanks!