Introducing the React Profile for Grails
November 14, 2016
React Profiles for Grails
Grails 3 offers great support for the Angular framework, including the Angular Scaffolding plugin as well as profiles for both Angular 1.x and 2.x. Recently new profiles have been released to provide support for creating React applications with Grails 3.
This post will cover two new profiles for React, one aimed at monolithic Grails applications, and a second profile which makes use of the brand new
create-react-app CLI and generates a multi-project client/server structure.
React & Webpack Profiles
If you've read the previous post on Using React with Grails, you've probably noticed that there's quite a bit of wiring that has to happen to get React working properly in the context of a Grails application. This is a place where profiles shine, and now you can get an entire React/Grails project setup immediately upon app generation, including some basic sample React code.
grails create-app myReactApp --profile=org.grails.profiles:react:1.0.2
react:1.x profile is based on another new profile,
webpack profile offers a single feature which will configure the
babel transpiler with support for ES6 - it also includes sample code to demonstrate the feature.
grails create-app myWebpackApp --profile=org.grails.profiles:webpack:1.0.2 --features=babel
bundle (to generate the webpack bundle on app startup) and
webpack (to run webpack in "watch" mode and reload any changes) are defined. You may also run the corresponding npm scripts if you have npm installed (scripts are defined in
For instance, you can run webpack alongside your Grails app with this command:
./gradlew webpack //or: npm run webpack
/src/main/webapp, webpack will automatically regenerate the bundle. Just refresh your page to see the changes.
In addition, the
react profile adds a
mochaTest task which will run React tests with the mocha test runner. Test sources are kept under
/src/test/js, and a simple test is provided. Simply run:
./gradlew mochaTest //or: npm test
React Profile - Multi-Project Edition
The react profile is being released with two branches, currently
react:2.0.1 profile is complete rewrite of the 1.x version, and it leverages the new React CLI from Facebook,
create-react-app. For more information on the features provided by
create-react-app, please read the documentation on Github.
create-react-app provides us with a complete webpack/React project, with custom scripts defined to build, run and test our React app. It is designed for standalone React apps, which makes it a perfect choice for a client/frontend application backed by a separate server application. That is exactly what
Please note that
react:2.0.1 depends upon the new CORS support in Grails 3.2.1, so you will need to be using that version of Grails or newer.
To get started with this profile, specify it when generating your app:
grails create-app myReactMultiApp --profile=org.grails.profiles:react:2.0.1
Take a look at the directory structure - you will see a typical Gradle multi-project build, with separate client and server projects.
-rw-r--r-- 1 zak staff 65 Nov 1 13:10 build.gradle drwxr-xr-x 9 zak staff 306 Nov 1 13:15 client drwxr-xr-x 3 zak staff 102 Nov 1 13:10 gradle -rwxr--r-- 1 zak staff 4971 Nov 1 13:10 gradlew -rwxr--r-- 1 zak staff 2314 Nov 1 13:10 gradlew.bat drwxr-xr-x 8 zak staff 272 Nov 1 13:12 server -rw-r--r-- 1 zak staff 26 Nov 1 13:10 settings.gradle
server is of course our Grails application. The profile will generate a Grails app using the
rest-api profile, which provides support for creating domain classes as restful resources as well as JSON and Markup views.
client is our React app. It has been rewritten with React-Bootstrap (Bootstrap 3) and will connect with
server via REST calls - it has no Grails dependencies of any kind.
-rw-r--r-- 1 zak staff 44412 Nov 1 13:10 README.md -rw-r--r-- 1 zak staff 669 Nov 1 13:10 build.gradle -rw-r--r-- 1 zak staff 404 Nov 1 13:10 package.json drwxr-xr-x 4 zak staff 136 Nov 1 13:10 public drwxr-xr-x 10 zak staff 340 Nov 1 13:10 src
This project structure (with the exception of
build.gradle, which is specific to the
react:2.0.1 profile) is all courtesy of
create-react-app, and includes an excellent
README file. In short, the
src/ directory is where the React code is kept,
public/ is for public resources that you wish to make available from your React app without going through webpack's bundling - this directory also includes a template
index.html file which is used to generate the React app's home page. Again, see the
create-react-app documentation for more details.
One significant customization of the
client project (besides the Grails-branded UI) is the file
src/config.js. This file is used to specify the URL of the backend, by default
http://localhost:8080. It also obtains the current version of the React app from 'package.json'.
As with the 1.x version of the
react profile, this profile define custom Gradle tasks, including a
bootRun task to startup the client app. You can either start up the
client apps separately:
./gradlew server:bootRun //in another terminal ./gradlew client:bootRun
Or you can take advantage of Gradle's parallel execution to run both client and server apps in a single command:
./gradlew bootRun -parallel
Other tasks defined in
client wrap the
create-react-app scripts for building and testing the React app. You can run them with the Gradle wrapper, or run the npm scripts directly if you have npm installed.
./gradlew client:test //or, from the client project dir: npm test ./gradlew client:build //or, from the client project dir: npm run build
Again, please see the
create-react-app documentation for more information on leveraging these scripts and the other features provided by
These two profiles offer two ways to use React in the context of a Grails application. If you want to use React within your existing Grails application, either to render components on a GSP or to replace some or all of your GSP pages, then use
react:1.0.1 (or the latest version of the 1.x branch).
If you prefer a completely separate frontend for your Grails application, and/or want to take advantage of the features of the
create-react-app CLI, then the
react:2.0.1 (or latest version of the 2.x branch) is made for you.
Whichever one you choose, here's hoping these profiles help you enjoy using React with Grails 3!
- "Using React with Grails": http://grailsblog.objectcomputing.com/posts/2016/05/28/using-react-with-grails.html