Creating Frontend Website

Posted December 14, 2023 by Team Loco ‐ 4 min read

Overview

This guide provides a comprehensive walkthrough on using Loco to build a Todo list application with a REST API and a React frontend. The steps outlined cover everything from project creation to deployment.

Explore the example repository here

The key steps include:

  • Creating a Loco project with the Saas starter
  • Setting up a Vite frontend with React
  • Configuring Loco to serve frontend static assets
  • Implementing the Notes model/controller in the REST API
  • Reloading the server and frontend during development
  • Deploying the website to production

Selecting Saas Starter

To begin, run the following command to create a new Loco app using the Saas starter:

& loco new
 ❯ App name? · todolist
 ❯ What would you like to build? · Saas app (with DB and user auth)

🚂 Loco app generated successfully in:
/tmp/todolist

Follow the prompts to specify the app name (e.g., todolist) and choose the Saas app option.

After generating the app, ensure you have the necessary resources by running:

$ cd todolist
$ cargo loco doctor
✅ SeaORM CLI is installed
✅ DB connection: success
✅ Redis connection: success

Verify that SeaORM CLI is installed, and the database and Redis connections are successful. If any resources fail, refer to the quick tour guide for troubleshooting.

Once cargo loco doctor shows all checks passed, start the server:

$ cargo loco start
   Updating crates.io index
   .
   .
   .

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                https://loco.rs

environment: development
   database: automigrate
     logger: debug
      modes: server

listening on port 3000

Creating the Frontend

For the frontend, we'll use Vite with React. In the todolist folder, run:

$ npm create vite@latest
Need to install the following packages:
  create-vite@5.1.0
Ok to proceed? (y) y
 Project name: … frontend
 Select a framework: › React
 Select a variant: › JavaScript

Follow the prompts to set up the frontend as a project name.

Navigate to the frontend folder and install dependencies:

$ cd todolist/frontend
$ pnpm install

Start the development server:

$ pnpm dev

Serving Static Assets in Loco

First, move all our rest api endpoint under /api prefix. for doing it go to src/app.rs. in routes hooks function add .prefix("/api") to the default routes.

fn routes() -> AppRoutes {
    AppRoutes::with_default_routes()
        .prefix("/api")
        .add_route(controllers::notes::routes())
}

Build the frontend for production:

pnpm build

In the frontend folder, a dist directory is created. Update the config/development.yaml file in the main folder to include a static middleware:

server:
  middlewares:
    static:
      enable: true
      must_exist: true
      folder:
        uri: "/"
        path: "frontend/dist"
      fallback: "frontend/dist/index.html"

Now, run the Loco server again and you should see frontend app serving via Loco

$ cargo loco start

Developing the UI

Install react-router-dom, react-query and axios

$ pnpm install react-router-dom react-query axios
  1. Copy main.jsx to frontend/src/main.jsx.
  2. Copy App.jsx to frontend/src/App.jsx.
  3. Copy App.css to frontend/src/App.css.

Now, run the server cargo loco start and the UI pnpm dev in the frontend folder, and start adding your todo list!

Improve Development

use cargo-watch for hot reloading the server:

$ cargo watch --ignore "frontend" -x check -s 'cargo run start'

Now, any changes in your Rust code will automatically reload the server, and any changes in your frontend Vite will reload the frontend app.

Deploy To Production

In the frontend folder, run pnpm build. After a successful build, go to the Loco server and run cargo loco start. Loco will serve the frontend static files directly from the server.

Prepare Docker Image

Run cargo loco generate deployment and select Docker as the deployment type:

$ cargo loco generate deployment
 ❯ Choose your deployment · Docker
added: "dockerfile"
added: ".dockerignore"

Loco will add a Dockerfile and a .dockerignore file. Note that Loco detect the static assent and included them as part of the image

Build the container:

$ docker build . -t loco-todo-list

Now run the container:

$ docker run -e LOCO_ENV=production -p 3000:3000 loco-todo-list start