Use the React project template with ASP.NET Core
The updated React project template provides a convenient starting point for ASP.NET Core apps using React and create-react-app (CRA) conventions to implement a rich, client-side user interface (UI).
The template is equivalent to creating both an ASP.NET Core project to act as an API backend, and a standard CRA React project to act as a UI, but with the convenience of hosting both in a single app project that can be built and published as a single unit.
Create a new app
If you have ASP.NET Core 2.1 installed, there's no need to install the React project template.
Create a new project from a command prompt using the command
dotnet new react in an empty directory. For example, the following commands create the app in a my-new-app directory and switch to that directory:
dotnet new react -o my-new-app cd my-new-app
Run the app from either Visual Studio or the .NET Core CLI:
Open the generated .csproj file, and run the app as normal from there.
The build process restores npm dependencies on the first run, which can take several minutes. Subsequent builds are much faster.
The project template creates an ASP.NET Core app and a React app. The ASP.NET Core app is intended to be used for data access, authorization, and other server-side concerns. The React app, residing in the ClientApp subdirectory, is intended to be used for all UI concerns.
Add pages, images, styles, modules, etc.
The ClientApp directory is a standard CRA React app. See the official CRA documentation for more information.
There are slight differences between the React app created by this template and the one created by CRA itself; however, the app's capabilities are unchanged. The app created by the template contains a Bootstrap-based layout and a basic routing example.
Install npm packages
To install third-party npm packages, use a command prompt in the ClientApp subdirectory. For example:
cd ClientApp npm install --save <package_name>
Publish and deploy
In production, serve a version of your app that's optimized for performance. This is configured to happen automatically. When you publish, the build configuration emits a minified, transpiled build of your client-side code. Unlike the development build, the production build doesn't require Node.js to be installed on the server.
You can use standard ASP.NET Core hosting and deployment methods.
Run the CRA server independently
The project is configured to start its own instance of the CRA development server in the background when the ASP.NET Core app starts in development mode. This is convenient because it means you don't have to run a separate server manually.
There's a drawback to this default setup. Each time you modify your C# code and your ASP.NET Core app needs to restart, the CRA server restarts. A few seconds are required to start back up. If you're making frequent C# code edits and don't want to wait for the CRA server to restart, run the CRA server externally, independently of the ASP.NET Core process. To do so:
Add a .env file to the ClientApp subdirectory with the following setting:
This will prevent your web browser from opening when starting the CRA server externally.
In a command prompt, switch to the ClientApp subdirectory, and launch the CRA development server:
cd ClientApp npm start
Modify your ASP.NET Core app to use the external CRA server instance instead of launching one of its own. In your Startup class, replace the
spa.UseReactDevelopmentServerinvocation with the following:
When you start your ASP.NET Core app, it won't launch a CRA server. The instance you started manually is used instead. This enables it to start and restart faster. It's no longer waiting for your React app to rebuild each time.
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