Set up lab for React on Linux

React is a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces (UI). React is a declarative way to create reusable components for your website. There are many other popular libraries for JavaScript-based front-end development. We'll use a few of these libraries while creating our lab. Redux is a library that provides predictable state container for JavaScript apps and is often used in compliment with React. JSX is a library syntax extension to JavaScript often used with React to describe what the UI should look like. NodeJS is a convenient way to run a webserver for your React application.

This article will show how to install Visual Studio Code for your development environment, the tools, and libraries needed for a React web development class.

Lab configuration

To set up this lab, you need an Azure subscription and lab account to get started. If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin. Once you get an Azure subscription, you can create a new lab account in Azure Lab Services. For more information about creating a new lab account, see the tutorial on how to setup a lab account. You can also use an existing lab account.

Lab account settings

Enable your lab account settings as described in the following table. For more information about how to enable Azure Marketplace images, see Specify the Azure Marketplace images available to lab creators.

Lab account setting Instructions
Marketplace images Enable the 'Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS' image for use within your lab account.

Lab settings

The size of the virtual machine (VM) that we recommend depends on the types of workloads that your students need to do.

Lab setting Value and description
Virtual Machine Size Small.

We recommend testing your workloads to see if a larger size is needed. For more information about each size, see VM sizing.

Template machine configuration

The steps in this section show how to complete the following to set up the template VM:

  1. Install Development tools.
  2. Install debugger extensions for your web browser.
  3. Update firewall settings.

Install Development tools

  1. Install your preferred web browser.

  2. Install Node.js.

    sudo apt install nodejs
  3. Install Node Package Manager, which will be used for installing the React, Redux, and JSX.

    sudo apt install npm
  4. Install Visual Studio Code.

  5. Install Reactive Native Tools extension for Visual Studio Code.

  6. Optionally, install extensions for development with Redux and JSX.

Create React App is an officially supported way to create a ReactApp and requires no further configuration if using npm 5.2 and above. For instructions using Create React App, see their getting started documentation.

Other components needed for a React-based website are installed using NPM into a specific application. For example, enter the following commands to install the Redux and JSX libraries:

npm install react-redux
npm install react-jsx

Install debugger extensions

Install the React Developer Tools extensions for your browser so you can inspect React components and record performance information.

To run the app in development mode, use the npm start built-in command. The local and network urls will be listed in the command output. To use HTTPS instead of HTTP, see create React app using https in development.

Update firewall settings

Official Ubuntu builds have iptables installed and will allow all incoming traffic by default. However, if you're using a VM that has a more restrictive firewall, add an inbound rule to allow traffic to the NodeJS server. The example below uses iptables to allow traffic to port 3000.

sudo iptables -I INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 3000 -j ACCEPT


Instructors must use the template VM or another lab VM to access a student's website.


Let’s cover an example cost estimate for this class. Suppose you have a class of 25 students. Each student has 20 hours of scheduled class time. Another 10 quota hours for homework or assignments outside of scheduled class time is given to each student. The virtual machine size we chose was Small, which is 20 lab units.

  • 25 students × (20 scheduled hours + 10 quota hours) × 20 Lab Units × USD0.01 per hour = 150.00 USD


The cost estimate is for example purposes only. For current pricing information, see Azure Lab Services pricing.

Next steps

The template image can now be published to the lab. See publish the template VM for further instructions.

As you set up your lab, see the following articles: