Build system for full-stack JS applications
Last updated a year ago by yegor-sytnyk .
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Build App

Build App is a full-stack JS App build system. Inspired by Facebook's create-react-app and other client build systems it is going one step futher providing similar facilities for full-stack JS development.

The aim of the project is to simplify development of modern full-stack JS applications, providing most of basic dev operations out of the box (build, run dev mode, lint, etc).

Besides that it provides number of build in starter templates which will help you get started ASAP. There are number of technology choices such as React/Vue/Angular for client, Mongo/SQL DB for storage.

However some technologies have primary support those are TypeScript for serer side language, Mongo/SQL DB for storage, React/Vue for client and VS Code as IDE.

You can see deployed templates here:

React / PostgreSQL on Heroku

Vue / Mongo on Now

Use / pas123 for login.

Build App works on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Project is in early stage of development. If something doesn’t work please file an issue.

Getting started

# install build-app globally
npm install -g build-app

# see list of available commands
app-scripts --help

# init new project
app-scripts init

# change directory to new project folder
cd my-app

# seed project
app-scripts seed

To run server: open project in IDE (preferably VS Code) and use available configuration alternatively you can run it with app-script serve -s

To run client run in terminal: app-scripts serve -c

Project structure

Build App assumes some predefined project structure.

Project consists of server and client parts.

By default server part is located in {root}/server folder and client in {root}/client.

Those values can be overridden in build-app.config.


Client is SPA written in one modern JS front-end frameworks. Officially supported are React, Vue and Angular2. They are using existing client side build systems (create-react-app, poi and angular-cli respectively).

Build system expects to be able to create client build by running 'npm run build' command in client folder. Output is expected in {client}/build folder and index.html starts client SPA application.

More details how to setup client-side build you can find in docs for particular build system:

React: create-react-app

Vue: poi

Angular: angular-cli


Both JS/TS js flavors are supported. For JS you can use latest language features like ES6, async/await and others. Code is compiled to ES5 during the build.

Server entry file should be located at ./src/index (.ts or .js).

There are some special folders

data: folder with data assets like data json files, email templates, etc.

local: folder where server writes data to, here you can have logs output, local overridden values for config file, file uploads, etc.

app-script commands

After build-app is installed globally app-scripts command is available globally. It has different commands (scripts). Note instead of 'app-scripts' command you can use 'napp' alias.


init command seeds empty project. There are separate templates for server and client parts.

For interactive init run init command with no parameters:

app-scripts init

To see all available templates run:

app-scripts init --list

To seed project with particular templates use --project --server --client options:

app-scripts init my-app --project simple --server ts --client react

To init basic IDE settings use option --ide (currently supported ws/code)

app-scripts init my-app --default --ide code


seed command do initial project setup. That includes installing dependencies, building server/client code, and running seed task if available in template. Note you can run install and build commands separately later.

app-scripts seed


install command installs dependencies for both client and server project parts. It can use one of following package managers under the hood: npm, yarn, pnpm. If pnpm is installed globally it is used, then yarn used if available, then npm.

The same can be done manually with

cd {server_dir}
npm install

cd ../{client_dir}
npm install


build command creates production ready build in build folder (./build by default).

To start server run index.js file. You may need to install dependencies first.

Build command builds server and client separately and then combines them together into deployable build package.


Deploys application to different sources (by using target parameter):

local deployments:

napp deploy

Build package copied to deployment folder (./deploy/local by default) and starts the application with one of supported process managers (forever or pm2). Following deployments will stop application first and clear all deploy folder content except local folder.

heroku deployments:

Create new heroku app

Install heroku-cli and login locally

npm i -g heroku-cli
heroku login

For deployment run

# specify heroku app id for initial deployment
app-scripts deploy -t heroku -i dev --heroku-app my-heroku-id-for-dev
# for following deployment you can skip that
app-scripts deploy -t heroku -i dev

Note that that you can deploy to multiple instances corresponding to different environments (dev/staging), you have to create separate heroku apps for each

now deployments:

In deployment folder (deploy/now) create now.json config. Specify name parameter and optionally alias. Read more details now config and now aliases.

After that run:

app-scripts deploy -t now

Note it will remove all pervious instances of the app (having the same name). Use now alias to have constant URL name.

Npm Scripts

Some operations are expected to be configured as particular npm scripts:

Build client - 'build' script (in client folder)

Serve client - 'start' script

Serve server - 'start' script (in server folder)

Also if pre-build/post-build scripts are defined in server/client package.json files corresponding scripts will be executed before/after server/client builds.

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