Clara Ekekenta Software Engineer and perpetual learner with a passion for OS and expertise in Python, JavaScript, Go, Rust, and Web 3.0.

Build React reusable components faster with Aspect

3 min read 1059

Colorful Aspect Symbols

Aspect is a new development tool that allows you to create React components virtually in your browser. It eliminates the stress of creating and setting up a React project for applications.

Aspect saves on development time by providing a dashboard with HTML drag-and-drop functionality that greatly simplifies the process of creating React components. Aspect also syncs your designs to your codebase and provides an option to export them as a zip file.

Lots of additional, cool features are promised in a future version, like support for libraries such as MaterialUI and Tailwind CSS, as well as Sketch and AdobeXD.

In this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how to use Aspect to build a reusable component faster. We’ll build the simple product page shown below:

Simple Product Page

Jump ahead:

Getting started

To get started with Aspect, sign up here.

Then, install the Aspect CLI globally using the following command:

npm install @metacode-inc/aspect -g    

Once you’re signed up, Aspect will create a new project with an empty view to get you started.

Project UI overview

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at the Aspect project’s UI to become more familiar with how to navigate and use the tool.

Aspect Project UI

Here’s a summary of the different sections of Aspect’s user interface:

  • Project: View a list of your project’s details, such as the product ID; you can also generate, view, and sync your codebase using your project’s API key from here
  • VIEWS: Create different views for your projects; double-click on a view to change its default name
  • PROPERTIES: Define the custom properties of your project
  • STATES: Create custom states and set conditions for the elements in your project
  • ELEMENTS: Manage the elements in your project and define their hierarchy
  • CSS: Define your project’s styling; use the quick layout to organize your elements; the CSS section is visible when the ELEMENTS section is expanded
  • + INSERT: Add a filter and add elements to your projects

Now that we have more familiarity with Aspect’s features, let’s work on building our product page.

Creating a view

We already have a view created by Aspect. To create a new view, click on the + symbol on the VIEWS tab. Then, double click on View2 and rename it “Product”.

Product Name

Adding elements

Now, let’s add some elements to the view.

Creating the parent layout

We’ll start by adding a parent div by clicking on + INSERT and selecting div from the dropdown. When you hover on the view, you should see a + symbol appear. This indicates that an element has been selected. Right click on the element and drag it to enlarge the element to the desired size.

Large Layout

Creating the navbar

Now that we have a parent layout, let’s add another div for the navbar. Repeat the same steps you followed to add the parent div. Then, go to the CSS tab and set the width to 100% and the min-height to 63.

CSS Tab

The resulting layout should look like this:

Layout With Header

Next, let’s use a ul element to add some navbar lists to the project. Click on INSERT, select ul, and add it to the parent div, div-0, by dropping it on it.

Now, add three li list item elements in the ul element. In the li elements, add p elements and “Home”, “About”, and “Products” to the text property in the PROPERTIES tab.



Add the text to the p elements, then click on the first layout in the CSS > QUICK LAYOUT tab to add styling. Select the first layout to display the contents inline.

Home About Products

To remove the bullet symbols, change the list-style property in the ul element to none. Add a black background by specifying background-color of #42a7f5 for the div-0.

Next, align the elements and change the font to white by adding a margin-right of 7px and a color of #fff to each li element.

Home About Products Blue Header

Creating products

Now, let’s make a layout for the products. We’ll use a p element for the product description. Then, we’ll create a child layout for the products.

Insert a div, and inside of that insert another div and a p inside div-1. Now, change the text property of p-2 to “Products”.

To style the child layout, click on div-1 and go to the CSS > QUICK LAYOUT tab. Select the second layout, and change the width property of div-2 to 100%. Your project should look like this:

Products Line

Next, insert another div inside div-2 to hold the product details. Inside the div-3 insert two p, one img, and one button. Change the text property of the p-3 element to “Techno m16”, and change the text property of the p-4 element to Price: $200. Next, add a p to the button and set the text property to “Add to cart”.

Now, change the font-size properties of all the p elements in div-3 to 12px and set the align properties to center.

Set the image’s src property to https://tslnigeria.tv/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/mobile-phone.jpg.

Next, click on div-3, and press Ctrl + D to duplicate the div and create div-4. Go ahead and change the text and the src properties of each element in div-4.


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Now, click on div-2, go to CSS > QUICK LAYOUT, and select the first layout.

You should have output similar to this:

Products on Page

Exporting components

We’ve finished creating our component UI using the Aspect UI builder, Now, let’s fetch the design and sync it with our codebase using the following command:

aspect fetch --project <projectId> --out <outputDirectory> --key <apiKey>

You can get the project ID and API key by clicking on the project name in the Project dropdown.

Project ID and API Key

N.B., the <apiKey> is not generated by default, you’ll need to click on the Generate new API key button

After the design is successfully fetched and synced, you should see the following output:

Successfully Fetched Project

Aspect will generate a component.tsx and components.css file. Now, you can import and use the view in your projects.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we demonstrated how to use Aspect to reduce the development time associated with creating reusable React components.

Feel free to follow the steps outlined in this tutorial to add more features to the application.

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Clara Ekekenta Software Engineer and perpetual learner with a passion for OS and expertise in Python, JavaScript, Go, Rust, and Web 3.0.

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