Ganesh Mani I'm a full-stack developer, Android application/game developer, and tech enthusiast who loves to work with current technologies in web, mobile, the IoT, machine learning, and data science.

Building a fullstack React application with Blitz.js

6 min read 1736

The Blitz.js logo.

What is Blitz.js?

Blitzjs is a Rails-like framework for building a fullstack React application. Basically, it helps you develop a monolith application in an easy and efficient way. Blitz.js is built on top of Next.js.

Why we need Blitz.js

Sometimes you might need to build a product or MVP in a short span of time. You might end up writing a repetitive CRUD API and setting up backend and frontend over and over again.

Well, Blitz.js will help you avoid those pain points. It helps you to build a monolith or MVP as soon as possible. I feel Blitz.js wins in that situation.

It’s time to see it in action.

Note: if you want to learn about the concept or brief introduction to blitzjs, checkout this article.

Blitz installation and setup

$ npm install -g blitz
$ blitz new recipe-app

The above command installs Blitz and bootstraps the application with scaffold code. Our application directory will look like this:

mysite
├── app
│   ├── components
│   │   └── ErrorBoundary.tsx
│   ├── layouts
│   └── pages
│       ├── _app.tsx
│       ├── _document.tsx
│       └── index.tsx
├── db
│   ├── migrations
│   ├── index.ts
│   └── schema.prisma
├── integrations
├── jobs
├── node_modules
├── public
│   ├── favicon.ico
│   └── logo.png
├── utils
├── .babelrc.js
├── .env
├── .eslintrc.js
├── .gitignore
├── .npmrc
├── .prettierignore
├── README.md
├── blitz.config.js
├── package.json
├── tsconfig.json
└── yarn.lock

To learn more about the basic tutorial, checkout the official documentation.

Okay, enough scaffold code. What are we going to build in this tutorial? Well, let me show you a demo.

Demo

A gif of a simple recipe app built with Blitz.js.

Here, we are going to build a simple recipe app which explains most of the concepts in Blitz.js.

We made a custom demo for .
No really. Click here to check it out.

In the above example, we have a recipe list and a form to add a recipe to the list. It’s all about the recipe model.

Let’s set up a database for our application before generating the code. We will be using Postgres as our database for this application. Blitz.js explicitly uses Prisma for managing databases for our application.

Why Prisma?

Prisma helps you generate database tables from your business model. It can also provide GraphQL schema from the model. So, it’s easy to create a database table or GraphQL from the domain model.

Database setup

A screenshot of the schema.prisma.

Add the following code inside schema.prisma:

datasource postgresql {
  provider = "postgres"
  url      = "postgresql://postgres:mysecretpassword@localhost:5432/docapp"
}
generator client {
  provider = "prisma-client-js"
}
model Recipe {
  id          Int      @default(autoincrement()) @id
  name        String
  imageUrl    String
  description String
  likes       Int
  addedAt     DateTime @default(now())
}

Datasource defines the database that we are using. Here, we are using Postgres as our data source.

After that, we’ll define a model based on the business domain model. It’s similar to how we design our database. Most of the time, we need to define the model for our application before creating databases and tables.

Here, we have a recipe model with all the fields in the database. Once we define the mode, we need to migrate it into our Postgres database.

Blitz helps us do this with the following command:

blitz db migrate

A screenshot of Prisma migrate.

Now, we need to create all the queries and mutations for recipes. We don’t need to manually create queries and mutations for recipes. Blitz will generate scaffold code for us.

blitz generate all recipe

It will create directories and files for our recipes domain.

The recipes file and domain.

  • pages/recipes/index.tsx – contains business logic for recipe lists
  • pages/recipes/new.tsx – contains functionality to add new recipe
  • pages/recipe/[id].tsx – contains particular recipe details with respective to the id that we pass in the route
  • pages/recipe/[id]/edit.tsx – contains logic to update particular recipe based on the id

Recipe lists component

add the following code in page/recipe/index.tsx:

import { Suspense, Fragment, useState, useEffect } from "react"
import { Head, Link, useQuery } from "blitz"
import { Flex, Button, Box, Spinner } from "@chakra-ui/core"
import getRecipes from "app/recipes/queries/recipes/getRecipes"
import updateRecipe from "app/recipes/mutations/recipes/updateRecipe"
import RecipeItem from "app/components/RecipeItem"

const [recipesState, setRecipeState] = useState([])
  const [recipes] = useQuery(getRecipes)
  useEffect(() => {
    if (recipes.length > 0) {
      setRecipeState(recipes)
    }
  }, [recipes])

export const RecipesList = () => {
  return (
    <Fragment>
      {recipesState.map((recipe) => (
        <RecipeItem
          id={recipe.id}
          title={recipe.name}
          imageUrl={recipe.imageUrl}
          description={recipe.description}
          likes={recipe.likes}
          onLike={async (id, likes) => {
            //on recipe like logic comes here
          }}
        />
      ))}
    </Fragment>
  )
}
const RecipesPage = () => {
  return (
    <Flex flexDirection="column" bg="background" w="100vw" h="100vh">
      <Box marginLeft="auto" marginRight="30px">
        <p>
          <Link href="/recipes/new">
            <Button variantColor="blue" variant="outline" cursor="pointer">
              Create Recipe
            </Button>
          </Link>
        </p>
      </Box>
      <Flex p={8} flexWrap="wrap">
        <Suspense fallback={<Spinner size="xl" margin="auto" />}>
          <RecipesList />
        </Suspense>
      </Flex>
    </Flex>
  )
}
export default RecipesPage

Here, we get the data from the database using useQuery React Hooks and set state the data using useState:

import { Head, Link, useQuery } from "blitz"
import getRecipes from "app/recipes/queries/recipes/getRecipes"

const [recipes] = useQuery(getRecipes)

Basically, we get the data from a Prisma client, which connects with a Postgres database and provides us with the data.

If you see the code in pages/recipes/queries/recipes/getRecipes.ts, you can see the query to get the data:

import db, { FindManyRecipeArgs } from "db"
export default async function getRecipes(args: FindManyRecipeArgs) {
  const recipes = await db.recipe.findMany(args)
  return recipes
}

Once we get the data, we render it in our application just like we do in our React applications. In the list component, we have a button that routes to the create recipe component:

<Link href="/recipes/new">
  <Button variantColor="blue" variant="outline" cursor="pointer">
      Create Recipe
  </Button>
</Link>

Create recipe

Add the following code in pages/recipes/new.tsx:

import { Head, Link, useRouter } from "blitz"
import { useState } from "react"
import createRecipe from "app/recipes/mutations/recipes/createRecipe"
import {
  FormControl,
  FormLabel,
  FormErrorMessage,
  Button,
  Input,
  Box,
  Stack,
  Image,
  Text,
  Spinner,
  Flex,
} from "@chakra-ui/core"
import { Field, Formik, Form } from "formik"
const NewRecipePage = () => {
  const router = useRouter()
  const [state, setState] = useState({
    name: "",
    description: "",
    imageUrl: "",
    uploadingState: "NONE",
  })
  const validationName = (value) => {
    let error
    // if (!value) {
    //   error = "Name is required"
    // }
    return error
  }
  const validateDescription = (value) => {
    let error
    // if (!value) {
    //   error = "Description is required"
    // }
    return error
  }
  const uploadFile = async (e) => {
    console.log("Uploading....")
    setState({ ...state, uploadingState: "UPLOADING" })
    const files = e.target.files
    const data = new FormData()
    data.append("file", files[0])
    data.append("upload_preset", "qy3oxqkx")
    const res = await fetch("https://api.cloudinary.com/v1_1/ganeshimaginary/image/upload", {
      method: "POST",
      body: data,
    })
    const file = await res.json()
    setState({ ...state, imageUrl: file.secure_url, uploadingState: "UPLOADED" })
  }
  const onChange = (e) => {
    setState({ ...state, [e.target.name]: e.target.value })
  }
  return (
    <Flex flexDirection="column" bg="background" w="100vw" h="100vh">
      <Box marginLeft="auto" marginRight="30px">
        <p>
          <Link href="/recipes">
            <Button variantColor="blue" variant="outline" cursor="pointer">
              Back
            </Button>
          </Link>
        </p>
      </Box>
      <Box
        rounded="lg"
        maxW="sm"
        margin="auto"
        display="flex"
        justifyContent={"center"}
        alignItems={"center"}
        height="100%"
      >
        <Formik
          initialValues={{ name: "", description: "", imageUrl: "" }}
          onSubmit={async (values, actions) => {
            await createRecipe({
              data: {
                name: state.name,
                description: state.description,
                imageUrl: state.imageUrl,
                likes: 0,
              },
            })
            router.push("/recipes")
          }}
        >
          {(props) => (
            <Form style={{ backgroundColor: "white", padding: "20px", borderRadius: "8px" }}>
              <Field name="name" validate={validationName}>
                {({ field, form }) => (
                  <FormControl isInvalid={props.errors.name && props.touched.name}>
                    <FormLabel htmlFor="name">Recipe Name</FormLabel>
                    <Input
                      {...field}
                      id="name"
                      placeholder="Enter Recipe name"
                      value={state.name}
                      onChange={onChange}
                      boxSizing="border-box"
                    />
                    <FormErrorMessage> {props.errors.name}</FormErrorMessage>
                  </FormControl>
                )}
              </Field>
              <Field name="description" validate={validateDescription}>
                {({ field, form }) => (
                  <FormControl isInvalid={props.errors.description && props.touched.description}>
                    <FormLabel htmlFor="description">Description</FormLabel>
                    <Input
                      {...field}
                      id="description"
                      value={state.description}
                      placeholder="Enter Description"
                      onChange={onChange}
                      boxSizing="border-box"
                    />
                    <FormErrorMessage>{props.errors.description}</FormErrorMessage>
                  </FormControl>
                )}
              </Field>
              <FormControl>
                <FormLabel>Upload Images</FormLabel>
                <Input type="file" name="file" onChange={uploadFile} boxSizing="border-box" />
                <Stack isInline>
                  {state.uploadingState === "NONE" ? (
                    <Text>Waiting to upload</Text>
                  ) : state.uploadingState === "UPLOADING" ? (
                    <Spinner />
                  ) : (
                    <Image size="100px" objectFit="cover" src={state.imageUrl} alt="recipe" />
                  )}
                </Stack>
              </FormControl>
              <Button
                mt={4}
                variantColor={"teal"}
                boxSizing="border-box"
                isLoading={props.isSubmitting}
                type="submit"
              >
                Submit
              </Button>
            </Form>
          )}
        </Formik>
      </Box>
    </Flex>
  )
}
export default NewRecipePage

Well, there are lot of packages used in this component. Let’s break it down one by one:

  • Charka UI – Chakra is a design system built for React. It provides us basic components for React components such as Box, Input, Modal etc.
  • Formik – Formik makes the form validation and functionality easier in React applications.
  • Blitz – Like we discussed before, we use Blitz for all the operations here.

Mainly, we have a form here. On submitting, we store the data in our Postgres database and route back to our recipe list.

One thing that we need to note here is how Blitz.js calls the API and stores the data. Once the user submits the form, we call the createRecipe function:

await createRecipe({
              data: {
                name: state.name,
                description: state.description,
                imageUrl: state.imageUrl,
                likes: 0,
              },
})

createRecipe function will be inside mutations/recipes/createRecipe.ts:

import db, {RecipeCreateArgs} from 'db'
export default async function createRecipe(args: RecipeCreateArgs) {
  const recipe = await db.recipe.create(args)
  return recipe
}

We can change the functionality if we want to. It creates the data in the database and returns it. Also, Blitz creates delete and update mutations for you.

A screenshot of the recipes folder.

Once you complete all the functionality, you can run your application using this command:

blitz start

Or this command:

npm run start

Deploy

To deploy your application, you can build your application and deploy in the same way you deploy your React or Nextj.s application:

npm run deploy

Conclusion

In summary, Blitz.js helps build fullstack applications in a short period of time with all codegen and commands. My personal opinion is that using Blitz.js is helpful if you’re planning to use Next.js in your application.

See the complete source code here.

Full visibility into production React apps

Debugging React applications can be difficult, especially when users experience issues that are difficult to reproduce. If you’re interested in monitoring and tracking Redux state, automatically surfacing JavaScript errors, and tracking slow network requests and component load time, try LogRocket.

LogRocket is like a DVR for web apps, recording literally everything that happens on your React app. Instead of guessing why problems happen, you can aggregate and report on what state your application was in when an issue occurred. LogRocket also monitors your app's performance, reporting with metrics like client CPU load, client memory usage, and more.

The LogRocket Redux middleware package adds an extra layer of visibility into your user sessions. LogRocket logs all actions and state from your Redux stores.

Modernize how you debug your React apps — .

Ganesh Mani I'm a full-stack developer, Android application/game developer, and tech enthusiast who loves to work with current technologies in web, mobile, the IoT, machine learning, and data science.

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