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Render Sitecore 9.1 JSS site using separate node server

February 07, 2019 • ☕️ 2 min read
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In a previous post I described how to use TypeScript in building JSS components. In this post I use the results of this connected hello-jss-typescript JSS app to build a custom Node express web server that consumes the layout service to render pages. This process is described by Sitecore in the documentation Headless SSR via sitecore-jss-proxy. I took the sample node-headless-ssr-proxy and worked from there.

I placed the code in a folder hello-jss-typescript-node next to the folder hello-jss-typescript as described in my post Developing React components in Typescript with Sitecore JSS 9.1.

The example provides an Express web server that I modified slightly for easy experimentation. It is great that all configuration is done through environment variables, but for development it is easier to use another approach. I added dotenv using npm install dotenv and added at the top of index.js the code:

if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') {
  require('dotenv').config()
}

This enables us to add a file .env in the root to manage the required environment variables:

SITECORE_JSS_APP_NAME=hello-jss-typescript
SITECORE_JSS_SERVER_BUNDLE=../hello-jss-typescript/build/server.bundle.js
SITECORE_API_HOST=http://hello-jss-typescript.dev.local
SITECORE_LAYOUT_SERVICE_ROUTE=http://hello-jss-typescript.dev.local/sitecore/api/layout/render/jss
SITECORE_API_KEY{57231674-4CC9-48AA-AFF0-190DB9D68FE1}
SITECORE_PATH_REWRITE_EXCLUDE_ROUTES=
SITECORE_ENABLE_DEBUG=true

I also modified the index.js file slightly to work together with the hello-jss-typescript project:

if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') {
  require('dotenv').config()
}

const express = require('express');
const compression = require('compression');
const scProxy = require('@sitecore-jss/sitecore-jss-proxy').default;
const config = require('./config');

const server = express();
const port = process.env.PORT || 3000;

// enable gzip compression for appropriate file types
server.use(compression());

// turn off x-powered-by http header
server.settings['x-powered-by'] = false;

// Serve static app assets from local /dist folder
server.use(
  '/dist/hello-jss-typescript/',
  express.static('../hello-jss-typescript/build', {
    fallthrough: false, // force 404 for unknown assets under /disthello-jss-typescript/
  })
);

// For any other requests, we render app routes server-side and return them
server.use('*', scProxy(config.serverBundle.renderView, config, config.serverBundle.parseRouteUrl));

server.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`server listening on port ${port}!`);
});

Execute npm start and voila, the site is running on http://localhost:3000, completely separate from the Sitecore server.

Note that the .vscode folder contains a launch.json configured to debug the Node code in Visual Studio Code.

The complete example can be found at https://github.com/macaw-interactive/hello-jss-sitecore-node.

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Serge van den Oever's weblog

Serge van den Oever

Personal blog by Serge van den Oever - als je maar lol hebt...
Twitter: @svdoever
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Technology Consultant @ Macaw
Competence Team Lead Custom Application Development @ Macaw
2022 Technology Sitecore Most Valuable Professional
2021 Technology Sitecore Most Valuable Professional


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