How to Set Up a React.js/TypeScript Project Using create-react-app

Published Oct 03, 2017
How to Set Up a React.js/TypeScript Project Using create-react-app

Brief Prelude

As an Angular developer, I am used to writing codes in TypeScript, which I love so much because TypeScript (a strict syntactical super-set of JavaScript), adds optional static typing to your codes.

Recently, I started working on how to transition my Angular/TypeScript projects into React/TypeScript. After scouring the web, I found tons of articles on how to set up React/TypeScript projects using Webpack, and they were very stressful and brain-racking.

I fine-tuned my search and I found out how you could easily set up a React/TypeScript project with zero stress using create-react-app and react-scripts-ts.

Why is this important

Suppose you want to start a new project with React.js and because you are a good software developer, you want to use npm, Babel, and Webpack.

What comes to mind is:

  • Where do I start?

Before create-react-app, you had to search and try an infinite amount of boilerplates and example repositories to finally have a mediocre setup after two days of wasted time.

Now it’s easier.


We will learn how to create a React/TypeScript project using the create-react-app utility. By the end, we’ll have

  • A project with React and TypeScript

We’ll use the create-react-app tool to quickly get set up. I'll assume that you’re already using Node.js with npm.

Install create-react-app

First, install the global package.

npm install -g create-react-app

Create our new project

We’ll create a new project called myreactapp.

create-react-app myreactapp — scripts-version=react-scripts-ts
  • create-react-app is a global command-line utility that you use to create new projects.
  • react-scripts-ts is a development dependency in the generated project to take the standard create-react-app project and bring TypeScript into the mix.

The _create-react-app — scripts-version=react-scripts-ts_ command will proceed to create the myreactapp folder and install the dependencies in the package.json file it generated.

Your project layout should look like this:

├─ .gitignore
├─ node_modules/
├─ public/
├─ src/ 
 | — — index.tsx 
 | — — registerServiceWorker.ts 
 | — — logo.svg 
 | — — App.tsx 
 | — — App.test.tsx 
 | — — App.css 
 | — — index.css 
 | — — assets/
├─ package.json
├─ tsconfig.json
└─ tslint.json
  • tsconfig.json contains TypeScript-specific options for our project.
  • tslint.json stores the settings that our linter, TSLint, will use.
  • package.json contains our dependencies, as well as some shortcuts for commands we’d like to run for testing, previewing, and deploying our app.
  • public contains static assets like the HTML page we’re planning to deploy to, or images. You can delete any file in this folder apart from index.html.
  • src contains our TypeScript and CSS code. index.tsx is the entry-point for our file, and is mandatory.

Running the project

Okay, now that we are done with the setup, let's fire up our application. First, move into the project folder myreactapp.

cd myreactapp

Then, run the command:

npm run start

This runs the start script specified in our package.json, and will spawn off a server which reloads the page as we save our files. Typically, the server runs at http://localhost:3000, but should be automatically opened for you.

You can now navigate your favorite browser to localhost:3000 to see our application in action.

React/TypeScript Welcome Screen

Testing The Project

Testing is also just a command away:

npm run test

Creating a Production Build

When running the project with npm run start, we didn’t end up with an optimized build. Typically, we want the code we ship to users to be as fast and small as possible. Certain optimizations like minification can accomplish this, but often takes more time. We call builds like this “production” builds (as opposed to development builds).

To run a production build, just run:

npm run build

This will create an optimized JS and CSS build in ./build/static/js and ./build/static/css respectively.

You won’t need to run a production build most of the time, but it is useful if you need to measure things like the final size of your app.


You can see that create-react-app is a powerful command-line tool that simplifies the creation of React/TypeScript projects.

I can’t emphasize how useful and important create-react-app is for the ecosystem.

The first and obvious benefit is being able to quickly create new projects without having to think about building infrastructure, which is honestly the most painful part of building a modern React project.

create-react-app makes all the hard choices for you and gives you a reasonable set of defaults to work with.

I can’t thank the team behind this little tool enough for making it so easy and so much fun to build React applications!

This post is originally published by the author here. This version has been edited for clarity and may appear different from the original post.

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