0.2.4 • Public • Published


SSR for React that's invisible (zero configuration!) and quick (no Webpack!)

🚧 Under construction 🚧

Project Goals / Philosophy

With Rogue, the SSR configuration will be nearly invisible to you. You don't need a special /pages directory (like Nextjs) or a separate routes.js file (like Afterjs). All you need is the App.js entry point you'd usually have. This means that you can wrap your app in layouts/transitions/providers, etc. the same way you would in a regular React Application, and staying true to React's values, you can organize your code however you like.

How come you don't need any upfront route configuration anymore? Since we assume you're using React Router 4 (why wouldn't you be!?), we can walk your component tree and use the same logic as your router to know which routes will be called so that we can handle SSR for them.

As an added benefit, because Rogue is a newer framework, we can use Parcel as our application bundler. One of the top complaints of existing SSR frameworks is slow build times, but they'll tell you it's not their fault, they rely on Webpack. Well, we don't! So not only to we avoid maintaining a complex build setup (Parcel is zero configuration too!), but you'll get faster build times and a better developer experience.

TLDR; React + React Router 4 + Parcel + App.js = SSR Heaven

Table of Contents

Getting Started

Install it:

npm install --save rogue react react-dom react-router-dom

and add a script to your package.json like this:

  "scripts": {
    "dev": "rogue dev",
    "build": "rogue build",
    "start": "rogue start"

After that, your src/App.js is your main entry point. All you need is to do is export a basic component to get started:

export default () => <div>Welcome to Rogue.js!</div>

Then just run npm run dev and go to http://localhost:3000

Data Fetching and Middleware

Any logic you'd like to handle on initial client and server rendering can be done inside a component's static getInitialProps method (we kept the same property name as Nextjs to pay homeage to the grandaddy of React SSR frameworks).

You can use this property to prefetch data:

export default class App extends React.Component {
  static async getInitialProps({ req, res }) {
    const data = await callMyApi()
    return data

Or to handle route middleware:

export default class Route extends React.Component {
  static getInitialProps({ req, res, redirect }) {
    if (req.url === '/not-allowed') redirect('/')

Just make sure that if you do return any value from getInitialProps, that it is a plain Object, as it will be serialized when server rendering.

This data will then be passed to the component exported from your App.js file.

getInitialProps: (ctx) => Data | void

  • req: (server-only) A Express.js request object
  • res: (server-only) An Express.js response object
  • redirect: A function to redirect user to another route.

Providers, Layouts, Pages, etc.

Remember that Rogue isn't asking you to configure any routes upfront. You just export a component from App.js component and make sure to use React Router 4 (RR4). We'll walk your component tree and use the same logic as your router to know which routes to server render.

So how do you handle Providers, Layouts, and Pages in your application with just an App.js file? That's the wonderful simplicity of Rogue: you're just using React, React Router 4, and some optional getInitialProps magic.

Let us briefly explain how we server render your application so that you can better understand how to handle this yourself.

Walking your App tree

Starting from the component exported from your App.js, Rogue will walk your component tree looking for any components with a static getInitialProps method. It'll load these components in the order they are declared.

Most applications are usually organized in this order:

Providers (e.g. ApolloProvider, StyleProvider) -> Layouts (e.g. AppLayout, AuthLayout) -> Pages (e.g. Dashboard, Login, Register)

Providers are regular components with an optional getInitialProps method. For examples of this check out App Customization section or the code found inside the rogue/hocs directory.

Layouts and Pages on the other hand, are more properly thought of as "routes," that also can optionally have a getInitialProps method. For Rogue, the only difference between the two is that one comes before the other.

This is the important part to remember: since you can only server render routes exclusively (e.g. you match /route1 or /route2, not both), Rogue expects you to configure your Layouts and Pages in that manner. The way you do that is with a RR4's Switch component.

Here's an example:

// App.js
import { Switch, Route } from 'react-router-dom'
export default () => (
      // Route with only a Page
      <Route exact path="/welcome" component={WelcomePage} />
      // Routes with a  Layout and a Page, via render props 
      <Route exact path="/register" render={props => <AuthLayout><Register {...props}></AuthLayout>} />
      <Route exact path="/login" render={props => <AuthLayout><Login {...props}></AuthLayout>} />
      // Route with a Layout and a Page, via a nested switch statement
      <Route path="/" render={props => {
            <Route exact path="/dashboard" component={Dashboard} />
            <Route exact path="/profile" component={Profile} />

So how does Rogue prevent itself from walking your entire App.js tree? After we find your first switch block (i.e. an exclusively rendered Page), we'll continue walking until we find five consecutive components without an getInitialProps method. We found this heuristic to work extremely well—there's no reason why you wouldn't have at least one Switch block (this isn't a SPA mate), or need to nest a servable component more than five levels apart. And the tiny performance cost of walking your component tree is well worth the simplicity it buys your application.

Rogue Configuration

We want to remain as invisible as possible—so there's no special rogue.config.js file. The idea is that once you know the entry point of an application, the rest can be inferred from the code.

Right now, Rogue will look inside your root ./ and src/ directory for an App entry point. Both .js and .tsx extensions are supported.

If you'd like to configure the entry point, just do what you'd normally do, change the main property in your package.json:

// package.json
  "main": "app/src/App"

App Customization

Below are some app customizations that we have SSR support for.

For some customizations, if the community already preferred a certain solution or if support for other options just wouldn't have worked (e.g. because it required Webpack), then we made support for them automatic.

However, for customizations such as state management and CSS-in-JS, where the community is divided on which solution to use, then we made support optional via higher-order components, or hocs. All these hocs are found in our rogue/hocs directory. All you have to do is import and initialize them in your App.js file.

Note: Make sure to read the respective packages documentation for usage information.

Document Tags

Rogue has automatic support for react-helmet so that you can manage your document tags (title, link, script etc.) from anywhere in your component tree.

Check out their documentation for usage, but here's a basic example:

import { Helmet } from 'react-helmet'
export default () => (
      <title> My Amazing App! </title>
    <MyAmazingApp />

Code Splitting

Rogue has automatic support for code splitting via loadable-components.

All you have to do is configure your babel to handle the code split files:

// .babelrc
  "plugins": [

Now you can code split anywhere in your application. Here's an example:

import { Route } from 'react-router'
import loadable from 'loadable-components'
export const Dashboard = loadable(() => import('./Dashboard'))
export const Landing = loadable(() => import('./Landing'))
export default () => (
    <Route exact path="/" component={Dashboard} />
    <Route path="/welcome" component={Landing} />


Rogue has first class support for emotion and styled-components.

First, install your chosen library:

npm install --save styled-components
// or
npm install --save emotion react-emotion emotion-theming emotion-server

Then import the hoc for your chosen package in your App.js file:

For example:

import withStyles from 'rogue/hocs/emotion'
// or
import withStyles from 'rogue/hocs/styled-components'
import { theme } from './styles/' // optional
const App = () => (...) 
export default withStyles(theme)(App)

In this case, our StyleProvider just wraps each respective packages ThemeProvider. Initializing it with your theme is optional but you must still import the appropriate hoc as that's how you tell us to configure SSR support for it.

That's it; now you have SSR support for your styles, so style away!

State management

Rogue has optional support for redux.

First install it:

npm install --save redux react-redux

Then, you must write a function for creating your store. You will pass this function to the redux hoc that we provide for you and we will call it with the initialState from SRR. Here's an example:

import { createStore as createReduxStore, applyMiddleware } from 'redux'
import { composeWithDevTools } from 'redux-devtools-extension'
import thunkMiddleware from 'redux-thunk'
import { combineReducers } from 'redux'
export default function createStore (initialState) {
  const reducers = combineReducers({ ... add your reducers here ... })
  const enhancers = composeWithDevTools(applyMiddleware(thunkMiddleware))
  return createReduxStore(

Lastly, import and initialize our Redux hoc in your App.js file:

import withStore from 'rogue/hocs/redux'
import createStore from './store'
const App = () => (...)
export default withStore(createStore)(App)

Apollo Graphql

Rogue has optional support for react-apollo.

First install it:

npm install --save apollo react-apollo

Then, you must write a function for creating your apollo client. You will pass this function to the apollo hoc that we provide for you and we will call it with the initialState from SRR and a ctx object if called from the server. Here's an example:

import ApolloClient, { InMemoryCache } from 'apollo-boost'
import { isServer } from 'rogue'
export default function createClient(initialState, ctx) {
  return new ApolloClient({
    uri: 'http://localhost:4000/graphql',
    connectToDevTools: !isServer,
    ssrMode: isServer, // Disables forceFetch on the server (so queries are only run once)
    cache: new InMemoryCache().restore(initialState || {})

Lastly, import and initialize our Apollo hoc in your App.js file:

import withApollo from 'rogue/hocs/apollo'
import createClient from './apollo'
const App = () => (...)
export default withApollo(createClient)(App)

Important: If you're using other hocs in your App.js, make sure that Apollo is the top most one that you include.

For example:

import { compose } from 'recompose'
const App = () => (...)
export default compose(

Build Techniques

Environment Variables

You'll often have to use secrets, or environment variables, in your application. This is done inside .env files, which Parcel has built-in support for.

For example, this configuration:

// .env

Can be accessed as:


You can also set varaibles based on your environment, as Parcel will also load the .env file with the suffix of your current NODE_ENV. So, in production, it will load .env.production (make sure to add this file to your .gitignore!)

Path Resolution

It's ugly and messy to have set long, relative paths like this: ../../../my-far-away-module.

Parcel has built-in support for tide paths ~/ that resolve relative to your root directory.

If you want a custom resolver, you can configure it inside the alias property in your package.json:

note: this is coming soon (

alias: {
  "~/": "./src/app",

Using with Typescript

Parcel has built-in support for Typescript. All you have to do is create a file with a .ts or .tsx extension and your code will automatically be compiled based on your tsconfig.json configuration.

Here are a few options we recommend you have:

  "compilerOptions": {
    // preserve JSX so that babel can handle it and you can take advantage of plugin transformations
    "jsx": "preserve",
    // resolve your modules to esnext so that dynamic imports and code splitting can work
    "target": "esnext",
    "module": "esnext",
    // make sure you map the paths you configured with Parcel for autocompletion to work
    "baseUrl": "./src",
    "paths": {
      "~/*": ["*"]








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