Getting started with Remix

How to start working on a Remix project

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

DJ mixer

What is Remix?

Remix is a "relatively" new framework which was open sourced on 23rd of November 2021. It was originally created by the awesome Ryan Florence and Michael Jackson, and with the recent addition of Kent C. Dodds, it allows the framework to sell itself.

As per their website

Remix is a full stack web framework that let’s you focus on the user interface and work back through web fundamentals to deliver a fast, slick, and resilient user experience. People are gonna love using your stuff.

Let's get started with the actual coding.


Create a basic Remix app

Prerequisites

  • Make sure you have node installed
  • Basic understanding of React
  • Basic cli knowledge

Installation


NOTE: There will be an option to run npm install to install the dependencies immediately. This will create a package-lock.json. If you want to use yarn, you can skip this step, but don't forget to run yarn install later.

Running the app

Based on what you choose in the image below, a custom README.md file is created at the project's root. Make sure to check the steps on how to run the application locally

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Running examples

You can use yarn for the steps below if you prefer

For Remix App Server


For Express Server


You should see something like this:

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If you don't, make sure to check README.md for specific instructions on how to run the app locally,


I will be using TypeScript for this blog; if you prefer to use vanilla JavaScript, remove the type usages and change the extensions from .tsx to .jsx.

Cleaning up

Let's start coding with a clean slate.


Create a file named root.tsx file under app folder.

Let's proceed with the mandatory hello world example.


Hello World, indeed.

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Since this file will serve as the global container for the app, let's refactor it to make this more generic.


Create the index route file index.tsx under app/routes folder.

Now, We extract the content of our page


The two changes above will still yield the same result:

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Create a link

We'll add the links inside Layout since it will be reusable across all pages.


Result:

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After clicking the link or navigating to the URL, you should see something like this:

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It is expected since we have not created a route handler for the /pokemons page.


Before creating that route, let us use CatchBoundary and useCatch to create a custom 404 error message as a fallback for all Not Found routes.


Here is the customized 404 error page:

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This is one of Remix's magics; by simply following a convention, we can simplify common use cases. In the above case, we exported a function named CatchBoundary where we used useCatch inside to get a context about the error. Remix will do the heavy lifting; we simply need to adhere to, let's call it, a "contract function".


To fix this 404 error, let's create the /pokemons route


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Adding meta tags

Meta tags are used here to update the title and description of the page. To learn more what meta is used for, check this



We should see an updated head

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Fetching Data

Unlike the vanilla React where usually fetch the data from the client-side, in Remix we can load data from the server using a the concept of a loader


Create a Loader


If you are wondering where is the .then(res => res.json()) part, you are not alone.

I'm still cheking how they allow this magic to happen.

NOTE: At the time of this writing, I don't know why there will be an error going back and forth on the pokemons listing page. As per reason, I will still append the .then(res => res.json()) to the loader function.


Accessing data in React

Use the useLoaderData hook to access the data in React land.


Combining the two previous codes will result to:

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Creating a dynamic route

For this demo, let's use the file path convention.

Under the pokemons folder, create a folder named $pokemonName.tsx. Yes, it's not a typo; add a $ before the file name. We'll see how to use it later.


If we click bulbasaur in the list, we should see something like this:

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Now, how do we customize the page to show the details of a Pokemon?


By naming the file $pokemonName.tsx, inside the file, we can access pokemonName inside the params object.

We can use this information to fetch the specific data from the server. see line #9


With the code above, we can show these details in our page

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Update meta of pokemon route

Before wrapping this up, let's update the meta of the Pokemon details page.


And here is a page with a better title and description

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Putting all the codes together

Link to the source Here's a demo

Conclusion

This is still a pretty small application for me to assess what Remix can do, and I have not even gotten into one of their selling points, the Nested Routes. But, so far, I like how easy it is to create an application from scratch, and I find the convention easy to follow. I also like how they provide hooks to more conveniently work with the data, errors, etc. Having said that, I definitely will explore more about Remix and the ecosystem in the future.