Upgraded to react v0.14


The genesis of the project:

On october 7th, 2015, Facebook released the v0.14 of React. I took it as an opportunity to get back at React and upgrade those projects to the latest version, to check it out.

The easy part

Upgrading React was in fact the easy part … Since my app was react-warnings free, as said on the upgrade-guide, I only had to:

  • switch to react-dom (and react-dom/server for the server-side). As of now the render engine is a different module (React already did the render on browser and server, but now that there is react-native, it really makes sense to split)
  • switch to react-addons-* modules and drop React.addons which were deprecated (more modularity)

The tricky part

I was using react-router@0.13.2 and by upgrading to react@0.14.0, I ran into invalid peerDependencies problem (react-router@0.13.x couldn’t work with a version of React over 0.13).

So I also upgraded react-router to the v1.0.0-rc3, which has a new API … In fact, the refactor went pretty smoothly for the client-side part (the upgrade guide is well documented).

But for the server-side, I hit an issue: on previous versions, you could attach pretty much any attribute to the object passed from the router to your components. Now if you do that, it won’t get all the way down to your components. The workaround I finally found is to attach those data to the params attribute of the object passed by the router and retrieve them in the props.params of the component … There might be a better way (the createElement API …)

UPDATE: Since then, react-router has released the v0.13.4 which is compatible with react@0.13.x, but I’m glad I did the upgrade, so now I have a client & a server-side project that work with the latest versions of React & react-router!


I refactored some components with the syntax introduced in react@0.14 for stateless functional components using ES6 fat arrow (no this, class or anything alike).

As I was at it, I enhanced the build routines:

  • I added banners on html/js/css containing description/version/git revision (something I’m doing by default now on my projects) – for those who are building their project on heroku, check this commit 😉
  • I fixed react-hot-reload for the client-side project (this is a great workflow)
  • I fixed livereloading for the server-side project (when you make changes on a component in development, not only your browser has to reload but your also has your node server, since there is server-side rendering and they both need to have the same version)


This sprint was a great exercise to get back into React – both client and server-side. I also got to play with webpack and gulp (yeah, I enjoy setting up build routines 🙂 ). But moreover, coding in ES6 is great … I enjoy it, I did it on my previous project and please, don’t get left behind, don’t fear webpack/Babel, those are great tools that you could easily setup via a yeoman generator or a boilerplate from git …

I’ll keep using React, I do like this library. My next steps will be to add some animation/transition and setting up redux (or a flux-like implementation).


All the code is available on github, each tag has its own release providing a changelog with a list of items pointing to the commits of the version, so if you want to take a peak, please do.


Setup Travis CI & SauceLabs for Protractor


Add end to end testing to your continuous integration

You already know those technologies ? Jump directly to how to setup Travis CI & SauceLabs for Protractor.


What are Travis CI, SauceLabs & Protractor ?

Protractor is an end-to-end test framework for AngularJS applications. It can also test any non-angular applications since it’s a wrapper around WebDriverJs (which controls the Selenium Server) and Jasmine (which brings the testing framework).

seleniumVia Selenium, it will send commands to web browsers (like “click here” then “check if this is displayed”, “populate that field”, “submit the form” then “check if we are logged in” …).

SauceLabs is a cross-browser automation tool built on top of Selenium WebDriver. It lets you run your end-to-end tests on multiple browsers and operating systems, in the cloud (you can run tests in multiple vms in parallel). It integrates very well in CI tools such as Travis CI.

Travis CI is an open-source hosted, distributed continuous integration service used to build and test projects hosted at GitHub. You configure it with a simple .travis.yml file where you specify your CI workflow (you can launch test scripts as well as deploy scripts).

It will try to build your project and run your tests on each push (on any branches, including pull-requests). It supports many languages and you’ll see a lot of open-source projects using it.

If you want to know more – some resources:

Why use SauceLabs with Travis CI ?

By default, Travis CI doesn’t provide extended features for e2e testing. You’ll see that on SauceLabs, you can use your Protractor/Selenium tests “as is” (just add a little config) and get lots of interesting informations such as extended logs, screencast (video playback) …

Setup Travis CI & SauceLabs for Protractor

This part takes for granted that you already know how to run protractor tests in local.


Create a SauceLabs account

Download Travis cli

Follow these instructions to download the Travis Command Line Interface.

Setup SauceLabs credentials

Go to your SauceLabs account and retrieve your ACCESS KEY. Then, at the root of your project:

travis login

#the following will encrypt and add the tokens to your .travis.yml

travis encrypt SAUCE_USERNAME=[your-SauceLabs-login] --add
travis encrypt SAUCE_ACCESS_KEY=[your-SauceLabs-AccessKey] --add

Enable Sauce Connect addon for Travis CI

Travis CI integration with SauceLabs automatically sets up a tunnel required to get started testing with. To do that we need to enable the Sauce Connect addon for Travis CI.

To enable Sauce Connect for Travis CI, add the following to your .travis.yml file:

  sauce_connect: true

That way, the e2e tests launched on your Travis CI will be executed on SauceLabs’s Selenium server which in return will have access to the test server you’ll be running from your Travis CI – all this, via Sauce Connect’s encrypted tunnel.


Upgrade your protractor config

Add the following to your protractor config file. This is a basic config. It won’t affect your local tests, it will only activate when running on Travis CI:

if (process.env.TRAVIS) {
  config.sauceUser = process.env.SAUCE_USERNAME;
  config.sauceKey = process.env.SAUCE_ACCESS_KEY;
  config.capabilities = {
    'browserName': 'chrome',
    'tunnel-identifier': process.env.TRAVIS_JOB_NUMBER,
    'build': process.env.TRAVIS_BUILD_NUMBER

Feel free to customize it (if you don’t work with protractor but only Selenium WebDriver, it’s about the same).

Don’t forget to add the task running protractor to the tests to be run by Travis CI on the .travis.yml file, in the script section.


Keep in mind you’ll need a server to run your e2e tests against (this is not unit testing), so you will have to launch an instance of this server in the before_script part of the .travis.yml file.

Since you are doing tests, this server might have to be in “test” mode (providing mock results on API endpoints for example).

Even if your app is full front-end and doesn’t rely on a backend you built, you will have to provide a server to run your e2e tests on (this is my case on topheman/vanilla-es6-jspm).

Good thing to know: when you develop in ES6 using runtime transpiling (like babel-runtime), a lot of different scripts are loaded (and evaled browser-side), which can raise timeouts SauceLabs-side (that you didn’t have on your local computer when running your e2e tests).

To avoid that, run your e2e tests against a bundled version of your website (all scripts/assets bundled/concateneted in one or a few files). This will relieve the traffic on the sauce tunnel and the VM, SauceLabs-side (that may not be as powerfull as your computer).


I set up Travis CI with SauceLabs for Protractor on my latest project: topheman/vanilla-es6-jspm, to have my e2e test being a part of my continuous integration workflow.

Take a look at the commit where I added the feature, it could give you some ideas of implementation …


Edit: Using React ? Here is one of my latest projects topheman/react-es6-redux where I also setup SauceLabs (amongst other things like unit-tests, code coverage on es6+ …)

Why I left NetBeans for WebStorm


I’ve been using NetBeans for years now, at the beginning with php and then with JavaScript. But with the rise of ES6 – and other specific syntaxes like React’s jsx – in the last few months, it didn’t suited my needs anymore since NetBeans doesn’t support them … I’m not the only one since a ticket is opened about this feature and people are waiting for it, but it’s taking too long.

So, for the last months, I’ve been trying some other IDEs editors, using them in projects:

  • Atom
  • Brackets
  • Sublime Text
  • vi
  • Visual Studio Code

Why did I choose WebStorm over the others ?

You probably use one of the editors I mentioned above and for you, it’s the best one, you are really productive with it and it’s very customizable.

You’re right: it’s the best one for you and you’re really productive with it because you’ve customized it. When you’ve finally found the right set of plugins that suits all your needs, nothing to add / nothing to remove, perfect.

But this step of finding the right plugins (even for simple things such as syntax highlighting or git support) can take time – you may run into multiple choices, have to test those, install / uninstall and finally settle for a poor option …

This is why I liked NetBeans and this is why I choose WebStorm: I don’t want an editor, I need an IDE, where all the basics (and more) are built-in (doesn’t mean it’s not customizable).

At the end, what really matters is that your IDE/editor suits your needs … For now WebStorm does the job for me, I would have followed with NetBeans if it wasn’t for the ES6 support lacking I mentioned earlier …


PS: Yes, I even tried vi! At least, now I know how to exit 😉 … In fact, I did much more, while I was at it, I learned how to use it (Want proof 🙂 ?… I’m still far from an expert though).

Gulp – fail run-sequence with a correct exit code


You may use the run-sequence module in your gulp tasks to make sure a task is finished before launching some others (example: make sure the build folder is cleaned up before launching the build related tasks).

The problem with run-sequence is that you always get a 0 exit code, no matter the task succeeded or failed. So you can’t rely on that in Continuous Integration tools (such as Travis CI).

I bumped into that problem on one of my projects, here’s how I solved it:

var runSequence = require('run-sequence');

gulp.task('build', function (cb) {
    ['compile', 'extras', 'images'],
    // this callback is executed at the end, if any of the previous tasks errored, 
    // the first param contains the error
    function (err) {
      //if any error happened in the previous tasks, exit with a code > 0
      if (err) {
        var exitCode = 2;
        console.log('[ERROR] gulp build task failed', err);
        console.log('[FAIL] gulp build task failed - exiting with code ' + exitCode);
        return process.exit(exitCode);
      else {
        return cb();

This bug happens with gulp@3.9.0, in the next major version (v4.0.0), there will be a built-in gulp.series API that should fix this kind of problem.

M102 : MongoDB for DBAs – completed


About 18 months ago, I took the M101JS MongoDB for Node.js Developers. You can attend this kind of courses on university.mongodb.com (they launch a session about every three months).

This time, I decided to attend the M102: MongoDB for DBAs and successfully completed.

In this course, you’ll learn about replication, scalability, backups (where the 101 course was more about query optimisation, indexes …).

I’m not a DBA, nor I pretend to be or become one, but I’ve been working in web development for some time now and always been working with databases. All the topics addressed are worth knowing if you ever have scalability in your applications (whether it’s at the DB layer or elsewhere).

Here is a link to the notes I took from the course (it’s a github repo, you can contribute).




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