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Building a Blog using React Hooks Strapi V4.0 and Prism

March 4, 2022

Strapi saves significant development time while giving developers freedom in using their preferred tools and frameworks. Strapi, is a Headless Content Management System, it is a back-end only manager that allows access to contents through APIs to be displayed on any device.

In addition, integrating Strapi with several frameworks like Angular, React, Nuxt or Vue eases the building of projects like blogs.

With our example blog, we will show you how to build one using state hooks, Strapi, and Prism. We deliver each content from Strapi, and the blog will be markdown enabled. It is a beautiful journey, and we will like you to follow us every step of the way.

Table of contents

Prerequisites

To follow along with this tutorial, the reader should meet the following requirements:

  • Have intermediate to professional knowledge about React.js.
  • Must be proficient with CSS.
  • Built projects using Node.js.
  • Understanding of state hooks.

Aim

We are not building a whole blog but rather a shell that will contain a preview area of a few articles and a page containing our markdown-enabled content.

We want to show you how to:

  • Store content in Strapi.
  • Use state hooks to fetch data from Strapi.
  • Create a markdown enabled blog using the content on Strapi and Prism.

Getting started

Initializing strapi

On your editor (VsCode in our case), create a root folder within our computer called base-project and use the command cd base-project within your terminal.

Next, we type in the following command in the terminal:

npx create-strapi-app my-project

The above command will utilize the node package manager to create our Strapi project. It will create a folder called my-project and install the necessary Strapi node modules.

To start the development server, we run the following command in our terminal:

npm run develop

Running the above command opens a registration area in our browser. This registration area is for registering the first admin user. Unfortunately, we can not show you since we have registered the first admin.

By completing the form, you become the first admin user of the Strapi application.

strapi-admin

Adding content

In this section, we are adding our desired contents to Strapi. To get started, we follow the steps below:

  • Click on content-type builder in the plugin section.
  • Next, select create new collection type under the collection type dropdown.
  • A modal as below should popup. Use any display name of your choice, and Strapi will pluralize it.

collection-type

  • In our newly created collection type, we added five new fields (Title, Rating, Body, Hero, URL).

fields

  • After this, click on content manager on the sidebar and select your collection type. Next, click on create new entry in the top right corner to be taken to a page that looks like this:

new-entry

Each new entry contains entries for the fields created earlier. Next, we add the desired article title, rating, the article’s content (body), hero, and URL (hero image link) and click on save and publish.

  • To read the content from Strapi, we head to the settings section, and under the users and permissions plugin section, we select roles.

roles

  • Next, click on public and scroll to permissions. Next, click on review and select find and findone in the permissions area. Next, scroll down to upload and do the same thing with the addition of selecting upload.

review

Now we are good to go on the front end.

Front-end

Initializing react

We start by creating a React project within our initial root folder using the command below:

npx create-react-app frontend

The code snippet above will create a folder called frontend, and it contains the React package within the node_module folder.

To start the development server, use the command npm start. The above command runs the React project on a local server and displays it on a browser.

Creating the front end

To get started, within the front end folder, create three folders within the src folder. Name them components, hooks, and pages. We will begin with the pages folder; create two new JavaScript files called Homepage.js and Contents.js.

Quick tip: On Vscode, install the ES7 plugin. It allows you to create a React functional component by quickly typing rfc + Enter.

Thus, type in your React functional component within the two Homepage and Content files.

Next, head back to the App.js file and do the following:

  • Clear the default React template.
  • Type rfc + Enter (if you have installed the ES7 plugin) to add the React functional component.
  • Import the JavaScript files in the pages folder.
  • Install and import react-router-dom (usually installed by default when we install React) using the following command on the terminal:
npm install react-router-dom
  • Create a div with the class name App and create routes to the imported pages using the react-router-dom.

Below is an implementation of the above explanation:

import { BrowserRouter as Router, Route, Routes } from 'react-router-dom'

//Page and layout imports
import Homepage from './pages/Homepage'
import Contents from './pages/Contents'

function App() {
  return (
    <Router>
      <div className="App">
        <Siteheader />
        <Routes>
          <Route exact path="/" element={<Homepage />}>
          </Route>
          <Route path="/contents/:id" element={<Contents />}>
          </Route>
        </Routes>
      </div>
    </Router>
  );
}

export default App;

Next, we go to the Homepage.js file. Before we get started, we will need to create our state hooks. Thus, within the hooks folder, we’ll create a file called Usefetch.js.

Within the Usefetch.js file, we do the following:

  • Import useEffect and useState from React.
  • Create the useFetch function that takes in the value url and export the useFetch() function.
import { useEffect, useState } from "react"

const useFetch = (url) => {

}

export default useFetch

Note: The hook takes in the endpoint (wherever we are getting the data from).

  • Within the function, add the code below:
const [data, setData] = useState([])
const [error, setError] = useState(null)
const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true)
  • The first variable is for the data eventually recieved from the fetch request and is usually set as null. At the same time, the setData updates the data received from Strapi.
  • The second variable is for the error we got from the fetch request and is usually set as null. The setError updates the error received from Strapi.
  • The third variable initializes the loading state as true when we utilize the hook use fetch. Once we finish fetching the data, it makes it false.
  • Next, we will create a useEffect hook function which works when the component renders whatever component we are using this hook.

Within useEffect, we create another function called fetchData and make it async.

  • We make setLoading=true in case it becomes false above when we try to set data.
  • We use the try and catch statement. Then, we fetch API to get data from the endpoint. Below is an implementation of the explanation above.
useEffect(() => {
    const fetchData = async () => {
        setLoading(true)

        try {
            const res = await fetch(url)
            const json = await res.json()
            console.log(json)

            setData(json);
            setLoading(false)
        } catch (error) {
            setError(error)
            setLoading(false)
        }
    }

    fetchData();
}, [url])
  • We need to return the values at the end of the hook. We can use this code:
return { loading, error, data }

Our useFetch is ready to be used in our Homepage.js file and Content.js files.

Back to the Homepage.js file. This part of the blog is responsible for the header and preview of the article (some article content, title, and hero).

To achieve this, we follow the steps below:

  • Import Link from react-router-dom and useFetch from our useFetch.js file.
  import useFetch from '../hooks/useFetch'
  import { Link } from 'react-router-dom'
  • Within the Homepage function, insert the useFetch component by adding the code below:
const{loading, error, data} = useFetch('http://localhost:1337/api/reviews')

The above code destructures loading, error, and data from useFetch, while the url is the Strapi endpoint.

  • Create two if statements to return a loading message and an error message if there’s one.
  if (loading) return <p>Loading...</p>
  if (error) return <p>Error :(</p>

Note: This is possible if loading is true or error is true. In this case, loading is true, and until we have done the fetching, it remains true.

  • Next, once the above is done, we will need to return the template containing some of our articles content. We will use the code below to achieve that:
  return (
  <div>
    {data.data.map(review => (
      <div key={review.attributes.id} className="review-card">
        <div className="rating">{review.attributes.rating}</div>
        <Link to={`/contents/${review.id}`}>
        <img src={review.attributes.url}/>
        <h2>{review.attributes.title}</h2>
        </Link>
        
        <small>console list</small>

        <p>{review.attributes.body.substring(0, 200)}...</p>
        
      </div>
    ))}
  </div>
)

We mapped through the data received from Strapi using the data.data.map function, and we got access to each item in the array by using a function called review.

  • We then return a div template with the key property having a dynamic value review.attributes.id. It is so because React needs the parent element inside the map to have a key property to keep track of all the elements in Strapi.
  • We give the div a class name review-card to style it later.

Note: Regarding the CSS, we will not be explaining it, because we believe the reader has a good background on the subject before getting to this stage.

  • Using the previously imported {Link} from react-router-dom, we create a link tag to the content page. We then add the image and title to the link.

Below is what the homepage looks like at the moment.

homepage

For the Content.js file, we start by:

  • Importing useFetch from useFetch.js and useParams from react-router-dom.
  import { useParams } from 'react-router-dom'
  import useFetch from '../hooks/useFetch'

The useParams is a hook used to grab single records, and in this case, we are capturing the records from Strapi.

  • Next, within the export default function, we create a constant and destructure the name of the parameter we want (id), which equals useParams.
const { id } = useParams()

Note: We call it id because it was named id in the routes in our App.js file.

  • Insert the useFetch component by adding the code below:
const{loading, error, data} = useFetch('http://localhost:1337/api/reviews' + id)

The above code destructures loading, error, and data from useFetch, while the url is the Strapi endpoint and the id is our destructured parameter.

  • Create two if statements to return a loading message and an error message if there is one.
  if (loading) return <p>Loading...</p>
  if (error) return <p>Error :(</p>
  • Next, once the above is done, we will need to return the template containing the selected articles content. We use the code below to do that:
return (
  <div className="review-card">
    <div className="rating">{data.data.attributes.rating}</div>
    <h2>{data.data.attributes.title}</h2>

    <small>console list</small>

  </div>
)

content

We have to go back to the previously created components folder to make it markdown enabled.

Within the folder, we create a file called Codeblock.js and we add the code below:

import React from "react"
import { Prism as SyntaxHighlighter } from "react-syntax-highlighter"
import {dracula} from 'react-syntax-highlighter/dist/cjs/styles/prism';

const CodeBlock = {
  code({node, inline, className, children, ...props}) {
    const match = /language-(\w+)/.exec(className || '')
    return !inline && match ? (
    <SyntaxHighlighter 
      style={dracula} 
      language={match[1]} 
      PreTag="div" {...props}>
      {String(children).replace(/\n$/, '')}
    </SyntaxHighlighter>

    ) : (
      <code className={className} {...props}>
        {children}
      </code>
    )
  }
}

export default CodeBlock
  • There are a few prerequisites when using the code above.
  • We need to install react-syntax-highlighter. We do this using the code below:
npm install react-syntax-highlighter
  • Next, we import Prism and Dracula from the react-syntax-highlighter module.

  • To use this for our content’s body, we will head back to the Content.js file.

  • Within the content.js file, we will need to import markdown from react-markdown.

  • To install react-markdown, use the code below:

npm install react-markdown
  • Next, we need to import Codeblock.js (file containing our syntax highlighter) from the components folder.

Example

import Markdown from 'react-markdown'
import CodeBlock from '../components/CodeBlock'
  • Finally, we will add the body of the article in our div, encased in a markdown tag while using the syntax from Codeblock.js as a component attribute in the markdown tag.

Example

<Markdown components={CodeBlock}>{data.data.attributes.body}</Markdown>

Here is the link to the entire CSS used for the blog.

Proper implementation of the code above gives us the result below:

content-body

content-body

Our blog looks great, and it’s good to go.

Conclusion

In this article we demonstrated how to use state hooks, Strapi, and Prism to create a masterpiece. However, we believe you can take it a step furhter and expand your scope with this project.

Strapi enables developers’ a wide range of possibilities and how they use the content. Here is the link to the entire code. So happy codingšŸš€, and as in node.js, happy hackingšŸ’»!


Peer Review Contributions by: Miller Juma