Migrating to webpack dev middleware

Last updated 6 months ago

With the release of electrode-archetype-react-app version 5.3.4, Electrode is no longer depending on webpack-dev-server.

Instead, webpack-dev is now integrated as part of the app server by using webpack-dev-middleware.

Combined with electrode-redux-router-engine v2, Electrode app in dev mode now supports a much better development experience with Hot Module Reloading working on both the client and server side.

The latest electrode-ignite and generator-electrode will now generate apps that use both right out of the box.

However, if you have an existing app before this update, then you have to do some manual changes to get it.

In this guide, I will go through the steps to upgrade our basic app to use webpack-dev-middleware.

Note: Without react-router v4, hot module reloading will not work even if update to the webpack-dev middleware. So I highly recommend that you do the RR4 migration first.


A new Hapi plugin is available from electrode-archetype-react-app-dev. This plugin will handle the webpack-dev compiling and hot reloading on the server side.

Update will involve doing the following:

  1. Update dependencies

  2. Add the webpack-dev plugin to your app

  3. Update react app for HMR (if RR4 migration is done.)


In package.json, these dependencies should be updated:

  • dependencies

    • "electrode-archetype-react-app": "^5.3.4"

    • "electrode-react-webapp": "^2.5.1"

  • devDependencies

    • "electrode-archetype-react-app-dev": "^5.3.4"

Add webpack-dev plugin

In the file config/default.js, add the following plugin to the top:

"plugins": {
"webpack-dev": {
module: "electrode-archetype-react-app-dev/lib/webpack-dev-hapi",
enable: process.env.WEBPACK_DEV_MIDDLEWARE === "true" && process.env.WEBPACK_DEV === "true",

If you only have config/default.json, then please add a new config/default.js file with the entire content above.

In the file xclap.js, add near the top:

process.env.WEBPACK_DEV_MIDDLEWARE = true;

Now running clap dev should no longer starts webpack-dev-server.

HMR with RR4

If you've done the RR4 migration, then you can also update your code to enable Hot Module Reloading now.


For src/client/app.jsx:

To make it work for Redux, the store object has to be a global:

const configureStore = initialState => {
const store = createStore(rootReducer, initialState);
if (module.hot) {
module.hot.accept("./reducers", () => {
const nextRootReducer = require("./reducers").default;
return store;
const store = configureStore(window.__PRELOADED_STATE__);

App startup has to be reentrant:

const start = App => {
const jsContent = document.querySelector(".js-content");
const reactStart = window.__PRELOADED_STATE__ && jsContent.innerHTML ? hydrate : render;
<Provider store={store}>
<App />
window.webappStart = () => start(() => renderRoutes(routes));

Finally add this:

// Hot Module Reload setup
if (module.hot) {
module.hot.accept("./routes", () => {
const r = require("./routes");
start(() => renderRoutes(r.routes));


And these are the steps required to migrate Electrode's basic app to use the new webpack-dev middleware plugin.

Currently only Hapi is supported and express is scheduled.

In summary:

  1. Update dependencies for electrode-archetype-react-app and the -dev one to ^5.3.4

  2. Add the webpack-dev middleware hapi plugin to config/default.js

  3. For React router 4, update src/client/app.jsx to enable HMR.