I know that there are tones of tutorials on how to do this; but it happens that i have my own opinion on how to setup and here it is. Also, I assume that nodejs and npm are installed and ready to role. You can get the whole project ready to clone from github.

Useful commands

# build the project

# watch for changes and build 
webpack --watch

# dev server startup
webpack-dev-server --progress --colors 

Setting up for development

First lets install the tools we need. This will make them available though command line.

npm install -g webpack webpack-dev-server

Lets start with the initialization of our directory and installing some packages we need.

mkdir react-demo
mkdir react-demo/src
mkdir react-demo/public
mkdir react-demo/src/components
cd react-demo
npm init
touch webpack.config.js
touch src/entry.jsx
touch src/components/hello.jsx
touch src/components/hello.scss 
npm install --save-dev webpack  
npm install --save-dev react react-dom  
npm install --save-dev style-loader css-loader sass-loader node-sass
npm install --save-dev babel-core babel-loader  
npm install --save-dev babel-preset-react babel-preset-es2015  

Our package.json should look something like this

  "name": "react-demo",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "react demo",
  "main": "index.js",
  "dependencies": {
    "react-dom": "^15.0.2",
    "react": "^15.0.2"
  "devDependencies": {
    "babel-core": "^6.8.0",
    "babel-loader": "^6.2.4",
    "babel-preset-es2015": "^6.6.0",
    "babel-preset-react": "^6.5.0",
    "css-loader": "^0.23.1",
    "node-sass": "^3.7.0",
    "react": "^15.0.2",
    "react-dom": "^15.0.2",
    "sass-loader": "^3.2.0",
    "style-loader": "^0.13.1",
    "webpack": "^1.13.0"
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "keywords": [
  "author": "michael theodorides",
  "license": "GPL-3.0"

Now we can write some code. First we will fill up the webpack.config.js file, that is responsible for the build of the source

var path = require('path');

module.exports = {
    entry: path.resolve(__dirname, "src/entry.jsx"),
    output: {
        path: path.resolve(__dirname, "public"),
        filename: "bundle.js"
    module: {
        loaders: [
                test: /\.s?css$/,
                loaders: ['style', 'css', 'sass']
                test: /\.jsx?$/,
                loader: ['babel'],
                exclude: /node-modules/,
                include: path.resolve(__dirname, 'src'),
                query: {
                    presets: ['react', 'es2015'],
                    cacheDirectory: true

Add this lines into the src/entry.jsx. This is where the application starts.

import React from 'react';
import {render} from 'react-dom';
import Hello from './components/hello.jsx';

document.body.innerHTML = '<div id="react-root">';

render(<Hello />, document.getElementById('react-root'));

Add this lines to src/component/hello.jsx To create some

import React from 'react';
import './hello.scss'

export default class Hello extends React.Component {
    render() {
        return <div className="hello">Hello, world!</div>;

export default Hello;

Lets add some styles too

    font-size: 20px;
    font-style: italic;

At this point we are ready to develop just run the dev server

webpack-dev-server --progress --colors

And browse to http://localhost:8080/webpack-dev-server/bundle. Here the app will automatically update it self whenever you make changes to your code.

Preparing the production setup

Lets add some dependencies and setup an nodejs web server.

touch index.js 
touch public/index.html
touch production.webpack.config.js
npm install --save express

Lets code our server. add this lines to index.js

var express = require('express');
var path = require('path');

var app = express();

app.use(express.static(path.join(__dirname, 'public')));

app.use(function (req, res, next) {
    var err = new Error('Not Found');
    err.status = 404;

if (app.get('env') === 'production') {
    app.use(function (err, req, res) {
        res.status(err.status || 500);
        res.render('error', {
            message: err.message,
            error: {}
} else {
    app.use(function (err, req, res) {
        res.status(err.status || 500);
        res.render('error', {
            message: err.message,
            error: err

var port = process.env.PORT || 3000;
app.listen(port, function () {
    console.log('Browse to: localhost:' + port);

Add this lines into the public/index.html

    <meta charset="utf-8">
<script type="text/javascript" src="/bundle.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Now build and run you application

webpack --config production.webpack.config.js 
node index.js