Serving static content, REST endpoints and Websockets with Express and node.js

I’ve yet to see a framework that is as simple as Express for developing REST endpoints. I’m experimenting with a React app that receives push updates from the server using Websockets. Is it possible to use Express to serve all the requests for this app: static content (the React app), REST endpoints and Websocket? Turns out, yes, and it’s pretty easy too.

Starting first using Express to serve static content:

This uses the static middleware for serving the static content.

Handling REST requests with Express is simple using the get(), post(), put(), and delete() functions on the Router. Adding an example for a GET for /status now we have this:


Next, adding support for Websockets, using the ws library. Incrementally adding to the code above, now we create a WebSocket.Server, using the option to pass in the already created HTTP server:

const wss = new SocketServer({ server });

At this point we add callbacks for ‘connection’ and ‘message’ events, and we’re in business:

This is the starting point for a React app to build a websockets client, more on that in a future post. The code so far is available in this github repo:

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