OurBigBook Web is a regular databased backed dynamic website. This is unlike the static websites generated by OurBigBook CLI:
  • static websites are simpler and cheaper to run, but they are harder to setup for non-programmers
  • static websites cannot have multiuser features such as likes, comments, and "view versions of this article by other users", which is are core functionality of the OurBigBook Project
The source for OurBigBook Web, source code is fully contained under the web/ directory of the OurBigBook Project source code. OurBigBook Web can be seen as a separate Node.js package which uses the OurBigBook Library as a dependency.
OurBigBook Web was originally forked from the following starter boilerplate: github.com/cirosantilli/node-express-sequelize-realworld-example-app. We are trying to keep tech synced as much as possible between both projects, since the boilerplate is useful as a tech demo to quickly try out new technologies in a more minimal setup, but it has started to lag a bit behind. The web stack of OurBigBook Web is described at: OurBigBook Web tech stack.
It is highly recommended that you use the exact same Node.js and NPM versions as given under package.json engines.js entry. The best way to do that is likely to use NVM as explained at: stackoverflow.com/questions/16898001/how-to-install-a-specific-version-of-node-on-ubuntu/47376491#47376491
First time setup:
cd ourbigbook &&
npm run link &&
npm run build-assets &&
cd web/ &&
npm install &&
./bin/generate-demo-data.js --users 2 --articles-per-user 10
# Or short version:
#./bin/generate-demo-data.js -u 2 -a 10
  • npm run build-assets needs to be re-run if any assets (e.g. CSS or Js file mentioned at overview of files in this repository) on the ./ourbigbook/ toplevel are modified. No need to re-run it for changes under web/.
    To develop files from outside web/, also consider:
    npm run webpack-dev
    as mentioned at: _obb directory.
  • web/bin/generate-demo-data.js also creates the database and is not optional. If you want to start with an empty database instead of the demo one, you can run instead web/bin/sync-db.js:
We also provide a shortcut for that setup as:
npm run web-setup
./bin/generate-demo-data.js --users 2 --articles-per-user 10
After this initial setup, run the development server:
npm run dev
And the website is now running at localhost:3000. If you created the demo data, you can login with:
  • email: user0@mail.com, user1@mail.com, etc.
  • password: asdf
    Custom demo user passwords can be set by exporting the OURBIGBOOK_DEMO_USER_PASSWORD variable, e.g.:
    OURBIGBOOK_DEMO_USER_PASSWORD=qwer ./bin/generate-demo-data.js -u 2 -a 10
    this is useful for production.
To run on a different port use:
PORT=3001 npm run dev
We also offer shortcuts on toplevel for the npm install and npm run dev commands so you can skip the cd web for those:
npm install
npm run dev
Whenever you save any changes to the backend server, we listen to this and automatically restart the server, so after a few seconds or less, you can refresh the web page to obtain the backend update.
For frontend, changes are automatically recompiled by the webpack development server, so you can basically just refresh pages and they will be updated straightaway.


  1. OurBigBook Web development
  2. OurBigBook Web
  3. OurBigBook Project