The Front End


Pegasus’s front-end architecture is a hybrid model, with a standalone front-end codebase that is compiled and served inside Django templates.

The front end uses Babel and Webpack to compile the front-end code into bundle files that can be referenced using Django’s static file system, as represented in the diagram below.

Build Pipeline

Pegasus’s styles use either the Bootstrap or Bulma CSS frameworks, and building the CSS files is included as part of the front-end build pipeline. For more details on CSS in Pegasus, see the CSS documentation.

For a much more detailed overview of the rationale behind this architecture, and the details of the set up see the Modern JavaScript for Django Developers series.

Front-end files

The source front-end files live in the assets directory, while the compiled files get created in the static directory.

Generally you should only ever edit the front-end files in assets directly, and compile them using the instructions below.

Prerequisites to building the front end

To compile the front-end JavaScript and CSS files it’s expected that you have installed:

Pegasus is developed and tested on the latest LTS releases, which (at the time of this writing) are Node version 14.16.1 and npm 6.14.12. Later versions may work, but aren’t well-tested. Also it’s recommended to use nvm to manage different node/npm environments more easily. nvm is essentially virtualenv for Node.js/npm.

Initial setup

Getting started should be as simple as running:

npm install

In your project’s root directory. This will install all the dependencies necessary to build the front end.

It will also generate a package-lock.json file. It is recommended that you add this file to source control for consistency across installations.

Building in Development

Whenever you make modifications to the front-end files you will need to run the following command to rebuild the compiled JS bundles and CSS files:

npm run dev

You can also set it up to watch for changes by running:

npm run dev-watch

Building for production

To build for production, run:

npm run build

This will compress your files, remove logging statements, etc.

Deployment best practices

For ease of initial set up, the front-end bundle files are included with the Pegasus codebase. This allows you to get up and running with Pegasus without having to set up the front-end build pipeline.

However, after you have set up the front-end toolchain it is recommended that you:

  1. Add the bundle files to your .gitignore so they are no longer managed by source control.
  2. Build the bundle files on your production server (using npm install && npm run build) as part of your CI/CD deployment process.

This will ensure that the latest, optimized version of the front-end code is always deployed as part of your production environment.