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Running the React sample app

In this guide, you'll get a brief introduction to website development practices with Kentico Kontent. You'll start by running a React sample application on your machine and updating an article in the Sample Project. Then you will explore how the content of the article is structured.

New to Content as a Service?

If you are new to the world of Content as a Service (CaaS), you might want to start by building a Hello world application.

After you grasp the core idea behind CaaS, everything in the sample application will make a lot more sense much faster.

Table of contents

    Sample project for the app

    The sample app displays data from the Sample Project that demonstrates our best practices and features of Kentico Kontent. This full-featured project contains marketing content for Dancing Goat – an imaginary chain of coffee shops.

    Once you run the sample app, you'll see content from the Sample Project displayed in your browser.

    Running the React sample app

    Before going any further, make sure you have the following:

    1. Download the app

    The source code of the sample application lives in a Github repositoryOpens in a new window.

    If you are used to working with GitOpens in a new window, you can clone the repository to your computer by typing the following into your console:

    • shell
    git clone
    git clone

    If you don't have Git installed, you can directly download the sample application as a ZIP fileOpens in a new window, extract it, and continue from there.

    2. Run and configure the app

    1. Navigate to the root folder of the application in the command line.
    2. Type npm install to install the required npm packages.
    3. Type npm start to start a development server.

    The application will open automatically in your browser at http://localhost:3000.

    A screenshot of the page to configure the sample app

    First run of the sample app

    When you run the application for the first time, you will see a Configuration page. Use it to connect the app to your Sample Project in Kentico Kontent:

    1. Click Get project ID from Kentico Kontent. A new browser window will open.
    2. Sign in to your account or create a new one.
    3. From the list of your projects, select the Sample Project.
    4. Click Select project.

    The application now displays content from your Sample Project.

    Now, let's explore the Sample Project and update its content so that you can see the changes reflected in your locally running application.

    Making changes to your project

    After signing in to your Kentico Kontent account you will see your Sample Project to play around with. Your welcome screen is a list of all the pieces of content in your project (we call them content items).

    You can search for a content item by name or apply filters to quickly find what you are looking for:

    • In the filter panel on the left, select the Article content type to view only articles.
    A screenshot of a filtered content list.

    Filtering content by content type

    • Click one of the articles to edit it. For example, try the Coffee processing techniques article. (Inside the running app, navigate to Articles > Coffee processing techniques to see how the content is actually displayed.)
    A screenshot of a published article.

    Details of a published content item

    Updating a published article

    The article is currently published and publicly accessible. This also means you cannot update it directly.

    To edit the article, click Create a new version at the top. Now you can edit the text of the article or change its teaser image. Your changes will be saved automatically and won't affect the previously published version.

    To make your changes visible in the sample app, publish the new version of the article:

    1. At the top of the page, click Change workflow.
    2. Select the Review workflow step.
    3. Assign yourself as a contributor.
    4. Click Change workflow at the bottom of the side panel.
    5. At the top of the page, click Publish.
    6. Click Publish at the bottom of the side panel.

    You can later customize the content workflow according to your needs.

    Voila! You have successfully updated content in your Sample Project. Refresh the browser window with your application to see the changes on the website.

    A screenshot of the updated article.

    Feel free to further explore the Sample Project and the sample application.

    The advantage of using Kentico Kontent lies in the freedom to define how your content is structured. Let's see an example inside the Sample Project itself.

    Exploring content structure

    To see details about the opened content item, go back to Kentico Kontent and click Content details in the top right.

    Under Content type, you can see that the item is based on the Article content type.

    To open the content type for editing, click Article in the content details.

    A screenshot of the Article content type.

    How the Article content type is modeled

    How content is structured in Kentico Kontent

    Content item is any piece of content in your project. It is made up of elements, such as texts, images, files, etc.

    Each content item is based on a single content type. A content type is a template that defines the structure of the content item – which elements it contains, their names, limitations, guidelines, and so on.

    You can mix and match the available elements to define your own content types.

    Deploying the React sample app

    When using a headless CMS like Kentico Kontent to power a single page application, you don't necessarily have to write any server-side code. Because the application only requires static resources, you have many interesting deployment options available to you.

    Here, we are going to use SurgeOpens in a new window to deploy your React sample application:

    1. Navigate to the root folder of the application in the command line.
    2. Type npm install --global surge to install Surge on your computer.
    3. Type npm run build to build the application and make it production-ready.
    4. Type cd build to navigate to the build folder.
    5. Type surge to deploy your application. The first time you do this, Surge will prompt you to set up your account. Every other time it will confirm the build directory and generate a funny subdomain for your app.

    You can change the subdomain if you like and can even use your own domain, all for free. After that, you’re done. The site is deployed and ready to be accessed on the domain specified during deployment.


    Kentico Kontent makes no assumptions about how your content is displayed. It simply delivers it via a RESTful Delivery API to any application that asks for it – be it a website, mobile appchatbot, electronic billboard, virtual voice assistant or an internet-enabled toaster.

    We deliver the content, you do whatever you want with it – using the technology of your choice.

    A traditional CMS would force you to put your content into neatly arranged boxes to fit inside a pre-defined template. The power of Kentico Kontent comes from not getting in your way. Content structure and content presentation are truly separated and you have the flexibility to define both according to the needs of your project.

    What's next?