The ability to reply to discussions is limited to PRO members. Want to join in the discussion? Click here to subscribe now.

Create a Basic Server with Express

Create a Basic Server with Express

In this lesson we will initialize our Express application using `npm init`. After loading express through npm we will look at a couple basic functions Express exposes to us such as `.get` and `.send`. This will allow basic interaction via the url. We will also see how using a package like `nodemon` can allow for rapid iteration when developing an application.
Watch this lesson now

In this lesson we will install Express, learn the basics of using Express, and configure our environment for rapid iteration.

flied onion

I think, "res" (the second argument of callback function) is "response", not "result".

Response methods


Very well done...but, am I the only one bothered by the choice not to use idiomatic JavaScript? Not using semi-colons is fine when it's your personal code, but why abandon the standard when teaching or collaborating with others? Nobody will argue the benefit of choosing a style that suits us individually when we are working for ourselves (I certainly do), but not using an idiomatic style makes others work needlessly harder to follow. That makes your course content less effective.

The cliche is worth repeating. Coding standards exist for the purpose of working with others. If we all worked alone, we wouldn't need stye guides.

One reason for the popularity of Express is how truly readable the source is. Similarly, a reason for the popularity of Node is that the community bought strongly in to a common coding style, which has led to higher readability of npm modules. I think that by not following suit, this series is weaker.

That said, the content is still excellent!


You're absolutely right. I misspoke and it slipped through in the edit process, sorry about that. Thankfully, there was only one instance where I did that and I say response everywhere else in the series.

In reply to flied onion

Hi Nick, thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed the series.

I'm also sorry you find the lack of semicolons distracting. I personally go back and forth on the issue, but don't feel strongly either way. I've recently been omitting them, partially because I switched to Atom and the standard-linter and standard-fixer packages were the best combo I found for painlessly keeping files formatted.

I think the point that resonates with me the most on the issue is that the rules for when you NEED semicolons is much simpler than when you don't. The only time they are 100% required is when starting a line with ( or [, which is extremely rare. (With the possible exception of IIFEs.)

While using semicolons is certainly more popular than not using them, I don't think I'd consider it non-idiomatic. It's just a stylistic choice, though I did get a good laugh when the repo you linked to referred to a HN thread as scientific proof. :) I think makes some good points, and the video linked there expands a bit on how the rules get a bit murkier when using semicolons.

All of that said, I do appreciate your feedback. I debated on whether or not to use that style for the videos, and if I get more feedback that it's distracting I may change course in the future.

Thanks for watching,

In reply to Nick

Ben, Ok, I get it. You write code for yourself :--)

But, semi-colons are considered "idiomatic" because they are defined as such by the inventors of the language and by every known style guide, save the recently introduced and misnomer'ed "JavaScript standard". But you miss a larger point.

Not using semi-colons is NOT merely a matter of style, but a conscious decision to write buggier code. That advice has been stressed repeatedly over the years by both Douglas Rockford (see below) and JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, who says that relying on Automatic Semicolon Insertion (ASI) is "reckless". In other words, semicolons are considered "idiomatic" because they are a consensus "best practice".

Bugs that would be avoided with the use of the semi-colon are some of the nastiest to find. I've got a co-worker who only recently agreed to use semi-colons when the team wasted 4 hours tracking down a bug of his that would have been avoided with a semi-colon. Being an old guy (ouch), I've seen this movie before. Experiments with the unconventional ends as the pain of unnecessary bugs always trumps stylistic preference.

You're setting an example for your students, many of whom are new to JavaScript. I think this should be their guidance:

1) Google JavaScript Style Guide

"Always use semicolons. Relying on implicit insertion can cause subtle, hard to debug problems. Don't do it. You're better than that."

The Google guide also describes the dangers of not using semi-colons.

2) Rockford's definite Code Conventions for the JavaScript Programming Language
Put a ; (semicolon) at the end of every simple statement. Note that an assignment statement that is assigning a function literal or object literal is still an assignment statement and must end with a semicolon.
JavaScript allows any expression to be used as a statement. This can mask some errors, particularly in the presence of semicolon insertion.

3) jQuery Style Guide
Use them. Never rely on ASI."

4) AirBnB Style Guide.
• Yup"

Finally, the collaboration from 20+ leading JS practitioners that endeavors to define "idiomatic":
5) idiomatic.js
"We do not intend to impose my style preferences on other people's code or projects; if an existing common style exists, it should be respected."

"Arguments over style are pointless. There should be a style guide, and you should follow it"
Rebecca Murphey
"Part of being a good steward to a successful project is realizing that writing code for yourself is a Bad Idea™. If thousands of people are using your code, then write your code for maximum clarity, not your personal preference of how to get clever within the spec."
Idan Gazit

In reply to Ben

Sir, aren't we supposed to pronounce nodemon like we pronounce pokemon ;)?
Thanks for the lesson.

Tony Kung

I got an error message in my terminal when I type in node index.js

throw err;


Thank for the lesson.
I am a nebbie, what does '-y' means in
npm init -y


Hi Brinka,

npm init by itself will ask you a series of questions to determine how to populate the package.json file it creates. -y, as well as --yes, -f, and --force, tell npm to use the values defined in your ~/.npmrc file and skip the questions.


In reply to brinka

what is the atom theme you are using in the video?


Hi Ningze,

I think that was a slightly modified version of Tomorrow Night Eighties. These days I'm using Oceanic Next, which is similar.


In reply to Ningze

How come we need to use 'run' when start nodemon but not when using 'npm start'?


Hey Brad, support for some scripts, like start and test, is built into npm.

To run custom scripts you have to pretend run to the name.

In reply to Brad
Joel's Head
Why are we asking?