Create React App sets a lot of things up by default but it does not come with a built-in way to handle routes. And since we are building a single page app, we are going to use React Router to handle them for us.

Let’s start by installing React Router. We are going to be using the React Router v4, the newest version of React Router. React Router v4 can be used on the web and in native. So let’s install the one for the web.

Installing React Router

Run the following command in your working directory.

$ npm install react-router-dom@5.0.1 --save

This installs the NPM package and adds the dependency to your package.json.

Setting up React Router

Even though we don’t have any routes set up in our app, we can get the basic structure up and running. Our app currently runs from the App component in src/App.js. We are going to be using this component as the container for our entire app. To do that we’ll encapsulate our App component within a Router.

Replace the following code in src/index.js:

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById('root'));

With this:

ReactDOM.render(
  <Router>
    <App />
  </Router>,
  document.getElementById('root')
);

And import this in the header of src/index.js.

import { BrowserRouter as Router } from 'react-router-dom';

We’ve made two small changes here.

  1. Use BrowserRouter as our router. This uses the browser’s History API to create real URLs.
  2. Use the Router to render our App component. This will allow us to create the routes we need inside our App component.

Now if you head over to your browser, your app should load just like before. The only difference being that we are using React Router to serve out our pages.

Next we are going to look into how to organize the different pages of our app.