Create a Basic Framework with Express (Part 2)

Create a Basic Framework with Express (Part 2)



2 min read

In this part 2, we will define routes while incorporating Handlebars.

Installing Handlebars

  1. Install express-handlebars with the command

     npm install express-handlebars
  2. Require express-handlebars in index.js

     const app = express()
     const handlebars = require('express-handlebars')
  3. Set the template engine in express

    • use .hbs file extension instead of .handlebars

    • default layout name as app

    • add helper functions for displaying full routes and env variable

                // use hbs instead of handlebars extension
                extname: '.hbs',
                // default layout name
                defaultLayout: 'app',
                // simple template functions
                helpers: {
                    // return the full route path
                    route(path) {
                        return process.env.APP_URL + ':' + process.env.APP_PORT + path
                    // returns the env variable value
                    config(name) {
                        return process.env[name]
        app.set('view engine', '.hbs')
        // use views folder
        app.set('views', __dirname + '/views')
        // static folder

Create Views

  1. Add APP_URL to .env file

  2. Create the main layout app.hbs in views/layouts

    • route helper function is used here to get the full path of the favicon

    • config helper function is used to get the env variable APP_NAME

        <html lang="en"><head>
            <meta charset="UTF-8">
            <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
            <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
            <link rel="icon" type="image/png" href="{{route  '/favicon.png' }}" />
            <title>{{config 'APP_NAME' }}</title>
            <script src=""></script>
        <body class="bg-gray-100">
            {{{ body }}}
  3. Add a favicon in the public folder named favicon.png

  4. Create the homepage content index.hbs in views folder

     <div class="min-h-screen flex flex-col">
         <div class="min-h-screen flex justify-center flex-wrap content-center">
             <div class="bg-gray-100 rounded-md w-10/12 md:w-1/2 lg:w-4/12 flex flex-col shadow">
                 <div class="w-full p-8 flex flex-wrap content-center bg-white">
                     <div class="flex w-full justify-center">
                         <a href="{{route '/' }}">Homepage</a>


  1. DELETE the following code since we will be adding controller and router files in index.js

     const { ServerError } = require('./exceptions/ServerError')
     app.get('/', async (req, res, next) => {
         // res.send('Hello World!')
         try {
             // res.send('hello')
             throw new ServerError()
         } catch (error) {
             return next(error)
  2. Create index.js in routes folder

     const router = require('express').Router()
     // home page route
     router.get('/', async (req, res) => {
         // this will render the index.hbs with the default app.hbs layout
         return res.render('index')
         // to switch the layout file called main.hbs (make sure it is created in views/layouts)
         return res.render('index', {
             layout: 'main',
     module.exports = router
  3. Now to make sure the app knows to use the routes/index.js

     app.use('/', routes)