Understanding the Project Structure of benhall/express-demo


As a new developer, you've been assigned to work on the benhall/express-demo project. Before diving into coding, you want to familiarize yourself with the project's organization to effectively contribute to the team. In this walkthrough, we'll explore the project directory, read the documentation, and identify the main components such as the entry point file, middleware, routes, and views.


  1. Explore the Project Directory:

The benhall/express-demo project consists of several files and directories. Let's take a look at the most important ones:

  • bin/: Contains the bin/www file, which is the entry point for the Express application.
  • public/: Holds the static files, such as HTML templates and CSS stylesheets.
  • public/stylesheets/: Contains the main CSS file, style.css.
  • routes/: Defines the Express routes for handling different HTTP requests.
  • routes/index.js: Handles the home route.
  • routes/users.js: Handles the user-related routes.
  • views/: Contains the Handlebars templates for rendering dynamic content.
  • views/error.hbs: Defines the error template.
  • views/index.hbs: Defines the home template.
  • views/layout.hbs: Defines the layout template.
  • Dockerfile: Contains instructions for building a Docker image.
  • app.js: The main file for setting up the Express application.
  • docker-compose.yml: Defines the services and their dependencies for the Docker environment.
  • nodemon.json: Configures the development environment using the nodemon tool.
  • package.json: Manages the project dependencies and scripts.
  1. Read the Documentation:

To better understand the project, it's essential to read the documentation provided by the project creators. The following links offer valuable insights into the project structure and architecture:

  1. Identify the Main Components:

Now that we've explored the project directory and read the documentation, let's identify the main components of the project:

  • Entry Point File: bin/www
  • Middleware: Not explicitly mentioned in the project, but Express is known for its middleware architecture.
  • Routes: Defined in routes/index.js and routes/users.js.
  • Views: Handlebars templates in views/.


To verify your understanding of the project structure, you can perform the following tests:

  1. Check the entry point file: Ensure that the bin/www file is the entry point for the Express application by checking the package.json scripts.
  2. Explore the middleware: Identify any custom middleware used in the project by searching for files with the .middleware.js extension or by checking the app.js file for middleware imports.
  3. Verify the routes: Test the routes by making HTTP requests to the application and checking the responses.
  4. Inspect the views: Render the Handlebars templates by making requests to the corresponding routes and inspecting the responses.