universitas, newspaper, react, django

Full-stack newspaper website


I’ve built the web site universitas.no. This is a full stack project, so I’ve done the graphic design, the frontend react.js app, the backend Django application and managed the servers, deployment pipeline, testing, user support and a lot more.

All the code is open sourced under the Apache licence, and available at GitHub

About the project

This is a project that has grown a lot in scope as I have been working on it. I started by creating a Django site to replace a legacy and hard-to-maintain php site. In addition the coding, a big part of the initial process mas migrating, organize and clean up many years of text and photo content.

In the first version of the site I used the django template engine and the Zurbs Foundation css framework for the frontend styling.

I later replaced all of the front end code with a new site with a frontend written entirely with react.js. The core of the application is still Django, but it’s not used for template rendering, which is done with react.js instead.

The project also includes a custom made content management system, also made with react.js, and a suite of InDesign plugins integrating the web application with the print edition workflow.

The stack in brief

The web application consists of several services running in Docker containers.

  • Django web application with uWSGI server
  • Celery asynchronous job queue also using the same Docker image
  • Rabbitmq message broker for Celery
  • Postgresql relational database management system
  • Redis cache backend for the Django application
  • Nodejs/Express server for server side rendering of react.js
  • Certbot service manages the https certificates
  • Nginx reverse proxy / web server with pagespeed extensions installed

I use Webpack for bundling, and tests are written using Jest for javascript and Pytest for the python code.

The server is hosted on a Digital Ocean droplet, and we also use Digital Ocean’s content delivery network to serve images and pdf files.

Sentry provides error tracking in production and Travis is used for continuous integration.