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live-server Rules

My thoughts on using live-server to bootstrap JavaScript projects.

Posted on 2020 May 30

This year is a year of crossing stuff off the list for me, and one of those things was to “try Phaser".

I figured this would be easy enough, it’s been around for a while and it’s popular so it should be possible to find tutorials for it. And even more: find tutorials for what I wanted to tinker with: a tower defense game!

I slapped down an index.html in a new directory and found the cdn link to download phaser from the nets, when I realized:

  • How am I supposed to see my changes quickly while working on this?

When I made Ardent and aMAZEment years ago, I did it by refreshing the webpage every time I made a change. But it’s 2020 now, there has to be a better way!

I’m kinda disillusioned about the huge toolchains required to get a node-based project off the ground, and I wanted something a little smaller and quicker to setup.

This was my criteria:

  • Single download, global scope is okay this one time (npm i -g)
  • Hot reloading - I don’t wanna hit ctrl+r every time I make a change
  • Open-source
  • (nice to have) console logs about what is being loaded/requested

I first looked at the classic http-server (https://github.com/http-party/http-server), but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t do hot reloading. Sorry, Turtle 😿🐢

Enter the winner: live-sever

https://github.com/tapio/live-server

This one popped off for me. 🎉 I just write live-server in any directory with index.html and I’m in a web browser doing my thing immediately.

I was able to test out some Phaser tutorials (with much frustration, since tutorial writers skip a lot of steps), but the infra for my project was only marginally more complicated than creating an index.html.

File directory for a tutorial I was looking into:

image

Also for reference, here’s the file directory from when I was renovating Ardent to run on the site. Ardent is just Vanilla JS + HTML5 canvas, no external libraries:

image

I’m really impressed with live-server. It was helpful for getting my games on this site and trying out some Phaser. Give live-server for your next project before you integrate it into your site! 😸

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Thank you for reading!

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