The Free Code Camp Boilerplate


Clementine.js is a lightweight boilerplate for fullstack JavaScript development which utilizes MongoDB, Express and Node.js. The boilerplate errs on the side of transparency and simplicity, making it an ideal starting point for beginner and seasoned developers alike.

The Free Code Camp version of Clementine.js is meant for use when completing projects as part of the FCC curriculum. This version includes GitHub authentication using Passport.


MongoDB is a document-store (NoSQL) database. Queries are written in JavaScript, and that is the primary reason for its inclusion in the MEAN stack.

For more information on MongoDB, please have a look at their stellar documentation. In addition, once you have practiced your Node skills, I highly recommend taking this free 7-week online course that MongoDB offers.


Express is an unopinionated framework for Node.js that creates additional functionality for the creation of web applications.

For more information on express, check out their website and documentation.


Node.js is a platform built on Google’s V8 JavaScript run-time, allowing server-side code to be written in JavaScript.

For more information on Node, try their site. I also recommend having a look at NodeSchool.


Passport is middleware for Node.js / Express that enables easy integration of authentication and authorization. It includes extensions for the popular oAuth options, and is used for GitHub authentication in this version of the boilerplate.


Prerequisites for Clementine.js:

Install Node.js and NPM

Note: The Node insallation installs both Node & NPM.

MAC OSX & Windows

Head to the Node.js install page. Download the appropriate file follow the installation instructions.


Option 1 - Install via PPA

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install nodejs

Option 2 - Install via LinuxBrew

First, ensure LinuxBrew is installed. Then, enter the below into the Linux terminal:

$ brew install node

Install MongoDB

MongoDB has great installation instructutions for MAC OSX, Windows and Linux. See this page.

Install Git

Follow the directions here to install Git for the appropriate environment.

Install Clementine.js

Clementine.js is easy to setup in the project directory of your choice! In the terminal:

$ git clone your-project

It’s that easy!

Setup GitHub Authentication

Please follow this guide to register the application with GitHub and get API keys / secrets.

Note: If you’re using c9, then the application URL and callback URL should be your c9 workspace URL (i.e. See the c9 installation section for more information.

Local Environment Variables

Create a file named .env in the root directory. This file should contain:


Starting the App

To start the app, make sure you’re in the project directory and type node server.js into the terminal. This will start the Node server and connect to MongoDB.

You should the following messages within the terminal window:

Node.js listening on port 8080...

Next, open your browser and enter http://localhost:8080/. Congrats, you’re up and running! Setup

Setup for the remote dev environment differs from the traditional local environment setup. This section provides step-by-step instructions for setup in the c9 IDE.

  • Create a workspace on
    • Workspace Name: The name of the project
    • Description: A description of the project
    • Clone from Git Workspace: Enter the Git URL for the Clementine.js repo.

c9 Setup Image 01

  • Next, open the Window menu and choose Share....

c9 Setup Image 02

  • Click on the application URL and choose Copy. This the URL for the application. Most often, this follows the pattern

    Note: make sure you copy the / at the end of the URL.

c9 Setup Image 03

  • Setup your GitHub Application. Refer to this guide.
    • Homepage URL: The URL previously copied for the project (i.e.
    • Authorization callback URL: The project URL + auth/github/callback appended to the end (i.e.

c9 Setup Image 04

  • Back in c9, next to your project files on the left, click the cog and choose the Show Hidden Files option.

c9 Setup Image 05


Note: Don’t forget the / at the end of the project URL.

  • In the terminal window at the bottom of the browser window, type $ sudo apt-get install mongodb-org. This will install MongoDB in the c9 workspace.
  • Next, type $ mongod --smallfiles into the terminal window. This runs the mongod service required by MongoDB to run successfully.
  • Open a new terminal window by clicking on the plus sign above the terminal window.

c9 Setup Image 06

  • In this new terminal window, type $ npm install to install the Node dependencies. This will add a node_modules directory to your project.
  • Once the installation has completed, type $ node server in the same terminal window.
  • Finally, in a new browser tab or window, point it to the project url ( The app should be running in this window now.

c9 Setup Image 07


Clementine.js employs a very simple application architecture to promote transparency and simplicity. The application consists of:

  • Three views
  • Two client-side controllers
  • One server-side controller
  • Passport Configuration
  • Common AJAX Functions
  • Node.js server file
  • Route file
  • CSS file
  • Fonts

When installed, Clementine.js offers a very simple application demonstrating full stack JavaScript. This application follow the MVC design pattern.

Folder Structure

+--	Project Folder
	+-- app
	|	\-- common
	|	\-- config
	|	\-- controllers
	|	\-- models
	|	\-- routes
	+-- public
	|	\-- css
	|	\-- fonts
	|	\-- img

Project / Root Folder - The project directory. This directory contains:

  • .env - An environment configuration file that contains GitHub API information. This file must be manually created and is not present when cloning the repository. This file is included in the .gitignore file and will not be tracked by Git.
  • .gitignore - A file specifying which directories git should ignore when pushing to the master
  • - Text file containing license information
  • - Readme file for GitHub
  • package.json - A file specifying which packages should be installed by NPM, in addition general application information (name, version, license, etc).
  • server.js - The primary Node file used to start the server and initialize necessary services / frameworks for the application (i.e. connecting to the Mongo database, intializing Express, etc).

app - The directory containing the “behind-the-scenes” (i.e. controllers) and server-side JavaScript files (i.e. routes).

  • common - This directory contains any files with functionality that is used across all controllers
    • ajax-functions.js - This file holds AJAX functions which are used across both client-side controllers
  • config - The directory containing configuration files for Passport’s GitHub Authentication
    • auth.js - File that contains the API key information. These are encrypted “tokens (passwords)” issued by GitHub and used to authenticate with GitHub’s servers.
    • passport.js - JavaScript file containing all setup information for Passport.
  • controllers - Directory for client and server-side controller files. Controllers are used to either manipulate / modify the view or the model (i.e. the database).
    • clickController.client.js - Client-side controller which creates event listeners for the button clicks and asynchronous data requests to the clicks API.
    • clickHandler.server.js - This is a server-side controller that tells Mongo what to do when a particular HTTP request is made (i.e. GET, POST, etc).
    • userController.client.js - This is another client-side controller that retrieves user information from the API and updates the DOM elements with a successful API call.
  • models - Directory for database models. In this case, this is where the Mongoose schemas will be defined. These models are definitions of desired data structure that will be inserted into the database.
    • users.js - The Mongoose model for “users.”
  • routes - This folder contains route files. Routes give directions on what to do when a particular URL or HTTP request is made from the client (i.e. browser) to the server.
    • index.js - contains route code for the application

public - This directory contains information used to render the view (i.e. css & images).

  • css - Contains the style sheet for the application
  • fonts - Contains custom fonts for the application
  • img - Contains any images used in the view (i.e. the Clementine.js logo)
  • index.html - This file contains all HTML code to render the view for this single-page application.

Ports and MongoDB Collection

This version of Clementine.js uses port 8080 for the application and the default MongoDB port of 27017. These can both be changed within the .env file that should be created.

MongoDB will use the database clementinejs and the users collection. These can be amended in the .env and /app/models/users.js files respectively.

User Model

The User model is located within the /app/models/users.js file, and follows common Mongoose conventions for model / schema creation.

	github: {
		id: String,
		displayName: String,
		username: String,
      publicRepos: Number
   nbrClicks: {
      clicks: Number
  • github: An object containing GitHub user information
    • id: The numeric ID associated with the GitHub account
    • displayName: The combined first and last name of the GitHub user
    • username: GitHub username
    • publicRepos: The number of public repositories owned by the GitHub account
  • nbrclicks: An object containing information for the click part of the application
    • clicks: The number of times the button has been clicked. This value will be set to 0 when the user is first created.

Clicks API

The clicks API is located at /api/:id/clicks, and has the following functionality:

  • An HTTP GET request will query the database and return a JSON object mirroring the current document within the Mongo collection
  • An HTTP POST request will increment the value of the clicks property in the database by one and return a JSON object with the updated value
  • An HTTP DELETE request will update the current value of the clicks property, setting it equal to 0.

Passport Configuration

The application must be registered with GitHub to work properly. GitHub API information is stored within the .env file (must be created and is not present when cloning the repo):


These values are then referenced within the /config/auth.js file for Passport:

'githubAuth': {
	'clientID': process.env.GITHUB_KEY,
	'clientSecret': process.env.GITHUB_SECRET,
	'callbackURL': process.env.APP_URL + 'auth/github/callback'

Refer to this section for instructions on how to register your app with GitHub.