Lines of code at an angle

Yarn setup for Express API with TypeScript

This article talks through the process of setting up a basic Express API using TypeScript and Yarn for package management instead of NPM.

In the folder you’d like to create your project in, type the following commands. For the purpose of this project, we’ll assume the folder being used is called “api”.

mkdir api
cd api
yarn init --yes

This sets up the initial project so that additional packages including Express can be installed.

Next, we’ll add the Express and DotEnv packages:

yarn add express dotenv

At this point, we could test things but we want a typescript app so next we’ll add the required TypeScript files as dev dependencies using -D:

yarn add -D typescript @types/express @types/node

The next step is to generate a tsconfig.json file which is accomplished by running the following command:

yarn tsc --init

In tsconfig.json, locate the commented out line // "outDir": "./", and uncomment it and set the path to ./dist so the line now looks like the following (note the comment at the end of the line can be left in if desired):

"outDir": "./dist",

Next create a file called index.ts in the root of the project and populate it with the following example code:

import express, { Express, Request, Response } from 'express';
import dotenv from 'dotenv';


const app: Express = express();
const port = process.env.PORT;

app.get('/', (req: Request, res: Response) => {
  res.send('Express + TypeScript Server');

app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`⚡️[server]: Server is running at http://localhost:${port}`);

To make development easier, we’ll add a few tools as dev dependencies:

yarn add -D concurrently nodemon

Next, add or replace the scripts section of package.json with the following (I suggest before the dependencies section):

  "scripts": {
    "build": "npx tsc",
    "start": "node dist/index.js",
    "dev": "concurrently \"npx tsc --watch\" \"nodemon -q dist/index.js\""

And update the value of main from `index.js

Finally, create a .env file in the root of the project and populate it with the following (updating the port if required):


Finally, start the server in dev mode by typing the following:

yarn dev

A link to the site will be showing. Using the port suggestion above, this will be http://localhost:3100/ which when accessed from the browser will show an empty screen displaying the message “Express + TypeScript Server”.

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