Tuesday, July 16, 2019

React App Development in N4JS (Chess Game Part 1)

React is a popular JavaScript library created by Facebook widely used for developing web user interfaces. In this post we introduce a tutorial on how to develop a chess game based on React, JSX and N4JS. The full tutorial is available (and playable) at eclipse.org/n4js and the sources can be found at github.com/Eclipse/n4js-tutorials.

Chess game implemented in N4JS with React

The chess game app implements the following requirements:
  • When the chess application is started, a chess board of 8x8 squares shall be showed containing 16 white pieces and 16 black pieces in their initial positions.
  • A player in turn shall be able to use the mouse to pick one of the pieces that she/he wants to move. A picked piece shall be clearly recognisable. Moreover, to aid players, especially beginners, whenever a piece is picked, all possible valid destination squares shall be visually highlighted as well.
  • In addition to the game board, there shall be a game information area that shows which player is in turn. Moreover, the game information area shall show a complete history of the game protocolling each move made by the players. As a bonus, jumping back to a previous state of the history shall be possible.

In the tutorial you will learn how to use npm, webpack and React to develop a web application with N4JS and the N4JS IDE. Most of the tutorial will elaborate on specific parts of the implementation and explain for example the graphical representation of the chess board and chess pieces, and how to use React to model the UI. Also, it will explain the game logic, i.e. how possible moves for the different piece types are computed, how the turn history is maintained, and how the end of the game (i.e. a win situation) is detected. In the end, the tutorial will make suggestions on how to improve the chess game e.g. by adding support for the en passant move.

Have fun with implementing this game!

by Minh Quang Tran