Svelte for new developers
Never used Node.js or the command line? No problem
If you get stuck at any point following this guide, the best place to ask for help is in the chatroom.
First things first
You'll be using the command line, also known as the terminal. On Windows, you can access it by running Command Prompt from the Start menu; on a Mac, hit
Space together to bring up Spotlight, then start typing
Terminal.app. On most Linux systems,
Ctrl-Alt-T brings up the command line.
The command line is a way to interact with your computer (or another computer! but that's a topic for another time) with more power and control than the GUI (graphical user interface) that most people use day-to-day.
Once on the command line, you can navigate the filesystem using
dir on Windows) to list the contents of your current directory, and
cd to change the current directory. For example, if you had a
Development directory of your projects inside your home directory, you would type
to go to it. From there, you could create a new project directory with the
mkdir svelte-projects cd svelte-projects
A full introduction to the command line is out of the scope of this guide, but here are a few more useful commands:
cd ..— navigates to the parent of the current directory
cat my-file.txt— on Mac/Linux (
type my-file.txton Windows), lists the contents of
start .on Windows) — opens the current directory in Finder or File Explorer
Once installed, you'll have access to three new commands:
npm [subcommand]— npm is a way to install 'packages' that your application depends on, such as the svelte package
npx [subcommand]— a convenient way to run programs available on npm without permanently installing them
Installing a text editor
To write code, you need a good editor. The most popular choice is Visual Studio Code or VSCode, and justifiably so — it's well-designed and fully-featured, and has a wealth of extensions (including one for Svelte, which provides syntax highlighting and diagnostic messages when you're writing components).
Creating a project
We're going to use the Svelte + Vite template. You don't have to use a project template, but it means you have to do a lot less setup work.
On the command line, navigate to where you want to create a new project, then type the following lines (you can paste the whole lot, but you'll develop better muscle memory if you get into the habit of writing each line out one at a time then running it):
npm create vite@latest my-svelte-project -- --template svelte cd my-svelte-project npm install
You can replace
--template svelte-ts, if you prefer TypeScript.
This creates a new directory,
my-svelte-project, adds files from the create-vite/template-svelte template, and installs a number of packages from npm. Open the directory in your text editor and take a look around. The app's 'source code' lives in the
src directory, while the files your app can load are in
package.json file, there is a section called
"scripts". These scripts define shortcuts for working with your application —
preview. To launch your app in development mode, type the following:
npm run dev
dev script starts a program called Vite. Vite's job is to take your application's source files, pass them to other programs (including Svelte, in our case) and convert them into the code that will actually run when you open the application in a browser.
Speaking of which, open a browser and navigate to http://localhost:5173. This is your application running on a local web server (hence 'localhost') on port 5173.
src/App.svelte and saving it. The application will update with your changes.
Building your app
When you share your app with the world, you want to build it in 'production mode', so that it's as small and efficient as possible for end users. To do that, use the
npm run build
dist directory now contains an optimised version of your app. You can run it like so:
npm run preview