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Simplifying usage of Salesforce Lightning Design System using NPM and Express

Using Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS) is a great and easy way to add some super nice styling to your app. It comes with some nice defaults and a responsive grid system like other frameworks lige Bootstrap. Where SLDS really shines is of course if you are already using Salesforce (I assume you're already on Lightning right?!!?!?) or if you are going to. And again who isn't. Anyways... Using SLDS makes your apps really look like Salesforce which is nice for Salesforce Lightning Components or for an app using Lightning Out to host Lightning apps in external applications.

I often use SLDS for another use-case which is quickly doing a mockup for a new Lightning Component. Doing it in SLDS can often be way quicker than making by hand from scratch or attempting to draw the component using Powerpoint or other tool.

Previously I've been using the download option for SLDS ie. grabbing the package of the website, expanding and copying into my app. Today I tried out the NPM solution as I often use node.js and Express when I need to mock stuff up. Installing SLDS is as easy as doing a "npm install @salesforce-ux/design-system --save" and you're all set. Mostly. Problem is of course that the assets you need end up in the node_modules directory which is not exposed outside the app. The way I get around it is to add a static-rule to my Express server.js as follows:

const app = express();
app.use('/slds', express.static(__dirname + '/node_modules/@salesforce-ux/design-system/assets'));
Then loading SLDS assets into my app is as easy as:
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/slds/styles/salesforce-lightning-design-system.css" />

This works great if/when you post your app to Heroku as well and has the additional benefit of easy version management using NPM and package.json.

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