Create Project spa-editor-project

Learn how to generate an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Maven project as a starting point for a React application integrated with the AEM SPA Editor.


  1. Generate a SPA Editor enabled project using the AEM Project Archetype.
  2. Deploy the starter project to a local instance of AEM.

What you will build what-build

In this chapter, a new AEM project is generated, based on the AEM Project Archetype. The AEM project is bootstrapped with a very simple starting point for the React SPA.

What is a Maven project? - Apache Maven is a software management tool to build projects. All Adobe Experience Manager implementations use Maven projects to build, manage and deploy custom code on top of AEM.

What is a Maven archetype? - A Maven archetype is a template or pattern for generating new projects. The AEM Project archetype allows us to generate a new project with a custom namespace and include a project structure that follows best practices, greatly accelerating our project.


Review the required tooling and instructions for setting up a local development environment. Ensure that a fresh instance of Adobe Experience Manager, started in author mode, is running locally.

Create the project create

This tutorial uses version 35 of the archetype.
  1. Open up a command line terminal and enter the following Maven command:

    code language-shell
    mvn -B org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-archetype-plugin:3.2.1:generate \
     -D archetypeGroupId=com.adobe.aem \
     -D archetypeArtifactId=aem-project-archetype \
     -D archetypeVersion=35 \
     -D appTitle="WKND SPA React" \
     -D appId="wknd-spa-react" \
     -D artifactId="aem-guides-wknd-spa.react" \
     -D groupId="com.adobe.aem.guides.wkndspa.react" \
     -D frontendModule="react" \
     -D aemVersion="cloud"
    note note
    If targeting AEM 6.5.5+ replace aemVersion="cloud" with aemVersion="6.5.5". If targeting 6.4.8+, use aemVersion="6.4.8".

    Notice the frontendModule=react property. This tells the AEM Project Archetype to bootstrap the project with a starter React code base to be used with the AEM SPA Editor. Properties like appTitle, appId, artifactId, and groupId are used to identify the project and purpose.

    A full list of available properties for configuring a project can be found here.

  2. The following folder and file structure is generated by the Maven archetype on your local file system:

    code language-plain
    |--- aem-guides-wknd-spa.react/
        |--- LICENSE
        |--- all/
        |--- core/
        |--- dispatcher/
        |--- it.tests/
        |--- pom.xml
        |--- ui.apps/
        |--- ui.apps.structure/
        |--- ui.config/
        |--- ui.content/
        |--- ui.frontend/
        |--- ui.tests /
        |--- .gitignore

    Each folder represents an individual Maven module. In this tutorial we will primarily be working with the ui.frontend module, which is the React app. More details about individual modules can be found in the AEM Project Archetype documentation.

Deploy and build the project

Next, compile, build, and deploy the project code to a local instance of AEM using Maven.

  1. Ensure an instance of AEM is running locally on port 4502.

  2. From the command line navigate into the aem-guides-wknd-spa.react project directory.

    code language-shell
    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-spa.react
  3. Run the following command to build and deploy the entire project to AEM:

    code language-shell
    $ mvn clean install -PautoInstallSinglePackage

    The build will take around a minute and should end with the following message:

    code language-shell
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] Reactor Summary for aem-guides-wknd-spa.react 1.0.0-SNAPSHOT:
    [INFO] aem-guides-wknd-spa.react .......................... SUCCESS [  0.257 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - Core .............................. SUCCESS [ 12.553 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - UI Frontend ....................... SUCCESS [01:46 min]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - Repository Structure Package ...... SUCCESS [  1.082 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - UI apps ........................... SUCCESS [  8.237 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - UI content ........................ SUCCESS [  5.633 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - UI config ......................... SUCCESS [  0.234 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - All ............................... SUCCESS [  0.643 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - Integration Tests ................. SUCCESS [ 12.377 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - Dispatcher ........................ SUCCESS [  0.066 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - UI Tests .......................... SUCCESS [  0.074 s]
    [INFO] WKND SPA React - Project Analyser .................. SUCCESS [ 31.287 s]
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Maven profile autoInstallSinglePackage compiles the individual modules of the project and deploys a single package to the AEM instance. By default this package is deployed to an AEM instance running locally on port 4502 and with the credentials of admin:admin.

  4. Navigate to Package Manager on your local AEM instance: http://localhost:4502/crx/packmgr/index.jsp.

  5. You should see multiple packages prefixed with aem-guides-wknd-spa.react.

    WKND SPA Packages

    AEM Package Manager

    All of the custom code needed for the project is bundled into these packages and installed on the AEM environment.

Author Content

Next, open the starter SPA that was generated by the archetype and update some of the content.

  1. Navigate to the Sites console: http://localhost:4502/sites.html/content.

    The WKND SPA includes a basic site structure with a country, language and home page. This hierarchy is based on the archetype’s default values for language_country and isSingleCountryWebsite. These values can be overwritten by updating the available properties when generating a project.

  2. Open the us > en > WKND SPA React Home Page page by selecting the page and clicking the Edit button in the menu bar:

    site console

  3. A Text component has already been added to the page. You can edit this component like any other component in AEM.

    Update Text Component

  4. Add an additional Text component to the page.

    Notice that the authoring experience is similar to that of a traditional AEM Sites page. Currently a limited number of components are available to be used. More is added over the course of the tutorial.

Inspect the Single Page Application

Next, verify that this is a Single Page Application with the use of your browser’s developer tools.

  1. In the Page Editor, click the Page Information button > View as Published:

    View as Published button

    This will open a new tab with the query parameter ?wcmmode=disabled which effectively turns off the AEM editor: http://localhost:4502/content/wknd-spa-react/us/en/home.html?wcmmode=disabled

  2. View the page’s source and notice that the text content Hello World or any of the other content is not found. Instead you should see HTML like the following:

    code language-html
        <noscript>You need to enable JavaScript to run this app.</noscript>
        <div id="spa-root"></div>
        <script type="text/javascript" src="/etc.clientlibs/wknd-spa-react/clientlibs/"></script>

    clientlib-react.min.js is the React SPA that is loaded on to the page and responsible for rendering the content.

    However, where does the content come from?

  3. Return to the tab: http://localhost:4502/content/wknd-spa-react/us/en/home.html?wcmmode=disabled

  4. Open the browser’s developer tools and inspect the network traffic of the page during a refresh. View the XHR requests:

    XHR Requests

    There should be a request to http://localhost:4502/content/wknd-spa-react/us/en.model.json. This contains all of the content, formatted in JSON, that will drive the SPA.

  5. In a new tab open http://localhost:4502/content/wknd-spa-react/us/en.model.json

    The request en.model.json represents the content model that will drive the application. Inspect the JSON output and you should be able to find the snippet representing the Text component(s).

    code language-json
    ":items": {
        "text": {
            "text": "<p>Hello World! Updated content!</p>\r\n",
            "richText": true,
            ":type": "wknd-spa-react/components/text"
        "text_98796435": {
            "text": "<p>A new text component.</p>\r\n",
            "richText": true,
            ":type": "wknd-spa-react/components/text"

    In the next chapter we will inspect how this JSON content is mapped from AEM Components to SPA Components to form the basis of the AEM SPA Editor experience.

    note note
    It may be helpful to install a browser extension to automatically format the JSON output.

Congratulations! congratulations

Congratulations, you have just created your first AEM SPA Editor Project!

The SPA is quite simple. In the next few chapters more functionality is added.

Next Steps next-steps

Integrate a SPA - Learn how the SPA source code is integrated with the AEM Project and understand tools available to rapidly develop the SPA.