Getting Started

In order to consume these components you will require a system that utilised a bundler (such as Webpack) that can process imported assets such as images, fonts and Sass files. Create React App may be able to do this but does not provide Server-Side Rendering (SSR). You will also need to ensure that you provide an instance of react-router.

As such, we suggest that you use our specially designed tech stack for this purpose. You can start a brand new project or prototype using the following steps.

1. Set up your repository

You should first set up a blank code repository in the provider of your choice. For the purposes of this document I will assume GitHub as we provide extra CI support through GitHub Actions.

2. Run the following commands locally

(The parts in ALL CAPS should be replaced with something specific to you.)

git init
git remote add origin
npm init @not-govuk

3. Answer the interactive prompts

Our generator / initialiser will ask you some questions about your new project.

The most important choice is whether to start a new project or a prototype:

  • Prototype A simple stand-alone application. Use this if you just want to play around with the components or you want to build a prototype prior to starting a full project. (If you already have a project, you might prefer to run npm run create:app instead.)
  • Project A monorepo designed to handle an entire project including multiple applications, and reusable libraries and components.

If you create a new project you should pull down dependencies at this point in order to update your lock-file (though you will first need to install pnpm):

pnpm install

4. Commit and push your new project

Run the following commands to push up the first version of your new project to your remote code repository:

git add .
git commit -m 'Initial commit'
git push -u origin master

5. Start working on your project

Read the generated README for details on how to work on your project and the tools you will need to have installed. See also: Working on your project

6. Optional: Set up Continuous Integration

We provide some workflows for GitHub Actions to help you set-up Continuous Integration (CI) for your project. This allows you to gain assurance over proposed changes to your project by doing things like running unit tests, visual regression tests on components, and building and testing your applications.

The unit tests and builds should run with no extra set-up if you are using GitHub. (You will need translate them into another CI system if you wish to use something else.) The others will require some work to set them up.

6.1. Chromatic

We provide a workflow for publishing your Storybook to the Chromatic service. This allows you to detect and review any visual changes made to your components and so avoid accidental regressions.

  1. Sign up and log in to Chromatic
  2. Add your project
  3. Take note of your 'project token'
  4. Create a new secret in GitHub called CHROMATIC_PROJECT_TOKEN with the value set to the one provided to you by Chromatic.

Once that is done you should be able to detect and review visual changes to your components.

You should consider making these checks mandatory to prevent unauthorised changes being merged in to your master branch.

7. Optional: Set up Continuous Deployment

The included 'docs' application can be automatically deployed. This allows you to introduce people to your project as well as any components and libraries that you publish whilst remaining 'on brand'.

Once this is in place your new website should be updated whenever you push to your master branch.

Once your website is up and running, you should consider linking to it from your README, your package.json and your GitHub repository.

To set this up, run the following commands:

cd apps/docs
npm run create:deployment

Then answer the prompts. In particular, you will need to choose where you want to deploy. In most cases the defaults for the other questions should be fine.

Depending on the deployment target you chose, you will need to set up some secrets in GitHub.


  1. Sign up and log in to Heroku
  2. Create a new site by following the Heroku documentation If you have set up the Heroku CLI tool, you should be able to do this with heroku create.
  3. Create a new secret in GitHub called HEROKU_EMAIL with the value of the e-mail address that you log in to Heroku with.
  4. Create a new secret in GitHub called HEROKU_API_KEY with the value of your API key as found here:
  5. Create a new secret in GitHub called HEROKU_APP_NAME_DOCS with the name you chose for your app in Heroku.


  1. Sign up and log in to Netlify
  2. Create a new site by following the Netlify documentation To avoid giving unnecessary access to Netlify, consider using the CLI tool as follows:
    npm install netlify-cli -g
    netlify login
    netlify init --manual
    You can safely ignore the ssh key and webhook as we will be building on GitHub Actions instead of Netlify.
  3. Create a new secret in GitHub called NETLIFY_SITE_ID_DOCS by following the information here:
  4. Create a new secret in GitHub called NETLIFY_AUTH_TOKEN by following the information here:

8. Optional: Protect the master branch

You should consider protecting your master branch to gain the full benefits of CI. In particular you might want to make the following checks mandatory prior to merging:

  • 'Unit test'
  • 'Build' (which ensures your apps can be built)
  • 'UI Tests' & 'UI Review' (which protect you against visual regressions)