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Compiling TypeScript - Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp - Part 3

This is part of an ongoing series about building Angular 2 TypeScript applications with Gulp. Start with Part 1, and then read Part 2.

This section will build a Gulp task for compiling TypeScript into JavaScript.

Install Dependencies

First, install a gulp plugin, gulp-typescript.

Run this code:


npm install --save-dev gulp-typescript

You should see results like this:

This makes the gulp-typescript plugin available for use in our gulpfile.js.

Compile TypeScript to JavaScript

Before we start the compilation task, let's create some variables. First, the destination path for the output files:


var destinationPath = 'build';

I always put the processed files in a directory called build. Then, create an instance of the gulp-typescript module:


var tsc = require("gulp-typescript");

Use the gulp-typescript library to create a project:


var tsProject = tsc.createProject("tsconfig.json");

This refers to an external tsconfig.json file. I don't want to expand on the full details of the config file; but there are two important things I want to draw attention to. The first is a few items in the compilerOptions:


"compilerOptions": {
"target": "es5",
"module": "commonjs",
}

The module type is 'commonjs' which is the module type used behind the scenes by Angular 2. The second important thing here is the target, es5. This stands for EcmaScript 5; JavaScript is an implementation of and most browsers support.

The second important item in the config file is:


"exclude": [
"node_modules"
]

The exclude option tells the type script project not to process files in the node_modules directory. In essence, it ignores all the Angular libraries installed via NodeJS. These libraries already come with compiled bundles. We'll deal with moving those later.

Now, create a buildTS task:


gulp.task("buildTS", ["tslint"], function() {
});

This gulp task is named BuildTS. Before this task is run; the tslint task will execute. The tslint task was created in the previous part of this series. The main task first specifies the source:


return gulp.src(typeScriptSource)

It uses the same typeScriptSource variable that the tslint task used. Then, it adds the tsProject as a gulp pipe:


.pipe(tsProject())

Finally, it specifies the destination path:


.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPath));

What the full script does is take all the TypeScript files in our source directory, run them through the gulp-typescript compiler, and save the output to a build directory.

Run the script:


gulp buildTS

You'll see results similar to this:

You can see from the output that both the tslint and buildTS process ran. No errors; so let's review the output.

Review Generated JavaScript Code

Look in your project directory and you'll see a brand new build directory:

Each TypeScript file was turned into a JavaScript file. Let's examine the main.js file; as it is simple:


"use strict";
var platform_browser_dynamic_1 = require("@angular/platform-browser-dynamic");
var app_module_1 = require("./app.module");
platform_browser_dynamic_1.platformBrowserDynamic().bootstrapModule(app_module_1.AppModule);

The first thing you'll notice is that the JavaScript iteration replaces the import statements with require statements.

You'll recognize the require statement from the NodeJS code we are writing. However, browsers don't inherently support that. This is here because of commonJS module creation was specified in the compiler options. The systemJS library allows require() to be used in the browser, and that is what Angular 2 uses.

Beyond that, the JavaScript code is not all that different from the original TypeScript code. You can review the other two JS files and you'll find similar results.

What's Next

The first few articles of this series focused on TypeScript, but the full intent is to provide you with everything you need to build your own applications. The next in the series will focus on moving the JavaScript Libraries and HTML files from their install locations to the build directory.

Get our expanded 38-page version: Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp.

Linting TypeScript - Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp - Part 2

This is part of an ongoing series about building Angular 2 TypeScript applications with Gulp. Check out Part 1 here.

This section will build a Gulp task for Linting TypeScript. The lint tool is a syntax checker that looks for errors.

Install Dependencies

First, install a NodeJS Plugin, tslint and a gulp plugin, gulp-tslint.

Run this code:


npm install --save-dev tslint gulp-tslint

You should see results like this:

Once the install is complete, you're good to start creating your gulpfile.js

Create the Gulp Lint Task

If you don't already have one, create a file named gulpfile.js in the root directory of the project. Our first task to create is going to lint the TypeScript code. The first step is to import the gulp and gulp-tslint libraries:


var gulp = require("gulp");
var tslint = require('gulp-tslint');

This will make them available for use within our gulp script.

Next, I'm going to define the location of the typeScriptSource:


var sourceRoot = "src/";
var typeScriptSource = [sourceRoot + "**/*.ts"];

This is split up into two variables. The first just points to the source directory and that will be used throughout our script. The second uses the sourceRoot to create a wildcard glob that will cover all existing type script files in the main directory.

Now, create the gulp task to lint the TypeScript:


gulp.task('tslint', function() {
});

This is an empty task that does nothing. Use gulp.src() to tell gulp which items to process:


return gulp.src(typeScriptSource)

Then, run the tslint() task:


.pipe(tslint({
formatter: 'prose'
}))

This will parse the TypeScript, and make a collection of any errors. Then, report the errors:


.pipe(tslint.report());

That is the completed task. Before we run it, we'll need to configure it. Specific configuration options are beyond the scope of this article. Put this tslint.json file, in your root directory and you'll be fine. The file comes from the official Angular 2 Quickstart documentation.

Run the task:


gulp tslint

You'll see something like this:

No issues. What happens when there are issues? I removed a semi-colon and added some random characters to the main.ts file and reran the lint process:

It correctly found the error. The lint process performs a syntax validation; it does not validate the code for accuracy of imports or other bugs; but those will be flagged as part of the compilation process which we'll tackle in part 3.

Get our expanded 38-page version: Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp.

Directories and SystemJS Config - Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp - Part 1

I wrote an extended white paper on my Gulp process to compile Angular 2 TypeScript applications, and decided to turn some of it into a series of blog posts. The first part of this series will talk about the directory structure of the project, the initial setup, and SystemJS configuration. By the end of this series you'll have a good architecture for building Angular 2 applications with Gulp.

Directory Structure

You can find all the code for this series in our DotComIt GitHub Repository for project seeds. We structure our projects like this:

  • build: The directory where the compiled code is placed. The root will most contain the main index file.
    • com: Our compiled JavaScript code is put in a com directory, mimicking the package structure of a lot of Java package code. This may also include HTML Templates. For Angular 2 applications, I've seen this directory called 'app' in some uses
    • maps: Source Maps are placed in this directory, if they are generated.
    • js: JavaScript libraries are placed here, if any are required for the project. Some of these are copied over from node_modules, while others may be copied from the src directory.
  • node_modules: A directory that contains relevant modules installed by Node, such as Gulp, TypeScript, and the Angular libraries.
  • src: The directory where our source code goes. The root directory will contain the main index.html file, but not usually much else.
    • com: Our TypeScript code is put in a com directory, mimicking the package structure of a lot of Java package code.
    • js: JavaScript libraries are placed here, if any are required for the project. A default SystemJS Configuration is put in the source directory.

I am not going to examine a sample TypeScript application in detail as part of this series. The GitHub repository includes a simple Hello World application, which will suffice for our demonstration purposes.

Initial NodeJS Setup

Gulp runs on top of NodeJS, so you'll need that. After that, we need to create a package.json in the root directory of your project. Copy and paste this into the file:


{
"name": "TypeScriptAngular2Sample",
"version": "0.0.1",
"description": "TypeScript Angular 2 Sample for Article.",
"author": "Jeffry Houser",
"license": "ISC",
"dependencies": {
"@angular/common": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/compiler": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/core": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/forms": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/http": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/platform-browser": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/platform-browser-dynamic": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/router": "~3.4.0",
"angular-in-memory-web-api": "~0.2.2",
"systemjs": "0.19.40",
"core-js": "^2.4.1",
"reflect-metadata": "^0.1.8",
"rxjs": "5.0.1",
"zone.js": "^0.7.4"
},
"devDependencies": {
"gulp": "^3.9.1",
"typescript": "^2.1.5"
},
"repository": {}
}

This includes all the major Angular 2 libraries and dependencies in the dependency section. The devDependencies section includes Gulp and TypeScript. Install all this stuff with one command:


npm install

You'll see something like this:

This creates the node_modules directory; and installs all the modules specified in the package.json, along with any related dependencies. This is the base we use for creating our build scripts. As we need Gulp plugins we'll install them individually in future installments.

SystemJS Configuration

Angular 2 uses a module loader system named SystemJS to give the browser require() functionality like you'd use on the server side with NodeJS. We need to provide a configuration to SystemJS so that it knows how to find our custom app code, and the required Angular libraries. I put this file in the src/js/systemJSConfig directory.

Setup the file with an Immediately Invoked Function Express (IIFE):


(function (global) {
})(this);

This is the JavaScript method to create a self-executing function. Inside the function, we want to configure SystemJS:


System.config({
});

The config() method is used to configure the SystemJS library. It takes an object, which is currently empty. Add in a paths configuration:


paths: {
'js:': 'js/'
},

This configuration object tells the library that the js path will point to the js directory. When we write build scripts, we'll put all the relevant Angular libraries in the JS sub-directory of our final build. Next, create a map configuration:


map: {
app: 'com',
'@angular/core': 'js:@angular/core/bundles/core.umd.js',
'@angular/common': 'js:@angular/common/bundles/common.umd.js',
'@angular/compiler': 'js:@angular/compiler/bundles/compiler.umd.js',
'@angular/platform-browser': 'js:@angular/platform-browser/bundles/platform-browser.umd.js',
'@angular/platform-browser-dynamic': 'js:@angular/platform-browser-dynamic/bundles/platform-browser-dynamic.umd.js',
'@angular/http': 'js:@angular/http/bundles/http.umd.js',
'@angular/router': 'js:@angular/router/bundles/router.umd.js',
'@angular/forms': 'js:@angular/forms/bundles/forms.umd.js',
'rxjs': 'js:rxjs',
'angular-in-memory-web-api': 'js:angular-in-memory-web-api/bundles/in-memory-web-api.umd.js'
},

The map configuration tells the code 'when we reference 'x' in code; go look for this library. The main angular libraries are listed. Explanation of the Angular libraries are beyond the scope of this article. The important things to notice are that the js path is specified in the file location for most of the libraries. The second thing to notice is that the app map points to our com directory, where all our custom code is located.

Next, specify the packages. A package is a collection of files that have shared functionality:


packages: {
app: {
main: './dotComIt/sample/main/main.js',
defaultExtension: 'js'
},
rxjs: {
defaultExtension: 'js'
}
}

Two packages are specified. The first is app, which is our main application and custom code. It defines the main entry point, main.js--the name of the file that main.ts will be converted too. It also specifies the default extension of js. The second package specified is a package used by Angular, rxjs.

I wanted to cover the SystemJS configuration as part of this article because it is specific to getting Angular to work, but has nothing to do with TypeScript or creating Index files required for the application.

Setup Node and install Angular Dependencies

What's Next

Get our expanded 38-page version: Building Angular 2 Applications with Gulp.

Submit a Form Post Asyncronously to a New Window with AngularJS - Approach 4

I was working on a client's AngularJS project. When the user clicked a button to open another application, we wanted to make a service call to log the request and make sure we redirected the user to the right place. Some users would see different versions of the other application, and the service call told us the proper variables to pass to setup the secondary app.

Unfortunately, after we made the service call the link would not open. I started to research for more information as to what the problem may be. A browser won't open external pages if they aren't done in response to a user interaction such as clicking a button. The browser assumed user request was ended by the time our service call ended and the promise object resolved.

This is one solution we considered for the issue, which uses a form post to open the new link.

By, the way, this is the fourth in the series about opening links through AngularJS. Check out the first and second, and third .

The Setup

First, add Angular to your Application:


<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.6.0/angular.min.js"></script>

JQuery is also required for this approach:


<script src="https://code.jquery.com/jquery-3.1.1.slim.min.js" ></script>

Then, create an Angular Module and controller:


angular.module('test',[]);
angular.module('test').controller('someController',['$scope','$window','$q', function($scope,$window,$q){
}]);

Three elements are injected into the controller. $scope is the common service used to communicate between the view and the controller. $window gives you an Angular reference to the browser's window object. We'll use $window to open the new page. Finally, $q is added. We are going to use $q to create a promise object to simulate an actual remote service call.

Open the new page

There are multiple steps that we took to create the new page. The new page must be open with user interaction, so let's create the buttons first:


<body ng-app="test">

<div ng-controller="someController">
<button ng-click="onButtonClick(true)" >Open Form Async Success</button>

<button ng-click="onButtonClick(false)" >Open Form Async Refuse</button>

</div>

This code contains two buttons; one that will successfully open the page and another that will not--as if the service call was rejected for reason. Both call the same onButtonClick method, passing in a Boolean value specifying whether the link should be open or not.

Remember to create the form:


<form method="post" action="https://www.jeffryhouser.com" id="myForm" target="myNewWindow">
</form>

An ID is specified, and we'll use this to get a hook to the form inside the angular code. Target is specified, and tells the form to submit to the window named 'myNewWindow'. The form action will post go back to my blog--however you could post it anywhere you want, even passing variables for processing.

Create the stub for the click method:


$scope.onButtonClick = function(openOrClose){
}

The new window must be open in response to the click; so first open the window:


var newWindow = $window.open('about:blank','myCustomWindowTitle');

This uses $window.open() to open the new window and it opens to a blank about page.

Next, make the remote service call, in our case we simulate it using $q. Create the promise:


var defer = $q.defer();

Next, get a link to the form tag:


var form = angular.element('#myForm')

The angular.element is used to get a handle to the form based on the form's ID. This uses JQuery under the hood, but did not work w/ the JQuery lite that is part of AngularJS, so that is why we had to use the full Jquery library earlier.

Write the success and failure functions:


defer.promise.then(function(){
form.submit();
}, function(){
newWindow.close();
});

The failure function will close the new window we created. The success function will submit the form to the new window we just opened.

Now, decide whether to resolve or reject the promise:


if(openOrClose){
defer.resolve();
} else {
defer.reject();
}

The decision is made based on the value of the openOrClose argument passed into the onButtonClick() method.

Load the app and you'll see something like this:

A boring UI. Click the 'refuse' button and the service call is so quick and the window will close as quick as it would open. The user may see a blink, or anomaly in the UI. This is undesirable, but I don't know of another way.

Click the open button, and you'll see this:

The link to my blog will open in a new tab, based on my default browser settings.

Play with the code here.

Final Thoughts

This was an interesting experiment, and it suited my client's need at the time. I always have caution about opening and controlling third party windows on the client's browser; because I don't want to build apps that overstep their bounds.

Open a Link Asyncronously in a New Window with AngularJS - Approach 3

I was working on a client's AngularJS project. When the user clicked a button to open another application, we wanted to make a service call to log the request and make sure we redirected the user to the right place. Some users would see different versions of the other application, and the service call told us the proper variables to pass.

Unfortunately, after we made the service call the link would not open. I started to research for more information as to what the problem may be. Basically, a browser won't open external pages if they aren't done in response to a user interaction such as clicking a button. The browser assumed user request was ended by the time our promise object resolved.

This is how I solved the issue.

By, the way, this is the third in the series about opening links through AngularJS. Check out the first and second.

The Setup

First, add Angular to your Application:


<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.6.0/angular.min.js"></script>

Then, create an Angular Module and controller:


angular.module('test',[]);
angular.module('test').controller('someController',['$scope','$window','$q', function($scope,$window,$q){
}]);

Three elements are injected into the controller. $scope is the common service used to communicate between the view and the controller. $window gives you an Angular reference to the browser's window object. We'll use $window to open the new page. Finally, $q is added. We are going to use $q to create a promise object to simulate an actual remote service call.

Open the new page

There are multiple steps that we took to create the new page. The new page must be open with user interaction, so let's create the buttons first:


<body ng-app="test">

<div ng-controller="someController">
<button ng-click="onButtonClick(true)" >Open Link Async Success</button>

<button ng-click="onButtonClick(false)" >Open Link Async Refuse</button>

</div>

This code contains two buttons; one that will successfully open the page and another that will not--as if the service call was rejected for reason. Both call the same onButtonClick method, passing in a Boolean value specifying whether the link should be open or not:

Create the stub for the method:


$scope.onButtonClick = function(openOrClose){
}

The new window must be open in response to the click; so first open the window:


var newWindow = $window.open('about:blank','myCustomWindowTitle');

This uses $window.open() to open the new window and it opens to a blank about page.

Next, make the remote service call, in our case we simulate it using $q. Create the promise:


var defer = $q.defer();

Write the success and failure functions:


defer.promise.then(function(){
newWindow.location.href = 'https://www.jeffryhouser.com'
}, function(){
newWindow.close();
});

The failure function will close the new window we created. The success function will change the location of the window, in essence opening the new page.

Now, decide whether to resolve or reject the promise:


if(openOrClose){
defer.resolve();
} else {
defer.reject();
}

The decision is made based on the value of the openOrClose argument passed into the onButtonClick() method.

Load the app and you'll see something like this:

A boring UI. Click the 'refuse' button and the service call is so quick and the window will close as quick as it would open. This is undesirable, but I don't know of another way. The user may see a blink.

Click the open button, and you'll see this:

The link to my blog will open in a new tab, based on my default browser settings.

Play with the code here.

What is Next?

The final entry in this series will show you how to submit a form post after asynchronously making a call. That will be out next week.

Submit a Form Post to a New Window with AngularJS - Approach 2

I was working on a client project, built with AngularJS, and we wanted to use AngularJS to submit a form into another window. This could be done with a simple target on the form tag; but we wanted to be able to run other functionality at the time of the form post.

I decided to write a series about the different ways to make this happen; and this is the second in the series. Check out the first.

The Setup

First, add Angular to your Application:


<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.6.0/angular.min.js"></script>

Unfortunately, for this approach we'll need JQuery too:


<script src="https://code.jquery.com/jquery-3.1.1.slim.min.js"></script>

Then, create an Angular Module and controller:


angular.module('test',[]);
angular.module('test').controller('someController',['$scope', function($scope){
}]);

The $scope service is injected into the controller. It is used to share data between the view and the controller.

That is all the required setup.

Open the new page

First, I want to create the form that will be submitted. This is a hidden form with no visual elements:


<form method="post" action="https://www.jeffryhouser.com" id="myForm" target="myNewWindow">
</form>

An ID is specified, and we'll use this to get a hook to the form inside the angular code. Target is specified, and tells the form to submit to the window named 'myNewWindow'. The form action will post go back to my blog--however you could post it anywhere you want, even passing variables for processing.

Add a button to trigger the form, which will open the link in the new window:


<button ng-click="onButtonClick()" >Open Link Form</button>

Back to the JavaScript, this method will open a new page:


$scope.onButtonClick = function(){
var form = angular.element('#myForm')
form.submit();
}

A function named onButtonClick() is saved to the $scope. Inside the button, the angular.element is used to get a handle to the form based on the form's ID. This uses JQuery under the hood, but did not work w/ the JQuery lite that is part of AngularJS, so that is why we had to use the full Jquery library earlier.

Once we get a handle to the form, just submit it.

Now add some HTML:

Load the app and you'll see something like this:

A boring UI; but click the button:

A new tab will open with the form submit; in this case opening my blog:

Play with the code here.

What is Next?

The next entry in this series will show you how to handle links that open inside an asynchronous call. By default browsers won't let you open new windows without user interaction; and that interaction has passed by the time the call is complete. I discovered a workaround, which I'll share.

Open a Link in a New Window with AngularJS - Approach 1

I was working on a client project, built with AngularJS, and we wanted to open another application in a new window. This is a simple, common task, that you can accomplish with an href and a target. But we wanted to look for the most Angular way to accomplish it. Triggering the link in Angular gave us the option to do logging, or other functionality, before the click occurs. I decided to write a series about the different ways to make this happen.

The Setup

First, add Angular to your Application:


<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/1.6.0/angular.min.js"></script>

Then, create an Angular Module and controller:


angular.module('test',[]);
angular.module('test').controller('someController',['$scope','$window', function($scope,$window){
}]);

Two elements are injected into the controller. $scope is the common service used to communicate between the view and the controller. $window gives you an Angular reference to the browser's window object. We'll use $window to open the new page.

Open the new page

This method will open a new page:


$scope.onButtonClick = function(){
$window.open('https://www.jeffryhouser.com');
}

A function named onButtonClick() is saved to the $scope. Inside the button, the $window.open() method is called. This will force the window to open the URL in a new window.

Now add some HTML:


<body ng-app="test">

<div ng-controller="someController">
<button ng-click="onButtonClick()" >Open Link Standard</button>
</div>

The ngApp tag is put on the body. The ngController is put on a div. A button inside the div uses ngClick to call the onButtonClick() method.

Load the app and you'll see something like this:

A boring UI; but click the button:

The link to my blog will open in a new tab, based on my default browser settings.

Play with the code here.

What is Next?

The next entry in this series will show you how to use a similar approach to submit a form into a new window. Then, I'll write an entry about holding off on opening the new window until after an asynchronous call is complete. The last part is where things start to get complicated; but bear with me. We'll get there quickly.

Building Angular 2 TypeScript Applications with Gulp and Browserify

I've been dealing a lot with build processes and build scripts lately. This blog post will show you how to build Angular 2 applications with Gulp discuss some of the limitations I found with the approach.

When reading the TypeScript docs, Browserify is the tool of choice for compiling TypeScript with Gulp. I wanted to see if I could get it working when dealing with Angular applications.

For the purposes of this post; I'm not going to review a TypeScript / Angular 2 application; I'm just going to use a simple Hello World from the Angular 2 docs.

The Setup

First, you'll need to install the required nodeJS Dependencies. Instead of installing everything independently, just copy this into a package.json file:


{
"name": "Angular2TypeScriptGulpBrowserifySample",
"version": "0.0.1",
"description": "DotComIt Project Sample for building Angular 2 Apps with TypeScript, Browserify, and Gulp.",
"author": "Jeffry Houser",
"license": "ISC",
"dependencies": {
"@angular/common": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/compiler": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/core": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/forms": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/http": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/platform-browser": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/platform-browser-dynamic": "~2.4.0",
"@angular/router": "~3.4.0",
"angular-in-memory-web-api": "~0.2.2",
"systemjs": "0.19.40",
"core-js": "^2.4.1",
"reflect-metadata": "^0.1.8",
"rxjs": "5.0.1",
"zone.js": "^0.7.4"
},
"devDependencies": {
"browserify": "^13.3.0",
"gulp": "^3.9.1",
"tsify": "^3.0.0",
"typescript": "^2.1.4",
"vinyl-source-stream": "^1.1.0"
},
"repository": {}
}

Run this command:


npm install

To install everything. The dependencies are all the relevant Angular 2 Modules. The devDependencies are all the node projects used in the gulp script:

  • Browserify: Browserify is a tool for concatenating JavaScript files into a single one.
  • Gulp: Gulp is our script runner tool.
  • tsify: A Browserify plugin to compile TypeScript files
  • TypeScript: The module used for compiling TypeScript.
  • Vinyl-Source-Stream: Vinyl is the format used by Gulp. This task will convert Browserify output into something Gulp can use.

With everything installed, we are ready to start writing our Gulp Scripts.

TypeScript Configuration

We'll want to configure the TypeScript compiler to make things work. Just create a file called tsconfig.json in the application's root directory:


{
"compilerOptions": {
"target": "es5",
"module": "commonjs",
"moduleResolution": "node",
"sourceMap": true,
"emitDecoratorMetadata": true,
"experimentalDecorators": true,
"lib": [ "es2015", "dom" ],
"noImplicitAny": true,
"suppressImplicitAnyIndexErrors": true
}
}

I'm not going to expand on the details of this for the purposes of this sample. I think I borrowed it from one of the samples on the TypeScript web site.

The Gulp Script

Start with an empty Gulp Script, named gulpfile.js, and import the required libraries:


var gulp = require("gulp");
var browserify = require("browserify");
var source = require('vinyl-source-stream');
var tsify = require("tsify");

Now, create a few variables. First, the source root:


var sourceRoot = "src/";

For all my projects, I put the source in a directory named src. Also, define the final minimized JavaScript file:


var javaScriptDestinationFile = 'app.min.js';

I named it app.min.js, but you can change it if you need to.

Define the final destination path:


var destinationPath = 'build';

I always build my projects into a directory named build.

Finally, we are going to define something called the entry. This is the first TypeScript file that defines the application. All other TypeScript files will be referenced from the initial application entry point:

var appEntries = [sourceRoot + 'main.ts']

The file is named main.ts.

Let's create the gulp task:


gulp.task("buildTS", function () {

}

I named the task buildTS, for Build Type Script. This is a common convention I use with a lot of project setups. Right now the task does nothing, let's add in browserify:


return browserify({
entries: appEntries
})

The Browserify task specifies the appEntry, but has no other properties in its configuration object.

By default Browserify does not handle TypeScript. That is what we use the tsify plugin for. The dot notation is used to chain other commands off the browserify object, so let's add in the plugin:


.plugin(tsify)

The plugin will know to look for the tsconfig.json file for configuration options. That is all that is needed for Browserify to support TypeScript code.

Next, create a bundle:


.bundle()

This is the browserify command to run the script and return the processed files. We need to turn that browserify return object into a Vinyl stream:


.pipe(source(javaScriptDestinationFile))

Thankfully we had a NodeJS plugin just for that. Next, specify the final destination of the file:


.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPath));

This successfully creates the final file.

Run the task, like this:


gulp buildTS

You'll see some results like this:

Look in your application's directory and you should see a build directory like this:

Don't forget to copy the JavaScript and HTML libraries.

Even though Angular is primarily a TypeScript framework, it does rely on a few JavaScript libraries to run in the browser. We want to copy those from our node_modules directory to the build directory. This gulp script will do that:


var htmlSource = [sourceRoot + '**/*.html'];
var destinationPathForLibraries = destinationPath + '/js';
gulp.task('copyJSLibraries', function () {
gulp.src(htmlSource)
.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPath));
gulp.src(['node_modules/core-js/client/shim.min.js'])
.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPathForJSLibraries + '/core-js/client'));
gulp.src(['node_modules/zone.js/dist/zone.js'])
.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPathForJSLibraries + '/zone.js/dist'));
gulp.src(['node_modules/reflect-metadata/Reflect.js'])
.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPathForJSLibraries + '/reflect-metadata'));

});

I made it simple and it copies the three JavaScript files required by AngularJS in the browser: shim; zone; and reflect. An explanation of these libraries is beyond the scope of this article. This script also copies the HTML files from the src directory to the build directory.

Run the script:


gulp copyLibraries

You should see simple results like this:

Check the build directory to see the final files.

The hello world should run now. That's awesome.

What's Wrong Here?

I didn't cover it here; we this approach does allow us to generate source maps and run the final JS code through a minimizer. However, I stopped moving down this path because the generated JS file includes all the Angular libraries. That made it very big. I tried some experimentation, but could not get the application working when separating the Angular framework libraries from the custom application code.

I made the decision that the inability to separate the framework from my custom code was a deal breaker and abandoned this approach.

Final Thoughts

Since I gave up on this approach, what comes next? I'll be writing more about that in the coming weeks. Instead of using Browserify and tsify, I started using a Gulp TypeScript library directly to build the applications. This gave me the flexibility I needed to separate Angular and my custom code.

Building HTML5 Applications with TypeScript and Gulp - Part 1

TypeScript is a newish language for application development on the web. It is a superset of JavaScript, and supports things like static typing and class based object oriented programming. Static typing, particularly, can offer improved tooling over what is currently available for simple JavaScript programming.

TypeScript can be used for any web application, or even on the server side with NodeJS. It is the recommended language for Angular 2 applications. TypeScript is compiled to regular JavaScript for deployment and testing. This white paper will explain the infrastructure we use to make this happen.

The TypeScript Application

Before we start to look at the build process, let's look at a super simple TypeScript application. We'll need some code to compile. This code borrows heavily from the official TypeScript tutorials. It will add a 'hello world' message to the body of an HTML page.

Create a directory for this setup. The final directory setup will look something like this:

This is a description of each directory:

  • TypeScriptAndGulp_Article: The root directory will contain the script files for running Gulp and config file for NodeJS.
    • build: This directory will contain the final, processed, build.
    • node_modules: This directory will contain the NodeJS package, such as Gulp and TypeScript, to needed to perform the actions.
    • src: This directory will contain the application's source files.

We will create most of these files and directories as we move through the process.

For now, I named the project directory TypeScriptAndGulp_Article. Start by creating the src directory. I always separate the source code, compiled code, build scripts, and NodeJS modules. Inside the src directory, create an index.html file:


<html>
<head>
<title>TypeScript Sample for DotComIt Article</title>
</head>
<body>
<script src="sample.min.js"></script>
</body>
</html>

This is a simple index.html file. There is one item I want to draw attention to. The script tag which imports a JavaScript file named sample.min.js. This is the file we will generate from the TypeScript code.

Next, create a file named greeter.ts. The ts extension is the standard extension for TypeScript files, similar to how 'js' is the standard extension for JavaScript files. For this sample I'll put all the files inside the root of the src directory, however in a more complex application, I may categorize the files under a descriptive directory structure.

This is the greeter.ts:


export function sayHello(name: string) {
return `Hello from ${name}`;
}

This file exports a function named sayHello(). The export is not something you'll commonly see in browser JavaScript, but is used when creating NodeJS Modules. It, basically, says that "This is an API I Want people to use to access code in this file." The sayHello() method has a single parameter, name. The type of the name is specified, something that doesn't happen in JavaScript but adding it allows for type checking at the compiler level. The body of the method returns a string, referencing the name variable inside the string. The syntax is very similar to JavaScript, so learning TypeScript should not be a big hurdle for you to climb.

Now create a file named main.ts. This is the entry point to our application. Back in my school days we'd call the routine that ran the app a main routine, so this is a similar approach. The first thing the main.ts does is import the greeter file:


import { sayHello } from "./greeter";

This makes all the code from the greeter.ts file available to use in the main.ts file. Now, create a showHello() method:


function showHello(name: string) {
document.body.innerHTML = sayHello(name);
}

This method looks a lot like a JavaScript method definition, the only difference is that the name variable is given a type of string. The code accesses the innerHTML of the web pages body tags and outputs the results of the sayHello method, which will just be a string that says hello from the given name.

Finally, call the showHello() method:


showHello("World");

That completes the super simple TypeScript application. I could write a lot about TypeScript, however I wanted this article to focus on the build process of turning TypeScript into a JavaScript web application. As such, I'll leave the JavaScript there. When you finally compile the application, it should look something like this in the browser:

A Basic Compile Script

To compile TypeScript into JavaScript we are going to use NodeJS and a bunch of plugins.

Install and Setup NodeJS

The first step is to install NodeJS if you haven't already. The formal instructions will give you more detailed instructions if you haven't already done so. Then create a generic package.json configuration file. You can run this script:


npm init

And follow the instructions to create a simple package.json. You'll see something like this:

My final package.json is listed below:


{
"name": "typescriptandgulp",
"version": "1.0.0",
"description": "A sample project to compile TypeScript with Gulp",
"main": "index.js",
"scripts": {
"test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
},
"author": "Jeffry Houser",
"license": "ISC",
"repository": {}
}

Install Node Modules

Now we want to install some NodeJS plugins. First, we want to make sure Gulp is available. Gulp is the script runner we'll use to execute tasks to run our application. Run this command:


npm install --save-dev gulp

You'll see a screen similar to this:

You can ignore the warnings. Your project directory will now have a node_modules directory.

Next, install the TypeScript plugin:


npm install --save-dev typescript

The NodeJS TypeScript plugin will not be used directly in the gulp script, but is a required dependency:

Next, install browserify. Browserify will combine all the JavaScript files into a single file. We also want tsify installed, a plugin that will allow browserify to compile TypeScript into JavaScript. First, install browserify:


npm install --save-dev browserify

You'll see results like this:

Then install tsify:


npm install --save-dev tsify

Your screen should look like this:

A Gulp stream object is named vinyl and is a virtual file format. To manipulate the output from Browserify with a Gulp script , we'll need to convert Browserify's object to the vinyl format. Thankfully there is a plugin for that, vinyl-source-stream module:


npm install --save-dev vinyl-source-stream

See the console results:

It is a lot of setup, but we should have all the required plugins we need to get started now.

Create the Gulp Task

In the root directory of the project, create a file named gulpfile.js. It is the default Gulp configuration file.

First, load the gulp module:


var gulp = require("gulp");

From there, you can create a gulp task for compiling TypeScript:


gulp.task("buildTS", function () {
});

This is a blank task that does nothing. It calls the task() method on the gulp object. The task() method has two argument: the name of the task and a function to perform the task. You can execute this task by typing this into your console:


gulp buildTS

You should see something like this:

The task does nothing yet, though. Let's make it do something. Import the rest of the libraries:


var browserify = require("browserify");
var source = require('vinyl-source-stream');
var tsify = require("tsify");

Make sure these libraries are imported outside of the Gulp task. After the library import, still outside the Gulp task, let's define a few variables. The first is something I call appEntry:


var appEntries = ['src/main.ts']

It is an array that contains the main TypeScript file. Browserify will analyze main.ts to find all other files it uses and will do recursively. This is a bit different than the process I used in an AngularJS JavaScript application; where I'd process all files ending with the js extension.

Next, create a variable for the processed file name, and one for the final path:


var javaScriptDestinationFile = 'sample.min.js';
var destinationPath = 'build';

The destination file is the final output after the TypeScript files are merged and compiled into a single one. We referenced this file name in the index.html document. The second variable specifies the final destination of the file. I could define these as part of the Gulp task, but prefer to define them as global variables so they are easily accessible across multiple tasks, and I can tweak how everything works just by changing the config values. Now go back inside the buildTS task and call the browserify() method:


return browserify({
compilerOptions: {
module: "commonjs",
target: "es5",
},
entries: appEntries
})

This calls the browserify() method and passes in an argument. The argument object specifies the configuration for this browserify process. Let's go through them:

  • compilerOptions: This is another object that specifies how the TypeScript compiler will work.
    • module: Specifies how modules are loaded in UI code, in this case we are using the commonjs convention.
    • target: Specifies the ECMAScript version you want to output to; in this case I am specifying EcmaScript 5, however other versions are supported.
  • entries: Specifies an array of entry points to your application.

This is a very simple config, and it can be a lot more complicated if you need it to be. Next, tell Browserify to compile the TypeScript code:


.plugin(tsify)

Each successive command is daisy chained on the other with the dot syntax. This uses the Browserify plugin() method to call the tsify package to compile the TypeScript code into JavaScript.

Next, call bundle() to merge all code into a single unit:


.bundle()

This one is simple. Then, specify the name of the new file:


.pipe(source(javaScriptDestinationFile))

This uses the vinyl-source-stream module to turn the javaScriptDestinationFile name into something that can be accessed via Gulp. The pipe() method means that we are getting ready to output information, instead of processing input. Finally, specify the destination of the new file:


.pipe(gulp.dest(destinationPath));

This uses the pipe() operator too; and the value is Gulp's dest() function. This, basically, tells the script to put all our files in the build directory.

You can run the gulp script:

Look at the directory structure after our first run:

All the node modules we installed are in the node_modules directory. The source we looked at earlier is in the src directory. The JavaScript file built from the TypeScript files is in the build directory. The gulpfile.js and package.json are in the root application directory. I like this structure because it cleanly separates concerns.

Things are not yet runnable in a browser, because the Index.html was not moved from the src directory to the build directory. For the sake of this article, you can move it manually. Runt he code in the browser, and you should see this:

This isn't an interesting app, but it does prove that Gulp is successfully compiling TypeScript and copying the HTML files from the source directory into the build directory.

What's Next?

The next article in this blog series will focus on how to write a Gulp Script that will watch for any changes to your TypeScript files, and re-compile them as you change code.

If you want a more in depth tutorial, sign up to get our full 30 page white paper on building TypeScript applications with Gulp.

Yes, I want to get your white paper on building TypeScript applications

@types/node is not found in the npm registry

I'm trying to run through the Angular 2 Quickstart with TypeScript.

When I try to run the npm install command I am getting a ton of errors like this:


npm ERR! 404 Not Found
npm ERR! 404
npm ERR! 404 '@types/node' is not in the npm registry.
npm ERR! 404 You should bug the author to publish it
npm ERR! 404 It was specified as a dependency of 'angular-quickstart'
npm ERR! 404
npm ERR! 404 Note that you can also install from a
npm ERR! 404 tarball, folder, or http url, or git url.

npm ERR! System Windows_NT 6.2.9200
npm ERR! command "C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\\\node.exe" "C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node_modules\\npm\\bin\\npm-cli.js" "install"
npm ERR! cwd C:\quickstart
npm ERR! node -v v0.10.29
npm ERR! npm -v 1.4.14
npm ERR! code E404
npm ERR!
npm ERR! Additional logging details can be found in:
npm ERR! C:\quickstart\npm-debug.log
npm ERR! not ok code 0

It is very frustrating to jump into something new only to find their quick start documentation does not work.

The solution appears to be to update NodeJS and npm.

I downloaded a new version of NodeJS from the NodeJS.org web site. After it was installed, you can update npm like this:


npm install npm@latest -g

Check your versioning like this:


node -v
npm -v

This upgrade appears to have solved my issues.

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All Content Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Jeffry Houser. May not be reused without permission
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