How To Set Up A Mono-Repo And Workspace In Angular

Blog post #003

Duncan Faulkner – January 2020

NX Workspaces

What is an NX workspace and what are the benefits of using one?

This blog post takes a look at what an NX Workspace is, how to set one up and to discuss some of the benefits.

An NX Workspace is a product from nrwl.io that extends the Angulars CLI (Command Line Interface) and creates an application project structure for a variety of frameworks and libraries, not just Angular. The structure is based around a monorepo layout and is a technique that large enterprise organisations are adopting. The idea behind the monorepo is that every project or library are all contained in one large project (separated into individual projects under a parent folder).

Wait…all projects in the same solution? That can’t be best practice?

At first this sounds a little odd, why would you bundle all of your projects into one large repo? Surely that must be harder to find things, what about versioning of projects, how do you build individual projects? Can you build individual projects? Do you have to build all of them, what if they are independent projects? These are some the questions I asked when I first started to use the NX Workspace and I will try and answer these here.

Lets run through setting up an empty NX Workspace and we’ll add an Angular project later on. Open a terminal window and type:

npx create-nx-workspace@latest myproject
cd myproject

This will create a new NX Workspace, after a few seconds it will ask for a type of project to create. At the moment these are:

# sample one
What to create in the new workspace (Use arrow keys)
 empty             [an empty workspace]
 web components    [a workspace with a single app built using web components]
 angular           [a workspace with a single Angular application]
 angular-nest      [a workspace with a full stack application (Angular + Nest)]
 react             [a workspace with a single React application]
 react-express     [a workspace with a full stack application (React + Express)]
 next.js           [a workspace with a single Next.js application]

For now, using the arrow keys select the `empty` project. The next step, is to select which CLI to use, choose NX.

NX          [Extensible CLI for JavaScript and TypeScript applications]
Angular CLI [Extensible CLI for Angular applications (Default).]

Note: The NX Workspace is not a replacement for the Angular CLI, it extends the CLI by way of schematics and builders. This allows you to do more things, add different project types for example, an Angular front end with a Nest JS back end or a Node and Express application or React and Express and also the ability to build your own, but all contained in a monorepo structure.

After a few minutes a new empty project is created. Using your favourite text editor open the project. I’m using VS Code, so in the terminal cd into the myproject folder and type code-insiders . (don’t forget the dot!).

An empty NX workspace in VS Code.

empty nx workspace

What’s in the project?

The .vscode folder contains all the VS Code setting files. The apps folder is where all the projects like Angular, React live. The libs folder is where all the library projects live. And the tools folder is where all the pre/post scripts and schemas live. The rest of the files are just config type files.

The main difference between an NX Workspace and an Angular CLI project is the addition of the apps folder. This is the root folder where all projects (except for libraries) live. It’s also worth noting here that in an NX Workspace project there is only one package.json file for the whole solution.

At the moment what we just created doesn’t do anything, we need to add a application to this empty workspace (Angular/React/Vue for example). In the following example I will be setting up and Angular project.

From the terminal type:

npm install --save-dev @nrwl/angular

This will setup the NX Workspace so we can install the Angular project in this instance, there are other options. Because we setup the Workspace using NX CLI we have to use nx commands rather than ng commands, if you selected Angular CLI or are upgrading an existing Angular project to an NX Workspace then you can use the ng commands.

Next from the terminal type nx g @nrwl/angular:app myapp this will create our Angular project my-app and a myapp-e2e project, it will also set the projects to use Jest and Cypress both of these are testing suites (Jest for unit and Cypress for end to end testing).

nx workspace with angular project

Now we should be able to build and run the project, though at the moment there is just a home page with references to NX and the nrwl.io website. Both projects should build and run (including the myapp-e2e application, though this will need to be started separately).

At this point we can now start to build our application and we are not limited to one type of project either. We could have also created an React app and an Express/Node API application and have them all working together if our project called for it.

If our applications have common components that need to be shared, we can (and should) create a library project for this component. The advantages of using a library project keeps the main application as small as possible and allows us to reuse the same component time and time again across all project types, all we need is to include a reference to the library from our projects.

I should just point out that libraries were introduced as part of Angular (I think in version 6) and not NX Workspaces, the NX workspace creates a library folder by default.

So that’s the basic workspace created and with a simple Angular application. Back to the questions I raised at the beginning:

  • Surely that must be harder to find things?
  • What about versioning of projects?
  • How do you build individual projects?

Surely that must be harder to find things.

At first this might seem to be harder, but in a short space of time it’s quite easy to navigate around, each application is in it’s own folder, and you could create parent folders for both application and the end to end project. Which would make it less cluttered under the apps folder.
Create library projects for code reuse, for components that are common and potentially common across multiple applications, for example login screens, user creation, role and permission assignments, menus these make for excellent library components.

What about versioning of projects.

Because all the applications reside under one repository they all have the same version number. This may not be ideal, for example what if you add a new application to an existing NX Workspace that has had previous production releases then the new application will start at that version?

I guess this does work to some extent, but I need to investigate this further there are still some questions that I feel need further clarification on and I’m collating some of these and I will update this post when I have something to add.

How do you build individual projects?

Is it possible to build individual projects – simple answer is yes you can. Make sure you have the NX CLI installed globally.

npm install -g @nrwl/cli 

Then to build a specific application run:

nx run myapp:build

Your application should build and it should appear under the dist directory. In this directory you will see a *-es2015.js and *-es5.js you need to deploy both sets to your web server, when a client connects using an es2015 compatible browser the *-es2015.js files will be used, likewise if an older browser is used then the *-es5.js are used.

Conclusion

The NX Workspace is a great addition to the Angular CLI, I haven’t used all that it has to offer as there is a lot to it, but what I have used is excellent. It deals with the basic structure of an application and it feels natural when you get used to it’s layout of the project.

Note: If you create a empty NX Workspace and then add an Angular project, you might be wondering why there is no angular.json file, it is there but it’s called workspace.json.


Previous Posts…

How To Use Typescripts …SpreadOperator In Angular

Blog post #004

Duncan Faulkner – February 2020

Recently I’ve found myself looking at ways I can improve the reading of my code. Just little things, just to tweak this or that just to make the code a little more easier on the eye.

Recently I’ve started using the spread operator (…) as I find this looks a lot cleaner and makes code easier to read.

In this post I’m going to show you how to use the spread operator in your Angular module files.

Most of the module files I’ve written have all looked the same. Starting at the top of the file are the Imports, followed by the NgModule with some or all of the following: Imports, Exports, Declarations, Entry Components and Providers.

Depending on the number of imports into the module this can have a lot of repeated code. So these files are ideal for the spread operator, reducing the repeated code. Lets see and example.

import { MatAutocompleteModule } from '@angular/material/autocomplete';
import { MatButtonModule } from '@angular/material/button';
import { MatButtonToggleModule } from '@angular/material/button-toggle';
import { MatCardModule } from '@angular/material/card';
import { MatCheckboxModule } from '@angular/material/checkbox';
import { MatChipsModule } from '@angular/material/chips';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
@NgModule({
  imports: [
    MatAutocompleteModule,
    MatButtonModule,
    MatButtonToggleModule,
    MatCardModule,
    MatCheckboxModule,
    MatChipsModule
  ],
  declarations: [],
  exports: [
    MatAutocompleteModule,
    MatButtonModule,
    MatButtonToggleModule,
    MatCardModule,
    MatCheckboxModule,
    MatChipsModule
  ],
  entryComponents: [],
  providers: [MatIconRegistry]
})
export class MaterialModule { }

The above example is from the Mat-Icon material module file and shows the same things repeated three times in this example. Lets refactor this code.

import { MatAutocompleteModule } from '@angular/material/autocomplete';
import { MatButtonModule } from '@angular/material/button';
import { MatButtonToggleModule } from '@angular/material/button-toggle';
import { MatCardModule } from '@angular/material/card';
import { MatCheckboxModule } from '@angular/material/checkbox';
import { MatChipsModule } from '@angular/material/chips';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
const MODULES = [
  MatAutocompleteModule,
  MatButtonModule,
  MatButtonToggleModule,
  MatCardModule,
  MatCheckboxModule,
  MatChipsModule
];
@NgModule({
  imports: [
    ...MODULES
  ],
  declarations: [],
  exports: [
   ...MODULES
  ],
  entryComponents: [],
  providers: [MatIconRegistry]
})
export class MaterialModule { }

Now, unfortunately the Angular Material imports need to be individually imported for each feature separately, but it does reduce the code (a bit) and it does help with having just one copy to manage, lets have another example, that I have changed to use the spread operator (you should be able to visualise what this looked like before).

import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { VendorModule } from './vendor.module';
import {
  AnalysisComponent,
  ChartComponent,
  IconComponent,
  PodComponent,
  SpinnerComponent,
  TermsComponent,
  ChangePasswordComponent
} from './components';
import {
  PortPipe,
  NumericPipe,
  AsteriskPipe,
  SplitIpPipe,
  RemoveUnderscorePipe,
  AddUnderscorePipe,
  FormatBytesPipe
} from './pipes';
import { NumberDirective } from './directives';
const COMPONENTS = [
  AnalysisComponent,
  ChartComponent,
  IconComponent,
  PodComponent,
  SpinnerComponent,
  TermsComponent,
  ChangePasswordComponent
];
const PIPES = [
  PortPipe,
  NumericPipe,
  AsteriskPipe,
  SplitIpPipe,
  RemoveUnderscorePipe,
  AddUnderscorePipe,
  FormatBytesPipe
];
const DIRECTIVES = [NumberDirective];
const MODULES = [VendorModule];
const ENTRYCOMPONENTS = [TermsComponent, ChangePasswordComponent];
@NgModule({
  imports: [...MODULES],
  declarations: [...COMPONENTS, ...PIPES, ...DIRECTIVES],
  exports: [...COMPONENTS, ...PIPES, ...DIRECTIVES, ...MODULES],
  entryComponents: [...ENTRYCOMPONENTS],
  providers: [...PIPES]
})
export class SharedModule {}

In the example above, imports for the component, pipes and directives are all grouped together. Constants are configured, and used in the NgModule section of the file . The important part of this file is the NgModule section and you can easily now read that section without all the clutter of all the various components, pipes and directives all over the place.

The spread operator include options for object destructing, rest params and array destructing (as shown above).

Thanks for reading!


Previous Posts…

How To Best Use The Angular Material Mat Icon?

Part Two

Blog Post #002

Duncan Faulkner – January 2020

I hadn’t intended to write about this just yet, but I got a chance to investigate this sooner than I had thought. I was refactoring part of a project that was using the Mat-Icon component, with an icon.module.ts file as I’d discussed in the previous post.

I wanted to see if I could improve on the code and reduce the amount of repeated code by iterating over a file and registering the icons.

I started with a JSON file and populated it with some image names and added the HttpClientModule to use an http.get() method to read the JSON file. All good so far, the file is reading and looping with image names being returned and passed into the matIconRegistery.addSvgIcon() method.

I thought I might get some issues, but it all seemed to work fine, except the application was erroring, the issue was that the application was loading before the call to the JSON file had returned with the results, so even though I was getting images and registering icons, the app had already tried to use the icons and they weren’t there at that point, and the images were being returned after the app had started.

OK, so may be this is a timing issue and it doesn’t work in the icon.module.ts file, so I moved code to the app.component.ts file. Nope, the results were the same. This was not the result I was expecting and it was a little odd because the icon.module.ts file was loading images before.

I’m going to revisit this at a later date, as I would like to understand what the issue is and why it was behaving the way it did, my guess is it has something to do with the http.get() request and the timing around that.

But as I needed to get this refactoring completed I needed to look for another solution.

After a bit of research I found an answer and that was to create a service to handle the iterating and registering of icons. Instead of a JSON file to store a list of images the solution was an enum, with a key value structure.

export enum Icons {
    add = 'add',
    power = 'power',
    save = 'save'
}

To keep things simple I’ve made the key and the image name the same.

The service is quite simple:

// imports
import { Icons } from '../image.enum';
@Injectable({ providedIn: 'root'})
export class IconService {
  constructor(
     private matIconRegistry: MatIconRegistry,
     private sanitizer: Domsanitizer
){}
registerIcons(): void {
   this.load(Object.values(Icons), 'assets/images/icons');
}
private load(key: string[], url: string): void {
   key.forEach(icon => {
     this.matIconRegistry.addSvgIcon(
       icon,
       this.sanitizer.bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl(`${url}/${icon}.svg`)
   );
 });
 }
}

And on the app.component.ts file call the registerIcons() function.

// imports
import { IconService } from './icon.service';
export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   constructor(private iconService: IconService) {
      this.iconService.registerIcons();
   }
}

And that’s it, not what I had in mind when I started this, but it does deliver what I wanted to do, and that was to reduce the amount of code to register icons. Though I guess the enum could get pretty lengthy if there are a lot of images.

I have to thank Stefanos Kouroupis -dev.to – for his article and code on this as I wouldn’t have thought about using a service for this and this has changed my thinking. I wanted to include here it as a follow up to my previous post for completeness, you can see his full article here https://dev.to/elasticrash/using-custom-made-svg-icons-through-the-angular-material-library-2pif.

I will add a github repo of the code in a day or two.


Previous posts…

How To Best Use The Angular Material Mat Icon?

Using local SVG images.

Blog post #001

Duncan Faulkner – Oct 2019

Updated Jan 20 2021

When developing an Angular application with Angular Material, there comes a point when we need to add icons on our components, or buttons etc… Angular Material has the Mat-Icon component for doing this. This component works with web fonts like Font-Awesome for instance, simply by adding the name of the image required and an image is displayed.

Note: Requires Angular application and Angular Material is installed/configured and a reference to a web font like Font-Awesome library is all set up

But what about if you have custom icons that are not part of a web font? And would like to makes changes to the icon, for example: change the colour on hover or on a specific condition at run time?

In a recent project I had a bespoke set of SVG icons, the Angular web application was to be installed on a server that didn’t have access to the internet, so the images had to be local. I wanted to use the Mat-Icon component out of the box (in an early version of the project I had a custom icon component). I still wanted to be able to change the colours of the icons at various stages throughout the application based on certain conditions as well as on hover. This post covers how I achieved that.

SVG Icons

There are a number of different ways to register an icon with the Mat-Icon component, this post discusses addSvgIcon, the others are addSvgIconInNamespace, addSvgIconLiteral or  addSvgIconLiteralInNamespace and are all methods of  MatIconRegistry and I might cover these in more detail in a future post.

Setting up an Angular project

Note In this post, I’m not going to step through the creation of an Angular application as there are so many already online. Plus I tend to create Nx workspaces for all my Angular projects as I prefer this project layout. I plan to do a blog post on this very soon, for the moment though see Getting started with Narwhal’s Nx Workspaces.

In the newly created Angular project, create a shared directory and add a new file named material.module.ts. I like to separate Angular Material imports into their own module, I also create a separate module for other 3rd party components, just makes it easier to import later, especially using the NX workspace layout and feature folders.

// Material Module example.
 // All other Angular Material component imports here
 // but the important ones are…
 import { MatIconModule, MatIconRegistry } from "@angular/material/icon";
 @NgModule({
   declarations: [],
   imports: [
     // Other material imports removed for brevity,
     MatIconModule
   ],
   exports: [
     // Other material exports removed for brevity,
     MatIconModule,
     MatIconRegistry
   ],
   entryComponents: [],
   providers: [MatIconRegistry]
 })
 export class MaterialModule {}

MatIconModule is the module for the component, and the MatIconRegistry is a service to register and display icons. Don’t forget to export it as well, otherwise it won’t be available and Angular will not know anything about the Angular Material components. Then add a reference to the material.module.ts in the app.module.ts.

// Include the material module in app.module.ts
import { BrowserModule } from "@angular/platform-browser";
import { NgModule } from "@angular/core";
import { AppComponent } from "./app.component";
import { BrowserAnimationsModule } from "@angular/platform-browser/animations";
import { MaterialModule } from "./shared/material.module";
@NgModule({
  declarations: [AppComponent],
  imports: [BrowserModule, BrowserAnimationsModule, MaterialModule],
  providers: [],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule {}

Now we have the Angular Material components set up and configured we need to register the icons, before we can use them. For the moment we are just going to add these to the app.component.ts to get up and running, we’ll look at a better method later on.

// First Example
@Component({
  selector: "app-root",
  templateUrl: "./app.component.html",
  styleUrls: ["./app.component.scss"]
})
export class AppComponent {
  constructor(private matIconRegistry: MatIconRegistery) {
    this.matIconRegistry.addSvgIcon("home", "assets/img/icon/home.svg");
    this.matIconRegistry.addSvgIcon("add", "assets/img/icon/add.svg");
  }
  // or we could do this, and chain the addsvgIcon methods.
  // we'll use this method going forward in this post
  // {
  //  this.matIconRegistry.addSvgIcon('home','assets/img/icon/home.svg')
  //  .addSvgIcon('add','assets/img/icon/add.svg');
  // }
}

Add this to the app.component.html page, we’ll discuss this in more detail in a bit.

// app.component.html
<!-- First HTML example -->
<div>
     <mat-icon svgIcon="home"></mat-icon>
     <mat-icon svgIcon="add"><mat-icon>
</div>

At this point we are not going to see much in the browser as we have an issue with the image URL. If you open the browsers console section, you will see the following error:

Error: unsafe value used in a resource URL context.

So what does this error mean? A brief explanation from the Angular Material website says:

To prevent an Cross Site Scripting (XSS), SVG URL’s and HTML strings passed to MatIconRegistry must be marked as trusted by the Angular’s DomSanitizer service. Icons are fetched via XmlHttpRequest and must have their URL’s on the same domain as the containing page or configured to allow cross-domain access.

So lets add the DomSanitizer and fix this issue.

// Second Example - with the DomSanitizer
@Component({
 selector: 'app-root',
 templateUrl: './app.component.html',
 styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent {
 constructor (
 private domSanitizer: DomSanitizer,
 private matIconRegistry: MatIconRegistery
 ){
 this.matIconRegistry
 .addSvgIcon('home',this.domSanitizer.bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl('assets/img/icon/home.svg')
 .addSvgIcon('add',this.domSanitizer.bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl('assets/img/icon/add.svg')
 // add other icons here....;
 }
}

The call to bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl takes a URL as a parameter and sanitises it so that an attacker cannot inject a ‘JavaScript:` URL for example, see official documentation on DomSanitizer. Now that we have this in place we should now see two icons in the browser.

If we have a lot of icons to add this means lots of typing and lots of repetitive code, so lets refactor this some more. Start by removing all of this code (including the constructor) from the app.component.ts. This shouldn’t really be in the app.component.ts file. Lets create another new module in the shared directory and call it icon.module.ts and then add the following:

// Third Example - icon module
import { NgModule } from "@angular/core";
import { DomSanitizer, SafeResourceUrl } from "@angular/platform-browser";
import { MaterialModule } from "../shared/material.module";
import { MatIconRegistry } from "@angular/material/icon";
@NgModule({
  declarations: [],
  imports: [MaterialModule],
  exports: [],
  providers: []
})
export class IconModule {
  private path: string = "../../assets/images"; // change this
  constructor(
    private domSanitizer: DomSanitizer,
    public matIconRegistry: MatIconRegistry
  ) {
    this.matIconRegistry
      .addSvgIcon("home", this.setPath(`${this.path}/home.svg`))
      .addSvgIcon("add", this.setPath(`${this.path}/file-plus.svg`));
  }
  private setPath(url: string): SafeResourceUrl {
    return this.domSanitizer.bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl(url);
  }
}

Overall, that’s not too bad. We are only writing out the domSanitizer code once in the private method but more importantly, all the code is out of the app.component.ts file and is now a self contained module. If there are a lot of icons to add then this file will get a bit long, but the typing has gotten shorter (well, a little shorter at least). You could change the constructor to iterate through a .json file of image names, the path wouldn’t change and could be a const, which would only mean maintaining a .json file with any new images. I might look at doing that in a follow up post.

Note: Don’t forget to add this new icon.module.ts to the app.module.ts otherwise it won’t work.

Using the Mat-Icon component

So how do we use the mat-icon component? As seen earlier in this post we add the following code to our app.components.html page.

<!--First HTML example-->
<div>
    <mat-icon svgIcon="home"></mat-icon>
    <mat-icon svgIcon="add"></mat-icon>
</div>

This is a very simple example is showing how to put a home and an add icon on a page/component. This is not too dissimilar to how we would use this component with web fonts, but we are now using the svgIcon input property. The value we give to this input is the first parameter used in our call to register the .addSvgIcon(‘home’, …) in this case home.

Now we have an icon in place, how do we change the colour of the icon when someone hovers over it for example?

Change the icon colour

A Home icon. Example icon copy this into a file with the SVG extension.

<svg version="1.1" width="24" height="24" viewBox="0 0 24 24"><path d="M10,20V14H14V20H19V12H22L12,3L2,12H5V20H10Z" fill="#00FFFF"></svg>

In the above XML, I’ve removed all the namespaces etc… The main part here is the fill=”#00FFFF”. This sets the colour for the image, in this case to AquaMarine.

If the fill=”#00…” property is not there and you want a different colour to the default black, then you can add it to the path as above. It’s optional.

I usually add the fill property and set it to white and then change it, in SCSS as and when required (because this example had a white background I used another colour).

!<-- Second HTML example -->
<div>
  !<-- other code omitted for brevity -->
  <a mat-button>
      <mat-icon svgIcon="home" class="btn-icon"></mat-icon>
  </a>
</div>

Add a class to the mat-icon html tag, as above. Next, add the SCSS for the class so that, when a user hovers over the button the colour of the icon changes.

.btn-icon {
  &:hover {
    path {
      fill: rgba(#00ffff, 1);
    }
  }
}

Enjoy!

There is a github repo for this blog post at: https://github.com/Anglebrackets-io/mat-icon-demo


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