ng-typeview
library to enable type-checking of angular views when using typescript
Last updated 10 months ago by emmanueltouzery .
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ng-typeview

NPM version

Purpose

ng-typeview aims to enable type-checking of angular1 views. Normally, angular1 views are html files with special purpose markers (special tags & annotations) which are registered as angular directives and filters, which cooperate with the matching controller(s) which are written in javascript.

It is possible to use typescript instead of javascript for angular applications; in that case you get type-checking for the controllers and the remaining client-side code, but still no type-checking for the views, which are exercised only at runtime.

ng-typeview allows to extract the code from the views in new 'viewtest' typescript files, which can then get type-checked against the controllers.

Operation mode

ng-typeview is not an application, but a library. The reason is that it is expected that each real-world angular1 application will have enough customizations to require special handling, which will be better managed through custom code than options of an executable.

ng-typeview expects that in the controllers you define an interface for the scope:

interface Scope extends ng.IScope {
    modal: {title: string};
    showTitle: boolean;
}

(ng-typeview searches for an interface named Scope in the controller)

In the matching view, ng-typeview searches for expressions like {{title}}, or ng-if='showTitle', and similar.

Then it generates a new 'viewtest' typescript file containing the scope definition, and also expressions extracted from the view. A bit more complex expressions such as ng-repeat, ng-switch are also supported. Filters such as myList | orderBy: 'name' as well. The generated typescript code is not meant to be executed, only to be used for type-checking.

In addition you can also let ng-typeview know about your own directives and filters so they'll get extracted from the views & properly converted to typescript code for type-checking.

You can view an example of the operation by looking in the ng-typeview source, in the test/data subfolder, there is a controller, a view, and the expected generated typescript code, that can confirm whether the view type-checks or not.

API docs

You can see the full API documentation by clicking here.

The main entry point is the processProject function. You must prepare a ProjectSettings object and processProject will go through your source and generate the 'viewtest' files. Each field of ProjectSettings allows you to customize an aspect of the integration with your angular1 application.

Getting started

You need to create an application depending on ng-typeview. And basically you just need to call processProject. Then ng-typeview will generate the 'testview' files in the folder of your application. Then try to compile your application. The typescript compiler will warn you in case some code from the views doesn't match code from the controllers.

You can look at test/ng-typeview.ts for a sample set-up.

That's good for a first run, but then you probably have to customize ng-typeview for your application.

ng-typeview leaves the generated 'testview' files in your source code directory; it's probably best not to commit them to source control. If you minify your javascript, they won't be included since nothing links to them. If you don't, they might be copied to your server, but since noone links to them and they have no side-effects they shouldn't pose any problem. That said, deleting them is trivial, as they have a clear filename pattern.

Customizations

ng-typeview uses the typescript compiler API to parse the javascript and typescript code, htmlparser2 to parse the views, and the parsimmon parser combinator library to parse angular expressions (such as "for .. in .. track by ..").

ProjectSettings.ctrlViewConnectors

To begin with, ng-typeview must be able to connect controllers and views. It must find out that the controller app/core/user-list-ctrl.ts matches the view app/core/user-list-view.html. ng-typeview makes no assumption on files layout or naming conventions (especially since the controller-view connection may not be 1:1). By default ng-typeview can detect $modal.open() calls, which connect controllers and views, and also module state declarations (the ng-controller directive is ignored though for now). You can register new ways of connecting controllers and views, for instance if your app wraps these calls through helper functions, preventing ng-typeview from spotting them.

Since this is typescript parsing, this part is tied to the typescript compiler API.

ProjectSettings.ngFilters

If you define your own angular filters, you can let ng-typeview know about them and the parameters they expect through ngFilters. You just need to give a name and parameter types.

ProjectSettings.attributeDirectives & tagDirectives

You can also register your directives. There you must generate typescript code (as string), used to check the type-safety of the expressions found in the views. You implement either a AttributeDirectiveHandler, or a TagDirectiveHandler.

As input you get the contents of tags & attributes from the view. You are given some API to assist with the code generation, CodegenHelper; in fact you must use it, because ng-typeview must know when you declare new variables.

The directives that ng-typeview supports out of the box are developed using that mechanism, so you can also look at src/ng-directives.ts for examples of use.

Caveats

  • the API is still changing very often
  • was tested only against two projects from a single company for now
  • incomplete mapping of standard directives & filters (ng-typeview does not support all of the syntaxes of ng-repeat for instance.. Pull requests welcome :-) )
  • probably incomplete in just about all the aspects, as angular is huge
  • angular1 only

Commands

npm install

npm test

npm run-script docgen

Current Tags

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