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You Don't Need NgRx To Write a Good Angular App

NgRx is a great tool that allows you to manage state and side effects in Angular applications in a Redux-like manner. It streamlines state changes with its unidirectional data flow, and offers a structured approach to handling data and side effects. Numerous posts on our blog detail its strengths and affiliated techniques. Some Angular developers even argue that incorporating NgRx is imperative once an app expands beyond two features.

While NgRx can undoubtedly enhance an Angular application or library by simplifying debugging, translating business logic into code, and improving the architecture, it does present a steep learning curve. Despite the provocative title, there is some truth to the statement: your app or library may indeed not need NgRx. Surprisingly, I successfully developed a suite of enterprise Angular libraries over five years without involving NgRx.

In that project, we decided to opt out of using a state management library like NgRx because of its steep learning curve. Developers with varying levels of Angular expertise were involved, and the goal was to simplify their experience. My bold assertion is that, with careful consideration of architectural patterns, it is entirely possible to develop a robust app or library using only Angular, without any third-party libraries. Employing select design patterns and leveraging Angular's built-in tools can yield a highly maintainable app, even without a dedicated state management library.

Having shared my somewhat audacious opinion, let me now support it by outlining a few patterns that facilitate the development of a maintainable, stateful Angular application or library without NgRx.

Services and the Singleton Pattern

Services provided in root or a module yield a shared instance across the entire app or module, effectively rendering them singletons. This characteristic makes them ideal for managing and sharing state across components without requiring a dedicated state management tool like NgRx. Particularly, for small to medium-sized applications, a "state service" can be a straightforward and effective alternative to a comprehensive state management solution when implemented correctly.

To accurately implement state in a singleton service, consider the following:

  • Restrict state data to private properties and expose them only through public methods or observables to prevent external mutations. Such a pattern safeguards the integrity of your state by averting unauthorized modifications.

  • Utilize BehaviorSubjects or signals to enable components to respond to state changes. Both BehaviorSubject and SettableSignal retain the current value and emit it to new subscribers immediately. Components can then subscribe to these to receive the current value and any subsequent updates.

  • Expose public methods in your service that manage state modifications to centralize the logic for updating the state and incorporate validation, logging, or other necessary side effects.

  • When modifying state, always return a new instance of the data rather than altering the original data. This ensures that references are broken and components that rely on change detection can accurately detect changes.

Good Component Architecture

Distinguish your UI components into stateful (containers) and stateless (presentational) components. Stateful components manage data and logic, while stateless components merely receive data via inputs and emit events without maintaining an internal state.

Do not get dragged into the rabbit hole of anti-patterns such as input drilling or event bubbling while trying to make as many components presentational as possible. Instead, use a Data Service Layer to provide a clean abstraction over backend API calls and handle error management, data transformation, caching, and even state management where it makes sense. Although injecting a service into a component technically categorizes it as a "smart" component, segregating the data access logic into a separate service layer ultimately enhances modularity, maintainability, scalability, and testability.


A best practice is to always treat your state as immutable. Instead of modifying an object or an array directly, you should create a new copy with the changes. Adhering to immutability ensures predictability and can help in tracking changes.

Applying the ChangeDetectionStrategy.OnPush strategy to components whenever possible is also a good idea as it not only optimizes performance since Angular only evaluates the component for changes when its inputs change or when a bound event is triggered, but it also enforces immutability. Change detection is only activated when a different object instance is passed to the input.

Leveraging Angular Router

Angular's router is a powerful tool for managing application state. It enables navigation between different parts of an application, allowing parameters to be passed along, effectively using the URL as a single source of truth for your application state, which makes the application more predictable, bookmarkable, and capable of maintaining state across reloads. Moreover, components can subscribe to URL changes and react accordingly. You can also employ router resolvers to fetch data before navigating to a route, ensuring that the necessary state is loaded before the route is activated. However, think carefully about what state you store in the URL; it should ideally only contain the state essential for navigating to a specific view of your application. More ephemeral states, like UI state, should be managed in components or services.


Angular provides lots of built-in tools and features you can effectively leverage to develop robust, maintainable applications without third-party state management libraries like NgRx. While NgRx is undoubtedly a valuable tool for managing state and side effects in large, complex applications, it may not be necessary for all projects. By employing thoughtful design patterns, such as the Singleton Pattern, adhering to principles of immutability, and leveraging Angular's built-in tools like the Router and Services, you can build a highly maintainable and stateful Angular application or library.

This Dot Labs is a development consultancy that is trusted by top industry companies, including Stripe, Xero, Wikimedia, Docusign, and Twilio. This Dot takes a hands-on approach by providing tailored development strategies to help you approach your most pressing challenges with clarity and confidence. Whether it's bridging the gap between business and technology or modernizing legacy systems, you’ll find a breadth of experience and knowledge you need. Check out how This Dot Labs can empower your tech journey.

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How to Create Standalone Components in Angular cover image

How to Create Standalone Components in Angular

Angular has become one of the most popular frameworks to build web applications today. One of the key features of the framework is its component-based architecture, which allows best practices like modularity and reusability. Each Angular component consists of a template, a TypeScript class and metadata. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into standalone components, and we will explore the anatomy of an application based on them. For the demo application, we will create a card-like component which can be used to render blog posts in a web application. Prerequisites You'll need to have installed the following tools in your local environment: The latest LTS version of Node.js is recommended. Either NPM or Yarn as a package manager. The Angular CLI tool(Command-line interface for Angular). Initialize the Project Let's create a project from scratch using the Angular CLI tool: `bash ng new demo-angular-standalone-components --routing --prefix corp --style css --skip-tests ` This command will initialize a base project using some configuration options: `--routing`. It will create a routing module. `--prefix corp`. It defines a prefix to be applied to the selectors for created components(`corp` in this case). The default value is `app`. `--style css`. The file extension for the styling files. `--skip-tests`. Disable the generation of testing files for the new project. If you pay attention to the generated files and directories, you'll see an initial project structure including the main application module and component: `txt |- src/ |- app/ |- app.module.ts |- app-routing.module.ts |- app.component.ts ` Creating Standalone Components First, let's create the custom button to be used as part of the Card component later. Run the following command on your terminal: `bash ng generate component button --inline-template --standalone ` It will create the files for the component. The --standalone` option will generate the component as _standalone_. Let's update the button.component.ts` file using the content below. `ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-button', standalone: true, imports: [CommonModule], template: , styleUrls: ['./button.component.css'] }) export class ButtonComponent { } ` Pay attention to this component since it's marked as standalone: true`. Starting with Angular v15: components, directives, and pipes can be marked as standalone by using the flag standalone`. When a class is marked as standalone_, it does not need to be declared as part of an `NgModule`. Otherwise, the Angular compiler will report an error. Also, imports` can be used to reference the dependencies. > The imports property specifies the standalone component's template dependencies — those directives, components, and pipes that can be used within its template. Standalone components can import other standalone components, directives, and pipes as well as existing NgModules. Next, let's create the following components: card-title`, `card-content`, `card-actions` and `card`. This can be done at once using the next commands. `bash ng generate component card-title --inline-template --standalone ng generate component card-content --inline-template --standalone ng generate component card-actions --inline-template --standalone ng generate component card --inline-template --standalone ` On card-title.component.ts` file, update the content as follows: `ts //card-title.component.ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-card-title', standalone: true, imports: [CommonModule], template: , styleUrls: ['./card-title.component.css'] }) export class CardTitleComponent { } ` Next, update the card-content.component.ts` file: `ts //card-content.component.ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-card-content', standalone: true, imports: [CommonModule], template: , styleUrls: ['./card-content.component.css'] }) export class CardContentComponent { } ` The card-actions.component.ts` file should have the content below: `ts // card-actions.component.ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-card-actions', standalone: true, imports: [CommonModule], template: , styleUrls: ['./card-actions.component.css'] }) export class CardActionsComponent { } ` Finally, the card.component.ts` file should be defined as follows: `ts //card.component.ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-card', standalone: true, imports: [CommonModule], template: , styleUrls: ['./card.component.css'] }) export class CardComponent { } ` Using Standalone Components Once all Standalone components are created, we can use them without the need to define an NgModule`. Let's update the app.component.ts` file as follows: `ts // app.component.ts import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { ButtonComponent } from './button/button.component'; import { CardComponent } from './card/card.component'; import { CardTitleComponent } from './card-title/card-title.component'; import { CardContentComponent } from './card-content/card-content.component'; import { CardActionsComponent } from './card-actions/card-actions.component'; @Component({ selector: 'corp-root', standalone: true, imports: [ ButtonComponent, CardComponent, CardTitleComponent, CardContentComponent, CardActionsComponent ], templateUrl: './app.component.html', styleUrls: ['./app.component.css'] }) export class AppComponent { title = 'demo-angular-standalone-components'; } ` Again, this Angular component is set as standalone: true` and the `imports` section specifies the other components created as dependencies. 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A Guide to Custom Angular Attribute Directives cover image

A Guide to Custom Angular Attribute Directives

When working inside of Angular applications you may have noticed special attributes such as NgClass, NgStyle and NgModel. These are special attributes that you can add to elements and components that are known as attribute directives. In this article, I will cover how these attributes are created and show a couple of examples. What are Attribute Directives? Angular directives are special constructs that allow modification of HTML elements and components. Attribute directives are also applied through attributes, hence the name. There exist other types of directives such as structural directives as well, but we’re just going to focus on attribute directives. If you’ve used Angular before then you have almost certainly used a couple of the attribute directives I mentioned earlier before. You are not limited to just the built-in directives though. Angular allows you to create your own! Creating Attribute Directives Directives can be created using code generation via the ng CLI tool. ` ng generate directive ` This will create a file to house your directive and also an accompanying test file as well. The contents of the directive are very barebones to start with. Let’s take a look. ` import { Directive } from '@angular/core'; @Directive({ selector: '[appExample]', }) export class ExampleDirective { constructor() {} } ` You will see here that directives are created using a @Directive decorator. The selector in this case is the name of the attribute as it is intended to be used in your templates. The square brackets around the name make it an attribute selector, which is what we want for a custom attribute directive. I would also recommend that a prefix is always used for directive names to minimize the risk of conflicts. It should also go without saying to avoid using the ng prefix for custom directives to avoid confusion. Now, let’s go over the lifecycle of a directive. The constructor is called with a reference to the ElementRef that the directive was bound to. You can do any initialization here if needed. This element reference is dependency injected, and will be available outside the constructor as well. You can also set up @HostListener handlers if you need to add functionality that runs in response to user interaction with the element or component, and @Input properties if you need to pass data to the directive. Click Away Directive One useful directive that doesn’t come standard is a click away directive. This is one that I have used before in my projects, and is very easy to understand. This directive uses host listeners to listen for user input, and determine whether the element that directive is attached to should be visible or not after the click event occurs. ` @Directive({ selector: '[appClickAway]', }) export class ClickAwayDirective { @Output() onClickAway: EventEmitter = new EventEmitter(); constructor(private elementRef: ElementRef) {} @HostListener('document:click', ['$event']) onClick(event: PointerEvent): void { if (!this.elementRef.nativeElement.contains( { this.onClickAway.emit(event); } } } ` There are a few new things in this directive we’ll briefly go over. The first thing is the event emitter output onClickAway. A generic directive isn’t going to know how to handle click away behavior by itself as this will change based on your use case when using the directive. To solve this issue, we make the directive emit an event that the user of the directive can listen for. The other part is the click handler. We use @HostListener to attach a click handler so we can run our click away logic whenever clicks are done. The one interesting thing about this directive is that it listens to all click events since we’ve specified ‘document’ in the first parameter. The reason for this is because we care about listening for clicking anything that isn’t the element or component that the directive is attached to. If we didn’t do this, then the event handler would only fire when clicking on the component the directive is attached to, which defeats the purpose of a click away handler. Once we’ve determined the element was not clicked, we emit the aforementioned event. Using this directive makes it trivial to implement click away functionality for both modals and context menus alike. If we have a custom dialog component we could hook it up like this: ` Dialog Box This is a paragraph with content! ` If you want to see this directive in action, then you can find it in our blog demos repo here. Drag and Drop Directive Another useful directive is one that assists with drag and drop operations. The following directive makes elements draggable, and executes a function with a reference to the location where the element was dragged to. ` @Directive({ selector: '[appDragDrop]', }) export class DragDropDirective implements OnInit, OnDestroy { @Output() onDragDrop: EventEmitter = new EventEmitter(); mouseDown$ = new Subject(); mouseUp$ = new Subject(); destroy$ = new Subject(); constructor(private elementRef: ElementRef) {} ngOnInit(): void { this.mouseDown$ .pipe(takeUntil(this.destroy$)) .pipe(exhaustMap(() => this.mouseUp$.pipe(take(1)))) .subscribe((event) => { if ( && instanceof Element && !this.elementRef.nativeElement.contains( ) { this.onDragDrop.emit(event); } }); } ngOnDestroy(): void { this.destroy$.next(null); this.destroy$.complete(); } @HostListener('mousedown', ['$event']) onMouseDown(event: MouseEvent): void { this.mouseDown$.next(event); } @HostListener('document:mouseup', ['$event']) onMouseUp(event: MouseEvent): void { this.mouseUp$.next(event); } } ` Just like the previous directive example an event emitter is used so the user of the directive can associate custom functionality with it. RxJs is also utilized for the drag and drop detection. This directive uses the exhaustMap function to create an observable that emits both after a mouse down, and finally a mouse up is done. With that observable, we can subscribe to it and call the drag and drop callback so long as the element that’s dragged on isn’t the component itself. Note how the mouse down event is local to the component while the mouse up event is attached to the document. For mouse down, this is done since we only want the start of the dragging to be initiated from clicking the component itself. The mouse up must listen to the document since the dragging has to end on something that isn’t the component that we’re dragging. Just like the previous directive, we simply need to reference the attribute and register an event handler. ` Drag me over something! ` Conclusion In this article, we have learned how to write our own custom attribute directives and demonstrated a couple of practical examples of directives you might use or encounter in the real world. I hope you found this introduction to directives useful, and that it helps you with writing your own directives in the future! You can find the examples shown here in our blog demos repository if you want to use them yourself....

A Guide to (Typed) Reactive Forms in Angular - Part III (Creating Custom Form Controls) cover image

A Guide to (Typed) Reactive Forms in Angular - Part III (Creating Custom Form Controls)

So far in the series, we have learned the basics of Angular Reactive forms and created some neat logic to construct and display dynamic forms. But our work is still not done yet. Whether we just want to make our controls look good and enhance them with some markup, or whether we need a more complex control than a simple textarea, input or checkbox, we'll either need to use a component library such as Angular Material Components or get familiar with the ControlValueAccessor` interface. Angular Material, by the way, uses ControlValueAccessor` in its components and I recommend looking into the source code if you want to learn some advanced use cases (I have borrowed a lot of their ideas in the past). In this post, however, we will build a basic custom control from scratch. A common requirement for a component that cannot be satisfied by using standard HTML markup I came across in many projects is having a searchable combobox**. So let's build one. We will start by creating a new Angular component and we can do that with a handy ng cli command: ` ng generate component form-fields/combobox ` Then we'll implement displaying data passed in the form of our FormField` class we have defined earlier in a list and allowing for filtering and selecting the options: `TypeScript // combobox.component.ts import { Component, ElementRef, Input, ViewChild } from '@angular/core'; import { FormField } from '../../forms.model'; @Component({ selector: 'app-combobox', templateUrl: './combobox.component.html', styleUrls: ['./combobox.component.scss'], }) export class ComboboxComponent { private filteredOptions?: (string | number)[]; // a simple way to generate a "unique" id for each component // in production, you should rather use a library like uuid public id = String( + Math.random()); @ViewChild('input') public input?: ElementRef; public selectedOption = ''; public listboxOpen = false; @Input() public formFieldConfig!: FormField; public get options(): (string | number)[] { return this.filteredOptions || this.formFieldConfig.options || []; } public get label(): string { return this.formFieldConfig.label; } public toggleListbox(): void { this.listboxOpen = !this.listboxOpen; if (this.listboxOpen) { this.input?.nativeElement.focus(); } } public closeListbox(event: FocusEvent): void { // timeout is needed to prevent the list box from closing when clicking on an option setTimeout(() => { this.listboxOpen = false; }, 150); } public filterOptions(filter: string): void { this.filteredOptions = this.formFieldConfig.options?.filter((option) => { return option.toString().toLowerCase().includes(filter.toLowerCase()); }); } public selectOption(option: string | number): void { this.selectedOption = option.toString(); this.listboxOpen = false; } } ` `HTML {{ label }} ▼ {{ option }} ` > Note: For the sake of brevity, we will not be implementing keyboard navigation and aria labels. I strongly suggest referring to W3C WAI patterns to get guidelines on the markup and behavior of an accessible combo box. While our component now looks and behaves like a combo box, it's not a form control yet and is not connected with the Angular forms API. That's where the aforementioned ControlValueAccessor` comes into play along with the `NG_VALUE_ACCESSOR` provider. Let's import them first, update the `@Component` decorator to provide the value accessor, and declare that our component is going to implement the interface: `TypeScript import { ControlValueAccessor, NGVALUE_ACCESSOR } from '@angular/forms'; @Component({ selector: 'app-combobox', templateUrl: './combobox.component.html', styleUrls: ['./combobox.component.scss'], providers: [ { // provide the value accessor provide: NGVALUE_ACCESSOR, // for our combobox component useExisting: ComboboxComponent, // and we don't want to override previously provided value accessors // we want to provide an additional one under the same "NGVALUE_ACCESSOR" token instead multi: true, }, ], }) export class ComboboxComponent implements ControlValueAccessor { ` Now, the component should complain about a few missing methods that we need to satisfy the ControlValueAccessor` interface: - A writeValue` method that is called whenever the form control value is updated from the forms API (e.g. with `patchValue()`). - A registerOnChange` method, which registers a callback function for when the value is changed from the UI. - A registerOnTouched` method that registers a callback function that marks the control when it's been interacted with by the user (typically called in a `blur` handler). - An optional setDisabledState` method that is called when we change the form control `disabled` state- Our (pretty standard) implementation will look like the following: `TypeScript private onChanged!: Function; private onTouched!: Function; public disabled = false; // This will write the value to the view if the form control is updated from outside. public writeValue(value: any) { this.value = value; } // Register a callback function that is called when the control's value changes in the UI. public registerOnChange(onChanged: Function) { this.onChanged = onChanged; } // Register a callback function that is called by the forms API on initialization to update the form model on blur. public registerOnTouched(onTouched: Function) { this.onTouched = onTouched; } public setDisabledState(isDisabled: boolean): void { this.disabled = isDisabled; } public setDisabledState(isDisabled: boolean): void { this.disabled = isDisabled; } ` We don't have to update the template a lot, but we can add [disabled]="disabled"` attribute on our button and input to disable the interactive UI elements if the provided form control was disabled. The rest of the work can be done in the component's TypeScript code. We'll call `this.onTouched()` in our `closeListbox` method, and create a `value` setter that updates our internal value and also notifies the model about the value change: `TypeScript public set value(val: string | number) { this.selectedOption = val.toString(); this.onChanged && this.onChanged(this.selectedOption); this.onTouched && this.onTouched(); } ` You can check out the full implementation on StackBlitz. Conclusion In this series, we've explored the powerful features of Angular reactive forms, including creating and managing dynamic typed forms. We also demonstrated how to use the ControlValueAccessor interface to create custom form controls, such as a searchable combo box. This knowledge will enable you to design complex and dynamic forms in your Angular applications. While the examples provided here are basic, they serve as a solid foundation for building more advanced form controls and implementing validation, accessibility, and other features that are essential for a seamless user experience. By mastering Angular reactive forms and custom form controls, you'll be able to create versatile and maintainable forms in your web applications. If you want to further explore the topic and prefer a form of a video, you can check out an episode of JavaScript Marathon by my amazing colleague Chris. Happy coding!...

Nuxt DevTools v1.0: Redefining the Developer Experience Beyond Conventional Tools cover image

Nuxt DevTools v1.0: Redefining the Developer Experience Beyond Conventional Tools

In the ever-evolving world of web development, Nuxt.js has taken a monumental leap with the launch of Nuxt DevTools v1.0. More than just a set of tools, it's a game-changer—a faithful companion for developers. This groundbreaking release, available for all Nuxt projects and being defaulted from Nuxt v3.8 onwards, marks the beginning of a new era in developer tools. It's designed to simplify our development journey, offering unparalleled transparency, performance, and ease of use. Join me as we explore how Nuxt DevTools v1.0 is set to revolutionize our workflow, making development faster and more efficient than ever. What makes Nuxt DevTools so unique? Alright, let's start delving into the features that make this tool so amazing and unique. There are a lot, so buckle up! In-App DevTools The first thing that caught my attention is that breaking away from traditional browser extensions, Nuxt DevTools v1.0 is seamlessly integrated within your Nuxt app. This ensures universal compatibility across browsers and devices, offering a more stable and consistent development experience. This setup also means the tools are readily available in the app, making your work more efficient. It's a smart move from the usual browser extensions, making it a notable highlight. To use it you just need to press Shift + Option + D` (macOS) or `Shift + Alt + D` (Windows): With simple keystrokes, the Nuxt DevTools v1.0 springs to life directly within your app, ready for action. This integration eliminates the need to toggle between windows or panels, keeping your workflow streamlined and focused. The tools are not only easily accessible but also intelligently designed to enhance your productivity. 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Some other cool features Another amazing aspect of Nuxt DevTools is the embedded full-featured VS Code. It's like having your favorite code editor inside the DevTools, with all its powerful features and extensions. It's incredibly convenient for making quick edits or tweaks to your code. Then there's the Component Inspector. Think of it as your code's detective tool. It lets you easily pinpoint and understand which parts of your code are behind specific elements on your page. This makes identifying and editing components a breeze. And remember customization! Nuxt DevTools lets you tweak its UI to suit your style. This means you can set up the tools just how you like them, making your development environment more comfortable and tailored to your preferences. Conclusion In summary, Nuxt DevTools v1.0 marks a revolutionary step in web development, offering a comprehensive suite of features that elevate the entire development process. 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