Angular CLI tutorial

The Angular CLI is a command-line interface for Angular developed by Angular Team. This tool helps us quickly get started with creating the Angular Application. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create & Manage the Angular app using the Angular CLI commands. We will be covering the commands like ng new, ng generate component, ng generate directive & ng generate pipe etc.

Applies to: Angular 2 to the latest edition of i.e. Angular 8. Angular 9, Angular 10

Why Angular CLI

Angular is easy to learn Front End Framework. But setting development environment is pretty complicated. There are many decisions, you have when you choose Angular as your JavaScript Framework.

You have an option of choosing Javascript, Typescript or dart. You have to choose a module loader among SystemJs & Webpack etc. You need to pickup your testing Framework. We discussed all this in our tutorial Installing and Setting Up an Angular Development Environment

Once you make a choice, then you have set up a lot of libraries and packages. Each of these libraries comes with their own configuration files. For instance, you need to create Package.Json file and add all the required libraries. Create Webpack or SystemJS configuration files. Configuration files are also required for Typescript & Typings etc. You need to configure the Testing Framework also.

Instead, you can install Angular CLI and get started right away.


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What is Angular CLI

The Angular CLI helps you to quickly create an Angular application with all the configuration files and packages in one single command. It also helps us to add features (components, directives, services, etc) to existing Angular applications.It helps us to test , build & distribute our application

The Angular CLI creates the Angular Application and uses Typescript, Webpack ( for Module bundling), Karma ( for unit testing), Protractor ( for an end to end testing).

Installing Angular CLI

The first step is to install the Angular CLI. This can be done by using the following command.

The above command installs the latest version of Angular CLI in your machine. Note that we have used the -g flag, (which stands for global) installs the Angular CLI system-wide so that you can use it in your all projects.

Angular CLI Versions

Since, the Angular Version 6, the Angular CLI follows the same Version No as the Angular. Hence for Angular 7, the corresponding version of the Angular CLI is 7. 

The Angular CLI version 1.7 was for Angular 5 and Angular CLI 1.4 was for Angular 4

You can keep track of the latest Angular CLI release from this link https://github.com/angular/angular-cli/releases

Angular CLI Version Check

You can find out the Current Installed Angular CLI Version by Using the Command

The latest version as of writing this article is 7.0.6. The command above also gives the version of node installed in your system.

Angular CLI Commands

CommadAliasDescription
helpHelp message shows the List of available commands and their short descriptions.
versionvFind out the version of the Angular CLI Installed
newnCreates a new folder (Workspace) and ads the initial Angular app. Note that you can create multiple apps in a single folder (Workspace)
addAdds the npm package to the workspace and configure the default app project to use that library.
generategGenerates and/or modifies files based on a schematic.
updateUpdates your application and its dependencies
servesBuilds and serves your app, rebuilding on file changes.
runRuns a custom target defined in your project.
buildbThe Compiles the Angular app into an output directory ( Default is dist)
testtRuns unit tests in a project.
e2eeBuilds and serves an Angular app, then runs end-to-end tests using Protractor.
config Retrieves or sets Angular configuration values.
docdOpens the official Angular documentation (angular.io) in a browser, and searches for a given keyword.
lintlRuns linting tools on Angular app code in a given project folder.
xi18nExtracts i18n messages from source code.

Getting Help

Getting help on individual commands us the syntax ng [command name] --help. For Example

Creating the Application with ng new

The ng new command is used to create new folder and creates an App with the provided name.

The command will ask you

  • What name would you like to use for the project?
    Enter the name of the project here. “GettingStarted”
  • Would you like to add Angular Routing?
    Answer this as Yes unless you do not want to add Angular Routing.
  • Which stylesheet format would you like to use?
    You arrow keys to select the available options from CSS, SCSS, SASS, LESS, and Stylus

The above command will create a folder GettingStarted and copies all the required dependencies and configuration settings. The Angular CLI does the following

  1. Creates a new directory GettingStarted is created
  2. Downloads and installs Angular libraries and any other dependencies
  3. Installs and configures TypeScript.
  4. Installs and configures KarmaProtractor for testing
  5. Initialises the Git.

Running the Application

To run the application cd into the folder and run either ng server or use npm start (which runs the ng serve behind the scene)

Now open the browser and enter the URL http://localhost:4200/ and you should be able to see Welcome to GettingStarted! Message

ng new options

OptionsAliasDESCRIPTION
--dry-run-dRun through without making any changes.
--force-fForces overwriting of any existing files in the project folder
--verbose-vDisplays the out of the command
--collection-cSchematics to use. For more info on Schematics click here.
--inline-style-sUse inline style rather than the external StyleSheet file. does not create external Stylesheets
--inline-template-tDoes not create an external template file for the component. Specifies if the template will be in the ts file.
--view-encapsulationSpecifies the view encapsulation strategy. Three Options are available here
Emulated, Native &. None Default is Emulated
--routing Generates a routing module. If the option is not specified, it will ask for the confirmation
--prefix-pThe file extension to be used for style files. The values available are CSS, SCSS, SASS,LESS,and Stylus. If the options are not specified, it will ask to select the appropriate style when running the command
--skip-tests-S Skip creating test spec files. This option does not seem to remove the test related files. Check the bug report here. Use the --minimal option instead
--skip-package-jsonDo not add dependencies to package.json
--minimalInstalls the minimal set of features. Does not create test files. Creates inline style & templates

ng new example

ng generate

ng generate or (ng g) is used to generate components, module, class, pipes & directives, etc. The following tables show the list of artifacts that can be generated.

schematicSyntaxDESCRIPTION
appShellng g appShell [options]Generate an App shell. Read about App Shell from here
applicationng g application [options]Generates an application
classng g class [options]Generates Class file
componentng g component [options]Generates a component
directiveng g directive [options]Generates a Directive
enumng g enum [options]Generates an enum
guardng g guard [options]Generates a Guard Component
interfaceng g interface [options]Generates an Interface
libraryng g library [options]Generates a Library
moduleng g module [options]Generates a Module
pipeng g pipe [options]Generates a Pipe
serviceng g service [options]Generates a Service class
serviceWorkerng g serviceWorker [options]Generates a Service worker
universalng g universal [options]Generates a Universal

Common options

The following are the common options of the ng g command

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--defaults=true|falsefalseWhen true, disables interactive input prompts for options with a default
--dryRun=true|false-dfalseWhen true, run through and report activity without writing out results.
--force=true|false-ffalseWhen true, force overwriting of existing files
--help=
true|false|json|JSON
falseShows a help message for this command in the console.
--interactive=true|falsefalseWhen false, disables interactive input prompts.

Component

The following command generates the component.

ng g component <name> [options]

Examples

ng g component Hello

The above command does the following

  • Creates the Hello folder under the src/app folder
  • Create the HelloComponent along with CSS, Spec & Template file under the Hello folder
  • Imports the HelloComponent in the root module and adds it to the declarations array
  • The CSS selector use the format app-<name>. i.e app-hello

Run these commands from the root folder of the application.

ng g component --flat Hello does not create the hello folder. The component is created in the src/app folder.

ng g component --flat hello/hello creates the component under src/app/hello folder

ng g component --export hello adds the component to the exports metadata array of the module.

ng g component --prefix=myapp hello uses the CSS selector as myapp-hello.

ng g component --selector=hi --force hello uses the selector as hi

generate component inside module

ng g module account generates the code for account module

ng g component --module=account account/hello adds the component to the account module

ng g component --module=account hello this works provided the current directory is module directory i.e src/app/account

The following is the list of all available options

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--changeDetection= Default|OnPush-cDefaultSpecifies the change detection strategy.
--entryComponent= true|falsefalseSpecifies if the component is an entry component of declaring module.
--export=true|falsefalseSpecifies if declaring module exports the component.
--flat= true|falsefalseFlag to indicate if a directory is created.
--inlineStyle= true|false-sfalseSpecifies if the style will be in the ts file.
--inlineTemplate=true|false-tfalseSpecifies if the template will be in the ts file.
--lintFix= true|falsefalseSpecifies whether to apply lint fixes after generating the component.
--module= module-mroot moduleAllows specification of the declaring module.
--prefix= prefix-pThe prefix to apply to generated selectors.
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--selector= selectorThe selector to use for the component.
--skipImport= true|falsefalseFlag to skip the module import.
--spec= true|falsetrueSpecifies if a spec file is generated.
--styleext= styleextcssThe file extension to be used for style files
--viewEncapsulation=

Emulated| Native| None| ShadowDom
-vEmulatedSpecifies the view encapsulation strategy.

Directive

ng g directive <name> [options] is used to generate the directive. For Example ng g directive Some generates the Some.Directive.ts. The following code is generated. It also generates the some.directive.spec.ts

The above command does not create the folder. You can use the ng g directive directive/Some, which will create the directive under the folder directive.

You can use the command ng g directive --flat=false Some, which will create the directive under the folder Some (folder name is same as the directive name)

You can use the --force flag to force overwriting of the files, if the files already exists

Use the--module flag to add the directive to a module other than the root module.

Use the --prefix or --selector flag to change the CSS Selctor.

You can use the --export & --skipImport to add the directive to exports and imports metadata of the module

The following is the complete list of available options

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--export=true|falsefalseSpecifies if declaring module exports the component.
--flat= true|falsetrueFlag to indicate if a directory is created.
--lintFix= true|falsefalseSpecifies whether to apply lint fixes after generating the component.
--module= module-mroot moduleAllows specification of the declaring module.
--prefix= prefix-pThe prefix to apply to generated selectors.
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--selector= selectorThe selector to use for the component.
--skipImport= true|falsefalseFlag to skip the module import.
--spec= true|falsetrueSpecifies if a spec file is generated.

Pipe

ng generate pipe <name> [options] is used to generate the pipe. For Example, ng g pipe Date generates the date.pipe.ts. The following code is generated. It also generates the date.pipe.ts.spec.ts

The above command does not create the folder. You can use the ng g pipe pipes/Date, which will create the pipe under the folderpipes.

You can use the command ng g pipe --flat=false Date, which will create the pipe under the folder Date (folder name is the same as the pipe name)

You can use the --force flag to force overwriting of the files, if the files already exists

Use the--module flag to add the pipe to a module other than the root module.

You can use the --export & --skipImport to add the directive to exports and imports metadata of the module

The following is the complete list of available options

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--export=true|falsetrueSpecifies if declaring module exports the component.
--flat= true|falsetrueFlag to indicate if a directory is created.
--lintFix= true|falsefalseSpecifies whether to apply lint fixes after generating the component.
--module= module-mroot moduleAllows specification of the declaring module.
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--skipImport= true|falsefalseFlag to skip the module import.
--spec= true|falsetrueSpecifies if a spec file is generated.

Service

ng generate service <name> [options] is used to generate the service. For Example ng g service Data generates the data.service.ts &data.service.ts.spec.ts. The following is the sample code generated by the command

The above command does not create the folder. You can use the ng g service services/Data, which will create the service under the folderservices.

You can use the command ng g service --flat=false Data, which will create the service under the folder Data (folder name is same as the service name)

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--flat= true|falsetrueFlag to indicate if a directory is created.
--lintFix= true|falsefalseSpecifies whether to apply lint fixes after generating the component.
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--spec= true|falsetrueSpecifies if a spec file is generated.

class

ng generate class <name> [options] is used to generate the class. For Example ng g class customer generates the customer.ts in the current folder. The following is the sample code generated by the command

Use the command ng g class class/customer to create the class under the class folder.

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--spec= true|falsetrueSpecifies if a spec file is generated.
--type=typedefaultSpecifies the type of class

Module

use the ng g module <name> [options] command to generate the module. For Example ng g module account generates the account module under the folder src/app/account. The following code is generated

ng g module account --module=app generates the account module and adds it to the imports metadata array of AppModule

ng g module account --routing=true --force. The --force flag overwrites the previously generated files. The --routing=true also creates the account-routing.module. The routes are registered with the forChild(routes)

ng g module account --force --routing=true --routingScope=Root registers the routes with the forRoot(routes)

Adding Components, Pipes, Directives to module

You can add component, directive, pipe & services to module by using the flag --module=[ModuleName] and naming the component as [ModuleName]/[ComponentnNme].

For Example, The following commands creates the account module and adds the HelloComponent, SomeDirective, DataSerivce & DatePipe to the module

The following is the list of all the available options

OPTIONAliasDefaultDESCRIPTION
--flat= true|falsefalseFlag to indicate if a directory is created.
--module=module-mAllows specification of the declaring module.
--project= projectThe name of the project.
--routing=true|falsefalseGenerates a routing module.
--routingScope=Child|RootchildThe scope for the generated routing.

ng update

The ng update command updates or upgrades the angular application and its dependencies to the latest version. Click on how to upgrade Angular to latest version for more information

Resources

The Angular CLI Command Reference

Summary

The Angular CLI helps to increase productivity by helping us to quickly create the app and add the component, pipes, services & directives, etc to the module. The Angular CLI has a lot more commands like serve, build, test, lint, e2e etc, which help us to build and distribute the applications. We will cover those in one of the future tutorials.

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