Angular 2: Application Settings using the CLI Environment Option

a2-cli-env Application wide settings can be a long conversation when starting a new application. Here are just a few questions when some of my teams started this conversation:

  1. Do we use ENV variables?
  2. What about manual bootstrap?
  3. Configuration files?
  4. Should we get them from the server?

Using angular-cli & environment.ts

The new angular-cli have the concept of different environments like development (dev) and production (prod). When creating a new application with the cli ng my-app and /environments folder is a part of the scaffold which contains the environment files.

.
├── environment.ts
├── environment.prod.ts
.
.

and then within the /src/app folder is and environment.ts file.

Here are the contents:

export const environment = {  
  production: false
};

As you might imagine, the *.production.ts file would have production: true.

When the application is built (ng build) or served (ng serve), the environment.{env}.ts file from /environments is pulled and replaces the file within /src/app. By default this is dev.

In order to grab the production version, set the environment to production using the following:

#build
$ ng build --environment=production
#shorthand
$ ng b -prod

#serve
$ ng serve --environment=production
#shorthand
$ ng s -prod

Adding additional environments - not yet supported

If there are additional environments your build process needs to support, you can add more files to the /environments folder with the name of said environment such as environment.qa.ts and then use.

#build
$ ng build --environment=environment

One drawback here is there is no -qa shorthand supported.

* Although the file is picked up by the CLI, there is a bug that the environments supported are only **prod or dev

Adding a "qa" environment.

Create a new file called environment.qa.ts in the /environment folder with the following contents:

export const environment = {  
  production: false,
  envName: 'qa'
};

Add the qa entry to the .angular.cli.json config:

  "environments": {
    "dev": "environments/environment.ts",
    "prod": "environments/environment.prod.ts",
    "qa": "environments/environment.qa.ts"
  }

Now the new environment is ready to use.

Putting it together

First, add a new property to each of the environment.{env}.ts files.

export const environment = {  
  production: false,
  envName: 'dev'
};

Then in the myapp.component.ts file import settings, and set the binding.

import { Component } from [email protected]/core';  
import { environment } from './environment';

@Component({
  moduleId: module.id,
  selector: 'myapp-app',
  templateUrl: 'myapp.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['myapp.component.css']
})
export class MyappAppComponent {  
  title = 'myapp works!';
  environmentName = environment.envName;
}

Finally, in the html template add the h2 tag.

<h1>  
  {{title}}
</h1>

<h2>  
  {{environmentName}}
</h2>  

Now if you serve the app with each of the --environment={envName}, the binding will display accordingly. Note that the short hand ng s -prod will not work for custom environments i.e. ng s -qa, however you can use ng s -e qa

Notes

Although this is a nice feature there are some things to point out as shortcomings, challenges etc.

  • only production or development are supported
  • For every property that is added to the /src/app/environment.ts, it must be added to the files in /config/environment.{env}.ts, this is a disruptive workflow.
  • Using this as a solution only works if you are building your application from source and not once then moving to each environment.
  • this may change! There is a current issue on the angular-cli repo addressing this very issue : https://github.com/angular/angular-cli/issues/933 Issue Closed
  • the /src/app/environment.ts is only a stub per se and there to support the typescript compiler and serves no other purpose.

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Hi, I'm Shayne Boyer, I write this site, work on ASP.NET Core content and Open Source, speak at national and community events while helping teams architect web and cloud applications.

Tags:
angular2 angular-cli angular