Working With Angular Modules in NativeScript Apps


TIP: Learn how to migrate Angular web apps to NativeScript with this video on YouTube: Add Native Mobile to Your Angular Projects: The Migration Story

Just like all mushrooms are edible, except some only once in your lifetime, so are the NgModules - some you can import everywhere, and some only once per app.

Do you know, which modules you should import everywhere and which only once?

Do you know what happens every time you add NativeScriptModule to each of your @NgModule?

Let me help you.

Once per App (root modules)

NativeScriptModule and NativeScriptAnimationsModule should only ever be imported in your AppModule. If you import them multiple times then the performance of your app might suffer.

NativeScriptModule

NativeScriptModule - provides services that are essential to run a NativeScript app. Most importantly it provides the renderer. Since each lazy module has it's own dependency injector, we'll end up with a bunch of renderers if we import the NativeScriptModule in each lazy module. This would additionally cause a lot of problems with Angular Animations.

NativeScriptAnimationsModule

NativeScriptAnimationsModule - starts by initialising crucial animation elements AnimationDriver, AnimationBuilder, AnimationStyleNormalizer, AnimationEngine, but most importantly it creates a wrapper around the renderer.

Errors

To help you get it right, we are going to add some changes to these modules, so that when you import either of them more than once you will see an error message like this:

  • for NativeScriptModule - NativeScriptAnimationsModule has already been loaded.
  • for NativeScriptAnimationsModule - Import NativeScriptAnimationsModule in the AppModule only.

Everywhere

Some modules can be (or even should be) imported with every feature and lazy-loaded module.

NativeScriptCommonModule

You should import NativeScriptCommonModule in every feature and lazy-loaded module. However you don't need to import it in AppModule, as it should be already exported by NativeScriptModule.

NativeScriptCommonModule - gives you access to the common angular directives (i.e. *ngFor and *ngIf and more), but also it provides you with NativeScript UI components (i.e. ListViewComponent and ActionBarComponent).

When needed

There are also some modules that you should only import when needed.

NativeScriptHttpClientModule

NativeScriptHttpClientModule (and its deprecated older cousin NativeScriptHttpModule) - allows you to make http calls.

The best practice: only import NativeScriptHttpClientModule (or NativeScriptHttpModule) in modules that:

  • provide services that inject HttpClient (or Http)
  • declare components that inject HttpClient (or Http), but not when they just inject services that use HttpClient (or Http)

NativeScriptFormsModule

NativeScriptFormsModule - provides you with two-way binding using [(ngModule)].

The best practice is like:

where there's smoke, there's fire

or in Angular terms:

where there's [(ngModule)] there's NativeScriptFormsModule

NativeScriptRouterModule

NativeScriptRouterModule - provides you with the necessary items to navigate in a NativeScript application: RouterExtensions and [nsRouterLink].

The best practice: it should be imported in the AppModule and once per each lazily-loaded bundle, which contains components that either:

  • inject Router or RouterExtensions (in the constructor) or
@Component({...})
export class MyComponent {  
    constructor(private router: RouterExtensions) { }
}
  • use [nsRouterLink] directive in the template
    <label text="Go Home" [nsRouterLink]="['/home']"></label>

The final advice - services

Never provide the same service in more than one module, as this will create a new copy of the service for each module.

Cheatsheet

NgModule Import from How to use it
NativeScriptModule nativescript-angular/nativescript.module Always add to AppModule
NativeScriptCommonModule nativescript-angular/common Never add to AppModule
Add to the remaining Modules
NativeScriptAnimationsModule nativescript-angular/animations Only add to AppModule
Use only if you need Angular Animations
NativeScriptHttpClientModule nativescript-angular/http-client Use only when any of the Module's services or components inject HttpClient
NativeScriptFormsModule nativescript-angular/forms Use in each module that uses two-way bindings with [(ngModule)]
NativeScriptRouterModule nativescript-angular/router Use when the Module's services or components use navigation

Further reading

It is also important to understand about Sharing Modules, which allow you to prepackage commonly used directives and pipes.

You can read more about it in the Angular Documentation

Author

Sebastian Witalec

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