Understanding the File Structure

To get started let's create a bare-bones Angular application with a single component. To do this we need the following files:

  • app/app.component.ts - this is where we define our root component

  • app/app.module.ts - the entry Angular Module to be bootstrapped

  • index.html - this is the page the component will be rendered in

  • app/main.ts - is the glue that combines the component and page together

app/app.component.ts

import { Component } from '@angular/core'
@Component({
selector: 'app-root',
template: '<b>Bootstrapping an Angular Application</b>'
})
export class AppComponent { }

index.html

<body>
<app-root>Loading...</app-root>
</body>

app/app.module.ts

import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } '@angular/core';
import { AppComponent } from './app.component'
@NgModule({
imports: [BrowserModule],
declarations: [AppComponent],
bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule {
}

app/main.ts

import { platformBrowserDynamic } from '@angular/platform-browser-dynamic';
import { AppModule } from './app.module';
platformBrowserDynamic().bootstrapModule(AppModule);

If you're making use of Ahead-of-Time (AoT) compilation, you would code main.ts as follows.

import { platformBrowser} from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { AppModuleNgFactory } from '../aot/app/app.module.ngfactory';
platformBrowser().bootstrapModuleFactory(AppModuleNgFactory);

View Example

The bootstrap process loads main.ts which is the main entry point of the application. The AppModule operates as the root module of our application. The module is configured to use AppComponent as the component to bootstrap, and will be rendered on any app-root HTML element encountered.

There is an app HTML element in the index.html file, and we use app/main.ts to import the AppModule component and the platformBrowserDynamic().bootstrapModule function and kickstart the process. As shown above, you may optionally use AoT in which case you will be working with Factories, in the example, AppModuleNgFactory and bootstrapModuleFactory.

Why does Angular bootstrap itself in this way? Well there is actually a very good reason. Since Angular is not a web-only based framework, we can write components that will run in NativeScript, or Cordova, or any other environment that can host Angular applications.

The magic is then in our bootstrapping process - we can import which platform we would like to use, depending on the environment we're operating under. In our example, since we were running our Angular application in the browser, we used the bootstrapping process found in @angular/platform-browser-dynamic.

It's also a good idea to leave the bootstrapping process in its own separate main.ts file. This makes it easier to test (since the components are isolated from the bootstrap call), easier to reuse and gives better organization and structure to our application.

There is more to understanding Angular Modules and @NgModule which will be covered later, but for now this is enough to get started.