A guide to Angular project structure.

Aug 27, 2023 |
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Angular is a highly popular open-source framework renowned for its ability to build dynamic and scalable web applications. With a comprehensive set of tools and features, Angular simplifies the development process, making it easier for developers to create powerful applications.

Regardless of whether developers are working individually or collaborating with an Angular development services company, maintaining a well-organized project structure is crucial. A structured file and folder organization ensures code readability and facilitates smooth collaboration among team members. In this article, we will explore the best practices for structuring files and folders in an Angular project, highlighting the numerous advantages it brings to the development process.

An interesting fact worth noting is that Angular ranks among the most widely used JavaScript frameworks in the developer community. According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021, Angular stands as the second most popular web framework, demonstrating its significant adoption rate worldwide. This popularity is a testament to Angular’s reliability and robustness, making it a preferred choice for building web applications in the industry.

In the following sections, we will delve into the best practices for organizing an Angular project’s file and folder structure. These practices not only improve code organization and readability but also enhance collaboration, maintainability, and overall efficiency during the development lifecycle

Understanding Angular project structure

Having an organized project file structure is essential for the success of any Angular application. A well-defined folder structure allows developers to easily comprehend and navigate the codebase, promoting code reusability and collaboration among team members. It also simplifies the build and deployment process and offers better control over dependencies.

The main components of an Angular project structure are:

  1. Src folder: This serves as the project’s root directory, containing all the source files and resources required for development. Developers spend most of their time writing and modifying code in this folder.
  2. App folder: Located inside the src folder, the app folder represents the main application module. It houses core functionality and contains various components, services, directives, and other resources specific to the application.
  3. Assets folder: Also within the src folder, the assets folder stores static assets required by the application, such as images, fonts, icons, JSON files, and configuration files.
  4. Environments folder: Another important directory within the src folder, the environments folder stores environment-specific configuration files. Each environment (e.g., development, staging, production) has its own configuration file with variables specific to that environment.
  5. Node_modules folder: This is a crucial part of the project, managing dependencies installed via package managers like npm or yarn. All necessary code and resources for installed packages are stored here.
  6. Angular.json file: This configuration file allows customization of various aspects of the project’s build, development, and deployment processes. It defines settings related to the project’s architecture, build targets, environment configurations, and more.

Understanding these key components of an Angular project structure lays the foundation for building and maintaining robust applications efficiently.

Angular project structure best practices

To ensure a well-organized and maintainable project in Angular, it is essential to follow certain best practices for structuring files and folders. By adhering to these guidelines, developers can enhance collaboration among team members and streamline the development process.

  1. Organizing by feature: One of the best practices is to organize files by feature. This approach groups related components, services, and other code files based on the feature they belong to. For instance, in an e-commerce application, feature folders like “Product,” “Cart,” and “User” would contain all the necessary components and related files for their respective features. This organization improves the overall project structure, making it easier for developers to locate and work on specific functionalities, resulting in better collaboration and productivity.
  2. Core module: Implementing a Core Module is crucial in Angular projects. It serves as a central module for essential services, components, and configurations required throughout the application. Core Modules typically handle tasks such as authentication, API services, error handling, logging, and other common functionalities. By including services that are singletons and need to be shared across the application, like authentication and data services, the Core Module ensures code reusability and maintainability. Additionally, globally used components, such as headers, footers, or navigation elements, can also be part of the Core Module.
  3. Feature modules: Utilizing Feature Modules allows for better organization and separation of concerns in an Angular application. These modules encapsulate specific features or functionality, promoting a modular structure. By grouping together all the components and related files required for a particular feature, Feature Modules make managing and maintaining the codebase more manageable. They also enable developers to work on different features independently, leading to better collaboration and scalability. Feature Modules can also be shared across multiple projects, enhancing code reusability.
  4. Using a shared module: A Shared Module is essential for avoiding code duplication and promoting consistency in the project. It contains components, directives, and pipes that are shared across multiple Feature Modules. By centralizing common UI components, services, and other code, the Shared Module facilitates code reuse and ensures consistent functionality and styling throughout the application. Commonly shared components like buttons, input fields, modals, and tooltips, along with shared services like logging services or utility services, can be included in the Shared Module.
  5. Adhering to the angular style guide: Following the Angular Style Guide is crucial for maintaining consistency and readability in the project. The guide provides guidelines and best practices for project structure, coding conventions, naming conventions, and architectural patterns. Adherence to these guidelines results in code that is easier to understand, navigate, and maintain. Consistency in project structure and coding conventions also improves maintainability, as it enables easier troubleshooting, debugging, and updates.

By implementing these best practices, developers can ensure a well-structured and maintainable Angular project. An organized project structure fosters collaboration, reduces code conflicts, and enables efficient development, resulting in a smoother development process and a more successful application.

Refactoring an Angular project for better structure

Refactoring an existing Angular project to improve its structure can greatly enhance its maintainability and scalability. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to successfully refactor your Angular project:

Step 1: Analyze the Current Structure: Begin by thoroughly analyzing the current structure of your Angular project. Identify any patterns of disorganization, code duplication, or poor component separation. Make notes of areas that need improvement.

Step 2: Define a Target Structure: Determine the desired structure for your Angular project. Consider organizing your files and folders based on feature modules, separating concerns, and improving component reusability. Having a clear vision of how you want your project to be structured is crucial.

Step 3: Create a Backup: Before making any changes, create a backup of your existing Angular project. This ensures that you have a safe point to revert to if needed, preventing any potential loss of progress or data.

Step 4: Refactor One Feature at a Time: To maintain clarity and reduce the risk of introducing new bugs, refactor one feature or module at a time. Start with the most critical or problematic areas first. This incremental approach makes the refactoring process more manageable and allows for easier debugging if issues arise.

Step 5: Move Files and Update Imports: As you refactor, rearrange files and folders according to the new structure defined in step 2. Update import statements in affected files to reflect the changes in the file locations. Ensure that all references and dependencies are correctly updated to avoid compilation errors.

Step 6: Test and Validate: After each refactoring step, thoroughly test the functionality of the refactored feature or module. Use unit tests, integration tests, and manual testing to ensure that everything works as expected. Testing helps identify any regressions or issues introduced during the refactoring process.

Step 7: Refactor Shared Code: Identify common code or components that can be extracted and refactored into shared modules or libraries. Promote reusability by centralizing shared functionalities, which reduces code duplication across the project.

Step 8: Update Build Configurations: If necessary, update build configurations, such as Angular CLI configuration files (angular.json), and build scripts to align with the new project structure. Ensure that the build process still works smoothly and produces the desired output.

By diligently following these steps, you can successfully refactor your Angular project to have a more structured and maintainable codebase. The process helps streamline development, improves collaboration among team members, and sets the foundation for scalability as your application grows. Always remember to test thoroughly after each refactoring step to catch any potential issues early and ensure a robust final result.

How lazy loading improves the structure of an Angular project

Lazy loading is a powerful technique in Angular that significantly enhances the structure and performance of large-scale projects. This approach divides the application into smaller and more manageable chunks, loading modules and components only when they are needed. As a result, lazy loading improves the overall project structure and offers several key benefits:

  1. Modular architecture: Lazy loading promotes a modular architecture, where different parts of the application are encapsulated within their own feature modules. Each feature module represents a specific functionality or section of the application. This modular approach improves code organization and separation of concerns, making it easier to maintain and scale the project.
  2. Reduced initial load time: By loading modules on demand, the initial load time of the application is significantly reduced. When users access the application, only the essential modules required for the current view are fetched and rendered. This leads to faster loading times and a smoother user experience, especially for large applications with numerous features.
  3. Better performance: Lazy loading optimizes application performance by loading resources asynchronously. Smaller bundles are loaded when navigating to different sections of the application, minimizing the amount of data transferred over the network. This results in quicker page loads and reduced server load, leading to improved overall performance.
  4. Efficient resource usage: With lazy loading, the application loads resources only when needed. This means that users who might not access certain features or sections of the application won’t have unnecessary resources loaded on their devices. It conserves memory and reduces the application’s overall footprint, making it more efficient, especially for devices with limited resources.
  5. Simplified development and maintenance: Lazy loading facilitates the development and maintenance of the project by allowing developers to focus on individual feature modules. Since each module is responsible for a specific functionality, different teams can work independently on their respective modules without affecting others. This promotes a more streamlined and efficient development process, fostering collaboration among developers.
  6. Scalability: As the project grows, lazy loading enables better scalability. Large applications can be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces, making it easier to extend and add new features without introducing complexities. The modular structure allows teams to work on different parts of the application simultaneously, promoting parallel development and rapid iteration.

In conclusion, lazy loading significantly improves the structure of an Angular project by promoting a modular architecture, reducing initial load time, and enhancing overall performance. It streamlines development, simplifies maintenance, and ensures a scalable application that can adapt to growing demands and requirements. By leveraging lazy loading, developers can build more efficient and user-friendly Angular applications.

Case study: Angular project & folder structure in large-scale applications

In the context of large-scale applications, the organization and structure of an Angular project become even more critical to ensure manageability and scalability. These applications often have complex codebases and require a well-thought-out project structure. Let’s explore how large-scale Angular applications implement certain strategies to achieve an efficient and organized architecture:

  1. Organizing by modules or features: Large-scale applications adopt a modular approach by organizing files and folders based on feature modules. Each feature module encapsulates a specific functionality or section of the application. This modularization allows for better separation of concerns, promoting code reusability, and making the codebase easier to navigate.
  2. Lazy loading for improved performance: To optimize performance and reduce initial load times, large-scale applications commonly implement lazy loading. With lazy loading, feature modules are loaded on-demand, minimizing the amount of data transferred during the initial application load. As users navigate through different sections of the application, the required modules are dynamically fetched and loaded, leading to a faster and more responsive user experience.
  3. Core module for centralized services: Large-scale applications often create a Core Module, serving as a central repository for essential services and components shared across the entire application. The Core Module typically houses services related to authentication, data handling, logging, and other common functionalities. By centralizing these services, the application promotes code sharing and avoids duplication, leading to a more maintainable and scalable architecture.
  4. Feature modules for independent development: Feature Modules play a crucial role in large-scale applications as they enable independent development of different sections of the application. Multiple teams can work simultaneously on their respective feature modules without interfering with each other’s code. This parallel development approach fosters collaboration among developers and speeds up the development process, ensuring efficient project management.
  5. Shared module for code reusability: To promote code reusability and maintain consistent UI components, large-scale applications utilize a Shared Module. The Shared Module contains commonly used components, directives, and pipes that are shared across multiple feature modules. By centralizing these components, the application avoids code duplication, enforces a consistent user experience, and facilitates code maintenance.
  6. Adherence to best practices: In large-scale projects, adhering to the Angular Style Guide and other best practices is essential. Following consistent coding conventions, naming conventions, and architectural patterns ensures that the codebase is maintainable, easily readable, and readily understandable by the development team.
  7. Scalability and flexibility: Large-scale Angular applications are designed with scalability and flexibility in mind. The modular structure, lazy loading, and efficient code organization allow the application to accommodate future growth and accommodate new features seamlessly.

In summary, large-scale Angular applications focus on creating a structured and modular architecture that supports teamwork, code sharing, and efficient maintenance. By utilizing lazy loading, feature modules, and shared modules, these applications enhance performance, promote code reusability, and enable smooth parallel development. Adhering to best practices ensures a consistent and maintainable codebase, empowering developers to build and maintain sophisticated web applications effectively.

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