Interpolation and template expressions

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Interpolation and template expressions

Interpolation allows you to incorporate calculated strings into the text between HTML element tags and within attribute assignments. Template expressions are what you use to calculate those strings.

See the live example for all of the syntax and code snippets in this guide.

Interpolation Template:...

Interpolation refers to embedding expressions into marked up text. By default, interpolation uses as its delimiter the double curly braces, {{ and }}.

In the following snippet, Template:CurrentCustomer is an example of interpolation.

<h3>Current customer: {{ currentCustomer }}</h3>

The text between the braces is often the name of a component property. Angular replaces that name with the string value of the corresponding component property.

<div><img src="{{itemImageUrl}}"></div>

In the example above, Angular evaluates the title and itemImageUrl properties and fills in the blanks, first displaying some title text and then an image.

More generally, the text between the braces is a template expression that Angular first evaluates and then converts to a string. The following interpolation illustrates the point by adding two numbers:

<!-- "The sum of 1 + 1 is 2" -->
<p>The sum of 1 + 1 is {{1 + 1}}.</p>

The expression can invoke methods of the host component such as getVal() in the following example:

<!-- "The sum of 1 + 1 is not 4" -->
<p>The sum of 1 + 1 is not {{1 + 1 + getVal()}}.</p>

Angular evaluates all expressions in double curly braces, converts the expression results to strings, and links them with neighboring literal strings. Finally, it assigns this composite interpolated result to an element or directive property.

You appear to be inserting the result between element tags and assigning it to attributes. However, interpolation is a special syntax that Angular converts into a property binding.

If you'd like to use something other than {{ and }}, you can configure the interpolation delimiter via the interpolation option in the Component metadata.

Template expressions

A template expression produces a value and appears within the double curly braces, {{ }}. Angular executes the expression and assigns it to a property of a binding target; the target could be an HTML element, a component, or a directive.

The interpolation braces in Template:1 + 1 surround the template expression 1 + 1. In the property binding, a template expression appears in quotes to the right of the = symbol as in [property]="expression".

In terms of syntax, template expressions are similar to JavaScript. Many JavaScript expressions are legal template expressions, with a few exceptions.

You can't use JavaScript expressions that have or promote side effects, including:

  • Assignments (=, +=, -=, ...)
  • Operators such as new, typeof, instanceof, etc.
  • Chaining expressions with ; or ,
  • The increment and decrement operators ++ and --
  • Some of the ES2015+ operators

Other notable differences from JavaScript syntax include:

Expression context

The expression context is typically the component instance. In the following snippets, the recommended within double curly braces and the itemImageUrl2 in quotes refer to properties of the AppComponent.

<img [src]="itemImageUrl2">

An expression may also refer to properties of the template's context such as a template input variable,

let customer, or a template reference variable, #customerInput.

  <li *ngFor="let customer of customers">{{}}</li>
<label>Type something:
  <input #customerInput>{{customerInput.value}}

The context for terms in an expression is a blend of the template variables, the directive's context object (if it has one), and the component's members. If you reference a name that belongs to more than one of these namespaces, the template variable name takes precedence, followed by a name in the directive's context, and, lastly, the component's member names.

The previous example presents such a name collision. The component has a customer property and the *ngFor defines a customer template variable.

The customer in refers to the template input variable, not the component's property.

Template expressions cannot refer to anything in the global namespace, except undefined. They can't refer to window or document. Additionally, they can't call console.log() or Math.max() and they are restricted to referencing members of the expression context.

Expression guidelines

When using template expressions follow these guidelines:


Although it's possible to write complex template expressions, it's a better practice to avoid them.

A property name or method call should be the norm, but an occasional Boolean negation, !, is OK. Otherwise, confine application and business logic to the component, where it is easier to develop and test.

Quick execution

Angular executes template expressions after every change detection cycle. Change detection cycles are triggered by many asynchronous activities such as promise resolutions, HTTP results, timer events, key presses and mouse moves.

Expressions should finish quickly or the user experience may drag, especially on slower devices. Consider caching values when their computation is expensive.

No visible side effects

A template expression should not change any application state other than the value of the target property.

This rule is essential to Angular's "unidirectional data flow" policy. You should never worry that reading a component value might change some other displayed value. The view should be stable throughout a single rendering pass.

An idempotent expression is ideal because it is free of side effects and improves Angular's change detection performance. In Angular terms, an idempotent expression always returns exactly the same thing until one of its dependent values changes.

Dependent values should not change during a single turn of the event loop. If an idempotent expression returns a string or a number, it returns the same string or number when called twice in a row. If the expression returns an object, including an array, it returns the same object reference when called twice in a row.

There is one exception to this behavior that applies to *ngFor. *ngFor has trackBy functionality that can deal with referential inequality of objects when iterating over them. See *ngFor with trackBy for details.

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