Using Angular with Visual Studio 2015

From Get docs

Using Angular with Visual Studio 2015

Some developers prefer Visual Studio as their Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

This cookbook describes the steps required to set up and use Angular app files in Visual Studio 2015 within an ASP.NET 4.x project.

There is no live example for this cookbook because it describes Visual Studio, not the Angular application itself. It uses the starter Angular application created by the CLI command ng new as an example.

ASP.NET 4.x Project

To set up the Getting Started files with an ASP.NET 4.x project in Visual Studio 2015, follow these steps:

If you prefer a File | New Project experience and are using ASP.NET Core, then consider the experimental ASP.NET Core + Angular template for Visual Studio 2015. Note that the resulting code does not map to the docs. Adjust accordingly.

Prerequisite: Node.js

Install Node.js® and npm if they are not already on your machine. See Local Environment Setup for supported versions and instructions.

Prerequisite: Visual Studio 2015 Update 3

The minimum requirement for developing Angular applications with Visual Studio is Update 3. Earlier versions do not follow the best practices for developing applications with TypeScript. To view your version of Visual Studio 2015, go to Help | About Visual Studio.

If you don't have it, install Visual Studio 2015 Update 3. Or use Tools | Extensions and Updates to update to Update 3 directly from Visual Studio 2015.

Prerequisite: Configure External Web tools

Configure Visual Studio to use the global external web tools instead of the tools that ship with Visual Studio:

  • Open the Options dialog with Tools | Options.
  • In the tree on the left, select Projects and Solutions | External Web Tools.
  • On the right, move the $(PATH) entry above the $(DevEnvDir) entries. This tells Visual Studio to use the external tools (such as npm) found in the global path before using its own version of the external tools.
  • Click OK to close the dialog.
  • Restart Visual Studio for this change to take effect.

Visual Studio now looks first for external tools in the current workspace and if it doesn't find them, it looks in the global path. If Visual Studio doesn't find them in either location, it will use its own versions of the tools.

Prerequisite: Install TypeScript for Visual Studio 2015

While Visual Studio Update 3 ships with TypeScript support out of the box, it currently doesn’t ship with more recent versions of TypeScript, which you need to develop Angular applications.

To install the latest version of TypeScript:

You can find out more about TypeScript support in Visual Studio here.

At this point, Visual Studio is ready. It’s a good idea to close Visual Studio and restart it to make sure everything is clean.

Step 1: Create a starter Angular app

Follow the instructions in Local Environment Setup to create a starter Angular app using the CLI command ng new.

Step 2: Create the Visual Studio ASP.NET project

Create the ASP.NET 4.x project in the usual way as follows:

  • In Visual Studio, select File | New | Project from the menu.
  • In the template tree, select Templates | Visual C# (or Visual Basic) | Web.
  • Select the ASP.NET Web Application template, give the project a name, and click OK.
  • Select the desired ASP.NET 4.5.2 template and click OK.

This cookbook uses the Empty template with no added folders, no authentication, and no hosting. Pick the template and options appropriate for your project.

Step 3: Copy the Angular project files into the ASP.NET project folder

Copy files from the starter Angular app into the folder containing the .csproj file. Include the files in the Visual Studio project as follows:

  • Click the Show All Files button in Solution Explorer to reveal all of the hidden files in the project.
  • Right-click on each folder/file to be included in the project and select Include in Project. Minimally, include the following folder/files:
    • src/app folder (answer No if asked to search for TypeScript Typings)
    • src/styles.css
    • src/index.html
    • package.json
    • src/tsconfig.json

Step 4: Restore the required packages

Restore the packages required for an Angular application as follows:

  • Right-click on the package.json file in Solution Explorer and select Restore Packages. This uses npm to install all of the packages defined in the package.json file. It may take some time.
  • If desired, open the Output window (View | Output) to watch the npm commands execute.
  • Ignore the warnings.
  • When the restore is finished, a message in the bottom message bar of Visual Studio should say: Installing packages complete. Be patient. This could take a while.
  • Click the Refresh icon in Solution Explorer.
  • Do not include the node_modules folder in the project. Let it be a hidden project folder.

Step 5: Build and run the app

First, ensure that src/index.html is set as the start page. Right-click index.html in Solution Explorer and select option Set As Start Page.

To run in VS with F5

Most Visual Studio developers like to press the F5 key and see the IIS server come up. To use the IIS server with the Getting Started app, you must make the following three changes.

  1. In index.html, change base href from <base href="/"> to <base href="/src/">.
  2. Also in index.html, change the scripts to use /node_modules with a slash instead of node_modules without the slash.
  3. In src/systemjs.config.js, near the top of the file, change the npm path to /node_modules/ with a slash.

After these changes, npm start no longer works. You must choose to configure either for F5 with IIS or for npm start with the lite-server.

For apps that use routing

If your app uses routing, you need to teach the server to always return index.html when the user asks for an HTML page for reasons explained in the Deployment guide.

Everything seems fine while you move about within the app. But you'll see the problem right away if you refresh the browser or paste a link to an app page (called a "deep link") into the browser address bar.

You'll most likely get a 404 - Page Not Found response from the server for any address other than / or /index.html.

You have to configure the server to return index.html for requests to these "unknown" pages. The lite-server development server does out-of-the-box. If you've switched over to F5 and IIS, you have to configure IIS to do it. This section walks through the steps to adapt the Getting Started application.

Configure IIS rewrite rules

Visual Studio ships with IIS Express, which has the rewrite module baked in. However, if you're using regular IIS you'll have to install the rewrite module.

Tell Visual Studio how to handle requests for route app pages by adding these rewrite rules near the bottom of the web.config:

        <rule name="Angular Routes" stopProcessing="true">
          <match url=".*" />
          <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll">
            <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsFile" negate="true" />
            <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsDirectory" negate="true" />
          <action type="Rewrite" url="/src/" />

The match url, <match url=".*" />, will rewrite every request. You'll have to adjust this if you want some requests to get through, such as web API requests.

The URL in <action type="Rewrite" url="/src/"/> should match the base href in index.html.

Build and launch the app with debugger by clicking the Run button or by pressing F5.

It's faster to run without the debugger by pressing Ctrl-F5.

The default browser opens and displays the Getting Started sample application.

Try editing any of the project files. Save and refresh the browser to see the changes.

© 2010–2020 Google, Inc.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.