how I use gulp to take care of my angular template urls

05 March 2015   Comments   angular gulp

While developing an angular SPA (single page app), I felt the need to find a shortcut to avoid repeating myself when it comes to the templateUrl of the ui-router states.

Given that I’m already using gulp to:

  • squash all javascript files into a single .js file (to avoid having numerous <script> tags in my html file) and
  • squash all template files into a template-cache.js file (to one request per-template on client)

I found that there can be a neat trick added to the gulp to shorten the templateUrls in my states.

Application Structure

I use Y140 - LIFT principal standard for my application structure.


This basically means that each module has a folder of itself that contains:

  • index.js that contains the module definition, ui-router state configuration, controllers (if small enough) and so on.
  • index.html that contains the partial html for the main view of the module – e.g. the list of it’s a collection module, etc.

Template urls

In the index.js when we configure the ui-router states, we need to provide the templateUrls that with this structure it will usually end-up being long paths (relative to the root of the application).

To solve this issue, I have defined two conventions:

  • > to point to <current folder>/index.html
  • >/some-path means the file is relative to this path. – at <current folder>/some-path

Note that this convention is not suitable if you do not squash your templates into a template cache file.

Our gulp squash task replaces > (with folder path) in .js files before the squash happens.

var jsFiles = ['./app/**/index.js', './app/**/*.js'];

gulp.task('squash_js', function(){

    return gulp.src(jsFiles)
      .pipe(gulpTap(function (file) {
          var relativePath = path.relative(file.cwd, path.dirname(file.path));
          var newPath = relativePath.replace(/\\/g, '/');

          var content = file.contents.toString();
          content = content.replace(/'>\//g, '\'' + newPath + '/');
          content = content.replace(/'>'/g, '\'' + newPath + '/index.html\'');

          var newBuffer = new Buffer(content);
          file.contents = newBuffer;
      .pipe(gulpIf(isProduction, uglify()))

Bonus: by setting isProduction to true in the above code, the squashed js file will also be uglified.

Now if you use this in your ui-router:

    templateUrl: '>',
    templateUrl: '>/add.html',

gulp converts it to:

    templateUrl: 'app/customers/index.html',
    templateUrl: 'app/customers/add.html',

Template file cache

It is important that the path we use in our template cache file is compatible with the path we create for templateUrls.

For clarity, here is how my template cache task looks like:

var templateFiles = ['./app/**/*.html'];

gulp.task('squash_template', function () {
        .pipe(templateCache('templates.js', { module: 'portal.templates', standalone: true, root: 'angular'}))

Here I’m using gulp-angular-templatecache library and I configure it to create a new angular module (named portal.templates).

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