Configuring dependency providers

The Creating and injecting services topic describes how to use classes as dependencies. Besides classes, you can also use other values such as Boolean, string, date, and objects as dependencies. Angular DI provides the necessary APIs to make the dependency configuration flexible, so you can make those values available in DI.

Specifying a provider token

If you specify the service class as the provider token, the default behavior is for the injector to instantiate that class using the new operator.

In the following example, the Logger class provides a Logger instance.

providers: [Logger]

You can, however, configure a DI to use a different class or any other different value to associate with the Logger class. So when the Logger is injected, this new value is used instead.

In fact, the class provider syntax is a shorthand expression that expands into a provider configuration, defined by the Provider interface.

Angular expands the providers value in this case into a full provider object as follows:

[{ provide: Logger, useClass: Logger }]

The expanded provider configuration is an object literal with two properties:

  • The provide property holds the token that serves as the key for both locating a dependency value and configuring the injector.
  • The second property is a provider definition object, which tells the injector how to create the dependency value. The provider-definition key can be one of the following:
    • useClass - this option tells Angular DI to instantiate a provided class when a dependency is injected
    • useExisting - allows you to alias a token and reference any existing one.
    • useFactory - allows you to define a function that constructs a dependency.
    • useValue - provides a static value that should be used as a dependency.

The section below describes how to use the mentioned provider definition keys.

Class providers: useClass

The useClass provider key lets you create and return a new instance of the specified class. You can use this type of provider to substitute an alternative implementation for a common or default class. The alternative implementation can, for example, implement a different strategy, extend the default class, or emulate the behavior of the real class in a test case. In the following example, the BetterLogger class would be instantiated when the Logger dependency is requested in a component or any other class.

[{ provide: Logger, useClass: BetterLogger }]

If the alternative class providers have their own dependencies, specify both providers in the providers metadata property of the parent module or component.

[ UserService,
  { provide: Logger, useClass: EvenBetterLogger }]

In this example, EvenBetterLogger displays the user name in the log message. This logger gets the user from an injected UserService instance.

export class EvenBetterLogger extends Logger {
  constructor(private userService: UserService) { super(); }

  override log(message: string) {
    const name = this.userService.user.name;
    super.log(`Message to ${name}: ${message}`);

Angular DI knows how to construct the UserService dependency, since it has been configured above and is available in the injector.

Alias providers: useExisting

The useExisting provider key lets you map one token to another. In effect, the first token is an alias for the service associated with the second token, creating two ways to access the same service object.

In the following example, the injector injects the singleton instance of NewLogger when the component asks for either the new or the old logger. In this way, OldLogger is an alias for NewLogger.

[ NewLogger,
  // Alias OldLogger w/ reference to NewLogger
  { provide: OldLogger, useExisting: NewLogger}]

Ensure you do not alias OldLogger to NewLogger with useClass, as this creates two different NewLogger instances.

Factory providers: useFactory

The useFactory provider key lets you create a dependency object by calling a factory function. With this approach you can create a dynamic value based on information available in the DI and elsewhere in the app.

In the following example, only authorized users should see secret heroes in the HeroService. Authorization can change during the course of a single application session, as when a different user logs in .

To keep security-sensitive information in UserService and out of HeroService, give the HeroService constructor a boolean flag to control display of secret heroes.

  private logger: Logger,
  private isAuthorized: boolean) { }

getHeroes() {
  const auth = this.isAuthorized ? 'authorized ' : 'unauthorized';
  this.logger.log(`Getting heroes for ${auth} user.`);
  return HEROES.filter(hero => this.isAuthorized || !hero.isSecret);

To implement the isAuthorized flag, use a factory provider to create a new logger instance for HeroService.

const heroServiceFactory = (logger: Logger, userService: UserService) =>
  new HeroService(logger, userService.user.isAuthorized);

The factory function has access to UserService. You inject both Logger and UserService into the factory provider so the injector can pass them along to the factory function.

export const heroServiceProvider =
  { provide: HeroService,
    useFactory: heroServiceFactory,
    deps: [Logger, UserService]
  • The useFactory field specifies that the provider is a factory function whose implementation is heroServiceFactory.

  • The deps property is an array of provider tokens. The Logger and UserService classes serve as tokens for their own class providers. The injector resolves these tokens and injects the corresponding services into the matching heroServiceFactory factory function parameters.

Capturing the factory provider in the exported variable, heroServiceProvider, makes the factory provider reusable.

Value providers: useValue

The useValue key lets you associate a fixed value with a DI token. Use this technique to provide runtime configuration constants such as website base addresses and feature flags. You can also use a value provider in a unit test to provide mock data in place of a production data service. The next section provides more information about the useValue key.

Using an InjectionToken object

Define and use an InjectionToken object for choosing a provider token for non-class dependencies. The following example defines a token, APP_CONFIG of the type InjectionToken.

import { InjectionToken } from '@angular/core';

export const APP_CONFIG = new InjectionToken<AppConfig>('app.config');

The optional type parameter, <AppConfig>, and the token description, app.config, specify the token's purpose.

Next, register the dependency provider in the component using the InjectionToken object of APP_CONFIG.

providers: [{ provide: APP_CONFIG, useValue: HERO_DI_CONFIG }]

Now, inject the configuration object into the constructor with @Inject() parameter decorator.

constructor(@Inject(APP_CONFIG) config: AppConfig) {
  this.title = config.title;

Interfaces and DI

Though the TypeScript AppConfig interface supports typing within the class, the AppConfig interface plays no role in DI. In TypeScript, an interface is a design-time artifact, and does not have a runtime representation, or token, that the DI framework can use.

When the transpiler changes TypeScript to JavaScript, the interface disappears because JavaScript doesn't have interfaces.

Because there is no interface for Angular to find at runtime, the interface cannot be a token, nor can you inject it.

// Can't use interface as provider token
[{ provide: AppConfig, useValue: HERO_DI_CONFIG })]
// Can't inject using the interface as the parameter type
constructor(private config: AppConfig){ }

What's next

Last reviewed on Tue Aug 02 2022

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