Angular Glossary

Angular has its own vocabulary. Most Angular terms are common English words or computing terms that have a specific meaning within the Angular system.

This glossary lists the most prominent terms and a few less familiar ones that have unusual or unexpected definitions.


Ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation

The Angular ahead-of-time (AOT) compiler converts your Angular HTML and TypeScript code into efficient JavaScript code during the build phase before the browser downloads and runs that code. This is the best compilation mode for production environments, with decreased load time and increased performance.

By compiling your application using the ngc command-line tool, you can bootstrap directly to a module factory, meaning you don't need to include the Angular compiler in your JavaScript bundle.

Compare just-in-time (JIT) compilation.

Angular element

An Angular component that has been packaged as a custom element.

Learn more in the Angular Elements guide.


A structure that provides metadata for a class. See Decorator.

Attribute directives

A category of directive that can listen to and modify the behavior of other HTML elements, attributes, properties, and components. They are usually represented as HTML attributes, hence the name.

Learn more in the Attribute Directives guide.


Generally, the practice of setting a variable or property to a data value. Within Angular, typically refers to data binding, which coordinates DOM object properties with data object properties.

Sometimes refers to a dependency-injection binding between a token and a dependency provider.


A way to initialize and launch an app or system.

In Angular, an app's root NgModule (AppModule) has a bootstrap property that identifies the app's top-level components. During the bootstrap process, Angular creates and inserts these components into the index.html host web page. You can bootstrap multiple apps in the same index.html, each app with its own components.

Learn more in the Bootstrapping guide.

Case conventions

Angular uses capitalization conventions to distinguish the names of various types, as described in the Style Guide "Naming" section.

  • camelCase : symbols, properties, methods, pipe names, non-component directive selectors, constants
  • UpperCamelCase (or PascalCase): Class names, including classes that define components, interfaces, NgModules, directives, pipes, and so on.
  • dash-case (or "kebab-case"): descriptive part of file names, component selectors
  • underscore_case (or "snake_case"): not typically used in Angular
  • UPPER_UNDERSCORE_CASE (or UPPER_SNAKE_CASE): traditional for constants (acceptable, but prefer camelCase)

Class decorator

A decorator statement immediately before a class definition that declares the class to be of the given type, and provides metadata suitable to the type.

The following class types can be declared:

Class field decorator

A decorator statement immediately before a field in a class definition that declares the type of that field. Some examples are @Input and @Output.


The Angular CLI is a command-line tool that can create a project, add files, and perform a variety of ongoing development tasks such as testing, bundling, and deployment.

Learn more in the Getting Started guide.


A class with the @Component decorator that associates it with a companion template.

A component is a special type of directive that represents a view.The @Component decorator extends the @Directive decorator with template-oriented features.

An Angular component class is responsible for exposing data and handling most of the view's display and user-interaction logic through data binding.

Read more about components, templates, and views in the Architecture guide.

Custom element

A Web Platform feature, currently supported by most browsers, and available in other browsers through polyfills (see Browser Support).

The custom element feature extends HTML by allowing you to define a tag whose content is created and controlled by JavaScript code. A custom element (also called a web component) is recognized by a browser when it is added to the CustomElementRegistry.

You can use the API to transform an Angular component so that it can be registered with the browser and used in any HTML that you add directly to the DOM within an Angular app. The custom element tag inserts the component's view, with change-detection and data-binding functionality, into content that would otherwise be displayed without Angular processing.

See also Dynamic components.

Data binding

Data binding allow apps to display data values to a user and respond to user actions (such as clicks, touches, and keystrokes).

In data binding, you declare the relationship between an HTML widget and data source and let the framework handle the details. Data binding is an alternative to manually pushing application data values into HTML, attaching event listeners, pulling changed values from the screen, and updating application data values.

Read about the following forms of binding in the Template Syntax page:


A class type that you can add to the declarations list of an NgModule.

You can declare components, directives, and pipes.

Do not declare the following:

  • A class that's already declared in another NgModule.
  • An array of directives imported from another package. For example, don't declare FORMS_DIRECTIVES from @angular/forms.
  • NgModule classes.
  • Service classes.
  • Non-Angular classes and objects, such as strings, numbers, functions, entity models, configurations, business logic, and helper classes

Decorator | decoration

A function that modifies the immediately following class or property definition. Decorators (also called annotations) are an experimental (stage 2), JavaScript language feature. TypeScript adds support for decorators.

Angular defines decorators that attach metadata to classes or properties so that it knows what those classes or properties mean and how they should work.

See Class decorator, Class field decorator.

Dependency injection

A design pattern and mechanism for creating and delivering parts of an application (dependencies) to other parts of an application that require them.

In Angular, dependencies are typically services, but can also be values, such as strings or functions. An injector for an app (created automatically during bootstrap) creates dependencies when needed, using a registered provider of the service or value. Different providers can provide different implementations of the same service.

Learn more in the Dependency Injection guide.

DI token

A lookup token associated with a dependency provider, for use with the dependency injection system.


A class with the @Directive decorator that can modify the structure of the DOM, or modify attributes in the DOM and component data model.

A directive class is usually associated with an HTML element or attribute, and that element or attribute is often referred to as the directive itself. When Angular finds a directive in an HTML template, it creates the matching directive class instance and gives the instance control over that portion of the browser DOM.

There are three categories of directive:

Angular supplies a number of built-in directives that begin with the ng prefix. You can also create new directives to implement your own functionality. You associate a selector (an HTML tag such as <my-directive>) with a custom directive, thereby extending the template syntax that you can use in your apps.

Domain-specific language (DSL)

A special-purpose library or API; see Domain-specific language.

Angular extends TypeScript with domain-specific languages for a number of domains relevant to Angular apps, defined in ngModules such as animations, forms, and routing and navigation.

Dynamic component loading

A technique for adding a component to the DOM at run time, which requires that you exclude the component from compilation, then connect it to Angular's change-detection and event handling framework when you add it to the DOM.

See also Custom element, which provides an easier path with the same result.


The official JavaScript language specification.

Not all browsers support the latest ECMAScript standard, but you can use a transpiler (like TypeScript) to write code using the latest features, which will then be transpiled to code that runs on versions that are supported by browsers.

To learn more, see the Browser Support page.


Angular defines an ElementRef class to wrap render-specific native UI elements. This allows you use Angular templates and data-binding to access DOM elements without reference to the native element in most cases.

The documentation generally refers to either elements (ElementRef instances) or DOM elements (which could be accessed directly if necessary).

Compare Custom element.

Entry point

A JavaScript ID that makes parts of an NPM package available for import by other code. The Angular scoped packages each have an entry point named index.

Within Angular, use NgModules to achieve the same result.


An Angular class or other definition that provides a dependency using the dependency injection mechanism. An injectable class is marked by the @Injectable decorator.

Both a service and a component that depends on that service must be marked as injectable. Other items, such as constant values, can be injectable.


An object in the Angular dependency-injection system that can find a named dependency in its cache or create a dependency with a registered provider. Injectors are created for NgModules automatically as part of the bootstrap process, and inherited through the component hierarchy.


When defining a directive, the @Input decorator on a directive property makes that property available as a target of a property binding. Data values flow into an input property from the data source identified in the template expression to the right of the equal sign.

To learn more, see input and output properties.


A form of property data binding in which a template expression between double-curly braces renders as text. That text can be concatenated with neighboring text before it is assigned to an element property or displayed between element tags, as in this example.

My current hero is {{hero.name}}

Read more about interpolation in the Template Syntax page.


See ECMAScript, TypeScript.

Just-in-time (JIT) compilation

The Angular Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler converts your Angular HTML and TypeScript code into efficient JavaScript code at run time, as part of bootstrapping. JIT compilation is the default when you run Angular's ng build and ng serve CLI commands, and is a good choice during development. JIT mode is strongly discouraged for production use because it results in large application payloads that hinder the bootstrap performance.

Compare ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation.

Lazy loading

Lazy loading speeds up application load time by splitting the application into multiple bundles and loading them on demand. For example, dependencies can be lazy-loaded as needed&emdash;as opposed to "eager-loaded" modules that are required by the root module, and are thus loaded on launch. Similarly, the router can load child views only when the parent view is activated, and you can build custom elements that can be loaded into an Angular app when needed.

Lifecycle hook

An interface that allows you to tap into the lifecycle of directives and components as they are created, updated, and destroyed.

Each interface has a single hook method whose name is the interface name prefixed with ng. For example, the OnInit interface has a hook method named ngOnInit.

Angular calls these hook methods in the following order:

  • ngOnChanges: when an input/output binding value changes.
  • ngOnInit: after the first ngOnChanges.
  • ngDoCheck: developer's custom change detection.
  • ngAfterContentInit: after component content initialized.
  • ngAfterContentChecked: after every check of component content.
  • ngAfterViewInit: after a component's views are initialized.
  • ngAfterViewChecked: after every check of a component's views.
  • ngOnDestroy: just before the directive is destroyed.

To learn more, see the Lifecycle Hooks page.


In general, a module collects a block of code dedicated to a single purpose. Angular uses standard JavaScript modules, and also defines an Angular module, NgModule.

In JavaScript (ECMAScript), each file is a module and all objects defined in the file belong to that module. Objects can exported, making them public, and public objects can be imported for use by other modules.

Angular ships as a collection of JavaScript modules, or libraries. Each Angular library name begins with the @angular prefix. Install them with the NPM package manager and import parts of them with JavaScript import declarations.

Compare the Angular NgModule.


A class definition with an @NgModule decorator, that declares and serves as a manifest for a block of code dedicated to an application domain, a workflow, or a closely related set of capabilities.

Like a JavaScript module, an NgModule can export functionality for use by other NgModules, and import public functionality from other NgModules.

The metadata for an NgModule class collects components, directives, and pipes that the application uses along with the list of imports and exports. See also Declarable.

NgModules are typically named after the file in which the exported thing is defined; for example, the Angular DatePipe class belongs to a feature module named date_pipe in the file date_pipe.ts. You import them from an Angular scoped package such as @angular/core.

Every Angular application has a root module. By convention, the class is called AppModule and resides in a file named app.module.ts.

To learn more, see the NgModules guide.


A producer of multiple values, which it pushes to subscribers. Used for asynchronous event handling throughout Angular. You execute an observable by subscribing to it with its subscribe() method, passing callbacks for notifications of new values, errors, or completion.

Observables can deliver single or multiple values of any type to subscribers, either synchronously (as a function delivers a value to its caller), or on a schedule. A subscriber receives notification of new values as they are produced, and of either error or normal completion.

Angular uses a third-party library called Reactive Extensions (RxJS).

To learn more, see the Observables guide.


An object passed to the subscribe() method for an observable that defines the callbacks for the subscriber.


When defining a directive, the @Output decorator on a directive property makes that property available as a target of event binding.

Events stream out of this property to the receiver identified in the template expression to the right of the equal sign.

To learn more, see input and output properties.


A class with the @Pipe decorator which defines a function that transforms input values to output values for display in a view.

Angular defines various pipes, and you can define new pipes.

To learn more, see the pipes page.


An NPM package that plugs gaps in a browser's JavaScript implementation. See the Browser Support guide for polyfills that support particular functionality for particular platforms.


A provider of an injectable service—specifically, a code recipe associated with a DI token, which an injector uses to create a new instance of a dependency for a class that requires it.

Angular registers its own providers with every injector, for services that Angular defines. You can register your own providers for services that your app needs.

See also Service, Dependency Injection.

Reactive forms

A technique for building Angular forms through code in a component. The alternative technique is template-driven forms.

When building reactive forms:

  • The "source of truth" is the component. The validation is defined using code in the component.
  • Each control is explicitly created in the component class with new FormControl() or with FormBuilder.
  • The template input elements do not use ngModel.
  • The associated Angular directives are all prefixed with Form, such as FormGroup, FormControl, and FormControlName.

Reactive forms are powerful, flexible, and a good choice for more complex data-entry form scenarios, such as dynamic generation of form controls.


A tool that configures and implements navigation among states and views within an Angular app.

The Router module is an NgModule that provides the necessary service providers and directives for navigating through application views. A routing component is one that imports the Router module and whose template contains a RouterOutlet element where it can display views produced by the router.

The Router defines navigation among views on a single page, as opposed to navigation among pages. It interprets URL-like links to determine which views to create or destroy, and which components to load or unload. It allows you to take advantage of lazy-loading in your Angular apps.

To learn more, see the Routing & Navigation guide.

Router module

A separate NgModule that provides the necessary service providers and directives for navigating through application views.

For more information, see the Routing & Navigation page.

Router outlet

A directive that acts as a placeholder in a routing component's template, which Angular dynamically fills based on the current router state.

Routing component

An Angular component with a RouterOutlet that displays views based on router navigations.

For more information, see the Routing & Navigation page.

Scoped package

A way to group related NPM packages. NgModules are delivered within scoped packages whose names begin with the Angular scope name @angular. For example, @angular/core, @angular/common, @angular/http, and @angular/router.

Import a scoped package in the same way that you import a normal package.

architecture/src/app/app.component.ts (import)
import { Component } from '@angular/core';


In Angular, a service is a class with the @Injectable decorator that encapsulates non-UI logic and code that can be re-used across an application. Angular distinguishes components from services in order to increase modularity and reusability.

The @Injectable metadata allows the service class to be used with the dependency injection mechanism. The injectable class is instantiated by a provider, and a module maintains a list of providers that can provide a particular type of service as needed by components or other services that require it.

To learn more, see Introduction to Services.

Structural directives

A category of directive that is responsible for shaping or reshaping HTML layout by modifying the DOM (adding, removing, or manipulating elements and their children).

To learn more, see the Structural Directives page.


A function that defines how to obtain or generate values or messages to be published. This function is executed when a consumer calls the subscribe() method of an observable.

The act of subscribing to an observable triggers its execution, associates callbacks with it, and creates a Subscription object that lets you unsubscribe.

The subscribe() method takes a JavaScript object (called an "observer") with up to three callbacks, one for each type of notification that an observable can deliver:

  • The next notification: sends a value such as a Number, a String, an Object, etc.
  • The error notification sends a JavaScript Error or exception.
  • The complete notification does not send a value, but the handler is called when the call completes. Scheduled values can continue to be returned after the call completes.


A template defines how to render a component's view in HTML

A template combines straight HTML with Angular data-binding syntax, directives, and template expressions (logical constructs). The Angular elements insert or calculate values that modify the HTML elements before the page is displayed.

A template is associated with a component class through @Component decorator. The HTML can be provided inline, as the value of the template property, or in a separate HTML file linked through the templateUrl property.

Additional templates, represented by a TemplateRef object, can define alternative or embedded views, which can be referenced from multiple components.

Template-driven forms

A technique for building Angular forms using HTML forms and input elements in the view. The alternate technique is Reactive Forms.

When building template-driven forms:

  • The "source of truth" is the template. The validation is defined using attributes on the individual input elements.
  • Two-way binding with ngModel keeps the component model synchronized with the user's entry into the input elements.
  • Behind the scenes, Angular creates a new control for each input element, provided you have set up a name attribute and two-way binding for each input.
  • The associated Angular directives are all prefixed with ng such as ngForm, ngModel, and ngModelGroup.

Template-driven forms are convenient, quick, and simple. They are a good choice for many basic data-entry form scenarios.

Read about how to build template-driven forms in the Forms page.

Template expression

A TypeScript-like syntax that Angular evaluates within a data binding.

Read about how to write template expressions in the Template expressions section of the Template Syntax page.


An opaque identifier used for efficient table lookup. In Angular, a DI token is used to find providers of dependencies in the dependency injection system.


The translation process that tranforms one version of JavaScript to another version; for example, down-leveling ES2015 to the older ES5 version.


TypeScript is a programming language notable for its optional typing system, which provides compile-time type checking and strong tooling support (such as code completion, refactoring, inline documentation, and intelligent search). Many code editors and IDEs support TypeScript either natively or with plug-ins.

TypeScript is the preferred language for Angular development. Read more about TypeScript at typescriptlang.org.


A view is the smallest grouping of display elements that can be created and destroyed together.

Angular renders a view under the control of one or more directives, especially component directives and their companion templates.

A view is specifically represented by a ViewRef instance associated with the component. A view that belongs to a component is called a host view. Views are typically collected into view hierarchies.

Properties of elements in a view can change dynamically, in response to user actions; the structure (number and order) of elements in a view cannot. You can change the structure of elements by inserting, moving, or removing nested views within their view containers.

View hierarchies can be loaded and unloaded dynamically as the user navigates through the application, typically under the control of a router.

View hierarchy

A tree of related views that can be acted on as a unit. The root view is a component's host view. A host view can be the root of a tree of embedded views, collected in a view container (ViewContainerRef) attached to an anchor element in the hosting component. The view hierarchy is a key part of Angular change detection.

The view hierarchy does not imply a component hierarchy. Views that are embedded in the context of a particular hierarchy can be host views of other components. Those components can be in the same NgModule as the hosting component, or belong to other NgModules.

Web component

See Custom element


An execution context for a set of asynchronous tasks. Useful for debugging, profiling, and testing apps that include asynchronous operations such as event processing, promises, and calls to remote servers.

An Angular app runs in a zone where it can respond to asynchronous events by checking for data changes and updating the information it displays by resolving data bindings.

A zone client can take action before and after an async operation completes.

Learn more about zones in this Brian Ford video.

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