/Angular 2

Visual Studio 2015 QuickStart

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

This cookbook describes the steps required to set up and use the Angular QuickStart 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 application.

ASP.NET 4.x Project

This cookbook explains how to set up the QuickStart files with an ASP.NET 4.x project in Visual Studio 2015.

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.

The steps are as follows:

  • Prerequisite: Install Node.js
  • Prerequisite: Install Visual Studio 2015 Update 3
  • Prerequisite: Configure External Web tools
  • Prerequisite: Install TypeScript 2 for Visual Studio 2015
  • Step 1: Download the QuickStart files
  • Step 2: Create the Visual Studio ASP.NET project
  • Step 3: Copy the QuickStart files into the ASP.NET project folder
  • Step 4: Restore required packages
  • Step 5: Build and run the app

Prerequisite: Node.js

Install Node.js® and npm if they are not already on your machine.

Verify that you are running node version 4.6.x or greater, and npm 3.x.x or greater by running node -v and npm -v in a terminal/console window. Older versions produce errors.

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 will now look first for external tools in the current workspace and if not found then look in the global path and if it is not found there, Visual Studio will use its own versions of the tools.

Prerequisite: Install TypeScript 2 for Visual Studio 2015

While Visual Studio Update 3 ships with TypeScript support out of the box, it currently doesn’t ship with TypeScript 2, which you need to develop Angular applications.

To install TypeScript 2:

You can find out more about TypeScript 2 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: Download the QuickStart files

Download the QuickStart source from github. If you downloaded as a zip file, extract the files.

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.

In this cookbook we'll select 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 QuickStart files into the ASP.NET project folder

Copy the QuickStart files we downloaded from github 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:
    • app folder (answer No if asked to search for TypeScript Typings)
    • styles.css
    • index.html
    • package.json
    • 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 should say: npm command completed with exit code 0.
  • 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 index.html is set as the start page. Right-click index.html in Solution Explorer and select option Set As Start Page.

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

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

The default browser opens and displays the QuickStart sample application.

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

Note on Routing Applications

If this application used the Angular router, a browser refresh could return a 404 - Page Not Found. Look at the address bar. Does it contain a navigation url (a "deep link") ... any path other than / or /index.html?

You'll have to configure the server to return index.html for these requests. Until you do, remove the navigation path and refresh again.

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