/Angular 7


When you are ready to deploy your Angular application to a remote server, you have various options for deployment.

Simple deployment options

Before fully deploying your application, you can test the process, build configuration, and deployed behavior by using one of these interim techniques

Building and serving from disk

During development, you typically use the ng serve command to build, watch, and serve the application from local memory, using webpack-dev-server. When you are ready to deploy, however, you must use the ng build command to build the app and deploy the build artifacts elsewhere.

Both ng build and ng serve clear the output folder before they build the project, but only the ng build command writes the generated build artifacts to the output folder.

The output folder is dist/project-name/ by default. To output to a different folder, change the outputPath in angular.json.

As you near the end of the development process, serving the contents of your output folder from a local web server can give you a better idea of how your application will behave when it is deployed to a remote server. You will need two terminals to get the live-reload experience.

  • On the first terminal, run the ng build command in watch mode to compile the application to the dist folder.

    ng build --watch

    Like the ng serve command, this regenerates output files when source files change.

  • On the second terminal, install a web server (such as lite-server), and run it against the output folder. For example:

    lite-server --baseDir="dist"

    The server will automatically reload your browser when new files are output.

This method is for development and testing only, and is not a supported or secure way of deploying an application.

Basic deployment to a remote server

For the simplest deployment, create a production build and copy the output directory to a web server.

  1. Start with the production build:

    ng build --prod
  1. Copy everything within the output folder (dist/ by default) to a folder on the server.

  2. Configure the server to redirect requests for missing files to index.html. Learn more about server-side redirects below.

This is the simplest production-ready deployment of your application.

Deploy to GitHub pages

Another simple way to deploy your Angular app is to use GitHub Pages.

  1. You need to create a GitHub account if you don't have one, and then create a repository for your project. Make a note of the user name and project name in GitHub.

  2. Build your project using Github project name, with the Angular CLI command ng build and the options shown here:

    ng build --prod --output-path docs --base-href /<project_name>/
  3. When the build is complete, make a copy of docs/index.html and name it docs/404.html.

  4. Commit your changes and push.

  5. On the GitHub project page, configure it to publish from the docs folder.

You can see your deployed page at https://<user_name>.github.io/<project_name>/.

Check out angular-cli-ghpages, a full featured package that does all this for you and has extra functionality.

Server configuration

This section covers changes you may have make to the server or to files deployed to the server.

Routed apps must fallback to index.html

Angular apps are perfect candidates for serving with a simple static HTML server. You don't need a server-side engine to dynamically compose application pages because Angular does that on the client-side.

If the app uses the Angular router, you must configure the server to return the application's host page (index.html) when asked for a file that it does not have.

A routed application should support "deep links". A deep link is a URL that specifies a path to a component inside the app. For example, http://www.mysite.com/heroes/42 is a deep link to the hero detail page that displays the hero with id: 42.

There is no issue when the user navigates to that URL from within a running client. The Angular router interprets the URL and routes to that page and hero.

But clicking a link in an email, entering it in the browser address bar, or merely refreshing the browser while on the hero detail page — all of these actions are handled by the browser itself, outside the running application. The browser makes a direct request to the server for that URL, bypassing the router.

A static server routinely returns index.html when it receives a request for http://www.mysite.com/. But it rejects http://www.mysite.com/heroes/42 and returns a 404 - Not Found error unless it is configured to return index.html instead.

Fallback configuration examples

There is no single configuration that works for every server. The following sections describe configurations for some of the most popular servers. The list is by no means exhaustive, but should provide you with a good starting point.

  • IIS: add a rewrite rule to web.config, similar to the one shown here:

              <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="/index.html" />

Requesting services from a different server (CORS)

Angular developers may encounter a cross-origin resource sharing error when making a service request (typically a data service request) to a server other than the application's own host server. Browsers forbid such requests unless the server permits them explicitly.

There isn't anything the client application can do about these errors. The server must be configured to accept the application's requests. Read about how to enable CORS for specific servers at enable-cors.org.

Production optimizations

The --prod meta-flag engages the following build optimization features.

  • Ahead-of-Time (AOT) Compilation: pre-compiles Angular component templates.
  • Production mode: deploys the production environment which enables production mode.
  • Bundling: concatenates your many application and library files into a few bundles.
  • Minification: removes excess whitespace, comments, and optional tokens.
  • Uglification: rewrites code to use short, cryptic variable and function names.
  • Dead code elimination: removes unreferenced modules and much unused code.

See ng build for more about CLI build options and what they do.

Enable runtime production mode

In addition to build optimizations, Angular also has a runtime production mode. Angular apps run in development mode by default, as you can see by the following message on the browser console:

Angular is running in the development mode. Call enableProdMode() to enable the production mode.

Switching to production mode makes it run faster by disabling development specific checks such as the dual change detection cycles.

When you enable production builds via --prod command line flag, the runtime production mode is enabled as well.

Lazy loading

You can dramatically reduce launch time by only loading the application modules that absolutely must be present when the app starts.

Configure the Angular Router to defer loading of all other modules (and their associated code), either by waiting until the app has launched or by lazy loading them on demand.

Angular Ahead-of-Time Webpack Plugin which automatically recognizes lazy-loaded NgModules and creates separate bundles for them.

Measure performance

You can make better decisions about what to optimize and how when you have a clear and accurate understanding of what's making the application slow. The cause may not be what you think it is. You can waste a lot of time and money optimizing something that has no tangible benefit or even makes the app slower. You should measure the app's actual behavior when running in the environments that are important to you.

The Chrome DevTools Network Performance page is a good place to start learning about measuring performance.

The WebPageTest tool is another good choice that can also help verify that your deployment was successful.

Inspect the bundles

The source-map-explorer tool is a great way to inspect the generated JavaScript bundles after a production build.

Install source-map-explorer:

npm install source-map-explorer --save-dev

Build your app for production including the source maps

ng build --prod --source-map

List the generated bundles in the dist/ folder.

ls dist/*.bundle.js

Run the explorer to generate a graphical representation of one of the bundles. The following example displays the graph for the main bundle.

node_modules/.bin/source-map-explorer dist/main.*.bundle.js

The source-map-explorer analyzes the source map generated with the bundle and draws a map of all dependencies, showing exactly which classes are included in the bundle.

Here's the output for the main bundle of the QuickStart.

quickstart sourcemap explorer

The base tag

The HTML <base href="..."/> specifies a base path for resolving relative URLs to assets such as images, scripts, and style sheets. For example, given the <base href="/my/app/">, the browser resolves a URL such as some/place/foo.jpg into a server request for my/app/some/place/foo.jpg. During navigation, the Angular router uses the base href as the base path to component, template, and module files.

See also the APP_BASE_HREF alternative.

In development, you typically start the server in the folder that holds index.html. That's the root folder and you'd add <base href="/"> near the top of index.html because / is the root of the app.

But on the shared or production server, you might serve the app from a subfolder. For example, when the URL to load the app is something like http://www.mysite.com/my/app/, the subfolder is my/app/ and you should add <base href="/my/app/"> to the server version of the index.html.

When the base tag is mis-configured, the app fails to load and the browser console displays 404 - Not Found errors for the missing files. Look at where it tried to find those files and adjust the base tag appropriately.

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