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In Search of Better Loading and Error-handling in Angular

For many, Reactive programming seems like a conceptually elegant approach that falls apart the moment you try to do any serious programming. When adding essential error handling, refreshable state, etc. into an application, many folks see their codebases move further from the promise of clean, elegant reactive transforms.

It doesn’t have to be this way. While I’ve argued before for cleaner display of refreshable data by using AsyncPipe adopting better patterns for data refresh, this advice on its own does not provide an end-to-end pattern of displaying data from the moment it is loading all the way to error handling and refresh.

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Use trackBy in Angular ngFor Loops and MatTables

Angular Logo (CC-BY 4.0 by Angular Team press Kit: https://angular.io/presskit).

A missing trackBy in an ngFor block or a data table can often result in hard-to-track and seemingly glitchy behaviors in your web app. Today, I’ll discuss the signs that you need to use trackBy. But first—some context:

More often than not, you’ll want to render some repeated element in Angular. You’ll see code that looks like this:

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About those Side-effects in Observables, an Angular Use Case

When testing a codebase in Angular Ivy, I ran into a bunch of test failures I wasn’t seeing before. ExpressionChangedAfterItHasBeenCheckedErrors were being thrown around. In debugging these failures, I found that many of them are the results of side-effects in Observables and Observable pipe operations. I happened to describe these earlier in my piece on Observables, Side-effects, and Subscriptions.

Consider this minimal reproduction:

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Data and Page Content Refresh patterns in Angular

Angular Logo (CC-BY 4.0 by Angular Team press Kit: https://angular.io/presskit). Refresh logo licensed in public domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Part of why I recommend using RxJS Observables all the way through in Angular TypeScript code, and only unpacking them at the closest point to where the UI is declared (often using the | async pipe), is because it makes other transformations on an Observable available and convenient. Two such examples include retry and refresh logic.

Two common reasons to reload/refresh data being displayed by a component include:

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Use AsyncPipe When Possible

I typically review a fair amount of Angular code at work. One thing I typically encourage is using plain Observables in an Angular Component, and using AsyncPipe (foo | async) from the template html to handle subscription, rather than directly subscribing to an observable in a component TS file.

Unless you know a subscription you’re starting in a component is very finite (e.g. an HTTP request with no retry logic, etc), subscriptions you make in a Component must:

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