DEV Community

loading...
Angular

Demystifing Angular Routes

webdave profile image David Müllerchen Updated on ・3 min read

Route types

Angular comes with a great router. Here I want to show you the different route types and how they work.
I assume that you have some experience with the Angular router.

  • Standard Route Types
  • Custom Route Matcher

Standard Route Types

This section introduces you to several routing rules you can specify.

Wild Cards

A wild card is specified with two asterisk signs **.
This route will be activated if an URL is entered that does not match any other route registered.
The following snippet shows that LumpenSammlerComponent will be shown when the wild card gets activated.

[
  {
    path: '**',
    component: LumpenSammlerComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

⚠️Very important to know: The router goes through your router config array topdown.
And he checks every path of the config and tests it with a Regular Expression against the current route.
That means the order of your route config matters!
On child-modules or lazy loaded modules the angular router is very smart. He merges the child routes before the ** route.
So that it really comes last!

The Regular Expression for a wildcard looks like:

const regex = '^(?:([^/]+))$';
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Redirect

The default route which brings you to a default route if no route is given.

[
  {
    path: '',
    redirectTo: '/start',
    pathMatch: 'full'
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Important is the flag pathMatch which specifies the matching strategy.
Options are:

  • prefix
  • full

By default, the router will look at what is left in the URL, and check if it starts with the specified path

'/blog/11'  => 'blog/:id'
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

You can change the matching strategy to make sure that the path covers the whole unconsumed URL.

This is particularly important when redirecting empty-path routes.

Empty Path

This type of route does not "consume" any URL segments. It is a perfect fit if you want to use child-routing.

[
  {
    path: '',
    component: WelcomeComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Standard Routes

These are the most known route types. Nothing special.

[
  {
    path: 'start',
    component: StartComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The regex for start looks like this:

const regex = '/^/start$/';
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Routes With Params

This is the most common way to transport data in the route and have a dynamic route. F.e. https://my.web.site/blog/5

[
  {
    path: 'blog/:id',
    component: BlogComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The string at the segment which is marked with :id will be stored in the Observable ActivatedRoute.params.

{
  "id": "5"
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The regex for a blog/:id looks like:

const regex = '/^/blog/(?:([^/]+))$/';
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Custom Route Matcher

Definitely a frequently asked question in my workshops is:

  • Q: Can I define a specific regex for a route?
  • A: Yes!

Ok, this is not enough so I will explain how you can do this.

A 'Standard' route config has a path to define how this rule will be applied.
If you want to set your own rule, you can define a 'matcher'.
A custom URL matcher can be provided when a combination of path and pathMatch isn't expressive enough.

Here is a example to match with any regex, (I use a 'numbers-only' regex here):

const numberRegex = '^[0-9]*$';
const regexMatcher = (url: UrlSegment[]) => {
  return url.length === 1 && url[0].path.match(numberRegex)
    ? { consumed: url }
    : null;
};
[
  {
    matcher: regexMatcher,
    component: BlogComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The problem with this is that we don't have defined any routeParams yet.
So let's fix this.
To do so, we have to define them in the returned object as a UrlSegment which can be resolved by the router. Sounds complicated? It isn't.

const numberRegex = '^[0-9]*$';
const regexMatcher = (url: UrlSegment[]) => {
  return url.length === 1 && url[0].path.match(numberRegex)
    ? {
        consumed: url,
        posParams: {
          id: new UrlSegment(url[0].path, {})
        }
      }
    : null;
};
[
  {
    matcher: regexMatcher,
    component: BlogComponent
  }
];
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now we can read the Observable ActivatedRoute.params as always.

this.ActivatedRoute.params.subscribe(p => {
  console.log(p);
  this.id = p.id;
});
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

This next example is a great way to have internationalisation in the routes.

const i18nRegex = '(needle|nadel)';
const i18nMatcher = (url: UrlSegment[]) => {
  return url.length === 1 && url[0].path.match(i18nRegex)
    ? {
        consumed: url,
        posParams: {
          name: new UrlSegment(url[0].path, {})
        }
      }
    : null;
};
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

I've created a Blitz here. BTW: Checkout my posts about unittesting in Stackblitz.

Way more details about the Angular Router can be found in the official documentation

Credits

Thx to

Thanks, friends! It means a lot!

Discussion

pic
Editor guide