DEV Community

Volodymyr Yepishev
Volodymyr Yepishev

Posted on

Iframe Microfrontends: Angular Shell

The repo is here.
The commit for this part of the tutorial is here :)

Before we start coding the Angular shell, let's first think about what we are going to need.

We will need a component to provide iframe and mount our React application, it's a feature, so it deserves its own module, and since lazy loading is a cool feature, it'll be lazy too! There's something twisted about lazy loading an iframe, which in return will load another application. Anyway, I digress.

So then, we also need a service to communicate with the Bored API in Angular and another service, which will handle the messaging between the iframe and our shell application. As you might have already guessed, we're going to use postMessage to throw messages between our microfrontends.

Let's start with the module:

npm run nx -- g m frame --route frame --module app.module
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Once it's created, let's update app.module.ts so all paths redirect to it:

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/app.module.ts
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { RouterModule } from '@angular/router';

import { AppComponent } from './app.component';
import { NxWelcomeComponent } from './nx-welcome.component';

  declarations: [AppComponent, NxWelcomeComponent],
  imports: [
          path: 'frame',
          loadChildren: () =>
            import('./frame/frame.module').then((m) => m.FrameModule),
          path: '**',
          redirectTo: 'frame',
      { initialNavigation: 'enabledBlocking' }
  providers: [],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent],
export class AppModule {}

Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Also while we're at it, let's purify with fire app.component.ts and remove everything unnecessary from it.

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/app.component.ts
import { Component } from '@angular/core';

  selector: 'app-root',
  template: `<router-outlet></router-outlet>`,
export class AppComponent {}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Good, now onto creating the ActivityService which will live inside our FrameModule:

npm run nx -- g s frame/services/activity  --skipTests=true
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now, let's update FrameModule a bit: first of all we need to add HttpClientModule to the imports, since our ActivityService will require it to communicate with the api, also let's add the newly created service to the providers (we will not provide it in root).

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/frame/frame.module.ts
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common';
import { Routes, RouterModule } from '@angular/router';
import { HttpClientModule } from '@angular/common/http';

import { FrameComponent } from './frame.component';
import { ActivityService } from './services/activity.service';

const routes: Routes = [{ path: '', component: FrameComponent }];

  declarations: [FrameComponent],
  imports: [CommonModule, RouterModule.forChild(routes), HttpClientModule],
  providers: [ActivityService]
export class FrameModule {}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Time to update our ActivityService, for the sake of sadness let's add a filter to the api request so it only requests activities for one participant.

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/frame/services/activity.service.ts
import { HttpClient, HttpParams } from '@angular/common/http';
import { Injectable } from '@angular/core';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';

import { ActivityItem } from '@demo--nx-iframe-microfrontends/models';

export class ActivityService {
  constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}

  public getActivity(): Observable<ActivityItem> {
    const params = new HttpParams().set('participants', 1);
    return this.http.get<ActivityItem>(
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Time to produce probably one of the most important services, the MessageService. It is going to react to messages coming from the iframe, pipe them to api requests from ActivityService and send them back via postMessage to iframe's contentWindow. Since it is going to be a service, it will not be watching DOM for events, but provide methods to set the iframe for messaging and a method which accepts MessageEvent bubbling from the iframe. It will be component's duty to watch the events and pass them to the service to handle, but later about it, let's create the service:

npm run nx -- g s frame/services/message  --skipTests=true
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Update the service with the following:

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/frame/services/message.service.ts
import { Injectable, ElementRef, OnDestroy } from '@angular/core';
import { debounceTime, Subject, Subscription, switchMap } from 'rxjs';

import { ActivityService } from './activity.service';

export class MessageService implements OnDestroy {
  private incomingMessage$$ = new Subject<MessageEvent>();
  private targetWindow: ElementRef<HTMLIFrameElement> | null = null;
  private subscription: Subscription | null = null;

  constructor(private activityService: ActivityService) {

  public ngOnDestroy(): void {

  public set target(targetWindow: ElementRef<HTMLIFrameElement>) {
    this.targetWindow = targetWindow;

  public requestActivity(event: MessageEvent): void {

  private subscribeToMessages(): void {
    this.subscription = this.incomingMessage$$
        switchMap(() => this.activityService.getActivity())
      .subscribe((v) => {
        this.targetWindow?.nativeElement.contentWindow?.postMessage(v, '*');
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

As you can see we utilize Subject to turn messages into a stream of observables, then pipe them to getActivity requests and post results to the iframe. No rocket science. Note how the service implements OnDestroy for unsubscription, this is because we intend to provide it on the component level, which will allow us to get access to this lifecycle hook.

Time to update our iframe component, but before that let's modify environment, so it contains the url to our React app. That's where we would normally store such url.

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/environments/environment.ts
export const environment = {
  production: false,
  iframeUrl: 'http://localhost:4200',
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now we are ready to update FrameComponent. So what's the plan for it? It should contain only 1 element, the iframe, pass reference to it to the MessageService and alert it every time it detects the message event. For these we will utilize:

  • DomSanitizer to sanitize the environmel url and throw it into iframe's src;
  • ViewChild decorator to obtain reference to the iframe;
  • HostListener decorator to listen to the events;
  • AfterViewInit hook to detect when the iframe is available in DOM.

And of course we are going to remove all styles, so it looks as ugly minimalistic as possible.

// ./apps/angular-shell/src/app/frame/frame.component.ts

import {
} from '@angular/core';
import { DomSanitizer } from '@angular/platform-browser';

import { environment } from '../../environments/environment';
import { MessageService } from './services/message.service';

  template: `<iframe
  providers: [MessageService],
export class FrameComponent implements AfterViewInit {
  public readonly iframe!: ElementRef<HTMLIFrameElement>;

  public readonly iframeUrl = this.sanitizer.bypassSecurityTrustResourceUrl(

    private messageService: MessageService,
    private sanitizer: DomSanitizer
  ) {}

  public ngAfterViewInit(): void { = this.iframe;

  @HostListener('window:message', ['$event'])
  private message(event: MessageEvent) {
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

As you update everything you note that it doesn't work yet: React works as a standalone application and does not delegate anything. Fixing this will be addressed in the next post of the series, which is going to be the last one :)

Discussion (0)