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Speed up your Angular schematics development with useful helper functions

dkoppenhagen profile image Danny Koppenhagen Updated on ・21 min read

Angular CLI schematics offer us a way to add, scaffold and update app-related files and modules. However, there are some common things we will probably want integrate in our schematics: updating your package.json file, adding or removing an Angular module or updating component imports.

Currently, the way of authoring an Angular Schematic is documented on angular.io.
However, there is one big thing missing there: the way of integrating typical and repeating tasks.
The Angular CLI itself uses schematics for e.g. generating modules and components, adding imports or modifying the package.json file.
Under the hood each of the schematics uses some very common utils which are not yet documented but available for all developers anyway.
In the past, I've seen some Angular CLI Schematic projects where people were trying to implement almost the same common util methods on their own.
However, since some of these are already implemented in the Angular CLI, I want to show you some of those typical helpers that you can use for you Angular CLI Schematic project to prevent any pitfalls.


Table of contents

⚠️ Attention: not officially supported

The helper functions I present you in this article are neither documented nor officially supported, and they may change in the future.
Alan Agius, member of the Angular CLI core team replied in a related issue (#15335) for creating a public schematics API reference:

[...] those utils are not considered as part of the public API and might break without warning in any release.

So, there are plans to provide some utilities via a public API but this is still in the planning stage.
While things evolve, it's my intention to keep this article as up-to-date as possible.

The following Angular CLI schematics util functions are based on the Angular CLI version 10.1.1.

If you use these functions and they will break in the future, you can check out the source code changes for the utility functions and adjust your code.

πŸ•Ή Examples and playground on GitHub

To follow and try out the examples I present you in this article, I prepared a playground repository on GitHub.
Clone this repo and check out the README.md inside to get started with the playground. πŸš€

Create an Angular schematics example project

First things first: We need a project where we can try things out.
You can either use an existing schematics project or simply create a new blank one:

npx @angular-devkit/schematics-cli blank --name=playground

If you are not familar with the basics of authoring schematics, I recommend you to read the Angular Docs and the blog post "Total Guide To Custom Angular schematics" by Tomas Trajan first.

After setting up the new blank project we should have this file available: src/playground/index.ts.

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    console.log('schematic works');
    return tree;
  };
}

This is the base for the following examples and explanations.
Please make sure that you can execute the blank schematic by calling it on the console:

npx @angular-devkit/schematics-cli .:playground

or if you installed the schematics CLI globally via npm i @angular-devkit/schematics-cli:

schematics .:playground

The . refers to the current directory where our schematics project lives.

Check out the basic example in the playground repository on GitHub

Basic types

In case you are not familiar with the structure of schematics, I will just explain some very basic things shortly:

  • A Tree is the structured virtual representation of every file in the workspace which we apply the schematic to.
  • A Rule is called with a Tree and a SchematicContext. The Rule is supposed to make changes on the Tree and returns the adjusted Tree.
  • The SchematicContext contains information necessary for the schematics to execute some rules.

Install the helpers from @schematics/angular

A second thing we need to do is to install the package @schematics/angular which contains all the utils we need for the next steps.
This package contains all the schematics the Angular CLI uses by itself when running commands like ng generate or ng new etc.

npm i --save @schematics/angular

Changing the package.json: Get, Add and Remove (dev-, peer-) dependencies

A very common thing when authoring a schematic is adding a dependency to the package.json file.
Of course, we can implement a function that parses and writes to/from our JSON file.
But why should we solve a problem that's already solved?

For this, we can use the functions provided by @schematics/angular/utility/dependencies to handle dependency operations.
The function addPackageJsonDependency() allows us to add a dependency object of type NodeDependency to the package.json file.
The property type must contain a value of the NodeDependencyType enum.
Its values represent the different sections of a package.json file:

  • dependencies,
  • devDependencies,
  • peerDependencies and
  • optionalDependencies.

The first parameter to this util function is the Tree with all its files.
The function will not just append the dependency to the appropriate section, it will also insert the dependency at the right position, so that the dependencies list is ordered ascending by its keys.

We can use the getPackageJsonDependency() function to request the dependency configuration as a NodeDependency object.
The good thing here is: We don't need to know in which of the sections a dependency is located. It will look up the dependency in sections of the package.json file: dependencies, devDependencies, peerDependencies and optionalDependencies.

The third function I want to show is removePackageJsonDependency().
Just like getPackageJsonDependency(), it can be called with a Tree and the package name and it will remove this dependency from the package.json file.

By default, all these functions will use the package.json file in the root of the tree, but we can pass a third parameter containing a specific path to another package.json file.

Last but not least we don't want our users to manually run npm install on the console after adding dependencies.
Therefore, we can add a new NodePackageInstallTask via the addTask method on our context.

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';
import { NodePackageInstallTask } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/tasks';
import {
  NodeDependency,
  NodeDependencyType,
  getPackageJsonDependency,
  addPackageJsonDependency,
  removePackageJsonDependency,
} from '@schematics/angular/utility/dependencies';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, context: SchematicContext) => {
    const dep: NodeDependency = {
      type: NodeDependencyType.Dev,
      name: 'moment',
      version: '~2.27.0',
      overwrite: true,
    };

    addPackageJsonDependency(tree, dep);
    console.log(getPackageJsonDependency(tree, 'moment'))
    // { type: 'devDependencies', name: 'moment', version: '~2.27.0' }

    removePackageJsonDependency(tree, 'protractor');
    console.log(getPackageJsonDependency(tree, 'protractor'))
    // null

    context.addTask(new NodePackageInstallTask(), []);

    return tree;
  };
}

To really check that the NodePackageInstallTask is properly executed, you need to disable the schematics debug mode that's enabled by default during development and local execution:

schematics .:playground --debug=false

Add content on a specific position

Sometimes we need to change some contents of a file.
Independently of the type of a file, we can use the InsertChange class.
This class returns a change object which contains the content to be added and the position where the change is being inserted.

In the following example we will create a new file called my-file.extension with the content const a = 'foo'; inside the virtual tree.
First, we will instantiate a new InsertChange with the file path, the position where we want to add the change and finally the content we want to add.
The next step for us is to start the update process for the file using the beginUpdate() method on our tree.
This method returns an object of type UpdateRecorder.
We can now use the insertLeft() method and hand over the position and the content (toAdd) from the InsertChange.
The change is now marked but not proceeded yet.
To really update the file's content we need to call the commitUpdate() method on our tree with the exportRecorder.
When we now call tree.get(filePath) we can log the file's content and see that the change has been proceeded.
To delete a file inside the virtual tree, we can use the delete() method with the file path on the tree.

Let's have a look at an implementation example:

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/';
import { InsertChange } from '@schematics/angular/utility/change';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const filePath = 'my-file.extension';
    tree.create(filePath, `const a = 'foo';`);

    // insert a new change
    const insertChange = new InsertChange(filePath, 16, '\nconst b = \'bar\';');
    const exportRecorder = tree.beginUpdate(filePath);
    exportRecorder.insertLeft(insertChange.pos, insertChange.toAdd);
    tree.commitUpdate(exportRecorder);
    console.log(tree.get(filePath)?.content.toString())
    // const a = 'foo';
    // const b = 'bar';

    tree.delete(filePath); // cleanup (if not running schematic in debug mode)
    return tree;
  };
}

Determine relative path to the project root

You might want to determine the relative path to your project root e.g. for using it in a template you want to apply in some location of your application.
To determine the correct relative import path string for the target, you can use the helper function relativePathToWorkspaceRoot().

import {
  Rule,
  SchematicContext,
  Tree,
  url,
  apply,
  template,
  mergeWith
} from '@angular-devkit/schematics/';
import { relativePathToWorkspaceRoot } from '@schematics/angular/utility/paths';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (_tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const nonRootPathDefinition = 'foo/bar/'; // "./foo/bar" | "foo/bar/" work also
    const rootPathDefinition = ''; // "." | "./" work also
    console.log(relativePathToWorkspaceRoot(nonRootPathDefinition));
    // "../.."
    console.log(relativePathToWorkspaceRoot(rootPathDefinition));
    // "."

    const sourceTemplates = url('./files');
    return mergeWith(
      apply(
        sourceTemplates, [
          template({
            relativePathToWorkspaceRoot: relativePathToWorkspaceRoot(nonRootPathDefinition),
          }),
        ]
      )
    );
  };
}

If you have e.g. a JSON file template in the directory files and you want to insert the path, you can use the helper function in the template as follows:

{
  "foo": "<%= relativePathToWorkspaceRoot %>/my-file-ref.json"
}

For more details about how to use and apply templates in your own schematics, check out the blog post by Tomas Trajan: 'Total Guide To Custom Angular schematics'.

Add TypeScript imports

In the previous section we learned how to add content to some file.
However, this way for changing a file isn't the best and only works well when we know the exact position where to add some content.
Now imagine a user changes the format of the file before: This would lead to problems with finding the correct file position.

In many cases we want to modify TypeScript files and insert code into them.
And indeed there are also lots of utils that will help us to manage such operations.

Imagine you want the schematic to import the class Bar in a specific file from the file bar.ts;
You could simply add the whole import line but there are edge cases:
What if the target file already contains an import or even a default import from bar.ts.
In that case we would have multiple import lines for bar.ts which causes problems.

Luckily there is another great helper that takes care of adding imports or updating existing ones.
The function insertImport() needs the source file to update and the path to the file followed by the import name and the file path for the import to be added.
The last parameter is optional – if set to true, the import will be added as a default import.

import * as ts from 'typescript';
import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/';
import { insertImport } from '@schematics/angular/utility/ast-utils';
import { InsertChange } from '@schematics/angular/utility/change';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const filePath = 'some-file.ts';
    const fileContent = `import { Foo } from 'foo';
const bar = 'bar;
`;
    tree.create(filePath, fileContent);
    const source = ts.createSourceFile(
      filePath,
      fileContent,
      ts.ScriptTarget.Latest,
      true
    );
    const updateRecorder = tree.beginUpdate(filePath);
    const change = insertImport(source, filePath, 'Bar', './bar', true);
    if (change instanceof InsertChange) {
      updateRecorder.insertRight(change.pos, change.toAdd);
    }
    tree.commitUpdate(updateRecorder);
    console.log(tree.get(filePath)?.content.toString())
    return tree;
  };
}

The example above will add the content import Bar from './bar'; right before the constant.
As we marked it as default import, the import name is not put in curly braces ({ }).

Update NgModule

Now we know how we can modify TypeScript imports using the util functions.
However, just importing something isn't enough in most cases.
There are common things like importing a component and adding it to the NgModule in the declarations array or inserting a module in the imports section.
Luckily, there are some helpers provided for these operations.
These function also based on the insertImport() function, so that they will handle existing file imports and just update the import lists accordingly.

Add a declaration to a module

The first thing I want to show you is how you can add a component to the declarations of an NgModule.
For this, let's assume you create a schematic that adds a new DashboardComponent to your project.
You don't need to add the import manually and then determine the right place to insert the component to the declarations of the NgModule.
Instead, you can use the addDeclarationToModule() function exported from @schematics/angular/utility/ast-utils.

In the following example we will create an AppModule from the moduleContent using ts.createSourceFile() first.
Then we will register the updateRecorder as learned in the examples before.
Now we call the addDeclarationToModule() function with the source file and the module path followed by the name of the component we want to import and the relative path to the module where we can find the component.
As a result it returns us an array of Change objects that contain the positions and the contents for the change.
Finally, we can handle these changes one-by-one by iterating over the array.
For all changes of type InsertChange we can now call the method updateRecorder.insertleft() with the position of the change and the content to be added.

import * as ts from 'typescript';
import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/';
import { addDeclarationToModule } from '@schematics/angular/utility/ast-utils';
import { InsertChange } from '@schematics/angular/utility/change';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const modulePath = 'app.module.ts';
    const moduleContent = `import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { AppComponent } from './app.component';

@NgModule({
  declarations: [
    AppComponent
  ],
  imports: [
    BrowserModule
  ],
  providers: [],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule { }
`;
    tree.create(modulePath, moduleContent);

    const source = ts.createSourceFile(
      modulePath,
      moduleContent,
      ts.ScriptTarget.Latest,
      true
    );
    const updateRecorder = tree.beginUpdate(modulePath);
    const changes = addDeclarationToModule(
      source,
      modulePath,
      'DashboardComponent',
      './dashboard.component'
    ) as InsertChange[];
    for (const change of changes) {
      if (change instanceof InsertChange) {
        updateRecorder.insertLeft(change.pos, change.toAdd);
      }
    }
    tree.commitUpdate(updateRecorder);
    console.log(tree.get(modulePath)?.content.toString())

    return tree;
  };
}

When we execute this schematic now, we can see in the log that the following import line has been added to the file:

/* ... */
import { DashboardComponent } from './dashboard.component';

@NgModule({
  declarations: [
    AppComponent,
    DashboardComponent
  ],
  /* ... */
})
export class AppModule { }

NgModule: add imports, exports, providers, and bootstrap

Similar to the previous example we can re-export something we imported by using the addExportToModule() function and adding an import to the NgModule by using addImportToModule().
We can also modify the providers, and bootstrap arrays by using addProviderToModule() and addBootstrapToModule().
Again, it will take care of all the things necessary such as extending and creating imports, checking for existing entries in the NgModule metadata and much more.

/* ... */
import {
  addImportToModule,
  addExportToModule,
  addProviderToModule,
  addBootstrapToModule
} from '@schematics/angular/utility/ast-utils';
/* ... */

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    /* ... */
    const exportChanges = addExportToModule(
      source,
      modulePath,
      'FooModule',
      './foo.module'
    ) as InsertChange[];
    const importChanges = addImportToModule(
      source,
      modulePath,
      'BarModule',
      './bar.module'
    ) as InsertChange[];
    const providerChanges = addProviderToModule(
      source,
      modulePath,
      'MyProvider',
      './my-provider.ts'
    ) as InsertChange[];
    const bootstrapChanges = addBootstrapToModule(
      source,
      modulePath,
      'MyComponent',
      './my.component.ts'
    ) as  InsertChange[];
    /* ... */
    console.log(tree.get(modulePath)?.content.toString())
    return tree;
  };
}

Our result will now look like this:

import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { AppComponent } from './app.component';
import { FooModule } from './foo.module';
import { BarModule } from './bar.module';
import { MyProvider } from './my-provider.ts';
import { MyComponent } from './my.component.ts';
import { BazComponent } from './baz.component.ts';

@NgModule({
  declarations: [
    AppComponent
  ],
  imports: [
    BrowserModule,
    BarModule
  ],
  providers: [MyProvider],
  bootstrap: [MyComponent],
  exports: [FooModule]
})
export class AppModule { }

Add route declarations

Let's have a look at another common scenario: We want our schematic to insert a route definition to a module that calls RouterModule.forRoot() or .forChild() with a route definition array.
For this, we can use the helper function addRouteDeclarationToModule() which returns a Change object which we need to handle as an InsertChange.

import * as ts from 'typescript';
import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/';
import { addRouteDeclarationToModule } from '@schematics/angular/utility/ast-utils';
import { InsertChange } from '@schematics/angular/utility/change';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const modulePath = 'my-routing.module.ts';
    const moduleContent = `import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';

    const myRoutes = [
      { path: 'foo', component: FooComponent }
    ];

    @NgModule({
      imports: [
        RouterModule.forChild(myRoutes)
      ],
    })
    export class MyRoutingModule { }
`;
    tree.create(modulePath, moduleContent);

    const source = ts.createSourceFile(
      modulePath,
      moduleContent,
      ts.ScriptTarget.Latest,
      true
    );
    const updateRecorder = tree.beginUpdate(modulePath);
    const change = addRouteDeclarationToModule(
      source,
      './src/app',
      `{ path: 'bar', component: BarComponent }`
    ) as InsertChange;
    updateRecorder.insertLeft(change.pos, change.toAdd);
    tree.commitUpdate(updateRecorder);
    console.log(tree.get(modulePath)?.content.toString())

    return tree;
  };
}

The example above will insert the route definition object { path: 'bar', component: BarComponent } into the myRoutes array by finding the variable associated in forRoot() or forChild().

Retrieve the Angular workspace configuration

Each Angular app lives in an Angular workspace containing an angular.json configuration file.
If we want to get either the path to the workspace configuration file or the configuration from the file itself, we can use the getWorkspacePath() and getWorkspace() functions by passing in the current Tree object.

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';
import { getWorkspacePath, getWorkspace } from '@schematics/angular/utility/config';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    // returns the path to the Angular configuration file
    // ('/angular.json' or probably `.angular.json` for older Angular projects)
    console.log(getWorkspacePath(tree));

    // returns the whole configuration object from the 'angular.json' file
    console.log(JSON.stringify(getWorkspace(tree), null, 2));
  };
}

To try out things locally, we need to execute the schematics from an Angular app root path on our system.
To do so, navigate into an existing Angular app or create a new one for testing purposes.
Then, execute the schematic from there by using the relative path to the src/collection.json file and adding the schematic name after the colon (:).

ng new some-test-project --routing  # create a new test project
cd some-test-project      # be sure to be in the root of the angular project
# assume the schematics project itself is located relatively to the angular project in '../playground'
schematics ../playground/src/collection.json:playground # execute the 'playground' schematic

Get default path for an app inside the workspace

An Angular workspace can contain multiple applications or libraries.
To find their appropriate main paths, you can use the helper function createDefaultPath().
We need to pass in the Tree object and the name of the app or library we want to get the path for.

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';
import { createDefaultPath } from '@schematics/angular/utility/workspace';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return async (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const defaultPath = await createDefaultPath(tree, 'my-lib');
    console.log(defaultPath); // '/projects/my-lib/src/lib'
  };
}

Let's create a new library inside our testing Angular app called my-lib, to try it out:

ng g lib my-lib  # create a new library inside the Angular workspace
# assume the schematics project itself is located relatively to the angular project in '../playground'
schematics ../playground/src/collection.json:playground # execute the 'playground' schematic

Call schematics from schematics

If you run a schematic, you may come to the point where one schematic should execute another one.
For example: You create schematics for generating a specific component.
You also develop a ng add or ng new schematic to set up things for you and create an example component by default.
In such cases you may want to combine multiple schematics.

Run local schematics using the RunSchematicTask

First we want to use the RunSchematicTask class to achieve our goal.
Let's say we have a collection file like the following:

{
  "$schema": "../node_modules/@angular-devkit/schematics/collection-schema.json",
  "schematics": {
    "ng-add": {
      "description": "Demo that calls the 'playground' schematic inside",
      "factory": "./ng-add/index#ngAdd"
    },
    "playground": {
      "description": "An example schematic.",
      "factory": "./playground/index#playground"
    }
  }
}

The factory for ng-add is located in src/ng-add/index.ts.
Then inside this schematic we can call a new RunSchematicTask with the name of the schematic we want to execute and the project name from the Angular workspace.
To really execute the operation we need to pass the task to the context.

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';
import { RunSchematicTask } from '@angular-devkit/schematics/tasks';

export function ngAdd(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    context.addTask(
      new RunSchematicTask('playground', { project: 'test-workspace' })
    );
    return tree;
  };
}

To check if it works we can fill our playground (src/playground/index.ts) schematic as follows and log the call:

import { Rule, SchematicContext, Tree } from '@angular-devkit/schematics';

export function playground(_options: any): Rule {
  return (tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    console.log('schematic \'playground\' called');
    return tree;
  };
}

If we now run schematics ../playground/src/collection.json:ng-add --debug=false from our example Angular project, we can see that the ng-add schematic has called the playground schematic.

With this knowledge you can define small atomic schematics that can be executed "standalone" or from another Schematic that combines multiple standalone schematics and calls them with specific parameters.

Run schematics by using the schematic() and externalSchematic() function

Perfect, we can now execute and combine our schematics.
But what if we want to combine external schematics developed by others and integrate them in our own schematics?
Users are lazy, so we don't want to leave it up to them to manually execute some other things before running our schematics.

Imagine you are working in a big company with multiple different Angular projects.
This company already has its own standardized UI library, but all the applications are very different and ran by different teams (so not really a use case for a Monorepo).
However, there are also things they all have in common like a Single Sign-On.
Also, the basic design always looks similar – at least the header and the footer of all the apps.

I've often seen companies building a reference implementation for such apps that's then cloned / copied and adjusted by all developers.
However, there are some problems with this kind of workflow:

  • You always have to keep the reference project up-to-date.
  • You have to clean up your copy of the project from stuff you don't need.
  • You need to tell all teams to copy this reference to keep track of changes and to adjust their copies frequently.

Thus, a better solution in my opinion is to use schematics for the whole integration and upgrade workflow.
You can create an ng new schematic that will scaffold the whole project code for you.
But you don't want to start from scratch, so you probably want to combine things like these:

  • ng add: Add your schematics to an existing project
    • Corporate UI library (always)
    • Single Sign-On (optional)
    • Header Component (optional)
    • Footer Component (optional)
  • ng new: Create a new project with your company defaults
    • Create the basic application generated by the Angular CLI (externalSchematic)
    • Run the ng add Schematic

Alright, we already know how we can achieve most of these things.
However, there's one thing we haven't learned yet: How to run other (external) schematics?
We can use the externalSchematic function for this.

But first things first, let's check if our collection file is ready to start:

{
  "$schema": "../node_modules/@angular-devkit/schematics/collection-schema.json",
  "schematics": {
    "ng-add": {
      "description": "Call other schematics from the same or other packages",
      "factory": "./ng-add/index#playground"
    },
    "ng-new": {
      "description": "Execute `ng new` with predefined options and run other stuff",
      "factory": "./ng-new/index#playground"
    }
  }
}

Using the special Schematic names ng-add and ng-new let's you later use the schematic by just executing ng add/ng new (instead of other schematics called with ng generate).
There is also a special Schematic named ng-update which will be called in the end with the ng update Angular CLI command.

After we defined the schema, we can now start to implement our schematics.
To execute an external Schematic, it must be available in the scope of the project..
However, since we want to create a completely new project with the ng new Schematic, we don't have any node_modules installed in the target directory where we want to initialize the Angular workspace.
To run an external command we can use the spawn method from child_process (available globally for Node.js).
This creates a new process that executes a command (in our case: npm install @schematics/angular).
To make things look synchronous we wrap the method call into a Promise and await for the Promise to be resolved.
Now we listen to the close event from spawn and check that there was no error during install (code equals 0).
If everything worked fine, we will resolve the Promise, otherwise we can throw an error.
The last step is to chain all of our Rules:
We first use the externalSchematic() function to run the ng new Schematic from Angular itself and set up the basic app.
We will hand over some default options here such a using SCSS, support legacy browsers, strict mode, etc.
Angulars ng new schematic requires also, that we define the specific version for their schematic to be used.
In our case we want to use the ng new schematic from the Angular CLI version 10.1.0.
The second call is our ng add Schematic that adds our company specific components, UI libs and so on to the project.

We've already learned how to run a local Schematic by using the RunSchematicTask class that we need to add to our context object.
In this example we are using the schematic() function to achieve the same goal.
Why are there two ways? To be honest: I actually don't know.
I found both implementations in the source code of Angular CLI.

import {
  Rule,
  SchematicContext,
  Tree,
  externalSchematic,
  schematic,
  chain
} from '@angular-devkit/schematics';
import {
  Schema as AngularNgNewSchema,
  PackageManager,
  Style
} from '@schematics/angular/ng-new/schema';
import { spawn } from 'child_process';

export function playground(options: AngularNgNewSchema): Rule {
  return async (_tree: Tree, _context: SchematicContext) => {
    const angularSchematicsPackage = '@schematics/angular';
    const ngNewOptions: AngularNgNewSchema = {
      version: '10.1.0',
      name: options.name,
      routing: true,
      strict: true,
      legacyBrowsers: true,
      style: Style.Scss,
      packageManager: PackageManager.Npm
    }
    await new Promise<boolean>((resolve) => {
      console.log('πŸ“¦ Installing packages...');
      spawn('npm', ['install', angularSchematicsPackage])
        .on('close', (code: number) => {
          if (code === 0) {
            console.log('πŸ“¦ Packages installed successfully βœ…');
            resolve(true);
          } else {
            throw new Error(
              `❌ install Angular schematics from '${angularSchematicsPackage}' failed`
            );
          }
        });
    });
    return chain([
      externalSchematic(angularSchematicsPackage, 'ng-new', ngNewOptions),
      schematic('ng-add', {})
    ]);
  };
}

When we now run the ng new Schematic from somewhere outside an Angular workspace, we can see that first of all the Angular ng new Schematic is executed with our predefined settings.
After this, the ng add schematics is called.

schematics ./playground/src/collection.json:ng-new --debug=false
πŸ“¦ Installing packages...
πŸ“¦ Packages installed successfully βœ…
? What name would you like to use for the new workspace and initial project? my-project
CREATE my-project/README.md (1027 bytes)
CREATE my-project/.editorconfig (274 bytes)
CREATE my-project/.gitignore (631 bytes)
CREATE my-project/angular.json (3812 bytes)
...
CREATE my-project/src/app/app.component.scss (0 bytes)
CREATE my-project/src/app/app.component.html (25757 bytes)
CREATE my-project/src/app/app.component.spec.ts (1069 bytes)
CREATE my-project/src/app/app.component.ts (215 bytes)
CREATE my-project/src/app/package.json (816 bytes)
CREATE my-project/e2e/protractor.conf.js (869 bytes)
CREATE my-project/e2e/tsconfig.json (294 bytes)
CREATE my-project/e2e/src/app.e2e-spec.ts (643 bytes)
CREATE my-project/e2e/src/app.po.ts (301 bytes)
⠏ Installing packages...
βœ” Packages installed successfully.
schematic works

After you have deployed the Schematic, you can now execute it by running:

npm i -g my-schematic-package-name # install the Schematic so it's available globally
ng new my-app --collection=my-schematic-package-name # Run the Angular CLI's `ng new` Schematic with the defined collection

Similar to this example you can call the ng add Schematic from the collection if you are in an existing Angular workspace:

ng add my-schematic-package-name

Conclusion

The presented util functions are great and comfortable helpers you can use to create your own Angular CLI schematics.
However, as they aren't officially published until now, you should keep track of any changes by keeping an eye on the documentation issue (#15335) and changes on the related code.

Summary

Function Description
getPackageJsonDependency() Get a package configuration from the package.json (dev-, peer-, optional-) dependencies config.
addPackageJsonDependency() Add a NPM package to the package.json as (dev-, peer-, optional-) dependency.
removePackageJsonDependency() Remove a NPM package from the package.json (dev-, peer-, optional-) dependencies.
relativePathToWorkspaceRoot() Get the relative import path to the root of the workspace for a given file inside the workspace.
insertImport() Insert an import statement for a file to an existing TypeScript file.
addDeclarationToModule() Import a declaration (e.g. Component or Directive) and add it to the declarations array of an Angular module.
addImportToModule() Import an Angular Module and add it to the imports array of another Angular module.
addExportToModule() Import an Angular Module and add it to the exports array of another Angular module.
addProviderToModule() Import a service / provider and add it to the providers array of an Angular module.
addBootstrapToModule() Import a Component and add it to the bootstrap array of an Angular module.
addRouteDeclarationToModule() Add a route definition to the router configuration in an Angular routing module.
getWorkspacePath() Retrieve the path to the Angular workspace configuration file (angular.json).
getWorkspace() Get the configuration object from the Angular workspace configuration file (angular.json)
createDefaultPath() Get the default application / library path for a project inside an Angular workspace.
schematic() Run another schematic from a collection.
externalSchematic() Run an external schematic from some other package.
Class Description
InsertChange This class returns a change object with the content to be added and the position where a change is being inserted.
NodePackageInstallTask A task instance that will perform a npm install once instantiated and added to the context via addTask().
RunSchematicTask A task that runs another schematic after instantiation and adding it to the context via addTask().

Thank you

Special thanks goes to Minko Gechev, Tomas Trajan and Ferdinand Malcher for the feedback and revising this article.


Posted on by:

dkoppenhagen profile

Danny Koppenhagen

@dkoppenhagen

πŸ“¦#nodejs πŸ…°οΈ#Angular,πŸ’‘#TypeScript,⚑️#RxJS, ♻️#NgRx and πŸ“² #NativeScript πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» Developer @dbsystel #dxhouse, πŸ“•Author @angular_buch https://angular-buch.com

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