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Can you remember "Can't bind 'x' since it is not a known property of 'y'"?

tasnimreza profile image Tasnim Reza ・3 min read

This is the most upvoted error in Stackoverflow (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/38892771/cant-bind-to-ngmodel-since-it-isnt-a-known-property-of-input)

Angular has a very decent description of what are the reasons behind this error. In this article, we will dig a little bit further to understand and memorize the reasons in a way so we'll not google again (hopefully!).

Before start, let's have a quick look at what the document says

This error often means that you haven't declared the directive "x" or haven't imported the NgModule to which "x" belongs.

Perhaps you declared "x" in an application sub-module but forgot to export it. The "x" class isn't visible to other modules until you add it to the exports list.

So we'll get this error if we don't import the correct module or if we forgot to export some components.

Let's explore the use cases

1. Module is not properly imported

Let's add a module say ModuleA and a component say ComponentA alongside AppModule Let's make this module empty

    declarations: [ComponentA],
    imports: [],
    providers: [],
    exports: [ComponentA]
export class ModuleA { }

Now in the HTML try to use ngFor

<h1 *ngFor="let foo of bar">{{foo}}</h1>

In the console, we'll see a warning

Can't bind to 'ngForOf' since it isn't a known property of 'h1'.

The problem is, it doesn't say which component, to find out we need to expand the warning and see ComponentA_Template has this issue.

ngfor error

Also, the warning doesn't tell which module is missing, unfortunately, we need to find out this ourselves, in this case, it is required CommonModule.

In a similar fashion, this can happen for ngModel which required FormsModule. Even it is applicable for our custom component for example if we forgot to import ModuleA to AppModule then it'll show a similar type of error.


Important to remember, sometimes you'll see this error to browser but most of the time this error is shown in the build

2. Wrong property binding in HTML template

We know in general HTML is case-insensitive, so if we bind a property wrongly it doesn't show any error for example

if you write <td colSpan="2"> instead <td colspan="2"> it'll render correctly but if we try to write something

<td colspan="{{1+1}}"> instead <td colSpan="{{1+1}}">

It'll show error

Template parse errors:
  Can't bind to 'colspan' since it isn't a known native property

Important to remember in Angular most of the property binding is camelCase like ngModel, ngClass and so on

3. Wrong Input/Output declaration

We know this is a very powerful communication medium but sometimes it can be troublesome. So when we are in this situation we need to look the annotation syntax @ or make sure it is present in the input/output array.

If we declare Input() public foo: string; instead @Input() public foo: string; but this is hard to reproduce!

So how it can be missing from input/output array

  selector: 'component-a',
  templateUrl: './component-a.html',
  styleUrls: [],
  inputs: ['fooo'] // it can be misspell since it is string

In the template

<component-a foo="bar"></component-a> 

Then we end up with an unpleasant error

Uncaught Error: Template parse errors:
Can't bind to 'item' since it isn't a known property of 'app-item-detail'

Important to remember, It is a best practice to use annotated @Input()/@Output() declaration and avoid alias naming

Rule of thumb

  1. If the element is Angular directive then check CommonModule is in place
  2. If the element is Web Component then check CUSTOM_ELEMENTS_SCHEMA is added to @NgModule.schemas
  3. If the element is added by you then make sure the respective module is imported and the component is in the export list.
  4. If we're using @Input()/@Output() follow the best practices, ie. always use the annotated declaration.

I hope you understand the reasons for this error and you'll avoid the trap. If you have any question please let me know in the comments. Happy coding

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