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19 Dec 2014

More portable AngularJS apps

An easy way to improve AngularJS applications portability through the HTML base tag and jqlite.

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Sometimes our AngularJS application works flawlessy on local stack, but it is suddenly broken once uploaded on the client’s production server.

Usually the cause is a routing problem, and quite often the solution is a last-second workaround. A wiser approach is to address a more portable routing from the beginning.

Add a base tag to the index.html file The tag specifies the base URL for all relative URLs in a document. There can be at maximum one in a document and it must be inside the head element. Usually it is placed as first inside the head.

<base href="/myDeployingPath/" />

Create a global deployment variable This variable will be the JavaScript counterpart of the HTML base attribute. To set the global programmatically we use jqlite, a lighter version of jQuery provided with AngularJS. With the help of the angular.element DOM selector we grab the value of the base tag href attribute.

var deployPath = angular.element("base").attr("href");

Now we can prefix all the routing paths with our brad new deployPath value. The final routing configuration of the application will look something like this (UI-Router is used instead of the default ng-Router):

'use strict';
angular.module('myApp', ['ui.router', 'myAppControllers', 'myAppServices'])
.config(function($stateProvider, $urlRouterProvider){
  .state('home', {
      url: "/"
              templateUrl: deployPath + "views/home.html",
              controller: 'HomeCtrl'
              templateUrl: deployPath + "subviews/nested-view-one.html",

Voilà! By simply changing the href attribute of the base tag in the index.html we could deploy our application in any folder or subfolder we would like.

Remember: if you’re building an hi-securized application consider using this approach only during development. Global variables are a potential weakness in your code.