How to use TypeScript Enum types, especially with Angular 2

Let’s assume you have the following enum in TypeScript:

export enum AgentStatus {
    available =1 ,
    busy = 2,
    away = 3,
    offline = 0
}

An enum is just an object. Your enum is written something like this in JavaScript:

{
    0: "offline",
    1: "available",
    2: "busy",
    3: "away",
    available: 1,
    busy: 2,
    away: 3,
    offline: 0
}

The benefit from typing is very limited in enums. Let me explain…

A very common thing you might want to do, is convert a string to an enum. This line is valid:

var value = <AgentStatus>"offline";

But it’s not useful, because

value == AgentStatus.offline // <- false, because it's "offline" == 0

So, you should always store your values as numbers, which you can obtain as follows:

How do you convert a string to an enum in TypeScript?

var value = AgentStatus["offline"]; // so value is now 0

// You can also use this, which only gives IDE hints, no runtime benefit
var value: AgentStatus = AgentStatus["offline"];

This makes the previous comparison work:

value == AgentStatus.offline // <- true, because it's 0 == 0

Now, a couple questions remain:

How to convert a TypeScript enum value to a string?

AgentStatus.offline // 0
AgentStatus[AgentStatus.offline] // -> AgentStatus[0] -> "offline"

How to get all the values of a TypeScript enum type?

var options : string[] = Object.keys(AgentStatus);
// The options list has the numeric keys, followed by the string keys
// So, the first half is numeric, the 2nd half is strings
options = options.slice(options.length / 2);

Gotcha: Undefined enum type in Angular 2 views

If you write this in your Angular2 template:

{{AgentStatus[myValue]}}

It will fail, because it doesn’t have access to imported types (it gets executed later by AngularJS).

To make it work, your component will need to have a reference to the enum type / object, something like:

export class MyComponent {
    // allows you to use AgentStatus in template
    AgentStatus = AgentStatus;        

    myValue : AgentStatus;
    // ...
}

Runnable Demo With All Solutions

Here is an example that explains everything I pointed in here:

(Click the button at the top right to see it in action)

This post was inspired by this StackOverflow answer.

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