Shared Modules In Angular Apps: Providers Best Practices And What Does `forRoot()` Do?

When you write a shared module for your application, that contains stuff you use in other modules in the same app, you typically want all the services in that module shared only once.

If you just put the services in the providers property of the shared module’s NgModule() decorators, you might get weird cases, especially with lazy loading, when it feels like there’s more than one instance of the service. This is bad if you want to have shared state.

So, there is a better way to write your shared modules:

import {NgModule, ModuleWithProviders} from '@angular/core';
import {CommonModule} from '@angular/common';
// ... other imports

export const providers = [
    // ... your shared services here
];

@NgModule({
    declarations: [...],
    imports: [
        CommonModule, 
        SomeLibraryModule,
        ...],
    exports: [
        SomeLibraryModule.forRoot()
        ...
    ]
})
export class SharedModule {
    static forRoot() : ModuleWithProviders {
        return {
            ngModule: SharedModule,
            providers: [...providers]
        };
    }
}

The forRoot() pattern / convention is very common in libraries, and you’ll see it in things like ng-bootstrap and others. The name isn’t special for the compiler / framework, but it’s a common pattern.

When using these, in the imports section you can just import the module itself (which gives you any declarations needed like directives etc), and in the exports use the forRoot() version of the module so that it’s available for consumers of your shared module.

Then in your other application modules you can add SharedModule to their NgModule‘s imports normally, except for the AppModule.

The AppModule will be the only place where you add SharedModule.forRoot(), like:

Then in your AppModule, import it as:

@NgModule({
    declarations: [...],
    imports: [BrowserModule, SharedModule.forRoot(), ...],
    ...
})
export class AppModule {

}

There is one exception to this though. Your tests.

If you are writing any unit tests where you are importing the SharedModule, you will probably need to import the module with its providers, because there is no AppModule in the test.

Something like:

TestBed.configureTestingModule({
    imports: [ SharedModule.forRoot(), ... ]
})
...

If you haven’t already, have a look at the NgModule official documentation. There’s a main guide, and an FAQ page.

And of course let me know if you have any questions / problems.

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