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Last active November 16, 2021 13:20
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There's nothing great or particularly amazing about Angular and its build processes.

Everything Angular does is fighting against its own architectural decisions. On a high level it's like this:

  • We write in Typescript, we need to compile to Javascript
  • Typescript cannot compile our templates because they are custom templates
  • We need to compile templates
  • Typescript compiler barfs at some of our code, we need to fix the code, or the compiler, or both, or hack in between them
  • The resulting Javascript is hundreds of kilobytes larger than any competition.
  • We need to somehow reduce the size
  • Let's throw Google Closure Compiler in
  • It cannot reliably process JS code produced by Typescript compiler (side note: it cannot reliably process any JS code outside of Google's 'goog:module' and Closure Library even with "SIMPLE" optimisations)
  • Let's create a separate tool, Tsickle, that will help convert TypeScript code into Closure-compatible Javascript code. The tool is a hack, because Typescript compiler doesn't expose compiler-as-a-service
  • And also let's do "Ahead-of-time" compilation on templates etc.
  • So now we produce marginally less code. It takes insane amounts of time to not only build, but even rebuild and do incremental changes
  • Oh, let's take Google's Bazel! It promises to be so fast!
  • Only doesn't know anything about compiling Typescript.
  • So we write new rules (aka configs) for typescript, for typescript code server, and a bunch of other stuff.
  • So now we will have:
    • Typescript compiling
    • Tsickle converting
    • Templates compiling
    • Closure Compiler compiling
    • Bazel orchestrating

So, nothing really changed (only the build chain is becoming increasingly complex and impossible to reason about), and yet "OMG Angular is so great: Google makes it possible to use it with Bazel and Closurescript instead of the circus that is Webpack and UglifyJS" 😂

Fanboys are fanboys.

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