AngularJS 1 directive for rendering of components dynamically

Added by: Hubert Grzeskowiak





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Module Description

Angular module: component-directive

AngularJS 1 directive for rendering of dynamic / procedural components.

Original by Hubert Grzeskowiak

Copyright Hubert Grzeskowiak 2016

License: MIT


Simple demo

Advanced demo

The Problem

when declaring a component in HTML you can only hard-code the tag. This is a limitation, when you want the type of a component to be determined based on the current container's state. A common workaround for this is using ng-switch or ng-if alongside multiple hard-coded components:

<div ng-switch="dynamic.component">
    <alpha ng-switch-when="alpha"></alpha>
    <beta ng-switch-when="beta"></beta>


<alpha ng-if="dynamic.component == 'alpha'"></alpha>
<beta ng-if="dynamic.component == 'beta'"></beta>

In my opinion this is an antipattern, because

  1. it requires hard-coding the possible outcomes in the template
  2. the boilerplate code easily introduces bugs

My Solution

The directive component you'll find in this repository is capable of rendering any registered component just as if you wrote its name into the template. Except you don't have to explicitly tell it by name. Instead, you pass a variable to the component's name attribute and it renders out an element with that given tag. Arguments can be passed using the args attribute.


  1. Include the component.js file in your HTML:

     <script src="components.js"></script>
  2. Declare a dependency on the moduke where you're using it:

     angular.module('awesomeApp', ['component'])
  3. Use the new directive in your templates:

     <component name="" args="" replace=""></component>

All attributes are optional, but you should provide at least name for it to be useful.

Dynamic components (using name)

The following code is the most simple usage of the directive:

<component name="'mycomponent'"></component>

It's rendered as:

<component name="'mycomponent'">

Indentation is added for better reading. In real, there is no newlines and whitespace.

We've basically passed the name of the component we wanted to the name attribute. The nested quotes are required because the argument is an Angular expression. This gives us the power of using any variable from the current scope:

<component name="controller.componentname"></component>

In this case the name of the component is derived from a variable on the controller. Given componentname being foobar the code above would render:

<component name="controller.componentname">

Using args

Components in AngularJS have their own, isolated scope. However, they can have bindings, which allow for sharing data with its parent template. These bindings are written as attributes to the component elements. Using the component directive you can pass any attributes you want using the args attribute on the component element.

To create a dynamic component based on local scope variables, write:

<component name="comp" args="args"></component>

With comp='alpha' and args={arg1:"a"} this results in the following element being rendered:

<component name="comp" args="args">
    <alpha arg1="a"></alpha>

Note how the args object was unpacked and each of its properties became an attribute.

Keep in mind that the value of arg1 above is an expression and is evaluated in the current scope. If you wanted to pass a string containing "a", you would rather define the args as {arg1:"'a'"}.

Hint: The component directive does not create an isolated scope. You can use whatever variables were defined in the scope of the component's parent.

Using replace

From the examples above you probably noticed that the component element stays in the DOM and only renders the requested component as its own child. Sometimes you rather want to have the inner component only. For this, you can pass the replace attribute with a boolean of true to tell the directive to replace itself with the component.

<component name="'mycomponent'" replace="true">

renders into this:



This technique can act as Inversion Of Control (IoC), since the data tells how it is to be rendered, not the parent template. However, the concerns of model, view and controller stay separated, since we only carry a reference to the component - its name.

Since components are like elements to the browser, unknown components and recognized HTML elements are no problem and render normally (like hard-coded).

Bugs & Improvements

Feel free to fork and post issues on GitHub.

Module stats last updated: 2016-09-18 23:26:47

Disclaimer: Some data on this page may have been gathered from the authors GitHub respository. If you see any mistakes or outdated information please let us know. Thanks!