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Our app is growing. Use cases are flowing in for reusing components, passing data to components, and creating more reusable assets. Let's separate the heroes list from the hero details and make the details component reusable.
Where We Left Off
Before we continue with our Tour of Heroes, let’s verify we have the following structure. If not, we’ll need to go back and follow the previous chapters.
Keep the app compiling and running
We want to start the Dart compiler, have it watch for changes, and start our server. We'll do this by typing
This will keep the application running while we continue to build the Tour of Heroes.
Making a Hero Detail Component
Our heroes list and our hero details are in the same component in the same file. They're small now but each could grow. We are sure to receive new requirements for one and not the other. Yet every change puts both components at risk and doubles the testing burden without benefit. If we had to reuse the hero details elsewhere in our app, the heroes list would tag along for the ride.
Our current component violates the Single Responsibility Principle. It's only a tutorial but we can still do things right — especially if doing them right is easy and we learn how to build Angular apps in the process.
Let’s break the hero details out into its own component.
Separating the Hero Detail Component
Add a new file named
hero_detail_component.dart to the
lib folder and create
HeroDetailComponent as follows.
We like to identify at a glance which classes are components and which files contain components.
Notice that we have an
AppComponent in a file named
app_component.dart and our new
HeroDetailComponent is in a file named
All of our component names end in "Component". All of our component file names end in "_component".
We spell our filenames in lower underscore case (AKA snake_case) so we don't worry about case sensitivity on the server or in source control.
We begin by importing the Angular
so that we can use common types like
@Component when we create
We create metadata with the
@Component annotation where we
specify the selector name that identifies this component's element.
When we finish here, we'll import it into
AppComponent and create a corresponding
Hero Detail Template
At the moment, the Heroes and Hero Detail views are combined in one template in
Let’s cut the Hero Detail content from
AppComponent and paste it into the new template property of
We previously bound to the
selectedHero.name property of the
HeroDetailComponent will have a
hero property, not a
So we replace
hero everywhere in our new template. That's our only change.
The result looks like this:
Now our hero detail layout exists only in the
Add the hero property
Let’s add that
hero property we were talking about to the component class.
Uh oh. We declared the
hero property as type
Hero but our
Hero class is over in the
We have two components, each in their own file, that need to reference the
We solve the problem by relocating the
Hero class from
app_component.dart to its own
Add the following import statement near the top of both
The hero property is an input
HeroDetailComponent must be told what hero to display. Who will tell it? The parent
AppComponent knows which hero to show: the hero that the user selected from the list.
The user's selection is in its
We will soon update the
AppComponent template so that it binds its
hero property of our
HeroDetailComponent. The binding might look like this:
Notice that the
hero property is the target of a property binding — it's in square brackets to the left of the (=).
Angular insists that we declare a target property to be an input property. If we don't, Angular rejects the binding and throws an error.
We explain input properties in more detail here where we also explain why target properties require this special treatment and source properties do not.
There are a couple of ways we can declare that
hero is an input.
We'll do it the way we prefer, by annotating the
hero property with
Learn more about
@Input() in the
Attribute Directives chapter.
Refresh the AppComponent
We return to the
AppComponent and teach it to use the
We begin by importing the
HeroDetailComponent so we can refer to it.
Find the location in the template where we removed the Hero Detail content
and add an element tag that represents the
my-hero-detail is the name we set as the
selector in the
The two components won't coordinate until we bind the
selectedHero property of the
hero property like this:
AppComponent’s template should now look like this
Thanks to the binding, the
HeroDetailComponent should receive the hero from the
AppComponent and display that hero's detail beneath the list.
The detail should update every time the user picks a new hero.
It's not happening yet!
We click among the heroes. No details. We look for an error in the console of the browser development tools. No error.
It is as if Angular were ignoring the new tag. That's because it is ignoring the new tag.
The directives list
A browser ignores HTML tags and attributes that it doesn't recognize. So does Angular.
HeroDetailComponent, we've used it in the template, but we haven't told Angular about it.
We tell Angular about it by listing it in the metadata
directives list. Let's add that list property to the bottom of the
@Component configuration object, immediately after the
When we view our app in the browser we see the list of heroes. When we select a hero we can see the selected hero’s details.
What's fundamentally new is that we can use this
to show hero details anywhere in the app.
We’ve created our first reusable component!
Reviewing the App Structure
Let’s verify that we have the following structure after all of our good refactoring in this chapter:
Here are the code files we discussed in this chapter.
The Road We’ve Travelled
Let’s take stock of what we’ve built.
- We created a reusable component
- We learned how to make a component accept input
- We learned to bind a parent component to a child component.
- We learned to declare the application directives we need in a
The Road Ahead
Our Tour of Heroes has become more reusable with shared components.
We're still getting our (mock) data within the
That's not sustainable.
We should refactor data access to a separate service
and share it among the components that need data.
We’ll learn to create services in the next tutorial chapter.