Angular 2 Router - Angular 2

August 15, 2016 0 Comments angular 2, angular router

Angular 2 Router - Angular 2

In the examples below we assume that we have given the following configuration to the router, and we are navigating to '/inbox/33/messages/44'.

Applying Redirects

The router gets a URL from the user, either when she clicks on a link or updates the location bar directly. The first thing that router does with this URL is it will apply any redirects.

What is a redirect?

A redirect is a substitution of a URL segment. Redirects can either be local and absolute. Local redirects replace a single segment with a different one. Absolute redirects replace the whole URL. Redirects are local unless you prefix the url with a slash.

The provided configuration has only one redirect rule: { path: '', pathMatch: 'full', redirectTo: '/inbox' }, i.e., replace '/' with '/inbox'. This redirect is absolute because the redirectTo value starts with a slash.

Since we are navigating to '/inbox/33/messages/44' and not '/', the router will not apply any redirects, and the URL will stay as is.

Recognizing States

Next, the router will derive a router state from the URL. To understand how this phase works, we need to learn a bit about how the router matches the URL.

The router goes through the array of routes, one by one, checking if the URL starts with a route's path. Here it will check that '/inbox/33/messages/44' starts with ':folder'. Since it does, the router will set the folder parameter to 'inbox', then it will take the children configuration items, the rest of the URL '33/messages/44', and will carry on matching. As a result, the id parameter will be set to '33', and, finally, the 'messages/:id' route will be matched with the second id parameter set to '44'.

If the taken path through the configuration does not "consume" the whole URL, the router backtracks to try an alternative path. If it is impossible to match the whole URL, the navigation fails. But if it works, the router state representing the future state of the application will be constructed.

A router state consists of activated routes. And each activated route can be associated with a component. Also, note that we always have an activated route associated with the root component of the application.

Running Guards

At this stage we have a future router state. Next, the router will check that transitioning to the new state is permitted. It will do this by running guards. We will cover guards in detail in future articles. For now, it is sufficient to say that a guard is a function that the router runs to make sure that a navigation to a certain URL is permitted.

Resolving Data

After the router has run the guards, it will resolve the data. To see how it works, let's tweak our configuration from above.

Where ConversationsResolver is defined as follows:

Finally, we need to register ConversationsResolver when bootstrapping our application.

Now when navigating to '/inbox', the router will create a router state, with an activated route for the conversations component. That route will have the folder parameter set to 'inbox'. Using this parameter with the current user, we can fetch all the inbox conversations for that user.

We can access the resolved data by injecting the activated route object into the conversations component.

Activating Components

At this point, we have a router state. The router can now activate this state by instantiating all the needed components, and placing them into appropriate router outlets.

To understand how it works, let's take a look at how we use router outlets in a component template.

The root component of out application has two outlets: primary and popup.

Other components, such as ConversationCmp, have only one.

Now imagine we are navigating to '/inbox/33/messages/44(popup:compose)'.

That's what the router will do. First, it will instantiate ConversationCmp and place it into the primary outlet of the root component. Then, it will place a new instance of ComposeCmp into the 'popup' outlet. Finally, it will instantiate a new instance of MessageCmp and place it in the primary outlet of the just created conversation component.

Using Parameters

Often components rely on parameters or resolved data. For instance, the conversation component probably need to access the conversation object. We can get the parameters and the data by injecting ActivatedRoute.

If we navigate from '/inbox/33/messages/44(popup:compose)' to

'/inbox/34/messages/45(popup:compose)', the data observable will emit a new map with the new object, and the conversation component will display the information about Conversation 34.

As you can see the router exposes parameters and data as observables, which is convenient most of the time, but not always. Sometimes what we want is a snapshot of the state that we can examine at once.


So at this point the router has created a router state and instantiated the components. Next, we need to be able to navigate from this router state to another one. There are two ways to accomplish this: imperatively, by calling 'router.navigate', or declaratively, by using the RouterLink directive.

Imperative Navigation

To navigate imperatively, inject the Router service and call navigate.


Another way to navigate around is by using the RouterLink directive.

This directive will also update the href attribute when applied to an `<a>` link element, so it is SEO friendly and the right-click open-in-new-browser-tab behavior we expect from regular links will work.


Let's look at all the operations of the Angular router one more time.

When the browser is loading '/inbox/33/messages/44(popup:compose)', the router will do the following. First, it will apply redirects. In this example, none of them will be applied, and the URL will stay as is. Then the router will use this URL to construct a new router state.

Next, the router will instantiate the conversation and message components.

Now, let's say the message component has the following link in its template:

The router link directive will take the array and will set the href attribute to


Now, the user triggers a navigation by clicking on the link. The router will take the constructed URL and start the process all over again: it will find that the conversation and message components are already in place. So no work is needed there. But it will create an instance of `PopupMessageCmp` and place it into the popup outlet. Once this is done, the router will update the location property with the new URL.

That was intense - a lot of information! But we learned quite a few things. We learned about the core operations of the Angular router: applying redirects, state recognition, running guards and resolving data, component activation, and navigation. Finally, we looked at an e2e example showing the router in action.

Angular 2 Router - Angular 2

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