How To Leverage Angular Material for Effective Web Development

Posted on May 26, 2024 | Updated on May 26, 2024

Angular Material is a well-liked tool developers use to build robust and aesthetically pleasing web applications. It offers a suite of UI components crafted under the Material Design guidelines, promising functionality and ease of use. As a developer, mastering Angular Material requires understanding how to leverage its components. This way, you can maximize their full potential to enhance your projects.

What Is Angular and Angular Material?

Angular is a popular open-source framework developed by Google. Designed for building modern web applications, Angular provides developers with tools and capabilities to create efficient and scalable SPAs (single-page applications). It comprises a set of features that make it easier to manage codebases and develop high-performance applications.

Within Angular is Angular Material — a collection of pre-made UI components based on Google’s Material Design guidelines. These components range from simple buttons to navigation menus. Each component offers seamless integration into Angular projects, ensuring responsiveness and accessibility for user interfaces.

1. Optimize Change Detection

One of the most powerful ways to enhance your Angular application’s performance is by optimizing change detection. By default, Angular uses a mechanism called “default change detection,” which can be inefficient for complex applications. This is because it checks for changes in the component data, which may lead to performance issues.

Using the OnPush detection offers more efficiency. It instructs Angular to check for changes only when specific events occur, such as:

  • The input references of the component change.
  • An event originated from the component or one of its children.
  • When manually triggered.

This can reduce the number of checks Angular performs and improve its implementation. To implement OnPush, ensure you set the changeDetection property to ChangeDetectionStrategy.OnPush. Then, an immutable data structure will ensure that OnPush is working effectively.

2. Use Reactive Forms

Reactive forms allow for a more scalable and flexible approach to handling form inputs and validation in web applications. When combined with Angular Material, reactive forms enhance your form’s functionality while bringing consistency to the user interface.

There are a few steps to making the most of reactive forms:

  • Create a FormGroup: Start by defining a FormGroup in your component class. This represents the form model, containing form controls for each field. 
  • Use form controls: In your template, replace standard HTML form controls with Angular Material components. Bind these components to your form model using the formControlName directive. This links each input to the corresponding FormControl instance in your component class.
  • Handling form submissions: With reactive forms, handling form submissions becomes straightforward. You can listen for the submission even on your form and access the form’s value through the FormGroup instance. 
  • Validation and Feedback: Angular Material components work well with Angular’s built-in validators. You can add these to your FormControl instances and use Angular Material’s error patterns to provide feedback. In your template, use <mat-error> to display validation messages.

3. Implement Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a design pattern that delays the initialization of objects until needed. In Angular applications, it refers to loading modules on demand rather than loading all of them when the app starts. This can reduce initial load time and save bandwidth while enhancing the overall performance of the app. 

Using lazy loading in Angular Material involves:

  • Organizing the application into feature models: Start with this step. Each feature module should encapsulate a distinct set of functionalities. This modularization is the first step towards implementing lazy loading.
  • Setting up routes for lazy loading: Modify your application’s routing to define lazy-loaded routes. Use the loadChildren method to specify that the module should be lazy-loaded. 
  • Creating a feature module: Each feature module should have its own routing module that defines the routes for the feature. The feature module exports a RouterModule that includes the routes.
  • Optimize Angular Material imports: Within each feature module, import only the modules you need for that particular feature. This ensures each lazy-loaded bundle includes only the necessary Angular Material components.
  • Verify lazy loading is working: You can use tools like the Angular CLI’s build analyzer or Chrome’s DevTools to verify your application implements lazy loading correctly. Look for separate bundles being loaded as you navigate through your application.

4. Leverage the Theming System for Dynamic Themes

Angular Material’s theming system allows developers to customize the appearance of their applications to match brand identity or user preferences. When using this system, you can ensure your application looks great and professional. 

To get started with Angular Material’s Theming, incorporate the following steps:

  • Understand Angular Material’s theming structure: Angular Material uses a sass-based theming system. A theme has three main parts — a primary palette, an accent palette and a warning palette. You can customize each to fit your design.
  • Define your custom theme: Create a Sass file in your project where you’ll define your custom theme. Use the mat-light-theme or mat-dark-theme mixins to create a theme. 
  • Apply your theme: Include your theme .scss file in your global styles. This will apply your custom theme across all Angular Material components.
  • Dynamic theming: For applications requiring the ability to switch themes dynamically, you can set up multiple themes and toggle between them with additional JavaScript or TypeScript code.
  • Use Angular Material typography: Beyond color, Angular Material offers a typography configuration that helps maintain consistency throughout your application. Define this in your theme file to fully utilize Angular Material’s design coherence.

5. Utilize Material Dialogs for Dynamic Component Loading

Material dialogs are useful for presenting information succinctly and obtaining user input. They’re perfect for confirming actions, displaying messages or collecting form responses within a contained modal window. This direct interaction model can improve user engagement and decision-making flows in your application.

When using material dialogs, keep these steps in mind:

  • Create a component to load dynamically: Create the component you wish to load dynamically. This component will be displayed inside the material dialog.
  • Set up the material dialog: Inject the MatDialog service into your parent component, where the dialog will be launched. Use the open method of MatDialog to open it and load your component.
  • Configure entry components: Angular needs to know about components that will be loaded dynamically at runtime. Ensure your loaded components are declared in the entryComponents section of your module.
  • Passing data to the dialog: You can pass data to the dialog component through the data property of the open method’s options object. Access this data in your dynamically loaded component via MAT_DIALOG_DATA. 

Making the Most of Angular Material

Angular Material can be an excellent tool for building scalable and high-performing applications. By mastering the features within it, you can create applications that enhance the user experience. Use these strategies to improve your projects and become a more adept developer in the Angular space.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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