Making Your Web Development Better with TypeScript

Making Your Web Development Better with TypeScript

The TypeScript Advantage

In this article, I’ll explain how TypeScript can make your web development projects better and more effective.

If you’re reading this, I hope you know some TypeScript. But, if you don’t know TypeScript Read This to gain some knowledge about TypeScript to get started. If you do know some TS, that’s great — I’ll discuss why it’s recommended in most projects that use JavaScript.

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is like an upgrade to JavaScript. It takes all the good stuff from JavaScript that you already know and adds some extra helpful features.

In simple terms, TypeScript is JavaScript with an added superpower called “types.”

Now, here’s why TypeScript is cool:

  1. Fixing JavaScript’s Weaknesses: TypeScript helps with the issues that JavaScript sometimes struggles with, especially when making complex programs.

  2. Works Everywhere: You can use TypeScript on any computer or browser because it’s not picky. It’s like speaking a language that everyone understands, no matter if you’re using Windows, Mac, or Linux.

So, TypeScript is like giving JavaScript a boost, making it better at handling complicated tasks and making it compatible with all kinds of computers and browsers.

Microsoft developed TypeScript to simplify modern web development. It offers static type-checking and productivity-boosting features while staying in sync with the fast-paced changes in ECMAScript.

Some key TypeScript features include types, annotations, interfaces, and classes for organizing logic and data with access modifiers. You can also improve productivity through features like variable and property renaming. These benefits help you spot and fix errors in your code before running it.

What Makes TypeScript So Successful?

TypeScript has become a big deal in web development because it does a few important things really well.

  1. Filling a Gap: It’s like a missing puzzle piece in web development, helping you create powerful and top-quality web apps that can handle a lot.

  2. Growing Popularity: It started in 2012 and has steadily become a favourite for web and app development.

  3. Adding Helpful Tools: TypeScript brings extra tools and rules to JavaScript, making it even more powerful and efficient.

  4. It’s JavaScript-friendly: You can keep using your current JavaScript code alongside TypeScript. No need for a complete overhaul.

  5. Catching Mistakes Early: TypeScript checks for errors before you run your code, so you don’t run into problems later.

  6. Boosting Productivity: It makes coding faster and easier with helpful hints and features.

  7. Less Time Debugging: TypeScript helps find errors early on, so you spend less time fixing things.

  8. Strong Community Support: Many people use it, and Microsoft keeps making it better.

All these reasons have made TypeScript a top choice for web development. It improves your code, makes development smoother, and gives you a better overall experience.

TypeScript’s compatibility with popular frameworks like React, Angular, Vue.js, and Node.js makes it an excellent option for developers.

TypeScript helps organize code better with interfaces, classes, and modules. This makes it easier to maintain and read code, especially for big projects.

Angular, made by Google, started using TypeScript as its main language in September 2014. The Angular team announced this at ng-conf in October 2014 and showed Angular 2 (the new version of AngularJS) using TypeScript.

Here’s an example of Angular code before TypeScript was introduced:

// Angular Component in JavaScript (ES5)
angular.module('app').component('appRoot', {
    templateUrl: './app.component.html',
    controller: function () {
        this.message = "Hello, JavaScript and Angular!";
    }
});

AngularJS Syntax: Angular used JavaScript (ES5) before Angular 2. In the example, we use angular.module to make a module and component to make a component.

Controller: In AngularJS, a controller manages a component’s logic. In the example, the controller function sets this.messege .

TemplateUrl: The HTML template is set with the templateUrl property in the component’s configuration. In this example, it’s in the file ./app.component.html.

After TypeScript was introduced, the same Angular component would look like this:

// Angular Component in TypeScript
import { Component } from '@angular/core';

@Component({
    selector: 'app-root',
    templateUrl: './app.component.html',
    styleUrls: ['./app.component.css']
})
export class AppComponent {
    message: string = "Hello, TypeScript and Angular!";
}

Angular’s switch from JavaScript to TypeScript brought many benefits, including:

  • Strong typing: TypeScript allows you to define variable types, making code safer and reducing errors.

  • Better Intellisense: The code editor can give real-time suggestions and type information, improving productivity.

  • Early error detection: TypeScript can find compiler errors before runtime, making debugging easier and reducing runtime errors.

  • Improved readability and easier code maintenance: Type annotations and organized code structure enhance code comprehension and long-term upkeep.

Angular switched to TypeScript for several reasons, including its static type checking, which solved many typing problems in AngularJS (the previous version of Angular). TypeScript also offered advantages in project management, productivity, compatibility with JavaScript, and support from Microsoft.

TypeScript’s powerful development support, including auto-suggestions, code navigation, and early error spotting, played a vital role in making Angular a strong web development platform. Angular has evolved with TypeScript at its core, making this duo a popular pick for modern web apps.

This has also helped increase TypeScript’s popularity among developers, making it one of the most popular languages for web development.

Setting up TypeScript in Existing JavaScript Projects

Angular already uses TypeScript, so you don’t need to change JavaScript to TypeScript in new Angular projects. But if you use JavaScript in TypeScript files, type checks will be less strict. When adding TypeScript to existing JavaScript projects, make a slow transition, set up tsconfig.json, manage types well, and test often.

Using TypeScript with Node.js:

As your team’s projects get bigger, you might want more powerful tools and coding style for Node.js.

That’s where TypeScript with Node.js comes in handy. It gives you the benefits of static type checking and access to the latest JavaScript features.

To start, you need to add TypeScript to your project like this:

npm install --save-dev typescript

You can make a TypeScript configuration file (tsconfig.json) in two ways: either by making it yourself at the project’s main folder or by using a command that creates it for you.

npx tsc --init

You need to change the tsconfig.json file to set the right options for compiling and set the paths for your existing JavaScript files.

Here’s an example of what a TypeScript configuration file (tsconfig.json) might look like:

{
  "compilerOptions": {
    "target": "ES2020",              // Target JavaScript version
    "module": "CommonJS",            // Module system to use
    "outDir": "./dist",              // Output directory for compiled files
    "rootDir": "./src",              // Source directory for TypeScript files
    "strict": true,                  // Enable strict type checking
    "esModuleInterop": true,         // Enable ES6 module interop
    "forceConsistentCasingInFileNames": true, // Check consistent file casing
    "declaration": true,            // Generate declaration files (.d.ts)
    "sourceMap": true               // Generate source map files (.js.map)
  },
  "include": ["src/**/*.ts"],       // Files to include in compilation
  "exclude": ["node_modules"]       // Files to exclude from compilation
}

If you’ve created tsconfig.json yourself, make sure it’s in your project’s main folder. Then, customize the options like source directory (rootDir), output directory (outDir), “target,” “module,” and more to fit your project.

Once you’ve done this, you can start using TypeScript in your Node projects.

How to Use TypeScript with React:

TypeScript is like a helper for JavaScript, especially for React. It helps you organize and manage your code better.

Here’s how you can make React and TypeScript work together:

  • Starting a New Project: If you’re starting a new project, you have some online tools like StackBlitz and CodeSandbox to run React and TypeScript. Or you can use a checklist for reference.

  • Using Create React App: For a new React project, you can easily set up TypeScript with this command in your terminal:

    npx create-react-app my-app — template typescript

  • Adding TypeScript to an Existing Project: If you already have a React project, you just need to install some TypeScript-related packages. Run these commands in your project:

    npm install @types/react @types/react-dom

  • Or, if you’re missing some dependencies:

      cd your-app-folder
      npm install typescript @types/node @types/react @types/react-dom @types/react-scripts — save
    
    • Configuring TypeScript: You’ll need to set some options in the tsconfig.json file, like including “dom” in “lib” and choosing the right JSX option.

    • Renaming Files: You should rename your JavaScript files to TypeScript. If they contain JSX (React code), use the “.tsx” extension. For standard TypeScript code, use “.ts”.

    • Adding Types: Open the “.tsx” files you renamed and start adding types where needed, like for React components.

With these steps, you’re all set to use TypeScript in your React projects.

Using TypeScript with Next.js:

TypeScript is a helpful tool for improving the performance of server-side rendering (SSR) and client-side rendering (CSR) applications. It catches errors early and makes it easier to share types between the server and client.

Here’s how you can use TypeScript with Next.js:

  • Starting a New Project: If you’re starting a new project, use create-next-app to create a Next.js app with TypeScript. It's as simple as running this command:

    npx create-next-app@latest

  • Adding TypeScript to Existing Projects: If you’re working on an existing project, you can add TypeScript by renaming your JavaScript files to have a “.ts” or “.tsx” extension. Then, run next dev and next build to set up TypeScript automatically. It will also create a tsconfig.json file with recommended settings.

  • Migrating from jsconfig.json: If you already had a jsconfig.json file, copy the paths option from the old file into the new tsconfig.json. Don't forget to delete the old jsconfig.json file.

By following these steps, you can easily use TypeScript with Next.js, making your development process smoother and more reliable.

Conclusion

TypeScript is becoming more and more popular in web development because it helps make code better, safer, and faster.

It’s the top choice for technologies like ReactJS, Next.js, Angular, and more. TypeScript makes code better, teamwork smoother, and web apps perform well and grow easily.

For more info on TypeScript, here are some useful links:

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