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Part 2 : Web application development using AngularJS, Spring Boot and Maven – Adding AngularJS support

In my previous post, I created a project for a simple web application using Spring Boot and Maven. I want to take it further and add AngularJS support to the setup.

I am an avid birder so I am going to develop a Bird Log app to log my bird sightings. Recently, I was introduced to AngularJS and have become a big fan of this framework. I am going to develop a Single Page Application (SPA) using AngularJS and Twitter Bootstrap Framework for HTML and CSS.

Why AngularJS?

  • AngularJS supports Dependency Injection, thus enabling IoC (Inversion of Control). DI simplifies the development and dependency management.
  • AngularJS enables writing testable code. Support for DI makes it easier to write unit tests and end-to-end (e2e) tests for the code.
  • AngularJS supports [two way data binding](http://docs.angularjs.org/guide/databinding where data between model and view is automatically synchronized. For example, if model field name is bound to a textfield, changing the value of textfield is immediately reflected in the model and vice-a-versa. For me, this was a game changer that simplifies the code immensely.
  • AngularJS is modular. Apart from Dependency Injection, AngularJS is broken down into components like Controllers, Services, Directives, Filters and Views.
  • AngularJS simplifies management of state through dependency injection and inheritance of $scope.

Before we begin

This post assumes that you are familiar with the AngularJS framework. This post explains how to configure and use AngularJS within Spring and Maven project. If you are new to AngularJS, please take a look at AngularJS Guides or many other excellent tutorials online.

Setting up AngularJS in Spring Boot Application

In this example, Maven is used to manage dependencies for Java components. I plan to use Bower, the package manager for the web, to simplify management AngularJS and other related Javascript package dependencies.

Note: Use of Bower is optional. If you are not familiar with Bower or don’t want to use Bower, please configure the required packages (AngularJS and Bootstrap for now) manually.

  • Enable BOWER support for dependency management.
    cd <project dir>

    Create .bowerrc file and add the following lines

        "directory": "src/main/resources/static/bower_components"

    Note: This step ensures that Bower copies managed dependencies to the correct location.

  • Initialize Bower

    bower init
        [?] name: sample-app
        [?] version: 1.0.0
        [?] description: AngularJS Starter App
        [?] main file: 
        [?] what types of modules does this package expose? 
        [?] keywords: AngularJS, Spring Boot, Maven
        [?] authors: Rajan Desai <rajan11@hotmail.com>
        [?] license: MIT
        [?] homepage: 
        [?] ssset currently installed components as dependencies? Yes
        [?] add commonly ignored files to ignore list? Yes
        [?] would you like to mark this package as private which prevents it from being accidentally published to the registry? Yes
            name: 'starter-app-ng',
            version: '0.0.1',
            authors: [
                'Rajan Desai <rajan11@hotmail.com>'
            description: 'AngularJS Starter App',
            keywords: [
                'Spring Boot',
                license: 'MIT',
                private: true,
                ignore: [
        [?] Looks good? (Y/n)

    Press Y to create bower.json file with the above configuration in your root project directory. All Bower commands will be executed from the root project folder going forward.

  • Add AngularJS support

    bower install angular --save
    • Above command downloads the latest stable version (1.2.14 at the time) to <project folder>/src/main/resources/static/bower_components/angular folder.

    • --save option adds dependencies to the bower.json file. The following lines will be added to the bower.json file

      "dependencies": {
          "angular": "~1.2.14"
    • Add other AngularJS related packages
      bower install angular-route --save
      bower install angular-resource --save
      bower install angular-cookies --save
      bower install angular-sanitize --save
  • Add Bootstrap support
    `bower install bootstrap --save`

    At the time of writing this post, the above command installs Bootstrap 1.9.0 to <project folder>/src/main/resources/static/bower_components/bootstrap folder

    Note: Bower manages dependencies for you. Since Bootstrap requires JQuery, Bower will automatically download the required JQuery package for you. At this time, Bower installed JQuery 2.1.0 package in <project folder>/src/main/resources/static/bower_components/jquery folder

Develop Web Application using AngularJS

Now that I have my Spring Boot Application (see Part 1) setup with AngularJS support, I can start developing my Bird Log application.

  • Modify index.html to include angular support
    • Define an angular app using ng-app directive. This directive is used to auto-bootstrap an Angular app. Only 1 ng-app can be auto-bootstrapped in one HTML document. This element defines the root scope for the application.
      <body ng-app="StarterApp">


      • Placing ng-app on the body tag tells the angular framework that our application is scoped to the entire page. Typically this directive is placed near the root element on the page, for example, on the or tags.
      • StarterApp is a name of the app that we are creating. We will define an angular module with this exact name below to tie it all together.
  • Define StarterApp module that is loaded by AngularJS as the application is bootstrapped. This acts like a main method in Java application.
    • Create app and app/js directories in <project folder>/src/main/resources/static/ folder.
      • Create app/main.js file that defines the StarterApp module.
        var starterApp = angular.module("StarterApp", ["ngRoute"]);


      • make sure that the name of the module is exactly the same as the one specified in ng-app directive above.
      • second parameter is a list of dependencies. AngularJS injects specified dependencies at runtime. In this case, our App needs ngRoute module that defines the $routeProvider.
    • Define routes in the config function
      				starterApp.config(function($routeProvider) {
      					$routeProvider.when('/', {
      						templateUrl: 'views/home.html',
      						controller: 'HomeCtrl'
      					.otherwise({redirectTo : '/'});


      • AngularJS calls the config function during bootstrap process.
      • $routeProvider is injected by the AngularJS framework
      • $routeProvider maps app urls to the view (templateUrl) and controller
      • otherwise option defines the default handler for unmapped URLs. In this app, user is simply redirected to the main view.
  • Implement Home View
    • Create views directory in <project folder>/src/main/resources/static/app folder
      • Create home.html file to define the view template

    Home View

  • Implement HomeCtrl used in the previous step
    • Create app/controllers/homeCtrl.js. I am going to create a new module called StarterApp.home to handle Home functionality. Controller HomeCtrl will defined in this module.
      				angular.module('starterApp.home', [])
      					.controller('HomeCtrl', function() {


      • starterApp.home is the name of the module and [] defines an empty list of dependencies (for now).
    • Inject starterApp.home module in the main Angular app
      • modify main.js file

        var starterApp = angular.module(“StarterApp”, [“ngRoute”, “starterApp.home”]);


      • I now have added starterApp.home module as a dependency to the main starterApp. This will make theHomeCtrl defined in starterApp.home module available in the main app.
      • Modify index.html to define a place for our main view using ng-view directive. This directive work with the ng-route directive to include the view template into the main application layout. Everytime current route changes, corresponding view template is included in the view. This directive creates a new child scope.
        <div class="container" ng-view></div>
    • Load required CSS and Javascript files by modifying index.html
      <!-- APP: js -->
      <script src="app/js/main.js"></script>
      <script src="app/js/controllers/homeCtrl.js"></script>
      <script src="app/js/controllers/ebirdCtrl.js"></script>
      <script src="app/js/controllers/aboutCtrl.js"></script>
      <script src="app/js/controllers/googleApisCtrl.js"></script>
      <!-- end APP -->
    • At this point, the index.html should look like this:
      		                <title>AngularJS Starter App</title>
      		                <link rel=&quot;stylesheet&quot; href=&quot;bower_components/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.css&quot;>
      		            <body ng-app=&quot;StarterApp&quot;>
      		                <h2>Hello World!</h2>
      		                <!-- Add your site or application content here -->
      		                <div class=&quot;container&quot; ng-view></div>   
      		                <!-- LIBS: js -->
      		                <script src=&quot;bower_components/jquery/dist/jquery.js&quot;></script>
      		                <script src=&quot;bower_components/bootstrap/dist/js/bootstrap.js&quot;></script>
      		                <script src=&quot;bower_components/angular/angular.js&quot;></script>
      		                <script src=&quot;bower_components/angular-route/angular-route.js&quot;></script>
      		                <!-- end LIBS -->
      		                <!-- APP: js -->
      		                <script src=&quot;app/js/main.js&quot;></script>
      		                <script src=&quot;app/js/controllers/homeCtrl.js&quot;></script>
      		                <!-- end APP -->

    • Run app and browse to http://localhost:8080, you should see both Hello World! and Home View.

###Sum it up
At this point, I have a basic working AngularJS application. The application doesn’t do much yet, but I’ll add more details to it soon. In the next post, I’ll beautify the app using Bootstrap framework.


3 Responses to “Part 2 : Web application development using AngularJS, Spring Boot and Maven – Adding AngularJS support”

  1. The best post on the field I ever read.
    Very accurate and well documented.
    Thank you Ranjandesai. God Bless you.
    Any chance to send me source code of the finished work ?
    Best regards,

    Posted by Robert | April 26, 2014, 4:32 am
  2. Hi Rajandesai.
    I’m on part 2. My code don’t work.
    With localhost:8080 I can see only the index.html page but without the content of my template home.html page.
    Can you please send me urgently your working code in order to compare ?
    Best regards,

    main.js :
    var starterApp = angular.module(“StarterApp”, [“ngRoute”, “starterApp.home”]);

    starterApp.config(function($routeProvider) {
    $routeProvider.when(‘/’, {
    templateUrl: ‘views/home.html’,
    controller: ‘HomeCtrl’
    .otherwise({redirectTo : ‘/’});

    homeCtrl.js :

    angular.module(‘starterApp.home’, [])
    .controller(‘HomeCtrl’, function() {

    index.html :

    AngularJS Starter App

    Hello World!!!!!!!!!!

    <!-- LIBS: js -->

    <!-- end LIBS -->

    <!-- APP: js -->

    <!-- end APP -->

    home.html :

    Hi !!!! You are at Home

    bower.json :

    “name”: “sample-app”,
    “version”: “1.0.0”,
    “authors”: [
    “Robert Togbe ”
    “description”: “Angularjs starter app”,
    “keywords”: [
    “license”: “MIT”,
    “private”: true,
    “ignore”: [
    “dependencies”: {
    “angular”: “~1.2.16”,
    “angular-route”: “~1.2.16”,
    “angular-resource”: “~1.2.16”,
    “angular-cookies”: “~1.2.16”,
    “angular-sanitize”: “~1.2.16”,
    “bootstrap”: “~3.1.1”

    Posted by Robert | April 26, 2014, 12:12 pm

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