Angular Observables

Angular: The Full Gamut Edition

Charlie Greenman
April 24, 2021
7 min read

There are observables that are unique to Angular.

Event Emitter

<zippy (open)="onOpen($event)" (close)="onClose($event)"></zippy>
  selector: 'zippy',
  template: `  <div class="zippy">    <div (click)="toggle()">Toggle</div>    <div [hidden]="!visible">      <ng-content></ng-content>    </div>  </div>`})export class ZippyComponent {
  visible = true;
  @Output() open = new EventEmitter<any>();
  @Output() close = new EventEmitter<any>();toggle() {this.visible = !this.visible;if (this.visible) {;} else {this.close.emit(null);}}}

Async Pipe

  selector: 'async-observable-pipe',
  template: `<div><code>observable|async</code>:       Time: {{ time | async }}</div>`})export class AsyncObservablePipeComponent {
  time = new Observable(observer =>setInterval(() => Date().toString()), 1000));}

The async pipe will subscribe to an observable or promise and returns the latest value it has emitted. When new value has been emitted, the pipe marks the component to be checked for changes.



Router events are supplied as an observable. So lets say we want to listen in into when a router event has reached a certain point we would be able to do that.

import { Router, NavigationStart } from '@angular/router';import { filter } from 'rxjs/operators';

  selector: 'app-routable',
  templateUrl: './routable.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['./routable.component.css']})export class Routable1Component implements OnInit {

  navStart: Observable<NavigationStart>;constructor(private router: Router) {// Create a new Observable that publishes only the NavigationStart eventthis.navStart = => evt instanceof NavigationStart)) as Observable<NavigationStart>;}ngOnInit() {this.navStart.subscribe(evt => console.log('Navigation Started!'));}}


ActivatedRoute \"contains the information about a route associated with a component loaded in an outlet.\" Specifically, one of the pieces of information that the ActivatedRoute injected router service provides is ActivatedRoute.url which is provided as an observable.

import { ActivatedRoute } from '@angular/router';

  selector: 'app-routable',
  templateUrl: './routable.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['./routable.component.css']})export class Routable2Component implements OnInit {constructor(private activatedRoute: ActivatedRoute) {}ngOnInit() {this.activatedRoute.url
      .subscribe(url => console.log('The URL changed to: ' + url));}}

Using the above observable, we are able to determine what the url is at any given time.

Reactive Forms

Reactive forms is another core Angular library that makes use of Observables. In particular, the FormControl valueChanges property contains an observable that determines whenever an event occurred.

import { FormGroup } from '@angular/forms';

  selector: 'my-component',
  template: 'MyComponent Template'})export class MyComponent implements OnInit {
  pxForm: FormGroup;ngOnInit() {this.logNameChange();}logNameChange() {const rowControl = this.pxForm.get('name');
    rowControl.valueChanges.subscribe(data => {console.log('data');console.log(data);});}}

Using valueChanges in the context of formControl can be incredibly useful. There might be special effects, or some sort of hurdle you need to come across when building out this form, and it helps very much so in this regard.

What is the Point of this???

You might be asking yourself, what is the point of knowing specifically that there are observables that are baked into the framework? It would seem one would be able to just read up on the documentation, and be able to get done what you need in that fashion. What value is there in organizing all of the Angular observables into one location?

Here are four scenarios:

  1. Event Emitter

  2. Async Pipe

  3. Router

  4. Forms

If something has an observable it means:

  1. Level of complexity is higher

  2. Subject to change, and needs higher level of architecture

  3. Interacts with data heavily outside of component instantiation

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