Data Models

Angular: The Full Gamut Edition

Charlie Greenman
April 28, 2021
3 min read

A data model is an abstract model that organizes different sorts of data and how they relate to each other. An interface in Typescript is essentially a data model. Coupling various functionality together is arguably Typescript's greatest strength.

Imagine 40 functions using the same data model, which has required properties. If we add a single required property, or change/update a single required property, the compiler will complain on the 40 functions that now to be updated.

This is valuable. There are many more benefits which are beyond the scope of this chapter. However, introducing data-models does introduce an interesting dilemma.

Dilemma with interfaces in Typescript

In any enterprise data heavy app, the majority of interfaces will be created to be used in unison with data being retrieved from the backend.

In an Angular setting, this means that we will be using a service to make the request. For our Pixel Illustration application, we will be feeding the data through the entire ngrx/store pipiline for http requests - which will look something like this: Effect > Action > Action > Reducer.

Inside of the component that will be consuming this data, we will also need to use the interface - that is, if we want to tightly couple our unit tests to our interface. To ensure this, we want to make sure that there aren't any use cases that we do not test properly.

Data types can be unique. We might be missing as a result of data type(array, dictionary, object), some particular use case. Integrating data type with component as well is important. Keeping the following scenarios in mind:

  1. Data Services

  2. ngrx/store pipeline (Data Access)

  3. Component (Consuming business logic)

  4. Unit Tests

What would be the ideal place for us to place our interfaces?

Data Models Directory Structure

Data Models are unique in that they tie everything together. \"Data Models\" also seems like an appropriate name for the folder containing these interfaces.

It is important to note that not all interfaces will go into this folder. Rather interfaces related to data being pulled in from backend, as well as interfaces created as a result of interacting with data.

[libs
    [px-illustrator
      [data-models
        [src
          [lib
            [user
              [user.interface.ts,file]
              [user.mock.ts,file]
            ]
          ]
          [index.ts,file]
          [test.ts,file]
        ]
        [karma.conf,file]
        [README.md,file]
        [tsconfig.lib,file]
        [tsconfig.lib.json,file]
        [tsconfig.spec.json,file]
        [tslint.json,file]
      ]
    ]
  ]

Data Mocks

You will notice that we have also coupled mocks with each interface. These mocks help with unit tests. By keeping them with the interface, it eases the ability to update when an interface is updated as well.

It's not as importance to keep them up to date, as long as the general integrity of data is represented closely. As a rule, hooking mocks directly into interfaces is the easiest way to ensure that unit tests cover all use cases.

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