Before you go, check out these stories!

Hackernoon logoBuilding angular app using browserify by@rahulbhola

Building angular app using browserify

Author profile picture

@rahulbholaRahul Bhola

This post is not a tutorial on Angular js there are a lot of them online and i would recommend you check them out. This is more about the setup of Angular js so you can build apps that are easy to maintain in the long run and manageable.

Start with grunt and browserify

If you have worked with something like ember.js you might have noticed that how everything is just in the right folder and it comes out of box with live reload etc. The same is not the case with angular and therefore many people end up doing it wrong. Let us start with creating a package.json to maintain all dependencies

npm init --yes

Now assuming that you have installed grunt-cli globally here is what you do next. Install packages that you would be needing for live reload and building the apps.

npm i --save-dev grunt grunt-browserify grunt-contrib-copy grunt-contrib-watch

Obviously if you are developing apps for sometime, you know that scss and jade are your usefull friends. Let us add build tools needed for them also. You can remove this step if you think you want to use html and css.

npm i --save grunt-contrib-jade grunt-contrib-sass

needless to say if you are using grunt-contrib-sass make sure you have the ruby module for scss installed.

Installing angularjs and angular-route

In last step we only added dependencied needed for the build, its time to install angular and ngRoute.

npm i --save angular angular-route

Note that i have not added them in dev-dependencies.

Getting folder structure ready

Here is a small app structure that i prefer to use to keep my codes manageable

├── app.js
├── components
│ ├── nav.jade
├── controllers
│ ├── index.js
│ └── testController.js
├── factory
│ └── index.js
├── index.jade
├── route.js
├── style
│ ├── main.scss
└── templates
└── application.jade

You can always change that to what suits you. This is inside an app folder in my npm project.

Building the project

Edit Gruntfile.js in your root folder, the one that contains package.json and put in the following content.

module.exports = function(grunt){
pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),
browserify: {
'dist/app.js': ['app/app.js']
jade :{
compile: {
options: {
client: false,
pretty : false
files: [{
cwd: "app",
src: "**/*.jade",
dest: "dist",
expand: "true",
ext: ".html"
watch: {
all: {
options: {livereload: true},
files: ['app/**'],
tasks: ['jade','sass','browserify']
dist: {
copy: {
main: {
expand: true,
cwd: 'static',
src: '**',
dest: 'dist/static',

grunt.registerTask('default', ['copy','jade','sass','browserify','watch']);

That is all that we need for building our app, which grunt will build and put in dist folder.

Put some actual content in angular app

I am just going to make a simple app that imports nav.

meta(http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible', content='IE=edge')
title Application
meta(name='description', content='')
meta(name='viewport', content='width=device-width, initial-scale=1')

The last script of livereload comes from grunt-watch and would reload the page when you change anything in your code.

// app/app.js
var angular = require('angular');
var ngRoute = require('angular-route');
var app = angular.module('application', [ngRoute]);

Remember we already have angular and angular-route installed.

// app/routes.js
module.exports = function(app) {
app.config(function($routeProvider, $locationProvider) {
templateUrl: "templates/application.html"

This is the file where we define all the routes. Note that templates/application.html is the output of jade from templates/application.jade.

// app/controllers/index.js
var app = require('angular').module('application');

This is the file that was imported in app/app.js, we need to include all controllers here. In this case i have demonstrated with testController as you can see from the tree structure.

What about components ?

that is more of common reusable stuff like navigation that i keep so my templates directory don’t become cluttered. Example in application.jade which in this case is the landing page, i can add navigation using


How to see the changes in browser

Well first you need to start the build, Simply go to root folder of npm project and run grunt from terminal. It will build the project and start to look for changes.

You might also see a new directory called dist. That directory is the final build output for the code. Simply start a web-server in that directory and go to that url in browser, where you can see the application running.

The moment you make any changes to the code, grunt would automatically run and the browser would reflect the updated changes without the need to reload.


The Noonification banner

Subscribe to get your daily round-up of top tech stories!