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WhatsApp Clone with Ionic 2 and Meteor CLI

Socially Merge Version (Last Update: 14.02.2017)

Folder Structure

Note: If you skipped ahead to this section, click here to download a zip of the tutorial at this point.

As you have probably noticed, our tutorial app has a strict modular structure at this point; There are no pure JavaScript files that are being bundled together and auto-executed, so Meteor's file loading conventions don't have any effect. Furthermore, every .ts file is being compiled into a separate CommonJS module, which we can then import whenever we desire.

TypeScript

TypeScript is a rather new language that has been growing in popularity since it's creation 3 years ago. TypeScript has one of the fullest implementations of ES2015 features on the market: including some experimental features, pseudo type-checking and a rich toolset developed by Microsoft and the TypeScript community. It has support already in all major IDEs including Visual Studio, WebStorm, Sublime, Atom, etc.

One of the biggest issues in JavaScript is making code less bug-prone and more suitable for big projects. In the OOP world, well-known solutions include modularity and strict type-checking. While OOP is available in JavaScript in some way, it turned out to be very hard to create good type-checking. One always needs to impose a certain number of rules to follow to make a JavaScript compiler more effective. For many years, we’ve seen around a number of solutions including the Closure Compiler and GWT from Google, a bunch of C#-to-JavaScript compilers and others.

This was, for sure, one of the problems the TypeScript team were striving to solve: to create a language that would inherit the flexibility of JavaScript while, at the same time, having effective and optional type-checking with minimum effort required from the user.

Interfaces

TypeScript's type-checking is based on the "shapes" that types have. That's where interfaces kicks in; Interfaces are TypeScript's means to describe these type "shapes", which is sometimes called "duck typing". More on that you can read here.

TypeScript Configuration and IDEs

As you already know from the bootstrapping step, TypeScript is generally configured by a special JSON file called tsconfig.json.

As mentioned, the TypeScript language today has development plugins in many popular IDEs, including Visual Studio, WebStorm, Sublime, Atom etc. These plugins work in the same style as it's become de facto today — compile, using TypeScript shell command, .ts and tsconfig.json files update automatically as you change them. With that, if you've configured your project right with declaration files in place you'll get a bunch of invaluable features such as better code completion and instantaneous highlighting of compilation errors.

If you use one of the mentioned IDEs, you've likely noticed that a bunch of the code lines are now marked in red, indicating the TypeScript plugins don't work right quite yet.

That's because most of the plugins recognize tsconfig.json as well if it's placed in the root folder, but so far our tsconfig.json contains only a "files" property, which is certainly not enough for a general compilation. At the same time, Angular2-Meteor's TypeScript compiler, defaults most of the compilation options internally to fit our needs. To fix plugins, let's set up our tsconfig.json properly with the options that will make plugins understand our needs and the structure of our app.

{
  "compilerOptions": {
    "target": "es5",
    "module": "commonjs",
    "isolatedModules": false,
    "moduleResolution": "node",
    "experimentalDecorators": true,
    "emitDecoratorMetadata": true,
    "removeComments": false,
    "noImplicitAny": false,
    "sourceMap": true
  },
  "exclude": [
    "node_modules"
  ],
  "compileOnSave": false
}

CompilerOptions:

  • target - Specify ECMAScript target version
  • module - Specify module code generation
  • isolatedModules - Unconditionally emit imports for unresolved files
  • moduleResolution - Determine how modules get resolved
  • experimentalDecorators - Enables experimental support for ES7 decorators.
  • emitDecoratorMetadata - Emit design-type metadata for decorated declarations in source
  • removeComments - Remove all comments except copy-right header comments beginning with
  • noImplicitAny - Raise error on expressions and declarations with an implied 'any' type
  • sourceMap - Generates corresponding '.map' file

Now, let's go to any of the .ts files and check if all that annoying redness has disappeared.

Note: you may need to reload you IDE to pick up the latest changes to the config.

Please note, since the Meteor environment is quite specific, some of the tsconfig.json options won't make sense in Meteor. You can read about the exceptions here. TypeScript compiler of this package supports some additional options that might be useful in the Meteor environment. They can be included in the "meteorCompilerOptions" section of tsconfig.json and described here.

Meteor Folder Structure

Even though it is recommended that you write your application to use ES2015 modules and the imports/ directory, Meteor 1.3 continues to support eager loading of files, using these default load order rules, to provide backwards compatibility with applications written for Meteor 1.2 and earlier. You may combine both eager loading and lazy loading using import in a single app. Any import statements are evaluated in the order they are listed in a file when that file is loaded and evaluated using these rules.

There are several load order rules. They are applied sequentially to all applicable files in the application, in the priority given below:

  • HTML template files are always loaded before everything else
  • Files beginning with main. are loaded last
  • Files inside any lib/ directory are loaded next
  • Files with deeper paths are loaded next
  • Files are then loaded in alphabetical order of the entire path
nav.html
main.html
client/lib/methods.js
client/lib/styles.js
lib/feature/styles.js
lib/collections.js
client/feature-y.js
feature-x.js
client/main.js

For example, the files above are arranged in the correct load order. main.html is loaded second because HTML templates are always loaded first, even if it begins with main., since rule 1 has priority over rule 2. However, it will be loaded after nav.html because rule 2 has priority over rule 5.

client/lib/styles.js and lib/feature/styles.js have identical load order up to rule 4; however, since client comes before lib alphabetically, it will be loaded first.

You can also use Meteor.startup to control when run code is run on both the server and the client.

By default, any JavaScript files in your Meteor application folder are bundled and loaded on both the client and the server. However, the names of the files and directories inside your project can affect their load order, where they are loaded, and some other characteristics. Here is a list of file and directory names that are treated specially by Meteor:

  • imports

    Any directory named imports/ is not loaded anywhere and files must be imported using import.

  • node_modules

    Any directory named node_modules/ is not loaded anywhere. node.js packages installed into node_modules directories must be imported using import or by using Npm.depends in package.js.

  • client

    Any directory named client/ is not loaded on the server. Similar to wrapping your code in if (Meteor.isClient) { ... }. All files loaded on the client are automatically concatenated and minified when in production mode. In development mode, JavaScript and CSS files are not minified, to make debugging easier. CSS files are still combined into a single file for consistency between production and development, because changing the CSS file's URL affects how URLs in it are processed.

    HTML files in a Meteor application are treated quite a bit differently from a server-side framework. Meteor scans all the HTML files in your directory for three top-level elements: <head>, <body>, and <template>. The head and body sections are separately concatenated into a single head and body, which are transmitted to the client on initial page load.

  • server

    Any directory named server/ is not loaded on the client. Similar to wrapping your code in if (Meteor.isServer) { ... }, except the client never even receives the code. Any sensitive code that you don't want served to the client, such as code containing passwords or authentication mechanisms, should be kept in the server/ directory.

    Meteor gathers all your JavaScript files, excluding anything under the client, public, and private subdirectories, and loads them into a Node.js server instance. In Meteor, your server code runs in a single thread per request, not in the asynchronous callback style typical of Node.

  • public

    All files inside a top-level directory called public/ are served as-is to the client. When referencing these assets, do not include public/ in the URL, write the URL as if they were all in the top level. For example, reference public/bg.png as <img src='/bg.png' />. This is the best place for favicon.ico, robots.txt, and similar files.

  • private

    All files inside a top-level directory called private/ are only accessible from server code and can be loaded via the Assets API. This can be used for private data files and any files that are in your project directory that you don't want to be accessible from the outside.

  • client/compatibility

    This folder is for compatibility with JavaScript libraries that rely on variables declared with var at the top level being exported as globals. Files in this directory are executed without being wrapped in a new variable scope. These files are executed before other client-side JavaScript files.

    It is recommended to use npm for 3rd party JavaScript libraries and use import to control when files are loaded.

  • tests

    Any directory named tests/ is not loaded anywhere. Use this for any test code you want to run using a test runner outside of Meteor's built-in test tools.

The following directories are also not loaded as part of your app code:

  • Files/directories whose names start with a dot, like .meteor and .git
  • packages/: Used for local packages
  • cordova-build-override/: Used for advanced mobile build customizations
  • programs: For legacy reasons