Getting Started with Angular and AEM SPA Editor - Chapter 1

Bootstrapping the Angular application

Angular applications developed for AEM SPA Editor start out like any other Angular application, however, require minor additions to integrate into the AEM build process using the aem - clientlib -manager NPM module and an integration into the overall AEM project via the frontend-maven-plugin Maven plugin.

In this chapter well explore how to incorporate the Angular application project into the overall AEM project.

The Angular application

Persona: Front End Developer

A starter Angular application has been created using Angular's CLI, using the create-project configurations:

  • Enable Routing using the Angular Router
  • Use SCSS for style support
  1. Install Angular CLI globally. This is used to generate Angular components as well as to build and serve the Angular application via the ng command.

    $ npm install -g @angular/cli
  2. Run the Angular application locally by navigating to the aem-guides-wknd-events/angular-app directory and executing the following commands:

    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-events/angular-app 
    $ npm install  
    $ ng serve
  3. Review the Angular app by executing ng serve, which starts the Angular application on a local dev web server running at http://localhost:4200/.

  4. Build a deployable distribution of the app by pressing Ctrl + C to stop the server. Execute the following command on the command line:

    $ npm run build 

    This builds the application, via ng serve in defined by a script definition in package.json.

    Several files are created beneath the angular-app/build folder.


    ... along with the accompanying files.

    Next, we will move these files into an AEM Client Library and deploy them to AEM as part of the ui.apps Maven module.

Integration approach

The SPA development will be done in the Webpack project. The compiled SPA, following a production build, is then copied into the  ui .apps module as an AEM Client Library and deployed to AEM as part of our ui .apps AEM package. The concept is similar to the integration of the core Java bundle, where the Java bundle is compiled into a jar file that is embedded into the  ui .apps module and deployed to AEM as an AEM package.

To achieve this integration two tools will be used:

  1. aem-clientlib-generator used to transform compiled CSS and JS files into an AEM client library
  2. frontend-maven-plugin used to trigger NPM commands via a Maven build. This plugin will download/install Node and NPM locally for the project, ensuring consistency and making the project easy to integrate with a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment environment.

Configure the aem-clientlib-generator NPM module

Persona: Angular Developer

  1. Install the aem-clientlibs-generator node plugin as part of the react-app project.

    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-events/angular-app 
    $ npm install aem-clientlib-generator --save-dev
  2. Notice that package.json has been updated with the dev dependencies for aem-clientlib-generator.


  3. Create a new file beneath the  aem -guides-wknd-events/angular-app folder named clientlib.config.js. Populate the file with the following:

    module.exports = { 
        // default working directory (can be changed per 'cwd' in every asset option) 
        context: __dirname, 
        // path to the clientlib root folder (output) 
        clientLibRoot: "./../ui.apps/src/main/content/jcr_root/apps/wknd-events/clientlibs", 
        libs: { 
            name: "angular-app", 
            allowProxy: true, 
            categories: ["wknd-events.angular"], 
            serializationFormat: "xml", 
            jsProcessor: ["default:none","min:none"], 
            assets: { 
                js: [ 
                css: [ 

    This file directs the  aem - clientlib -generator to create a client library in the  ui .apps module beneath /apps/wknd-events/clientlibs. The client library will have a category of wknd-events.angular and will include any files with an extension of .js and .css beneath the angular-app/dist/angular-app folder reviewed in the above step.

    There are two items of specific note in this config:

    1. The assets: { ...  css : [ ... ]  }  does not do anything since Angular applications, by default, do not generate CSS as such, but rather embed CSS in the styles.<hash>.js. This entry could be removed, however, we'll leave it in as it simply results in a noop (no operation).
    2. The  jsProcessor's  are set to none since the Angular production build utilizes more modern JavaScript processing tooling that what AEM Client Libraries provide.
  4. Add the clientlib directive as part of the npm run build script by updating react-app/package.json file with the following line:

     "scripts": { 
       "build": "ng build && clientlib --verbose" 
  5. Test out the changes by running the following command:

    $ npm run build
    Output of: npm run build

  6. Beneath /ui.apps/src/main/content/jcr_root/apps/wknd-events/clientlibs/ should be a new folder named angular-app and should contain JavaScript files generated from the Angular application (remember, Angular application embed the CSS in the styles.js, thus there are no .css files).

  7. Ensure the compiled Angular files are not committed to source control (Git). While these files are copied into the /apps/wknd-events/clientlibs to be deployed, they are themselves are built artifacts, and thus should not be checked into source control, rather, these files should be rebuilt at build-time. This is a similar to how compiled OSGi bundle JAR files are are not checked into source control.

    Ignore the angular-app AEM client library in  ui .apps from source control by adding the following entry to the bottom of the project's root .gitignore file ( aem -guides-wknd-events/.gitignore).

    ## Angular app 

Configure the frontend-maven-plugin Maven plugin

Persona: AEM Developer

Next, configure the angular-app project to also be a Maven module. This way it can be triggered by the parent reactor POM and the entire AEM project can be built with a single command. As mentioned earlier the frontend-maven-plugin will be used to install and trigger an npm build within the angular-app project.

  1. Open up the parent reactor POM, aem-guides-wknd-events/pom.xml, and add the angular-app as a module to build. The order in which the modules are built matters:

        <!-- add Angular App --> 

    Your IDE may indicate that the new angular-app module cannot be found. Ignore this warning for now as it will will be resolved in Step 3 beflow.

  2. Within the parent reactor POM, /pom.xml, and add the following properties for the frontend-maven-pluginnode and npm versions.


    Use the same version of node and npm that you have installed locally.

        <!-- Update: Used by frontend-maven-plugin --> 
        <!-- end update --> 


    These properties will be used by the frontend-maven-plugin to determine the local version of node and npm to install. As a best practice version properties should be managed at the parent pom level.


  3. Create a new file named pom.xml beneath aem-guides-wknd-events/angular-app folder. Populate the pom.xml with the following:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> 
    <project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation=""> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
        <!-- P A R E N T  P R O J E C T  D E S C R I P T I O N                      --> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
        <!-- P R O J E C T  D E S C R I P T I O N                                   --> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
        <name>WKND Events - Angular App</name> 
        <description>UI Angular application code for WKND Events</description> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
        <!-- B U I L D   D E F I N I T I O N                                        --> 
        <!-- ====================================================================== --> 
                <id>install node and npm</id> 
                <id>npm install</id> 
                <!-- Optional configuration which provides for running any npm command --> 
                <id>npm run build</id> 
                <arguments>run build</arguments> 
  4. Within the angular-app folder run the following Maven command to trigger a build of the angular-app Maven project.

    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-events/angular-app 
    $ mvn clean install

    You should see that the frontend-maven-plugin downloads and installs a isolated version of node and npm used exclusilvely for the build. The command npm run build is then executed which will build the Angular app and then copy the compiled JS and CSS files into the ui.apps project.

    Check the timestamps of the files in: /ui.apps/src/main/content/jcr_root/apps/wknd-events/clientlibs/angular-app/js to confirm that these files were just built.

  5. Navigate to the parent Angular project and run the following command to build the entire project and deploy it to AEM:

    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-events 
    $ mvn -PautoInstallPackage clean install
    Output of: mvn -PautoInstallPackage clean install

  6. After the build, a new folder appears at aem -guides-wknd-events/angular-app/node which contains the build-time node, npm and node_modules created by the frontend-maven-plugin. Since these are transient build artifacts as well, they should not be added to source control (Git), so they should be added to the Angular applications' .gitignore file.

    Add the following to the end of the   aem -guides-wknd-events/angular-app/. gitignore file ..

    # Front-end maven plugin 
  7. Navigate to CRXDE-Lite to verify that the Angular App and the rest of the AEM project has been deployed beneath /apps/wknd-events/clientlibs/angular-app.


Integrate the Angular application on the AEM page

Persona: AEM Developer

Next we will integrate the Angular app on to the page via the AEM Client Library.

Open up the aem-guides-wknd-events/ui.apps project to edit.

  1. Beneath /apps/wknd-events/components/structure/page open the file customheaderlibs.html.

    This HTL template will get loaded in the HTML <head> section.

    Replace the contents of the file with the following:

    Custom Headerlibs for Angular App 
    <sly data-sly-use.clientLib="${'/libs/granite/sightly/templates/clientlib.html'}"></sly> 
    <base href="/"/> 
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, shrink-to-fit=no"> 
    <meta property="cq:datatype" data-sly-test="${wcmmode.edit || wcmmode.preview}" content="JSON"/> 
    <meta property="cq:wcmmode" data-sly-test="${wcmmode.edit}" content="edit"/> 
    <meta property="cq:wcmmode" data-sly-test="${wcmmode.preview}" content="preview"/> 
    <meta property="cq:pagemodel_root_url" "com.adobe.aem.guides.wkndevents.core.models.HierarchyPage"  
    <sly data-sly-call="${clientLib.css @ categories='wknd-events.angular'}"></sly>      

    This sets a meta property for cq:pagemodel_root_url. This will be used by the AEM SPA Editor SDK to identify the root page JSON to load.

    Note that we include the CSS at the top of the page as this will load the Responsive Grid CSS, used to support Layout Mode. The Angular app's styles, however, are included in styles.js which is part of the JavaScript for the wknd-events .angular Client Library.

  2. Beneath /apps/wknd-events/components/structure/page open the file customfooterlibs.html.

    This HTL template will get loaded at the bottom of the page right before the closing </body> tag.

    Replace the contents of the file with the following:

    Custom footer Angular App 
    <sly data-sly-use.clientLib="${'/libs/granite/sightly/templates/clientlib.html'}"></sly> 
    <sly data-sly-test="${wcmmode.edit || wcmmode.preview}" 
         data-sly-call="${clientLib.js @ categories='cq.authoring.pagemodel.messaging'}"></sly> 
    <sly data-sly-call="${clientLib.js @ categories='wknd-events.angular'}"></sly>

    This will load the JS for the wknd-events.angular client library at the bottom of the page. The code above also includes the cq.authoring.pagemodel.messaging when the page is being edited in the AEM environment. This client library allows for the SPA editing capabilities using the AEM Sites Editor.

  3. Create a new file named body.html beneath /apps/wknd-events/components/structure/page

    Populate body.html with the following:

    - body.html 
    Includes the HTML element that will be targeted by the Angular SPA as specified in:  
    - angular-app/src/app/app.component.ts 

    This will insert the DOM element that the Angular application is targeting.

  4. Deploy the changes to AEM by running the following maven command from the project root:

    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-events
    $ mvn -PautoInstallPackage clean install
  5. Navigate to http://localhost:4502/editor.html/content/wknd-events/angular/home.html

    You should now see the Angular app being rendered on the AEM page, however the Sidebar doesn't work and on refresh, the page becomes blank. This is because Angular's default routing has taken over and is working against the AEM Page Editor.  

    We'll fix this in the next chapter by setting up the Angular routes to properly map to resources in AEM.

Next steps

Next part in the tutorial: 

View the solution for Chapter 1 on GitHub.


If you get stuck or have additional questions make sure to check out the Experience League forums for AEM or review existing GitHub issues

Didn't find what you were looking for? Think you found an error? Please file a GitHub issue for the WKND Events project