Angular Material: UI Component Framework

Anton Ioffe - November 26th 2023 - 9 minutes read

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern web development, wielding a toolkit that harmonizes functionality with aesthetic finesse is a mark of a pro developer. Enter Angular Material, a robust UI component framework that epitomizes this fusion, giving rise to interfaces that are not only visually delightful but structurally sound. In this deep dive, we'll navigate the architectural marvels of Angular Material, refine your theming acuity for radiant user experiences, and enhance your arsenal with performance-tuning tactics and expert problem-solving maneuvers. Whether you're seeking to sidestep the pitfalls that ensnare the unwary or to craft advanced, custom components that speak the language of Material Design, this article stands as your beacon, guiding you through the mastery of Angular Material's rich landscape of possibilities. Prepare to elevate your web development game to a realm where power, elegance, and efficiency coalesce.

Architectural Overview and Componentization with Angular Material

Angular Material is structured around the core principles of Material Design, advocating for a cohesive visual language across platforms and devices. This comprehensive UI component framework integrates seamlessly with Angular's component-based architecture, providing developers with a set of pre-built elements that embody the design philosophy's emphasis on tactile surfaces, intentional color choices, and meaningful motion. Components such as dialogs, snackbars, and toasts encapsulate these ideals, making them not just visually appealing, but also structurally designed for an optimal user experience.

Each component within Angular Material is an encapsulated piece of functionality with its own interface and lifecycle, adhering to the atomic design methodology where small, reusable components form the building blocks of larger ones. This componentization enables developers to craft a consistent UI by reusing and recombining elements, ensuring uniformity and predictability across the application. For example, material buttons and input fields maintain a consistent look and feel, which streamlines development and fosters a more intuitive user interface.

With Angular Material's emphasis on modularity, teams can work on different parts of an application in isolation, reducing complexity and minimizing the risk of cascading changes impacting unrelated features. By fostering this kind of development paradigm, Angular Material simplifies testing and maintenance while promoting cleaner code organization. The modular nature of these components also aligns perfectly with Angular's lazy loading capabilities, making it possible to improve application performance by loading components only when needed.

Furthermore, Angular Material components are imbued with responsive design features out of the box, inherently supporting a wide range of devices and screen sizes. This approach is in line with contemporary web design principles that prioritize device independence and user accessibility. For instance, Angular Material's grid list and layout components use a flex-based model to react smoothly to different viewports, ensuring that applications remain functional and attractive across all devices.

At the core, Angular Material's architecture and component suite is designed with the principle of progressive enhancement in mind. This means that applications built with Angular Material will start with a solid base that is functional on all supported browsers, with advanced features enhancing the experience when possible. Take the autocomplete component, for example; it functions as a basic input on older browsers, but transforms into a powerful predictive search tool on modern browsers, demonstrating the framework's commitment to graceful degradation.

Best Practices for Effective Theming and Styling

Leveraging Angular Material's theming capabilities offers a straightforward way to ensure a consistent look across your application. When it comes to theming, it's advisable to start with one of the pre-built themes that Angular Material provides. These themes take into account color, typography, and density settings that can serve as a cohesive foundation for your project. While it might be tempting to customize every aspect of these themes, remember that over-customization can lead to increased complexity and difficulties in maintenance.

Defining custom themes is a powerful feature of Angular Material, allowing you to tailor the aesthetic of your app to your organization's branding. However, when creating custom themes, be mindful not to deviate too much from the structure provided by Angular Material. Stick to the theming API they expose, such as primary, accent, and warn palettes, and utilize the angular-material-theme mixin. This ensures that your themes remain in sync with the components' designs and that you do not introduce performance hits by adding unnecessary CSS.

When employing advanced styling techniques, such as using the ::ng-deep pseudo-class or other view encapsulation workarounds, proceed with caution. These approaches, while sometimes necessary, can pierce the encapsulation of Angular's components, leading to styles that are difficult to debug and can have unintended global impacts. Instead, consider using theme-specific class selectors provided by Angular Material or tailor your components' styles locally when possible.

In the process of theming and styling, think about the maintainability and performance of your application. Angular Material's theming system is built to be efficient, but overloading it with complex Sass functions and mixins or large numbers of theme variations can lead to longer build times and sluggish application performance. To combat this, structure your styles in a way that leverages the modularity of Sass partials. This keeps related styles together and simplifies the process of changing or removing them.

Finally, always test your themes across different browsers and devices. Responsive design is a cornerstone of Angular Material, but your custom styles and themes may behave differently in diverse environments. Utilizing Angular Material's breakpoint observers can help manage this, allowing you to apply styles conditionally based on viewport sizes. By combining these practices, you'll be able to craft a theme that is not only fitting for your brand but also performs well and is maintainable in the long term.

Performance Optimization with Angular Material

Leveraging Angular Material in your project brings a wealth of pre-built components that, while convenient, can also affect application performance. To mitigate potential slowdowns, it's essential to employ lazy loading for these components. By doing so, the application only loads the components that are necessary for the displayed view, rather than burdening the user's device with unnecessary code. This not only improves initial load times but also reduces overall memory usage. Developers should strategically split their modules and utilize Angular’s built-in features for lazy loading to ensure optimal performance gains.

Change detection is another vital area affecting performance in Angular applications. Angular Material components, when used without care, can trigger excessive change detection cycles which diminish the application's responsiveness. To address this, developers should adopt an 'OnPush' change detection strategy wherever possible. This change detection strategy instructs Angular to update the DOM only when new references are passed to components. This reduces the framework's workload, as change detection cycles will be run less frequently. Such an approach demands immutable data structures and can sometimes introduce complexities, yet the performance benefits can be substantial, especially with complex UIs.

When using a comprehensive UI component library like Angular Material, performance considerations should be at the forefront of development practices. Developers must scrutinize their use of Angular Material components, identifying opportunities for optimization. For instance, only importing the needed modules instead of the entire Angular Material set can greatly reduce the application's bundle size. Avoiding excessive nesting of components and being judicious with the use of material features like ripples and animations will also help in keeping performance snappy.

Furthermore, developers should be mindful of the potential performance impact of custom styles and scripted DOM manipulations on Material components. Overriding default styles or manipulating the DOM directly can lead to performance penalties and should be approached with caution. Instead, leverage Angular directives and built-in animations to achieve desired effects with lower performance cost. The use of TrackBy functions within ngFor directives is also noteworthy, as it can help in preventing unnecessary DOM manipulations by helping Angular to identify elements more efficiently.

Lastly, benchmarking and profiling are indispensable practices for developers aiming to optimize performance with Angular Material. Utilizing tools like the Chrome DevTools to profile the application and identify bottlenecks can provide actionable insights. For example, developers might find certain Angular Material components that are resource-intensive under certain conditions. Armed with this knowledge, they can approach component usage and state management strategies to maintain a performant and responsive application, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Common Pitfalls and Debugging in Angular Material

Understanding and leveraging Angular Material requires meticulous attention to detail to circumvent common pitfalls. One such mistake involves misuse of Angular Material's form controls. Developers sometimes experience issues when form fields are not integrated correctly with Angular's form directives, leading to unreliable behavior and ineffective form validation. It's crucial to adhere to Angular's form conventions:


    <input matInput [(ngModel)]='myModel'>

Correct for template-driven form:

    <input matInput [(ngModel)]='myModel' name='modelName'>

Correct for reactive form:

    <input matInput formControlName='myModelControl'>

Theming issues also crop up when custom styles are applied without considering Angular Material's structure. Specifically, a common error is applying styles that conflict with the Angular Material's components' encapsulated design. Such practices hinder the theme's intent and consistency.


// Avoid deep styling that disregards encapsulation
.mat-datepicker-content {
    border-radius: 0;


// Target your custom styles thoughtfully
.my-datepicker .mat-datepicker-content {
    border-radius: 0;

For debugging Angular Material components, it's crucial to track errors related to change detection and template parsing. Utilize Angular's built-in error handling to pinpoint problem areas. When encountering uncaught promise rejections or errors stemming from component classes, verify the integrity of your API usage and the adequacy of module imports.

When customization needs arise, the temptation can be to override Angular Material styles directly. This approach should be avoided as it may cause conflicts and decrease maintainability.


// Overriding Angular Material styles can lead to conflicts
.mat-slide-toggle-bar {
    background-color: darkcyan;


// Leverage Angular Material's inherent capabilities for customization
.my-toggle .mat-slide-toggle-bar {
    background-color: darkcyan;

Lastly, when errors occur in your Angular Material application, rather than diving into the components' internals, start by investigating the console error trace in your browser's developer tools. This will often lead to a misused API or a missing import, which are common sources of issues.

In summary, ensure that your utilization of Angular Material components considers correct integration with Angular's forms, a balanced approach to custom styles, and a cautious handling of the powerful debugging tools provided by the Angular framework. Your efforts will pay off in a robust and visually consistent application.

Advanced Custom Component Creation

To dive into advanced custom component creation with Angular Material, one must first understand the underlying philosophy—extensibility. By leveraging Angular Material's Component Dev Kit (CDK), developers can access low-level utilities and services to create components with custom behavior. When extending existing components, begin by importing the relevant Angular Material modules into your component's module file. Subclassing a Material component, such as MatButton, could involve creating a wrapper component adding new functionalities or input properties, ensuring that you properly call the parent class's methods and pass the necessary constructor parameters.

import { MatButton, MatButtonBase } from '@angular/material/button';
import { Component, Input } from '@angular/core';

  selector: 'app-custom-button',
  templateUrl: './custom-button.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['./custom-button.component.css'],
  providers: [{ provide: MatButtonBase, useExisting: CustomButtonComponent }]
export class CustomButtonComponent extends MatButton {
    // Example of adding a custom property
    @Input() customProperty: string;

    constructor(...args: any[]) {

    // Additional custom methods or lifecycle hooks

Creating a brand new component entails setting the stage for integration within the Angular Material ecosystem. Developers must account for Angular's lifecycle hooks and change detection strategies. When conceptualizing a new component, it is imperative to consider how it will fit within the existing design system, ensuring a cohesive user experience. Define a new set of styles that can be easily adopted or overridden by users.

Advanced custom components often require intricate interactions and data manipulation. Harness the power of Angular Material's robust directives and services, such as overlays and table data sources, to manage complex component logic. As you build new components, encapsulate logic within components and services, maintaining a clear separation of concerns.

When integrating new custom components, developers must ensure they harmonize with existing Material components. Consistent use of inputs, outputs, and Angular's form control integration will contribute to a seamless experience. The introduction of complex business logic in components like dynamic forms or data visualizations could require a layered approach, where business logic is separated from presentational concerns using services or state management patterns.

Finally, for advanced custom component creation, consider the user experience at every stage. Ensure that custom components are intuitive for developers to implement and for end-users to interact with. Testing custom components thoroughly in the context they will be used is important for detecting issues early and ensuring a high-quality end-user experience.


Angular Material: UI Component Framework is a comprehensive article that delves into the architectural wonders of Angular Material, offering insights on theming, styling, performance optimization, and custom component creation. The article emphasizes the importance of adhering to Angular's conventions, such as correct integration with form directives, and provides best practices for theming and styling to ensure a consistent and performant user interface. The article also highlights the need for performance optimization with lazy loading, change detection strategies, and judicious use of Angular Material components. The challenging technical task for readers is to create a highly customizable and extensible custom component using Angular Material's Component Dev Kit (CDK) and to integrate it seamlessly within the existing design system, taking into account user experience and testing thoroughly in the relevant context.

Don't Get Left Behind:
The Top 5 Career-Ending Mistakes Software Developers Make
FREE Cheat Sheet for Software Developers