Best Practices for Organizing Angular Projects

Anton Ioffe - November 27th 2023 - 10 minutes read

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, Angular stands as a bastion of modern design, offering a robust framework for crafting enterprise-level applications. In this article, we navigate the meticulous art of Angular project architecture — beginning with the strategic partitioning of modules to the nuanced creation of reusable components. As seasoned developers, you're familiar with the theories, but we'll dissect them, offering a fresh perspective on best practices, from efficient routing and lazy loading to sophisticated methods for managing imports and styles. Prepare for a deep dive into the angularities of Angular—where we challenge the status quo and elevate your development paradigm to an art form, ensuring your projects are not just functioning but flourishing at scale.

Leveraging Modular Architecture in Angular Projects

Angular’s modular architecture offers developers the ability to isolate functional areas into modules, greatly enhancing code maintainability and fostering more effective collaboration. In large-scale web applications, this approach allows for a clear division of concerns—components, services, pipes, and directives become part of cohesive units that developers can work on concurrently with minimized risk of conflict.

Careful definition of boundaries is fundamental to Angular’s modular architecture. Feature Modules should encapsulate distinct business logic or features, adhering to the Single Responsibility Principle to ensure that modules are maintainable and focused. High cohesion within these modules eases testing, troubleshooting, and future enhancements by concentrating related functionality within clear boundaries.

Core Modules are designed to provide single-instance services that are foundational to the application, such as user authentication and global configuration. It's crucial to understand that Core Modules are not merely a hub for shared codes but are the framework for services that should exist once and only once during the application's lifecycle. Therefore, service classes that are meant to have multiple instances should not be included in Core Modules, ensuring the module maintains its role as the central organizing point for singletons.

Developers typically create a custom module, often referred to as a SharedModule, which champions the DRY principle by housing commonly used components, directives, and pipes that are needed across various features of the application. The discipline in managing such custom shared modules is to resist the temptation to over-populate them with components not intended for widespread reuse. Strategic discretion must be exercised to prevent these custom shared modules from becoming overly complex and diluted, thus retaining efficiency in code reusability where it matters most.

Modularity, while offering an organized framework for application development, can lead to the misconception that maximum segmentation equates to optimal maintainability. However, over-segmentation of an application into numerous modules can introduce unneeded complexity and obscure the codebase’s navigability. It is therefore essential to find a balance—modules should be thoughtfully sized to represent the domain logically, providing encapsulation without becoming burdensomely granular. Angular’s modular system is an exercise in structured pragmatism, where the judicious use of modularity is central to capturing its true value.

Strategic Design of Reusable Components and Services

Applying the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) to the strategic design of reusable components and services is essential in maintaining an Angular project that scales well and remains manageable over time. In the context of Angular, SRP implies that a component or service should encapsulate a single piece of functionality. For instance, a UserProfileComponent might display user information, while a separate UserDataService could handle data retrieval and caching. Here’s a streamlined example of a service adhering to SRP:

@Injectable({ providedIn: 'root' })
export class UserService {
    constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}

    getUser(userId: string): Observable<User> {
        return this.http.get<User>(`/api/users/${userId}`);

In this case, the UserService is solely responsible for user-related data operations, making it a reusable asset across the application without bloating it with unrelated responsibilities.

Though encouraging reusability, Angular developers often face the dilemma of complexity versus simplicity. A common coding mistake occurs when developers overcomplicate a reusable service by prematurely incorporating features for hypothetical future scenarios, resulting often in a convoluted design that's hard to understand and maintain. The correct approach would be to incrementally extend the service as actual use-cases arise, keeping the initial implementation as straightforward as possible.

// Avoid
@Injectable({ providedIn: 'root' })
export class UserService {
    constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}

    // Too many responsibilities muddle service's primary purpose
    getUser(userId: string) { /* ... */ }
    cacheUser(user: User) { /* ... */ }
    notifyUser(userId: string) { /* ... */ }
    // ...

// Prefer
@Injectable({ providedIn: 'root' })
export class UserService {
    constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}

    // Focused on user retrieval, straightforward to understand and test
    getUser(userId: string): Observable<User> {
        return this.http.get<User>(`/api/users/${userId}`);

On the axiom of "Don't Repeat Yourself" (DRY), developers must be attentive in spotting UI patterns that can be abstracted into reusable components. Nevertheless, they must beware of false economies—forcing reusability where it adds unwarranted intricacies can often be worse than some duplication. Crafting a component so generic that its usage becomes convoluted is an antipattern to be avoided. Instead, the aim should be to create components that encapsulate the repeating structures or behaviors but still offer clear and specific interfaces.

Ponder over the following question when developing components: "Does this component provide a clear abstraction, or is it trying to do too much?" If you cannot describe the component's responsibility without using "and," it's likely a sign that the component needs to be broken down further.

In constructing services, efficiency and organization go hand-in-hand; services responsible for logic and state management should provide clear APIs that can be used across differing components. This principled separation mitigates code duplication and helps manage complexity, enabling services to be tested and maintained in isolation.

// Example Service with clear API
@Injectable({ providedIn: 'root' })
export class AuthService {
    private isLoggedIn = new BehaviorSubject<boolean>(false);

    constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}

    authenticate(username: string, password: string): Observable<boolean> {
        // Perform authentication with the backend
        // Update isLoggedIn status based on the response
        return this.http
                   .post<{ success: boolean }>('/api/auth', { username, password })
                   .pipe(map(response => {
                       const authenticated = response.success;
                       return authenticated;

    isLoggedIn$(): Observable<boolean> {
        return this.isLoggedIn.asObservable();

In this AuthService, the responsibility of authenticating users and providing the authentication status is clearly defined, ready to be reused by multiple components within the application without interweaving UI code. This clear partitioning is the key to a maintainable and scalable codebase.

Effective Organization of Angular Routing and Lazy Loading

In a well-architected Angular application, routing plays a pivotal role in defining navigation paths and optimizing performance. Angular's routing mechanism enables developers to map navigation paths to components, offering a seamless user experience. However, it's advantageous to keep the root routing configuration lean and delegate feature-specific routing to separate modules. This strategy not only clarifies the application structure but also boosts performance through lazy loading.

Lazy loading in Angular is a technique that loads feature modules asynchronously, which means they're loaded only when the user navigates to their routes. Implementing this within the route configuration involves the loadChildren property. Considering an application with several features, each represented as a feature module, it would be best practice to structure the routes as follows:

  path: 'feature1',
  loadChildren: () => import('./features/feature1/feature1.module').then(m => m.Feature1Module)
  path: 'feature2',
  loadChildren: () => import('./features/feature2/feature2.module').then(m => m.Feature2Module)
// Additional feature routes...

These routes ensure that the respective modules are only loaded when the user accesses the feature1 or feature2 paths, reducing the initial load time and conserving resources.

A common mistake is to eagerly load all feature modules within the root module, which inflates the initial bundle size and extends loading times, impacting the user's first impression negatively. The following code demonstrates what to avoid:

// Avoid eagerly loading modules in the root routing configuration
  imports: [
    // Other modules that should be lazily loaded...
  // ...

Instead, developers should ensure these modules are configured for lazy loading, as demonstrated in the previous example, to achieve finer performance tuning and user experience improvements.

Encapsulating routes inside feature modules simplifies the root routing module and distinctly separates different application areas. However, the encapsulation must be done thoughtfully to avoid creating monolithic feature modules. Each module's routing should handle only the component navigation relevant to the feature, ensuring modules remain streamlined and comprehensible.

To verify the effectiveness of the encapsulation and lazy loading strategy, developers should periodically inspect the generated JavaScript bundles. This helps identify if splitting feature modules further could be beneficial or if lazy loading is properly configured. Ensuring the correct implementation of these techniques is fundamental for creating an application that is both performant and maintainable at scale.

Optimizing Angular Project Structure for Scalability

To foster scalability in medium to large Angular applications, structuring the project to allow for ease of component discovery and maintainability is essential. For instance, creating a distinct folder for each feature within your app not only adheres to the LIFT principle but also streamlines the development process. The LIFT principle—comprised of Locate, Identify, Flat, and Try to be DRY—encourages efficient file organization and enforces best practices. Applying this principle, take this example:


Here, each feature-specific module, component, and service is grouped together to enhance discoverability, allowing developers to locate code swiftly and accurately.

Further simplifying the structure ensures a flatter hierarchy that refrains from excessive nesting. It is common to come across implementations where developers over-nest directories in an attempt to organize code, leading to an unwieldy project landscape which can hamper scalability. Instead, structure folders in a manner that components and services which frequently interact are placed close to one another, preventing the cognitive overhead of navigating through complex directories. Notably, avoiding excessive granularity is crucial as developers might otherwise lose track of the overarching architecture.

Reducing complexity indeed can begin with file naming conventions that mirror the LIFT principle, specifically catering to the Identify aspect. Consider this approach for naming components:

      login.component.ts    // instead of simply component.ts
      login.service.ts      // reflects purpose and is readily identifiable

This approach not only improves scalability by making the components immediately recognizable but also enhances maintainability by setting a clear standard across the team.

Moreover, consider the structured organization of shared utilities, models, and interfaces. By placing them within an appropriately named directory, you emphasize code reusability and de-clutter feature modules. Observe this directory structure snippet:

        user.model.ts       // centralizes data structures
        api.util.ts         // houses reusable utility functions

This placement ensures shared logic is kept separate from feature-specific code, which facilitates better scaling as the application grows and requirements evolve.

Lastly, always anticipate the project's future complexity and pre-emptively divide the application logically to accommodate new features, modules, or services easily. Being able to scaffold new parts of the application quickly without rearranging existing structures is fundamental to a scalable Angular application. This foresight is also valuable when considering potential refactoring that may be needed as the application matures.

Advanced Techniques for Simplifying Imports and Managing Styles

As Angular projects mature, the management of imports and styles often evolves into a more complex challenge. Simplifying import paths is a critical step towards maintainable code. In Tsconfig, developers can configure path aliases to shorten and standardize import statements. Consider the traditional import statement with relative paths:

import { DataService } from '../../../../services/data.service';

The above is not only cumbersome but also prone to errors during refactoring. Instead, by setting up a path alias, imports become cleaner and more resilient:

import { DataService } from '@services/data.service';

This is achieved by adding to the tsconfig.json:

"compilerOptions": {
  "baseUrl": "./",
  "paths": {
    "@services/*": ["app/services/*"]

While aliases improve readability and move towards a more organized codebase, could they be encouraging a flat structure that goes against the modular design philosophy of Angular?

Managing SCSS styles in an Angular project can quickly spiral into chaos without a proper structure. The standard approach, growing a monolithic styles.scss, scales poorly and is hard to maintain. The 7-1 pattern offers a robust alternative, keeping styles categorized and encapsulated. Consider the architecture:

|- abstracts/
|- vendors/
|- base/
|- layout/
|- components/
|- pages/
|- themes/
' styles.scss

Each folder contains related styles, which are then imported into the styles.scss in a logical sequence. Here's how:

// styles.scss
@import 'abstracts/variables';
@import 'vendors/bootstrap';
@import 'base/reset';
@import 'layout/header';

These imports ensure each styling concern is isolated, easing maintenance and fostering scalability. But what happens when feature-specific styling becomes overly fragmented? Can too granular an approach to SCSS files lead to a similar obfuscation that path aliases sought to resolve?

Another debate within Angular development circles is the separation of global and local styles. While keeping global styles in styles.scss and local styles coupled with components seems logical, does it truly adhere to the best practice of single responsibility and separation of concerns? Perhaps bundling styles directly with components, using Angular's encapsulation, better aligns with these principles, providing a clearer, more contained picture of each component's styling needs.

Critiquing the conventional methodologies forces us to question whether there is indeed a one-size-fits-all approach to managing imports and styles in Angular, or if the context of the project dictates the structure. Consider the implications of your choices—how will they affect new developers joining the project, and what might be the unintended consequences of opt-ing for what seems to be the 'cleanest' solution?

Finally, no discussion on imports and styles management is complete without touching on automated tooling and linting. Harnessing the power of tools like Prettier or Stylelint can automate the enforcement of many best practices, ensuring consistent import paths and SCSS formatting. For example:

// .prettierrc
  "singleQuote": true,
  "semi": true

This configuration prompts Prettier to automatically format imports and other code segments accordingly. However, is over-reliance on tooling a shortcut that detracts from truly understanding and implementing good practices manually? The decision between automation and manual control is a nuanced one, with potential trade-offs affecting long-term project health.


This article explores best practices for organizing Angular projects, focusing on modular architecture, reusable components and services, effective routing and lazy loading, project structure for scalability, and managing imports and styles. The key takeaways include the importance of careful module partitioning, adhering to the Single Responsibility Principle for components and services, using lazy loading for better performance, organizing project structure for ease of maintainability, and utilizing path aliases and the 7-1 pattern for simplifying imports and managing styles. The challenging task for the reader is to analyze their own Angular project and consider how they can apply these best practices to improve its organization, scalability, and maintainability.

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