Effective State Management in Angular with NgRx

Anton Ioffe - November 26th 2023 - 10 minutes read

As we delve into the intricate world of Angular applications, a pivotal aspect that often determines the success of large-scale projects is managing the state efficiently. This article promises to guide seasoned developers through the labyrinth of NgRx state management, unveiling advanced techniques and strategies that refine the art of handling state in Angular. Journey with me as we dissect advanced state composition, unravel the intricacies of managing side effects with grace, optimize performance to its peak, and solidify our applications with rigorous testing methods. Prepare to elevate your Angular expertise as we embark on a path to mastering state management in a way that is both profound and practical, ensuring your applications stand robust against the test of time and scale.

Exploring the Core Concepts of NgRx

Store: The Store in NgRx acts as the single source of truth for your application's state, embodying the fundamental premise of the Redux architecture. Within an Angular context, the Store is an immutable object tree that holds all the data required to represent your application's state at any given moment. The Store's immutability is essential; it mandates that changes can only occur in a specific, trackable manner, thus guaranteeing that the state is predictable throughout the lifecycle of the app. Developers interact with the Store by dispatching actions and selecting slices of state for display or further processing within their application, leveraging the power of RxJS to handle asynchronous streams of state data.

Actions: Actions in NgRx denote payloads of information that send data from your application to the Store. They are the only source of information for the Store and are dispatched usually in response to user interactions such as clicks, form submissions, or lifecycle events. Each action is defined by a type, a simple string constant that indicates the kind of action being performed, and typically carries a payload—an accompanying data necessary for the update. This strict pattern ensures that changes in the system are traceable and regressive, contributing to the reliability of the application's behavior.

Reducers: Reducers lie at the heart of state changes in NgRx, defined as pure functions that take the current state and an action as arguments and return a new, unaltered state. Crafting reducers involves writing switch statements that handle different action types and updating the state accordingly while avoiding direct mutations. By enforcing a one-way state transformation, reducers solidify the unidirectional data flow, assuring that every transition is the direct result of a specific action and nothing else. This makes the state changes in an NgRx-powered app predictable and easy to understand.

Selectors: Selectors provide a robust method for querying and deriving data from the Store. As pure functions, selectors can compute and transform state into a more useable form for UI components. They allow developers to decouple the state structure from the view layer, leading to more maintainable and refactor-friendly code. With memoization—a technique utilized by selectors—redundant computations are avoided, thus retrieval of data becomes efficient, and only recalculated when related parts of the state tree have changed. This not only ensures performance optimization but also aids developers in constructing a clean and systematic data flow throughout the application.

The orchestration of these four fundamental elements—Store, Actions, Reducers, and Selectors—enables the development of applications with a predictable state container and a unidirectional data flow. This disciplined approach forms the backbone of the architecture in an Angular app using NgRx, preparing developers to explore and implement more sophisticated state management patterns within their applications.

Advanced State Composition and Feature Modules

Organizing state in large-scale Angular applications can be a daunting challenge. Adopting NgRx's modular architecture is one such strategy that offers significant benefits while simultaneously introducing complexity. The segmentation of state into feature modules aligns with the overall modular design philosophy of Angular, promoting reusability and separation of concerns. Each feature module becomes responsible for its segment of the state, thus encapsulating related actions, reducers, selectors, and effects. This approach simplifies the understanding and debugging of the application by isolating state management to relevant features, however, it requires diligent design to prevent tight coupling between state slices.

The NgRx ecosystem supports lazy loading of feature modules, a critical strategy for performance optimization in large applications. When feature modules are lazy-loaded, the associated state should also be loaded on-demand. This means that the state is only initialized and added to the global store when the feature module is loaded by the user, reducing the initial load time and conserving memory. To successfully implement lazy loading, developers must ensure that their feature module state management setup (including action creators, reducers, and selectors) is decoupled from the root application module, and is properly registered in the module's providers.

Maintaining clear boundaries between different areas of state is essential in this architecture. Each feature module should expose a clear API for interaction, often through a set of selectors. By strictly defining which parts of the state can be accessed or modified by others, developers can maintain a high level of modularity. It's vital that reducers are kept responsible solely for their slice of the state and that selectors are composed as necessary to create derived, cross-feature state when necessary, while ensuring these composed selectors do not introduce unwanted dependencies.

One challenge when segmenting state is guaranteeing that feature modules can communicate effectively without becoming entangled. Observables and shared actions can mediate the necessary communication across feature modules. Shared actions should be minimal and well-defined to avoid a complicated web of dependencies that can arise from disparate parts of the state needing to interact. When properly managed, this segmentation leads to a robust, easily maintainable codebase where developers can work on distinct features in isolation.

In conclusion, the advanced composition of state using feature modules in NgRx requires deliberate planning and careful implementation. The payoffs include improved performance through lazy loading, better code organization, and a more maintainable application structure. When developers define clear contracts for state interactions and conscientiously manage dependencies, the complexity introduced by state segmentation becomes not only manageable but a powerful aspect of designing scalable Angular applications.

Side Effects Management with NgRx Effects

NgRx Effects are an essential tool for executing side effects within an Angular application. They provide a robust framework for handling tasks like data fetching, while keeping them separate from your application's main execution flow. When an action is dispatched, an effect intercepts it before reaching the reducer, and potentially dispatches new actions in response to async operations, serving as a conduit between your app and external services.

For instance, imagine an effect that fetches user data from an API. It listens for a 'Load Users' action, performs the HTTP request, and then dispatches either a 'Load Users Success' action with the payload of users or a 'Load Users Fail' action with the error. This pattern hands off the responsibility of interacting with external resources to the effects, leaving reducers to manage state transformations based on the outcome succinctly dispatched by the effects.

export class UserEffects {
  loadUsers$ = createEffect(() => this.actions$.pipe(
    mergeMap(() => this.userService.getAll()
        map(users => UserActions.loadUsersSuccess({ users })),
        catchError(error => of(UserActions.loadUsersFail({ error })))

    private actions$: Actions,
    private userService: UserService
  ) {}

Error handling within effects is tackled using RxJS operators, such as catchError, which allows effects to deal with exceptions gracefully. Instead of allowing the entire application to crash, the error is transformed into an action that can trigger state updates to reflect the issue, or invoke error-specific side-effects, preserving application stability.

Moreover, effect usage patterns suggest keeping them as pure as possible. Side-effects involving computations only dependent on the action should occur within the corresponding effect. However, side-effects involving application state should leverage selectors and the withLatestFrom operator to access the required slices of state. This approach underlines the importance of a clear separation of concerns, preventing effects from becoming entangled with the state management responsibilities of reducers and selectors.

It's crucial to ensure that effects do not mutate the state directly but rather express state changes through actions that are subsequently handled by reducers. This maintains the unidirectional data flow that NgRx advocates for and allows for a more predictable and easier to debug system. By following these best practices, developers can create maintainable applications that benefit from the powerful combination of effects for side effects, and the strict state management practices of NgRx.

Performance Tuning and Memory Considerations

Performance tuning in NgRx-driven Angular applications focuses heavily on optimizing rendering cycles and ensuring efficient memory usage. Memoized selectors are integral to minimizing unnecessary recalculations, as they ensure that selectors recompute only when their inputs change. To construct a memoized selector, developers need first to understand the part of the state they are selecting from. Here is how to define a memoized selector with createSelector while ensuring that featureState is part of our global state:

import { createSelector } from '@ngrx/store';

const featureState = state => state.feature;

export const selectFeatureItems = createSelector(
    (items) => {
        return items.filter(item => item.isActive);

In this revised example, featureState is a function that extracts the feature slice from the global state, only triggering reevaluation when items within featureState change, enhancing performance.

Implementing pure functions in reducers guarantees no side effects, leading to more predictable state transitions. Combined with Angular's onPush change detection strategy, which only checks components when their input properties change, it further bolsters performance. This is especially effective in complex applications where resource conservation is critical:

import { ChangeDetectionStrategy, Component } from '@angular/core';

    // ...
    changeDetection: ChangeDetectionStrategy.OnPush
export class MyOnPushComponent {
    // Component logic goes here

Regarding memory consumption, care must be taken to avoid unnecessary cloning when updating immutable state. One best practice is to selectively update attributes within objects, as shown in the hypothetical reducer function below:

function updateItem(state, action) {
    return {
        items: state.items.map(item =>
            item.id === action.id ? { ...item, ...action.changes } : item

This function only clones the item that has changed instead of deep cloning all items, conserving memory usage.

To proactively manage memory leaks, tools like Angular DevTools can be invaluable in identifying issues such as lingering subscriptions. Moreover, adhering to certain practices with RxJS observables within NgRx, such as the takeUntil pattern, is crucial:

import { Component, OnInit, OnDestroy } from '@angular/core';
import { Store, select } from '@ngrx/store';
import { Subject } from 'rxjs';
import { takeUntil } from 'rxjs/operators';

  selector: 'app-my-component',
  template: `<!-- Component Template -->`
export class MyComponent implements OnInit, OnDestroy {
  destroy$ = new Subject<void>();

  constructor(private store: Store<{}>) {}

  ngOnInit() {
    ).subscribe(state => {
      // Component logic using the state

  ngOnDestroy() {

In the code snippet above, destroy$ is a Subject<void> utilized to signal when the component is to be destroyed to complete any active subscriptions, thus preventing potential memory leaks. Such patterns play a pivotal role in crafting applications that are both performant and prudent with their memory usage.

NgRx Testing Strategies for Angular Applications

To ensure effective unit testing of NgRx's state management in Angular applications, developers need to adopt a strategic approach. For Actions, since they're simple objects, tests should verify that the action creators produce the correct object shape and content. It's crucial to test every action type to confirm that each action creator functions correctly.

When it comes to Reducers, since they're pure functions, each reducer test should confirm that given an initial state and an action, the reducer returns the expected next state. It's advisable to cover the edge cases, such as undefined actions or unexpected action types, to ensure the reducer maintains the state's integrity. A common pitfall to avoid here is directly modifying the state within the reducer; instead, always return a new state object:

function todoReducer(state = initialState, action) {
    // Correct approach: return a new state
    switch(action.type) {
        case ADD_TODO:
            return {
                todos: [...state.todos, action.payload]

        // Incorrect approach: modifying state directly
        // case ADD_TODO:
        //     state.todos.push(action.payload);
        //     return state;

Testing Selectors involves ensuring that they correctly derive data from the state. You should verify that selectors recompute when their inputs change and memoize correctly to avoid unnecessary computations. Mocking slices of state is beneficial to test selectors in isolation:

describe('Todo Selectors', () => {
    it('should select the todo list', () => {
        const initialState = { todos: ['Task 1', 'Task 2'] };
        expect(selectTodos.projector(initialState)).toEqual(['Task 1', 'Task 2']);

Effects require a more involved testing approach due to their handling of side effects and integration with external services. Mocking these services and using RxJS marbles to simulate observable streams are effective techniques. A typical oversight is not considering the timing of emitted values or not mocking dependencies properly, leading to brittle tests. Ensure your effects handle all action types and incorporate error handling paths:

describe('Todo Effects', () => {
    it('should handle the addTodo action', () => {
        const action = addTodo({todo: 'Test'});
        const completion = addTodoSuccess({todo: 'Test'});

        actions$ = hot('-a', {a: action});
        const response = cold('-b|', {b: 'Test'});
        const expected = cold('--c', {c: completion});


Maintaining comprehensive coverage demands validating more than just the presence of actions and state changes; it also implies ensuring the logical flow of user interactions and business logic are captured. Your testing strategy should ascertain that side effects are segregated from UI logic and that all potential user actions are accounted for within the test cases. Robust testing of application state management not only confirms that individual units function independently as expected but also guarantees they cohere correctly to maintain a predictable and reliable application state.


This article dives into effective state management in Angular using NgRx, covering core concepts such as the Store, Actions, Reducers, and Selectors. It explores advanced techniques like state composition with feature modules, managing side effects with NgRx Effects, performance tuning, and memory considerations. The article also provides insights into testing strategies for NgRx in Angular applications. A challenging technical task for readers could be to implement lazy loading of feature modules with associated state management and ensure proper registration in the module's providers. This task would require careful design and implementation to optimize performance and maintain a modular application structure.

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