Standalone Components in Angular: Simplifying App Structure

Anton Ioffe - December 4th 2023 - 9 minutes read

Welcome to the cutting edge of Angular development, where the introduction of standalone components is setting the stage for a transformative approach to constructing web applications. In this deep dive, you'll journey through the intricacies of simplifying your Angular app's architecture, where learning the craft of creating and implementing standalone components promises a lucrative blend of modularity and maintainability. Prepare to engage with pragmatic insights as we unravel the benefits, navigate potential trade-offs, and explore refactoring strategies to revitalize your projects. Beyond the code, we'll also cast our gaze toward the horizon of Angular's evolutionary path—envisioning how standalone components will redefine the workflows and performance benchmarks of the future. Whether you're looking to streamline your next project or simply stay abreast of Angular's progression, this article invites you onto the frontier of modern web development.

Unpacking Standalone Components in Angular

Standalone components in Angular represent a paradigm shift in the framework's component architecture. Traditionally, Angular developers bundled components, directives, and services into NgModules to establish clear boundaries around the functionality and facilitate lazy-loading mechanisms. However, standalone components eschew this convention, existing independent of NgModules, and encapsulate all required functionality within themselves. The primary allure of such a design is the reusability and encapsulation it offers, providing developers with more granular control over their components and reducing the overhead associated with Angular modules.

With standalone components, every aspect, from logic to template and styles, is contained within a single unit. This encapsulation streamlines configuration since each component declares its own dependencies without the intermediation of an NgModule. Standalone components herald a new approach in Angular app development, suggesting a move away from extensive module configurations towards simpler, more isolated structures. This architectural choice simplifies the understanding and management of components but requires a slightly different mindset when reasoning about component dependencies and application structure.

From a conceptual standpoint, Angular developers will find that standalone components enable a restructuring of an application's code base. Instead of determining what module a component belongs to, the focus shifts to what the component needs to function—the essence of what it is supposed to achieve—thus creating a direct relationship between components and their dependencies. This direct relationship sidesteps the complex inter-module dependencies that can arise in large applications, paving the way for a more modular and maintainable codebase.

Introducing standalone components does not only affect the architecture but also impacts the way applications handle lazy loading and routing. Previously, lazy loading was achieved through feature modules that Angular could load on demand. With standalone components, lazy loading can be configured directly at the component level, optimizing performance by only loading the truly necessary pieces of code. Such a granular approach to loading components contributes to a reduction in initial bundle sizes and potentially enhances the end-user experience with quicker load times.

Embracing standalone components in Angular development is not merely about making a lateral move from one system to another; it's about recognizing how the principles of modularity, reusability, and simplicity can transcend our current practices. Developers ought to view the shift towards standalone components as an opportunity to reevaluate application structures for the better, favoring leaner, more efficient systems that are easier to maintain and scale. While this shift requires a recalibration of some foundational Angular concepts, the payoffs in heightened performance and manageability make it an evolution worth considering.

Deep Dive: Benefits and Trade-offs of Standalone Components

Standalone components excel at providing a modular landscape for Angular development, where each unit can be readily leveraged for diverse application features. This separation aids developers in rapidly navigating and servicing the codebase as complexity is neatly contained within well-defined interfaces.

Refactoring to standalone components requires a keen strategy around dependency injection. Previously straightforward via Angular modules, DI now demands explicit consideration within each component— a maneuver that could inflate the DI configuration with additional verbosity.

Consider the reduction of bundle size as another merit: without modules to compile, Angular can narrow its focus to vital components, shrinking start-up times on varied network conditions and devices. The individual attention given to components further fine-tunes lazy loading compared to traditional, module-based strategies.

The transition to standalone components, particularly for hefty, established codebases, introduces its own set of hurdles. Traditional module-reliant declarations and dependency structures become obsolete, urging developers to assemble new blueprints for component integration and cooperation, a task that often necessitates sweeping codebase revisions to attain a successful switchover.

The philosophy behind standalone components brings forward another important facet: the preliminary planning phase. Meticulous contemplation on component responsibilities and dependencies ensures a cohesive and scalable application structure, underscoring the importance of a thorough design process which, while onerous initially, offers long-lasting maintenance simplifications and scalability enhancements.

Practical Implementation: Creating and Integrating Standalone Components

To kickstart the process of constructing a standalone component in Angular, we utilize Angular CLI. The command to generate such a component is as straightforward as appending --standalone flag to the usual generation command. Here's an example of how we'd generate a UserProfileComponent in a real-world scenario:

ng generate component UserProfile --standalone

Unlike traditional component generation, this command scaffolds a component configured with standalone: true. This signals Angular to treat UserProfileComponent as a standalone entity, capable of being rendered without the need for a declaring NgModule.

Once generated, the integration of the standalone component into an existing application begins. Here is how one might structure the UserProfileComponent:

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

  selector: 'app-user-profile',
  standalone: true,
  template: `
    <div class="user-profile">
      <!-- Additional user profile layout here -->
  styles: [`
    .user-profile { /* styles for user profile */ }
export class UserProfileComponent {
  @Input() username: string;

An elegant feature of standalone components is their self-sufficiency regarding dependencies. If UserProfileComponent requires services or pipes, these dependencies are explicitly declared within the component using the imports property, ensuring the component only loads what it needs:

import { CommonModule } from '@angular/common';
import { UserService } from './user.service';

    /* ... */
    imports: [CommonModule, UserService],

Incorporating our newly minted standalone component into a view is refreshingly uncomplicated. Imagine we have an AppModule that is lodging a MainPageComponent, and we wish to display UserProfileComponent within this main page. We import it directly as if dealing with any other dependency:

import { Component, NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { UserProfileComponent } from './user-profile/user-profile.component';

  selector: 'app-main-page',
  template: `
    <app-user-profile [username]="'JohnDoe'"></app-user-profile>
    <!-- Other main page content -->
  standalone: true,
  imports: [UserProfileComponent]
export class MainPageComponent {}

  bootstrap: [MainPageComponent]
export class AppModule {}

Seamless integration into existing routing is also a highlight. By specifying the standalone component as the component for a given route, lazy loading becomes inherently modularized, contributing further to a performant and scalable application:

// In AppRoutingModule or any specific routing module
const routes: Routes = [
    path: 'user-profile',
    loadComponent: () => import('./user-profile/user-profile.component').then(m => m.UserProfileComponent),
  // Other routes

This approach decouples the component lifecycle from its host module and ensures that the application remains lean. Real-world applications benefit from maintainable, scalable, and clean code as standalone components encourage streamlined dependency management and a clear separation of concerns.

Refactoring Angular Applications with Standalone Components

When embarking on the journey of refactoring an existing Angular application to incorporate standalone components, the first step is to identify parts of the application that will benefit the most from increased modularity and better encapsulation. Components that are highly reusable and don't rely on shared state within a module are prime candidates for becoming standalone. It's advisable to start with leaf components—those at the bottom of the component tree—as they typically have fewer dependencies and make for an easy win in the initial phases of refactoring.

During the transition, it is crucial to establish a set of best practices. For instance, ensure that the refactored standalone components remain loosely coupled by avoiding direct imports of services or other components unless absolutely necessary. Instead, consider leveraging Angular's dependency injection system to provide these at runtime. Carefully manage the transformation of shared services to maintain application-wide state consistency. A common mistake is to hastily refactor components without considering how they interact with shared services, leading to unexpected behavior and increased complexity.

// Correctly refactoring to a standalone component
import { Component, Injectable } from '@angular/core';

  providedIn: 'root' // Ensures a single instance in the injector
export class UserService {
  // UserService logic

  selector: 'app-user-profile',
  templateUrl: './user-profile.component.html',
  styleUrls: ['./user-profile.component.css'],
  standalone: true
export class UserProfileComponent {
  constructor(private userService: UserService) {}
  // userProfile component logic

As you progressively refactor components, pay special attention to the impact on the overall architecture. It's possible to fall into the trap of creating too many granular standalone components, which can clutter the codebase and make deciphering the application's flow more difficult. To mitigate this, adopt a systematic approach by grouping related standalone components, keeping related functionalities within recognizable bounds. Be judicious in selecting which components to isolate, and don't shy away from slightly larger, but cohesive, standalone components when it makes sense.

Upon reaching a critical mass of standalone components in the application, developers must confront the complexity of feature and shared modules that might no longer be necessary. It's a common misstep to leave such modules in place, which can negate the benefits of the refactoring effort. To navigate this, developers should carefully dismantle larger modules, ensuring that each piece, whether it be a component, directive, or service, finds a new appropriate home, be it within a standalone component or a shared service that can be provided at the root level.

A thought-provoking aspect to consider during refactoring is how this shift toward standalone components may influence future development practices. Will the refactoring effort steer the development team towards a pattern that prioritizes component independence over inter-component communication? How will this impact the way new features are conceptualized and implemented? It's essential to have these conversations early, to align on a shared vision for the application's architectural evolution.

The Future Landscape with Standalone Components in Angular

As Angular continues to evolve, the emerging trends point towards further embracing standalone components, fundamentally altering the landscape of application architecture. Developers will find it imperative to rethink how they organize their codebase, with a strong inclination toward standalone components possibly hastening the deprecation of the traditional NgModule system. While there is no official timeline set for such a transition, a gradual shift can already be perceived. This raises important questions about the future of Angular's modularity and hints at a possible framework-wide adoption of this paradigm.

Developers must consider the long-term implications on performance. Standalone components streamline the inclusion of only what is necessary, potentially leading to significant reductions in initial load times and a noticeable improvement in application responsiveness. The consequent leaner bundles could redefine performance benchmarks for enterprise-scale applications. Reflecting on how rewriting codebases to fit this approach may improve performance should become a facet of every senior developer's strategic planning.

Team workflows are also likely to see a paradigm shift with standalone components becoming mainstream. The modular nature of standalone components enables more focused development and testing, which could lead to increased productivity and a more scalable approach to team collaboration. However, this modular setup necessitates more diligent management of dependencies and a deeper understanding of each component's interfacing. As such, architects and lead developers should facilitate discussions that probe the potential impact on their teams' processes and the means to adapt effectively to these changes.

In the broader scope, one might hypothesize the gradual consolidation of Angular's market position through the widespread adoption of standalone components. The question remains how framework competitors will respond to Angular's shift and whether they will iterate upon or diverge from this architectural direction. Senior developers should keep a close eye on these market dynamics and interpret how these trends may influence their choice of framework and architectural patterns in the near future.

Lastly, to fully embrace the prospects that standalone components provide, Angular developers must engage in a continuous learning process. As the landscape of web development changes, so too must our strategies for coding and application architecture. Embracing standalone components is not merely about adopting a new feature; it’s about remodeling our mindset to pursue excellence in crafting modular, efficient, and user-centric applications. With this in mind, developers should regularly introspect—how will you harness the capabilities of standalone components to elevate your Angular applications today and in the years to come?


The article introduces the concept of standalone components in Angular, highlighting their benefits and trade-offs. Standalone components offer modularity and encapsulation, simplifying app structure and improving maintainability. They also optimize performance by allowing for granular lazy loading. The article guides readers through the process of creating and integrating standalone components, as well as refactoring existing applications. It concludes by discussing the future landscape with standalone components and challenging developers to think about how this shift may influence their coding strategies and framework choices. A challenging task for the reader is to refactor an existing Angular application by identifying components that can be turned into standalone components and considering the impact on the overall architecture.

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