Get Started with Angular Grid

Get Started with Angular Grid
In this article, we will walk you through the necessary steps to add ag-Grid to an existing Angular project, and configure some of the essential features of it. We will show you some of the fundamentals of the grid (passing properties, using the API, etc).
Originally published at https://www.ag-grid.com

The "ag" part of ag-Grid stands for "agnostic". The internal ag-Grid engine is implemented in TypeScript with zero dependencies. ag-Grid supports Angular through a wrapper component. The wrapper lets you use ag-Grid in your application like any other Angular component – you pass configuration through property bindings and handle events through event bindings. You can even use Angular components to customize the grid UI and cell contents / behavior.

Table of Contents

  1. Add ag-Grid to Your Project
  2. Enable Sorting and Filtering
  3. Fetch Remote Data
  4. Enable Selection
  5. Grouping(Enterprise)
  6. Customize the Theme Look
  7. Summary

Add ag-Grid to Your Project

For the purposes of this tutorial, we are going to scaffold an Angular app with angular CLI. Don't worry if your project has a different configuration. ag-Grid and its Angular wrapper are distributed as NPM packages, which should work with any common Angular project module bundler setup. Let's follow the Angular CLI instructions - run the following in your terminal:

npm install -g @angular/cli
ng new my-app --style scss --routing false
cd my-app
ng serve

npm install -g @angular/cling new my-app --style scss --routing false cd my-app ng serve  

f everything goes well, ng serve has started the web server. You can open your app at localhost:4200.

As a next step, let's add the ag-Grid NPM packages. run the following command in my-app (you may need a new instance of the terminal):

npm install --save ag-grid-community ag-grid-angular
npm install # in certain circumstances npm will perform an "auto prune". This step ensures all expected dependencies are present

After a few seconds of waiting, you should be good to go. Let's get to the actual coding! As a first step, let's add the ag-Grid Angular module to our app module (src/app/app.module.ts):

import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';


import { AppComponent } from './app.component';
import { AgGridModule } from 'ag-grid-angular';


@NgModule({
  declarations: [AppComponent],
  imports: [
    BrowserModule,
    AgGridModule.withComponents([])
  ],
  providers: [],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule {}

The withComponents call is necessary for the grid to be able to use Angular components as cells / headers - you can ignore it for now.

The next step is to add the ag-Grid styles - import them in styles.scss:

@import "~ag-grid-community/dist/styles/ag-grid.css"; 
@import "~ag-grid-community/dist/styles/ag-theme-balham.css";

The code above imports the grid "structure" stylesheet (ag-grid.css), and one of the available grid themes: (ag-theme-balham.css). The grid ships several different themes; pick one that matches your project design. You can customize it further with Sass variables, a technique which we will cover further down the road.

Next, let's declare the basic grid configuration. Edit src/app.component.ts:

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


@Component({
    selector: 'app-root',
    templateUrl: './app.component.html',
    styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent {
    title = 'app';


    columnDefs = [
        {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make' },
        {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model' },
        {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price'}
    ];


    rowData = [
        { make: 'Toyota', model: 'Celica', price: 35000 },
        { make: 'Ford', model: 'Mondeo', price: 32000 },
        { make: 'Porsche', model: 'Boxter', price: 72000 }
    ];
}

The code above presents two essential configuration properties of the grid - the column definitions (columnDefs) and the data (rowData). In our case, the column definitions contain three columns; each column entry specifies the header label and the data field to be displayed in the body of the table.

Finally, let's add the component definition to our template. Edit app/app.component.html and remove the scaffold code:

<ag-grid-angular 
    style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" 
    class="ag-theme-balham"
    [rowData]="rowData" 
    [columnDefs]="columnDefs"
    >
</ag-grid-angular>

This is the ag-grid component definition, with two property bindings - rowData and columnDefs. The component also accepts the standard DOM style and class. We have set the class to ag-theme-balham, which defines the grid theme. As you may have already noticed, the CSS class matches the name of CSS file we imported earlier.

If everything works as expected, you should see a simple grid like the one on the screenshot:

Enable Sorting And Filtering

So far, so good. But wouldn't it be nice to be able to sort the data to help us see which car is the least/most expensive? Well, enabling sorting in ag-Grid is actually quite simple - all you need to do is set the sortable property to each column you want to be able to sort by.

columnDefs = [
   {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', sortable: true},
   {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model', sortable: true},
   {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price', sortable: true}
];

After adding the property, you should be able to sort the grid by clicking on the column headers. Clicking on a header toggles through ascending, descending and no-sort.

Our application doesn't have too many rows, so it's fairly easy to find data. But it's easy to imagine how a real-world application may have hundreds (or even hundreds of thousands!) or rows, with many columns. In a data set like this filtering is your friend.

As with sorting, enabling filtering is as easy as setting the filter property:

columnDefs = [
   {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', sortable: true, filter: true},
   {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model', sortable: true, filter: true},
   {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price', sortable: true, filter: true}
];

With this property set, the grid will display a small column menu icon when you hover the header. Pressing it will display a popup with filtering UI which lets you choose the kind of filter and the text that you want to filter by.

Fetch Remote Data

Displaying hard-coded data in JavaScript is not going to get us very far. In the real world, most of the time, we are dealing with data that resides on a remote server. Thanks to Angular, implementing this is actually quite simple. Notice that the actual data fetching is performed outside of the grid component - We are using Angular's HttpClient and an async pipe. As a first step, let's add the HttpModule to our app module:

import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';

import { AppComponent } from './app.component';
import { AgGridModule } from 'ag-grid-angular';
import { HttpClientModule } from '@angular/common/http';

@NgModule({
 declarations: [AppComponent],
 imports: [BrowserModule, HttpClientModule, AgGridModule.withComponents([])],
 providers: [],
 bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule {}

Now, let's remove the hard-coded data and fetch one from a remote server. Edit the src/app.component.ts to this:

import { Component, OnInit } from '@angular/core';
import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http';

@Component({
   selector: 'app-root',
   templateUrl: './app.component.html',
   styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   title = 'app';

   columnDefs = [
       {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', sortable: true, filter: true},
       {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model', sortable: true, filter: true},
       {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price', sortable: true, filter: true}
   ];

   rowData: any;

   constructor(private http: HttpClient) {

   }

   ngOnInit() {
       this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/15psn9');
   }
}

The above code turns the rowData from a hard-coded array to an Observable. For the grid to work with it, we need to add an async pipe to the property:

<ag-grid-angular 
    style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" 
    class="ag-theme-balham"
    [rowData]="rowData | async"
    [columnDefs]="columnDefs"
    >
</ag-grid-angular>

The remote data is the same as the one we initially had, so you should not notice any actual changes to the grid. However, you will see an additional HTTP request performed if you open your developer tools.

Enable Selection

Being a programmer is a hectic job. Just when we thought that we are done with our assignment, the manager shows up with a fresh set of requirements! It turned out that we need to allow the user to select certain rows from the grid and to mark them as flagged in the system. We will leave the flag toggle state and persistence to the backend team. On our side, we should enable the selection and, afterwards, to obtain the selected records and pass them with an API call to a remote service endpoint.

Fortunately, the above task is quite simple with ag-Grid. As you may have already guessed, it is just a matter of adding and changing couple of properties. Edit src/app.component.ts first:

import { Component, OnInit, ViewChild } from '@angular/core';
import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http';

@Component({
   selector: 'app-root',
   templateUrl: './app.component.html',
   styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   title = 'app';

   columnDefs = [
       {headerName: 'make', field: 'make', sortable: true, filter: true, checkboxSelection: true },
       {headerName: 'model', field: 'model', sortable: true, filter: true },
       {headerName: 'price', field: 'price', sortable: true, filter: true }
   ];

   rowData: any;

   constructor(private http: HttpClient) {

   }

   ngOnInit() {
       this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/15psn9');
   }
}

Next, let's enable multiple row selection, so that the user can pick many rows:

<ag-grid-angular 
    style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" 
    class="ag-theme-balham"
    [rowData]="rowData | async"
    [columnDefs]="columnDefs"
    rowSelection="multiple"
    >
</ag-grid-angular>

We took a bit of a shortcut here, by not binding the property value. Without [], the assignment will pass the attribute value as a string, which is fine for our purposes.

Great! Now the first column contains a checkbox that, when clicked, selects the row. The only thing we have to add is a button that gets the selected data and sends it to the server. To do this, we are going to use the ag-Grid API - we will access it through the component instance.

<ag-grid-angular 
    #agGrid
    style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" 
    class="ag-theme-balham"
    [rowData]="rowData | async"
    [columnDefs]="columnDefs"
    rowSelection="multiple"
    >
</ag-grid-angular>

Now let's make the instance accessible in our component:

import { Component, OnInit, ViewChild } from '@angular/core';
import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http';
import { AgGridAngular } from 'ag-grid-angular';

@Component({
   selector: 'app-root',
   templateUrl: './app.component.html',
   styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   @ViewChild('agGrid') agGrid: AgGridAngular;

   title = 'app';

   columnDefs = [
       {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', sortable: true, filter: true, checkboxSelection: true },
       {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model', sortable: true, filter: true },
       {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price', sortable: true, filter: true }
   ];

   rowData: any;

   constructor(private http: HttpClient) {

   }

   ngOnInit() {
       this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/15psn9');
   }
}

The only thing we have to add is a button that gets the selected data and sends it to the server. To do this, we need the following change:

<button (click)="getSelectedRows()">Get Selected Rows</button>

<ag-grid-angular 
    #agGrid
    style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" 
    class="ag-theme-balham"
    [rowData]="rowData | async"
    [columnDefs]="columnDefs"
    rowSelection="multiple"
    >
</ag-grid-angular>
import { Component, OnInit, ViewChild } from '@angular/core';
import { HttpClient } from '@angular/common/http';
import { AgGridAngular } from 'ag-grid-angular';

@Component({
   selector: 'app-root',
   templateUrl: './app.component.html',
   styleUrls: ['./app.component.scss']
})
export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   @ViewChild('agGrid') agGrid: AgGridAngular;

   title = 'app';

   columnDefs = [
       {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', sortable: true, filter: true, checkboxSelection: true },
       {headerName: 'Model', field: 'model', sortable: true, filter: true },
       {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price', sortable: true, filter: true }
   ];

   rowData: any;

   constructor(private http: HttpClient) {

   }

   ngOnInit() {
       this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/15psn9');
   }

   getSelectedRows() {
       const selectedNodes = this.agGrid.api.getSelectedNodes();
       const selectedData = selectedNodes.map( node => node.data );
       const selectedDataStringPresentation = selectedData.map( node => node.make + ' ' + node.model).join(', ');
       alert(`Selected nodes: ${selectedDataStringPresentation}`);
   }
}

Well, we cheated a bit. Calling alert is not exactly a call to our backend. Hopefully you will forgive us this shortcut for the sake of keeping the article short and simple. Of course, you can substitute that bit with a real-world application logic after you are done with the tutorial.

Grouping

Grouping is a feature exclusive to ag-Grid Enterprise. You are free to trial ag-Grid Enterprise to see what you think. You only need to get in touch if you want to start using ag-Grid Enterprise in a project intended for production.

In addition to filtering and sorting, grouping is another effective way for the user to make sense out of large amounts of data. In our case, the data is not that much. Let's switch to a slightly larger data set:

ngOnInit() {
-        this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/15psn9');
+        this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/ly7d1');
}

Afterwards, let's enable the enterprise features of ag-grid. Install the additional package:

npm install --save ag-grid-enterprise

Then, add the import to app.module.ts:

import { AgGridModule } from 'ag-grid-angular';
import { HttpClientModule } from '@angular/common/http';

+import 'ag-grid-enterprise';

If everything is ok, you should see a message in the console that tells you there is no enterprise license key. You can ignore the message as we are trialing. In addition to that, the grid got a few UI improvements - a custom context menu and fancier column menu popup - feel free to look around:

Now, let's enable grouping! Add an autoGroupColumnDef property and change the columnDefs to the following:

export class AppComponent implements OnInit {
   @ViewChild('agGrid') agGrid: AgGridAngular;

   title = 'app';

   columnDefs = [
       {headerName: 'Make', field: 'make', rowGroup: true },
       {headerName: 'Price', field: 'price'}
   ];

   autoGroupColumnDef = {
       headerName: 'Model',
       field: 'model',
       cellRenderer: 'agGroupCellRenderer',
       cellRendererParams: {
           checkbox: true
       }
   };

   rowData: any;

   constructor(private http: HttpClient) {

   }

   ngOnInit() {
       this.rowData = this.http.get('https://api.myjson.com/bins/ly7d1');
   }

   getSelectedRows() {
       const selectedNodes = this.agGrid.api.getSelectedNodes();
       const selectedData = selectedNodes.map( node => node.data );
       const selectedDataStringPresentation = selectedData.map( node => node.make + ' ' + node.model).join(', ');
       alert(`Selected nodes: ${selectedDataStringPresentation}`);
   }
}

Add the the autoGroupColumnDef property to the template too:

class="ag-theme-balham"
+[autoGroupColumnDef]="autoGroupColumnDef"

There we go! The grid now groups the data by make, while listing the model field value when expanded. Notice that grouping works with checkboxes as well - the groupSelectsChildren property adds a group-level checkbox that selects/deselects all items in the group.

Don't worry if this step feels a bit overwhelming - the grouping feature is very powerful and supports complex interaction scenarios which you might not need initially. The grouping documentation section contains plenty of real-world runnable examples that can get you started for your particular case.

Customize the Theme Look

The last thing which we are going to do is to change the grid look and feel by modifying some of the theme's Sass variables.

By default, ag-Grid ships a set of pre-built theme stylesheets. If we want to tweak the colors and the fonts of theme, we should add a Sass preprocessor to our project, override the theme variable values, and refer the ag-grid Sass files instead of the pre-built stylesheets so that the variable overrides are applied.

Thankfully, Angular CLI has done most of the heavy lifting for us. Remember that we bootstrapped our project with --style scss? Everything we need to do now is to change the paths in src/styles.scss:

@import "../node_modules/ag-grid-community/src/styles/ag-grid.scss";
@import "../node_modules/ag-grid-community/src/styles/ag-theme-balham/sass/ag-theme-balham.scss";

Let's do something simpler, though. We can override the alternating row background color to grayish blue. Add the following line:

+$odd-row-background-color: #CFD8DC;

If everything is configured correctly, the second row of the grid will get slightly darker. Congratulations! You now know now bend the grid look to your will - there are a few dozens more Sass variables that let you control the font family and size, border color, header background color and even the amount of spacing in the cells and columns. The full Sass variable list is available in the themes documentation section.

Summary

With this Angular grid tutorial, we managed to accomplish a lot. Starting from the humble beginnings of a three row / column setup, we now have a grid that supports sorting, filtering, binding to remote data, selection and even grouping! While doing so, we learned how to configure the grid, how to access its API object, and how to change the styling of the component.

Thanks for reading

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Further reading

Angular 8 (formerly Angular 2) - The Complete Guide

Angular & NodeJS - The MEAN Stack Guide

The Complete Node.js Developer Course (3rd Edition)

The Web Developer Bootcamp

Best 50 Angular Interview Questions for Frontend Developers in 2019

How to build a CRUD Web App with Angular 8.0

React vs Angular: An In-depth Comparison

React vs Angular vs Vue.js by Example




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