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Integrate a SPA

Understand how the source code for a Single Page Application (SPA) written in Angular can be integrated with an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Project. Learn to use modern front-end tools, like a webpack dev server, to rapidly develop the SPA against the AEM JSON model API.

Objective

  1. Understand how the SPA project is integrated with AEM with client-side libraries.
  2. Learn how to use a local development server for dedicated front-end development.
  3. Explore the use of a proxy and static mock file for developing against the AEM JSON Model API

What you will build

This chapter will add a simple Header component to the SPA. In the process of building out this static Header component several approaches to AEM SPA development will be used.
The SPA is extended to add a static Header component

Prerequisites

Review the required tooling and instructions for setting up a local development environment .

Get the code

  1. Download the starting point for this tutorial via git:
    $ git clone git@github.com:adobe/aem-guides-wknd-spa.git
    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-spa
    $ git checkout Angular/integrate-spa-start
    
    
  2. Deploy the code base to a local AEM instance using Maven:
    $ mvn clean install -PautoInstallSinglePackage
    
    
    If using AEM 6.x add the classic profile:
    $ mvn clean install -PautoInstallSinglePackage -Pclassic
    
    
You can always view the finished code on GitHub or check the code out locally by switching to the branch Angular/integrate-spa-solution .

Integration approach

Two modules were created as part of the AEM project: ui.apps and ui.frontend .
The ui.frontend module is a webpack project that contains all of the SPA source code. A majority of the SPA development and testing will be done in the webpack project. When a production build is triggered, the SPA is built and compiled using webpack. The compiled artifacts (CSS and Javascript) are copied into the ui.apps module which is then deployed to the AEM runtime.
A high-level depiction of the SPA integration.
Additional information about the Front-end build can be found here .

Inspect the SPA integration

Next, inspect the ui.frontend module to understand the SPA that has been auto-generated by the AEM Project archetype .
  1. In the IDE of your choice open up the AEM Project for the WKND SPA. This tutorial will use the Visual Studio Code IDE .
  2. Expand and inspect the ui.frontend folder. Open the file ui.frontend/package.json
  3. Under the dependencies you should see several related to @angular :
    "@angular/animations": "~9.1.11",
    "@angular/common": "~9.1.11",
    "@angular/compiler": "~9.1.11",
    "@angular/core": "~9.1.11",
    "@angular/forms": "~9.1.10",
    "@angular/platform-browser": "~9.1.10",
    "@angular/platform-browser-dynamic": "~9.1.10",
    "@angular/router": "~9.1.10",
    
    
    The ui.frontend module is an Angular application generated by using the Angular CLI tool that includes routing.
  4. There are also three dependencies prefixed with @adobe :
    "@adobe/cq-angular-editable-components": "^2.0.2",
    "@adobe/cq-spa-component-mapping": "^1.0.3",
    "@adobe/cq-spa-page-model-manager": "^1.1.3",
    
    
    The above modules make up the AEM SPA Editor JS SDK and provide the functionality to make it possible to map SPA Components to AEM Components.
  5. In the package.json file several scripts are defined:
    "scripts": {
        "start": "ng serve --open --proxy-config ./proxy.conf.json",
        "build": "ng lint && ng build && clientlib",
        "build:production": "ng lint && ng build --prod && clientlib",
        "test": "ng test",
        "sync": "aemsync -d -w ../ui.apps/src/main/content"
    }
    
    
    These scripts are based on common Angular CLI commands but have been modified slightly to work with the larger AEM project.
    start - runs the Angular app locally using a local web server. It has been updated to proxy the content of local AEM instance.
    build - compiles the Angular app for production distribution. The addition of && clientlib is responsible for copying the compiled SPA into the ui.apps module as a client-side library during a build. The npm module aem-clientlib-generator is used to facilitate this.
    More details about the available scripts can be found here .
  6. Inspect the file ui.frontend/clientlib.config.js . This configuration file is used by aem-clientlib-generator to determine how to generate the client library.
  7. Inspect the file ui.frontend/pom.xml . This file transforms the ui.frontend folder into a Maven module . The pom.xml file has been updated to use the frontend-maven-plugin to test and build the SPA during a Maven build.
  8. Inspect the file app.component.ts at ui.frontend/src/app/app.component.ts :
    import { Constants } from '@adobe/cq-angular-editable-components';
    import { ModelManager } from '@adobe/cq-spa-page-model-manager';
    import { Component } from '@angular/core';
    
    @Component({
    selector: '#spa-root', // tslint:disable-line
    styleUrls: ['./app.component.css'],
    templateUrl: './app.component.html'
    })
    export class AppComponent {
        ...
    
        constructor() {
            ModelManager.initialize().then(this.updateData);
        }
    
        private updateData = pageModel => {
            this.path = pageModel[Constants.PATH_PROP];
            this.items = pageModel[Constants.ITEMS_PROP];
            this.itemsOrder = pageModel[Constants.ITEMS_ORDER_PROP];
        }
    }
    
    
    app.component.js is the entrypoint of the SPA. ModelManager is provided by the AEM SPA Editor JS SDK. It is responsible for calling and injecting the pageModel (the JSON content) into the application.

Add a Header component

Next, add a new component to the SPA and deploy the changes to a local AEM instance to see the integration.
  1. Open a new terminal window and navigate to the ui.frontend folder:
    $ cd aem-guides-wknd-spa/ui.frontend
    
    
  2. Install Angular CLI globally This is used to generate Angular components as well as to build and serve the Angular application via the ng command.
    $ npm install -g @angular/cli
    
    
    The version of @angular/cli used by this project is 9.1.7 . It is recommended to keep the the Angular CLI versions in sync.
  3. Create a new Header component by running the Angular CLI ng generate component command from within the ui.frontend folder.
    $ ng generate component components/header
    
    CREATE src/app/components/header/header.component.css (0 bytes)
    CREATE src/app/components/header/header.component.html (21 bytes)
    CREATE src/app/components/header/header.component.spec.ts (628 bytes)
    CREATE src/app/components/header/header.component.ts (269 bytes)
    UPDATE src/app/app.module.ts (1809 bytes)
    
    
    This will create a skeleton for the new Angular Header component at ui.frontend/src/app/components/header .
  4. Open the aem-guides-wknd-spa project in the IDE of your choice. Navigate to the ui.frontend/src/app/components/header folder.
  5. Open the file header.component.html and replace the contents with the following:
    <!--/* header.component.html */-->
    <header className="header">
        <div className="header-container">
            <h1>WKND</h1>
        </div>
    </header>
    
    
    Note this displays static content, so this Angular component does not require any adjustments to the default generated header.component.ts .
  6. Open the file app.component.html at ui.frontend/src/app/app.component.html . Add the app-header :
    <app-header></app-header>
    <router-outlet></router-outlet>
    
    
    This will include the header component above all the page content.
  7. Open a new terminal and navigate into the ui.frontend folder and run the npm run build command:
    $ cd ui.frontend
    $ npm run build
    
    Linting "angular-app"...
    All files pass linting.
    Generating ES5 bundles for differential loading...
    ES5 bundle generation complete.
    
    
  8. Navigate to the ui.apps folder. Beneath ui.apps/src/main/content/jcr_root/apps/wknd-spa-angular/clientlibs/clientlib-angular you should see the compiled SPA files have been copied from the ui.frontend/build folder.
  9. Return to the terminal and navigate into the ui.apps folder. Execute the following Maven command:
    $ cd ../ui.apps
    $ mvn clean install -PautoInstallPackage
    ...
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] BUILD SUCCESS
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [INFO] Total time:  9.629 s
    [INFO] Finished at: 2020-05-04T17:48:07-07:00
    [INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    This will deploy the ui.apps package to a local running instance of AEM.
  10. Open a browser tab and navigate to http://localhost:4502/editor.html/content/wknd-spa-angular/us/en/home.html . You should now see the contents of the Header component being displayed in the SPA.
    Steps 7-9 are executed automatically when triggering a Maven build from the root of the project (i.e mvn clean install -PautoInstallSinglePackage ). You should now understand the basics of the integration between the SPA and AEM client-side libraries. Notice that you can still edit and add Text components in AEM, however the Header component is not editable.

Webpack Dev Server - Proxy the JSON API

As seen in the previous exercises, performing a build and syncing the client library to a local instance of AEM takes a few minutes. This is acceptable for final testing, but is not ideal for the majority of the SPA development.
A webpack dev server can be used to rapidly develop the SPA. The SPA is driven by a JSON model generated by AEM. In this exercise the JSON content from a running instance of AEM will be proxied into the development server configured by the Angular project .
  1. Return to the IDE and open the file proxy.conf.json at ui.frontend/proxy.conf.json .
    [
        {
            "context": [
                        "/content/**/*.(jpg|jpeg|png|model.json)",
                        "/etc.clientlibs/**/*"
                    ],
            "target": "http://localhost:4502",
            "auth": "admin:admin",
            "logLevel": "debug"
        }
    ]
    
    
    The Angular app provides an easy mechanism to proxy API requests. The patterns specified in context are be proxied through localhost:4502 , the local AEM quickstart.
  2. Open the file index.html at ui.frontend/src/index.html . This is the root HTML file used by the dev server.
    Note there is an entry for base href="/" . The base tag is critical for the app to resolve relative URLs.
    <base href="/">
    
    
  3. Open a terminal window and navigate to the ui.frontend folder. Run the command npm start :
    $ cd ui.frontend
    $ npm start
    
    > wknd-spa-angular@0.1.0 start /Users/dgordon/Documents/code/aem-guides-wknd-spa/ui.frontend
    > ng serve --open --proxy-config ./proxy.conf.json
    
    10% building 3/3 modules 0 active[HPM] Proxy created: [ '/content/**/*.(jpg|jpeg|png|model.json)', '/etc.clientlibs/**/*' ]  ->  http://localhost:4502
    [HPM] Subscribed to http-proxy events:  [ 'error', 'close' ]
    ℹ 「wds」: Project is running at http://localhost:4200/webpack-dev-server/
    ℹ 「wds」: webpack output is served from /
    ℹ 「wds」: 404s will fallback to //index.html
    
    
  4. Open a new browser tab (if not already opened) and navigate to http://localhost:4200/content/wknd-spa-angular/us/en/home.html .
    You should see the same content as in AEM, but without any of the authoring capabilities enabled.
  5. Return to the IDE and create a new folder named img at ui.frontend/src/assets .
  6. Download and add the following WKND logo to the img folder:
  7. Open header.component.html at ui.frontend/src/app/components/header/header.component.html and include the logo:
    <header class="header">
        <div class="header-container">
            <div class="logo">
                <img class="logo-img" src="assets/img/wknd-logo-dk.png" alt="WKND SPA" />
            </div>
        </div>
    </header>
    
    
    Save the changes to header.component.html .
  8. Return to the browser. You should immediately see the changes to the app reflected.
    You can continue to make content updates in AEM and see them reflected in webpack dev server , since we are proxying the content. Note that the content changes are only visible in the webpack dev server .
  9. Stop the local web server with ctrl+c in the terminal.

Webpack Dev Server - Mock JSON API

Another approach to rapid development is to use a static JSON file to act as the JSON model. By "mocking" the JSON, we remove the dependency on a local AEM instance. It also allows a front-end developer to update the JSON model in order to test functionality and drive changes to the JSON API that would then be later implemented by a back-end developer.
The initial set up of the mock JSON does require a local AEM instance .
  1. This is the JSON exported by AEM that is driving the application. Copy the JSON output.
  2. Return to the IDE navigate to ui.frontend/src and add new folders named mocks and json to match the following folder structure:
    |-- ui.frontend
        |-- src
            |-- mocks
                |-- json
    
    
  3. Create a new file named en.model.json beneath ui.frontend/public/mocks/json . Paste the JSON output from Step 1 here.
  4. Create a new file proxy.mock.conf.json beneath ui.frontend . Populate the file with the following:
    [
        {
        "context": [
            "/content/**/*.model.json"
        ],
        "pathRewrite": { "^/content/wknd-spa-angular/us" : "/mocks/json"} ,
        "target": "http://localhost:4200",
        "logLevel": "debug"
        }
    ]
    
    
    This proxy configuration will rewrite requests that start with /content/wknd-spa-angular/us with /mocks/json and serve the corresponding static JSON file, for example:
    /content/wknd-spa-angular/us/en.model.json -> /mocks/json/en.model.json
    
    
  5. Open the file angular.json . Add a new dev configuration with an updated assets array to reference the mocks folder created.
     "dev": {
              "assets": [
                "src/mocks",
                "src/assets",
                "src/favicon.ico",
                "src/logo192.png",
                "src/logo512.png",
                "src/manifest.json"
              ]
        },
    
    
    Creating a dedicated dev configuration ensures that the mocks folder is only used during development and is never deployed to AEM in a production build.
  6. In the angular.json file, next update the browserTarget configuration to use the new dev configuration:
      ...
      "serve": {
          "builder": "@angular-devkit/build-angular:dev-server",
          "options": {
    +       "browserTarget": "angular-app:build:dev"
    -       "browserTarget": "angular-app:build"
          },
      ...
    
    
  7. Open the file ui.frontend/package.json and add a new start:mock command to reference the proxy.mock.conf.json file.
        "scripts": {
            "start": "ng serve --open --proxy-config ./proxy.conf.json",
    +       "start:mock": "ng serve --open --proxy-config ./proxy.mock.conf.json",
            "build": "ng lint && ng build && clientlib",
            "build:production": "ng lint && ng build --prod && clientlib",
            "test": "ng test",
            "sync": "aemsync -d -w ../ui.apps/src/main/content"
        }
    
    
    Adding a new command makes it easy to toggle between the proxy configurations.
  8. If currently running, stop the webpack dev server . Start the webpack dev server using the start:mock script:
    $ npm run start:mock
    
    > wknd-spa-angular@0.1.0 start:mock /Users/dgordon/Documents/code/aem-guides-wknd-spa/ui.frontend
    > ng serve --open --proxy-config ./proxy.mock.conf.json
    
    
    Navigate to http://localhost:4200/content/wknd-spa-angular/us/en/home.html and you should see the same SPA but the content is now being pulled from the mock JSON file.
  9. Make a small change to the en.model.json file created earlier. The updated content should immediately be reflected in the webpack dev server .
    Being able to manipulate the JSON model and see the effects on a live SPA can help a developer understand the JSON model API. It also allows both front-end and back-end development happen in parallel.

Add Styles with Sass

Next, some style updated will be added to the project. This project will add Sass support for a few useful features like variables.
  1. Open a terminal window and stop the webpack dev server if started. From inside the ui.frontend folder enter the following command to update the Angular app to process .scss files.
    $ cd ui.frontend
    $ ng config schematics.@schematics/angular:component.styleext scss
    
    
    This will update the angular.json file with a new entry at the bottom of the file:
    "schematics": {
        "@schematics/angular:component": {
        "styleext": "scss"
        }
    }
    
    
  2. Install normalize-scss to normalize the styles across browsers:
    $ npm install normalize-scss --save
    
    
  3. Return to the IDE and beneath ui.frontend/src create a new folder named styles .
  4. Create a new file beneath ui.frontend/src/styles named _variables.scss and populate it with the following variables:
    //_variables.scss
    
    //== Colors
    //
    //## Gray and brand colors for use across theme.
    
    $black:                  #202020;
    $gray:                   #696969;
    $gray-light:             #EBEBEB;
    $gray-lighter:           #F7F7F7;
    $white:                  #FFFFFF;
    $yellow:                 #FFEA00;
    $blue:                   #0045FF;
    
    
    //== Typography
    //
    //## Font, line-height, and color for body text, headings, and more.
    
    $font-family-sans-serif:  "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
    $font-family-serif:       Georgia, "Times New Roman", Times, serif;
    $font-family-base:        $font-family-sans-serif;
    $font-size-base:          18px;
    
    $line-height-base:        1.5;
    $line-height-computed:    floor(($font-size-base * $line-height-base));
    
    // Functional Colors
    $brand-primary:             $yellow;
    $body-bg:                   $white;
    $text-color:                $black;
    $text-color-inverse:        $gray-light;
    $link-color:                $blue;
    
    //Layout
    $max-width: 1024px;
    $header-height: 75px;
    
    // Spacing
    $gutter-padding: 12px;
    
    
  5. Re-name the extension of the file styles.css at ui.frontend/src/styles.css to styles.scss . Replace the contents with the following:
    /* styles.scss * /
    
    /* Normalize */
    @import '~normalize-scss/sass/normalize';
    
    @import './styles/variables';
    
    body {
        background-color: $body-bg;
        font-family: $font-family-base;
        margin: 0;
        padding: 0;
        font-size: $font-size-base;
        text-align: left;
        color: $text-color;
        line-height: $line-height-base;
    }
    
    body.page {
        max-width: $max-width;
        margin: 0 auto;
        padding: $gutter-padding;
        padding-top: $header-height;
    }
    
    
  6. Update angular.json and re-name all references to style.css with styles.scss . There should be 3 references.
      "styles": [
    -    "src/styles.css"
    +    "src/styles.scss"
       ],
    
    

Update Header styles

Next add some brand-specific styles to the Header component using Sass.
  1. Start the webpack dev server to see the styles updating in real-time:
    $ npm run start:mock
    
    
  2. Under ui.frontend/src/app/components/header re-name header.component.css to header.component.scss . Populate the file with the following:
    @import "~src/styles/variables";
    
    .header {
        width: 100%;
        position: fixed;
        top: 0;
        left:0;
        z-index: 99;
        background-color: $brand-primary;
        box-shadow: 0px 0px 10px 0px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.24);
    }
    
    .header-container {
        display: flex;
        max-width: $max-width;
        margin: 0 auto;
        padding-left: $gutter-padding;
        padding-right: $gutter-padding;
    }
    
    .logo {
        z-index: 100;
        display: flex;
        padding-top: $gutter-padding;
        padding-bottom: $gutter-padding;
    }
    
    .logo-img {
        width: 100px;
    }
    
    
  3. Update header.component.js to reference header.component.scss :
    ...
      @Component({
        selector: 'app-header',
        templateUrl: './header.component.html',
    -   styleUrls: ['./header.component.css']
    +   styleUrls: ['./header.component.scss']
      })
    ...
    
    
  4. Return to the browser and the webpack dev server :
    You should now see the updated styles added to the Header component.

Deploy SPA updates to AEM

The changes made to the Header are currently only visible through the webpack dev server . Deploy the updated SPA to AEM to see the changes.
  1. Stop the webpack dev server .
  2. Navigate to the root of the project /aem-guides-wknd-spa and deploy the project to AEM using Maven:
    $ cd ..
    $ mvn clean install -PautoInstallSinglePackage
    
    
  3. Navigate to http://localhost:4502/editor.html/content/wknd-spa-angular/us/en/home.html . You should see the updated Header with logo and styles applied:
    Now that the updated SPA is in AEM, authoring can continue.

Congratulations!

Congratulations, you have updated the SPA and explored the integration with AEM! You now know two different approaches for developing the SPA against the AEM JSON Model API using a webpack dev server .
You can always view the finished code on GitHub or check the code out locally by switching to the branch Angular/integrate-spa-solution .

Next Steps

Map SPA components to AEM components - Learn how to map Angular components to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) components with the AEM SPA Editor JS SDK. Component mapping enables authors to make dynamic updates to SPA components within the AEM SPA Editor, similar to traditional AEM authoring.