Create Our First TypeScript File
The terminology of whether TypeScript is compiling or transpiling is an ongoing argument that you can look up on the internet if you want to take part in it. I will use the term compile, since transpile is not currently a real word in the Oxford Dictionary, and TSC is called the TypeScript Compiler.
Go to the
./src folder in your project and create a new file called
In that file add this script
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Open the VSCode integrated terminal using the keys
Ctrl+Shift+', or using the top menu
Terminal --> New Terminal.
In the project root folder type
tsc ./src/test.ts --outDir ./dist
Remember that you don't need to use PowerShell. You can use Git Bash, Windows CMD prompt, or another terminal on your operating system. If you are using PowerShell in the VSCode integrated terminal, and you haven't modified the
settings.json as outlined in the last section, you may have gotten an execution policy error. You have the option to start the
tsc compilation process by using the
tsc.cmd option instead. E.g,
tsc.cmd ./src/test.ts --outDir ./dist
So, now if you visit the
./dist folder there will be a new file in it called
test.js. It will be almost identical to the
./src/test.ts file that we just wrote and processed with TSC, but with the new file extension being
.js instead of
.ts and the TypeScript type annotations removed. I.e.,
The TypeScript version explicitly declares which type the
bar arguments must be when passed to the
foo function and that is a
If you have
./dist/test.js open in VSCode at the same time, you may see an error indicated saying that
baz have been re-declared in the other file. This happens when both files are open in the editor at the same time and your project doesn't have a
tsconfig.json indicating which folders are officially the "rootDir" and "outDir" folders of your project. This will be discussed and setup in the next section. In the meantime, you can close one of the files in the IDE to prevent VSCode from thinking that this is an error.
We can now run this
./dist/test.js using Node.js. So from your project root run,
You should get the output,
On Windows, using either forward slashes
/ or backslashes
\ as folder and file separators is ok. So, while I have written
node ./dist/test.js in my documentation, I could also have written
node .\dist\test.js and executed it in PowerShell or Windows CMD, and it would still work. I prefer to use forward slashes in my documentation since backslashes may cause ambiguity in case of the backslash escape character functionality that can also be utilized when entering commands into a terminal.
Now, to see type safety in action, in the TypeScript file
let baz = 'ABC'
let baz = 123
and the VSCode editor will now indicate to you at design time, the error
Argument of type 'number' is not assignable to parameter of type 'string'
Don't forget to change the line back to
let baz = 'ABC' since we will use this file in the next section.
Normally, it is best practice to create a
tsconfig.json file in the base of your TypeScript source folder in your project.
So, create a new file called
tsconfig.json in the
./src/ folder alongside the existing
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Your project structure should now resemble
|-- node (A folder including many *.d.ts files)
Now you can compile your
tsc and indicating the tsconfig location which is the
tsc -p ./src
To analyze this
"strict":true: The strict flag enables a wide range of type checking behavior that results in stronger guarantees of program correctness. I mainly use it to ensure that all class properties are either assigned when first declared, or in the constructor.
"module": "CommonJS": In many of the code examples in the course, I am using ES6 import/export syntax. The
CommonJSmodule setting will produce output that relies on the popular
distfolder. This is relative to the
rootDirparameter discussed in the next line.
"rootDir": "./": This is the root directory of the TypeScript project containing all the
*.tsfiles, and not the project root directory which was referred to earlier that contains all the projects files including the
package.json, etc. It is the folder that TSC should consider to be the root when compiling.
"moduleResolution": "node": Is the default, and describes the file finding resolution process in which TSC will find dependencies if and when they are referenced in any code.
"include": ["**/*.ts"]: Indicates to compile all files it finds ending in
.tsin this and any sub folders relative to the
rootDirsetting within this same
tsconfig.json I have provided is minimal and is ideal for this complete course when trying to execute the code examples using Node.js. On the internet you will find many TypeScript projects with varying tsconfig files all written specifically for the purpose of the particular project that they exist in.
Now that you have a
tsconfig.json in your TypeScript source root, you can open both the
./dist/test.js in the VSCode IDE and no errors describing duplicate declarations should occur.
For documentation on all the options that you can have in a
tsconfig.json file, visit https://www.typescriptlang.org/tsconfig
This process of running
tsc -p ./src and then seeing the output in Node.js using
node ./dist/test.js for example, can be quite tedious if you need to keep typing the
tsc and the
node commands in turn for every change you make.
Instead, you can run TSC in watch mode, which will cause it to continue running and automatically compile and check any changes you make to the TypeScript source files, and then you open a second terminal that you can use specifically for executing the
node or other commands.
tsc -p ./src -w
This will keep the first terminal running indefinitely while it watches and re-compiles any changes you make in the
./src folder and sub folders.
Now open a second console/terminal, or use the
split option to open a second terminal to the right.
In the above image, the left pane is busy running
tsc -p ./src -w while the right pane is free to enter any manual commands as needed such as
I advise to watch the video for this section to show how I do this if my description is hard to understand.