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Speed Up Angular Dev With Cache

Angular is about to release v13!

One of the new features that excites me the most is the persistent build cache. In v12.1, this feature was introduced as an opt-in by the CLI via an environment variable NG_PERSISTENT_BUILD_CACHE=1. Now this environment variable has been disabled. Instead, this caching feature is now enabled by default and can be configured inside angular.json under the cli option. If you want to learn more about this feature, here is the RFC discussion.

How to enable it (in Angular 13+)?

At the time of writing, this configuration is enabled only on V13, which is currently in RC stage. You can try it out by upgrading your project with ng update --next.

After upgrading to 13.0.0-rc1, open your project’s angular.json, which should normally look like this:

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{
  "$schema": "./node_modules/@angular/cli/lib/config/schema.json",
  "version": 1,
  "newProjectRoot": "projects",
  "projects": {
    // ...
  },
  "defaultProject": "frontend"
}

The new cli option can be configured like this:

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{
  "$schema": "./node_modules/@angular/cli/lib/config/schema.json",
  "version": 1,
  "newProjectRoot": "projects",
  "projects": {
    // ...
  },
  "defaultProject": "frontend",
  "cli": {
    "defaultCollection": "@angular-eslint/schematics",
    "cache": {
      "enabled": true,
      "environment": "all",
      "path": ".angular/cache"
    }
  }
}

There are three options under cli, enabled which is a boolean, environment which is one of all, ci and local, and path which is a string that points to your cache on disk. If your CI can reuse the same file directory between runs and disk space is not a problem, definitely configure the environment option to all. Some users have reported massive reduction in build time (details in this RFC). The default location of cache is .angular/cache. However, I am not sure about the default for environment as it’s not configured in the schema.json file.

Result

My personal project is a pretty simple one but you can still get a good sense of the dramatic improvement. Just a FYI, the project uses TailwindCSS in JIT mode.

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> tokei src/app --exclude "*.{module,spec}.ts"
===============================================================================
 Language            Files        Lines         Code     Comments       Blanks
===============================================================================
 HTML                   20         2009         1831          119           59
 Sass                   20           59           54            0            5
 TypeScript             55         1985         1783           12          190
===============================================================================
 Total                  95         4053         3668          131          254
===============================================================================

ng build

TAILWIND_MODE=watch ng serve --hmr

Amazing! 🎉 For ng build, I am able to achieve a whopping 66% build time reduction for the second run, with the cost of the first run being slightly slower. For ng serve, it’s a similar story where I am able to cut the time by over 50% starting from the second run.

Conclusion

This a cool productivity boost and at the same time a huge CI cost saver. As mentioned, you can enjoy this feature in Angular 12.1+ already, with NG_PERSISTENT_BUILD_CACHE=1 command line argument. However, in Angular 13+ you should configure it in your angular.json. If you are not using it already, you definitely should. NOW! 🚴‍♂️💦💦

As always, thanks for reading!