AngularFire Update: Ionic Book

One of the challenges in writing a technical book is that the content can become outdated as the software undergoes updates. Hence, why we had to release a revised edition of Mobile Apps with Ionic. Recently, AngularFire had an update that affected the sample To-Do app in Chapter 7. This post is going to walk you through the changes. The code has been updated to the GitHub repo.

One first changes you need to make is what you install from npm. In the book, I have you run this command:

$ npm install angularfire2 firebase –save

However, we need to now install one more package, promise-polyfill in order to properly build our application. The new command is:

$ npm install angularfire2 firebase promise-polyfill –save

The first set of changes we need to make is in the app.module.ts file. The capabilities of Firebase (and AngularFire) are growing, as such, they are breaking each of the features into smaller modules. By doing so, our code base only has the elements it needs. No need to have FireBase Auth in our code if we aren’t using it. Our AngularFire imports should now look like this;

import { AngularFireModule } from 'angularfire2';
import { AngularFireDatabaseModule, AngularFireDatabase } from 'angularfire2/database';

We still need to define our apikey, domains, etc in the config object and pass that into the AngularFireModule.initializeApp(firebaseConfig)

We now also need to add AngularFireDatabaseModule  in our imports array as well.

The final item to change is the providers array, you now need to include AngularFireDatabase.

Turning to the tasklist.ts file, we have several items to modify. We now have several new imports:

import { AngularFireDatabase, AngularFireList } from 'angularfire2/database';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable';

The first brings in the AngularFireDatabase and AngularFireList modules. One of the major changes with AngularFire 5, was moving anay from custom types to more generic types. Hence, why the second import of the Observable package from rxjs.

Next we need to change our variables and their types:

taskList: AngularFireList<Task>;
tasks: Observable<any[]>;

The taskList variable will hold the AngularFire data in its ‘native’ form, while the task variable will have a clean version of the data that our template can reference.

In the constructor, we define the values for both of these variables:

this.taskList ='/tasks');
this.tasks = this.taskList.valueChanges();

First, we get the list of to-dos from our Firebase database, and assign that to the tasklist. Next, we call the valueChanges method on the taskList. From the AngularFire docs; it returns an Observable of data as a synchronized array of JSON objects. All Snapshot metadata is stripped and just the method provides only the data.

There are several other data methods available, and you should take the time to review them when you begin working with AngularFire in earnest.

With our data now in different variables, we need to adjust our add, delete, and update calls. Let’s change the add code first. If you grab the source code from GithUb, you will see I have added support for either the native Dialog, as well as the Ionic Alert Controller. The two lines that matter are these:

const newTaskRef = this.taskList.push({ id: '', title: data.task, status: 'open' });
newTaskRef.update({ id: newTaskRef.key});

One of the other changes in AngularFire 5, is moving away from being so key-based. As such we need to store the key within our record now. The actual method to add a record to Firebase is still the same push(). But now we get the result of that action, then immediately update itself with the generated id.

Next, we can adjust the markAsDone function. Migrating from the $key code, our new code is simply:

markAsDone(slidingItem: ItemSliding, task: Task) {
    task.status = 'done';
    this.taskList.update(, task)

Our final method to change is the removeTask function. The code is now:

removeTask(slidingItem: ItemSliding, task: Task) {

The final tweak is to our interface definition for the task. We need to support this new id attribute, so it now becomes:

export interface Task {
  title: string;
  status: string;

Hope this short post, gets you back on track working with Ionic and Angularfire/Firebase.






AngularFire 2 Updates

As I warned in the book about “everything in beta” (a phrase my friend Leif Wells loves to quote), some recent updates to AngularFire 2 impact the To Do application in my book.The reason behind these changes is by breaking AngularFire into smaller modules, your app will load and run faster (always a good thing). For example, if you don’t need the user auth module in AngularFire, no need to load it.

There are just a few minor changes, so let get started…

First, make sure you have installed the latest versions of AngularFire2 and Firebase. Check your package.json and check the version numbers:

"angularfire2": "^4.0.0-rc.0",
"firebase": "^3.9.0"
If you are referencing an older version, update the version numbers and update your node modules.
Next, in the app.module.ts file you need to now import this additional module:
import { AngularFireDatabaseModule } from 'angularfire2/database';

and then include it within the imports array:

imports: [
The tasklist.ts file will also need two changes. The first is to change
import { AngularFire, FirebaseListObservable } from 'angularfire2';


import { AngularFireDatabase, FirebaseListObservable } from 'angularfire2/database';

The AngularFire variable will need to be typed to AngularFireDatabase.

constructor(public navCtrl: NavController, public af: AngularFireDatabase, public dialogs: Dialogs) {...}

Finally, our reference to the data is now just:

this.tasks = af.list('/tasks');

And with that, your Ionic2Do app will run with the latest AngularFire.