Vanilla TypeScript (gts)

I started a new personal project recently. Development moved along smoothly, at first. Then, I realized that I really wanted the type checking that is provided with TypeScript. Having worked with TypeScript in the past, I knew what I wanted ... the question was how to get there.

It is easy to work with TypeScript using a framework where the starter project includes it. But what about a simple TypeScript project that would otherwise be just a vanilla JavaScript project?

In my early research, I came across Google TypeScript Style (gts).

gts is Google's TypeScript style guide, and the configuration for our formatter, linter, and automatic code fixer. No lint rules to edit, no configuration to update, no more bikeshedding over syntax.

Bike shedding?

Noun bikeshedding

  1. Futile investment of time and energy in the discussion of marginal technical issues.
  2. Procrastination.

What is gts?

From Their Documentation: HERE.

gts is Google's TypeScript style guide, and the configuration for our formatter, linter, and automatic code fixer. No lint rules to edit, no configuration to update, no more bikeshedding over syntax.

To borrow from standardjs:

  • No configuration. The easiest way to enforce consistent style in your project. Just drop it in.
  • Automatically format code. Just run gts fix and say goodbye to messy or inconsistent code.
  • Catch style issues & programmer errors early. Save precious code review time by eliminating back-and-forth between reviewer & contributor.
  • Opinionated, but not to a fault. We recommend you use the default configuration, but if you need to customize the compiler or linter config, you can.

Under the covers, we use tslint to enforce the style guide and provide automated fixes, and prettier to re-format code.

What Does This Mean

To me, this means that I can start up a preconfigured opinionated TypeScript project that might need some minor adjustments, but basically is ready to go.

Also, I think it's good to call out that this documentation is incorrect in a few areas (acceptable in my opinion) and there is this quote at the bottom of the page that I almost missed ...

NOTE: This is not an official Google product.

My Experience with gts ...

Installation was as simple as ...

$ npx gts init

... which installed the following with Google's patterns ...

  • package.json
  • tsconfig.json
  • tslint.json
  • prettier.config.js

The gts documentation also says that "If a source folder is not already present it will add a default template project." In my case, a template project was not installed; which was fine since I was moving another project into this space.

I then copied over my code from a previous Vanilla JavaScript project and created a .ts file. And, this is where things got more interesting; I will detail a few issues ... most of the problems had to do with converting to TypeScript from this point.

TypeScript Issues ...

console.log was throwing an error in my code (couldn't find it) ... based on a quick search, I ran ...

$ npm install @types/node

Also, anywhere I was using window to reference elements of the global object in the browser I was getting an error ... having seen this one before, I used (<any>window).

Additionally, I adjusted package.json to include a build processes that would align better with my project and handled a few other issues converting JavaScript to TypeScript.

Conclusions

When I first started the project and realized I wanted to use TypeScript moving forward, I did a quick search and found Setting Up a New TypeScript Project on alligator.io. Great article, but ALL THOSE STEPS that I don't want to repeat every time I want to jump into some small project with TypeScript in it.

But wait ... at the bottom of the article was Making Things Even Easier: Enter gts.

From all that, I found a pattern that works reasonably well without all the crazy steps to get a Vanilla TypeScript project going!

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Comments (3)

Rahul's photo

Amazing series.

Bob Fornal's photo

There will be more ... getting there.

Rahul's photo

Excited and waiting badly.Bob Fornal