AngularJS templates with the benefits of Razor

While talking with co-workers about some AngularJS code we wrote to use in an MVC project, we wanted to have the benefits of server side processing in our templates.  Typically, AngularJS templates are static .html pages...but I'm going to blow your mind...and show you a slick way to utilize Razor views as your templates.

You might be wondering, "Why use Razor?"  Well, here's a few reasons:

  • You can define concrete routes to actions/controllers by utilizing Html.ActionLink, Html.Content, etc., reducing the likelihood of malformed/bad links, and gaining the benefits of having it run through .NET routing.
  • Server-side localization of templates.  I've never been a huge fan of i18n scripts for localization in Javascript.
  • Change out templates on the fly based on the user's roles and enable/disable certain features on the server side.

So, now that I got you salivating over the possibilities, let's take a look at how to implement such magic:

    public class BaseController : Controller
        public ActionResult AngularTemplate(string id)
            var templateName = id;

            // Verify template path contains no path operators
            if (templateName.Any("/\\".Contains) && !templateName.Contains(".."))
                return HttpNotFound();

            // Append .template to the end of the template name
            return View(templateName + ".template");


What we’re doing above is creating a base controller class that all of our controllers will implement.  Within the base controller, there is a shared action that will retrieve a template, process it, and spit it back out to Angular.

Then, let’s say you have a controller named MyController in an area called MyArea, and you have routing set up as the standard /{Controller}/{Action}/{id} scheme.  When you set your Angular template url to “/MyArea/MyController/AngularTemplate/CoolTemplate”, that fires off a call to the shared AngularTemplate action, verifies there are no path identifiers, and tells the view engine to search for a template named CoolTemplate.template.cshtml using the defined search patterns (i.e. /MyArea/Views/MyController, /MyArea/Views/Shared, /Views/Shared, etc.)

Pretty slick, huh?  And the implementation doesn’t have to use a shared action in a base controller, you can utilize standard actions.  This just makes it more dynamic in my opinion, with the benefit of keeping Angular templates located alongside your standard MVC views.