Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Git Ignore to Untrack TypeScript Auto Generated Files

When using TypeScript you really don't want the transpiled output files created from the source .ts file to be committed to the repository. This is because the output could be looked at analogous to the /bin generated files which we all know are not to be committed. The TypeScript auto-generated files (.js and .js.map) will be built independently for each user's source, and only the single .ts file should be committed. 

The only exception I see to this process is if there is a restriction on TypeScript compiling on the server (i.e. CI build server) in which case the actual .js file might have to be committed. As long as the TypeScript compiler is present for compilation, only the .ts file should be committed.

To ignore the auto-generated .js and .js.map files for a new project the process is quite simple. Just add some rules to the .gitignore file at the root of your project like below and these files will not be tracked.

# Typescript Auto-generated files
# Note: all files must be TS files in this directory or ordinary JS files could be removed
# Modify as needed to preserve files and be more explicit

The above still needs to be done for existing projects, but if you see tracked changes already showing up for your repository, you are going to have to manually remove them from being tracked since they are already a part of the repository. From the Git docs:
If you already have a file checked in, and you want to ignore it, Git will not ignore the file if you add a rule later. In those cases, you must untrack the file first.
The easiest way to do this is to run the following command against the applicable files using Git Bash commands. I find opening the Git Bash command prompt directly from the directories makes this process easiest.

git rm --cached myfile.js
git rm --cached *.js
git rm --cached *.js.map

You may prefer instead of using wildcards (like above) to manually address each file individually applying the command. It's a 1 time deal to remove the tracking, so it might be best to be explicit as I did it below:

Note, once successfully removed, you can't run the command again or you will get an error message similar to the following:
fatal: pathpec 'myfile.js' did not match any files
This is because the file has already been removed from the repositories tracking so there isn't any command to preform against it.

If using VS.NET, you should see after refreshing that these files are now shown as being deleted from the repository. 

I do recommend that you commit from the Git Bash command line when removing these files. I had mixed results when jumping over to VS.NET to commit, as the deleted files were not shown as changes to the master to be synced to the server. Only once I committed from Git Bash did it actually apply and commit successfully:

After committing and on subsequent updates, the changes to the TypeScript auto-generated files should no longer be tracked and shown as 'Included Changes'

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Which Version of TypeScript is Installed and Which Version is Visual Studio Using?

My rating of TypeScript on a scale of 1-10... a solid 10

My rating of finding out which version of TypeScript is installed and being used currently... a 2. 

Sometimes the simplest of things are missed and I think this is one of the cases. There is a lot of playing detective and resulting confusion that will come about trying to figure out which versions of TypeScript are actually installed and subsequently, which is targeted for VS.NET to compile against. I'm here to clear up this confusion and shed some light on this for TypeScript users.

The TypeScript compiler (tsc.exe) is installed through the installation of VS.NET 2013 Update 2 (or later versions), VS.NET 2015, or via the TypeScript tools extensions available through the VisualStudio Gallery. VS.NET users of one of the aforementioned versions are in a good place because TypeScript having been created by Microsoft integrates well into VS.NET. Regardless of installation method, the tooling and compilers are available at the following location:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript

As can be seen from the screenshot below, I have folders for versions 1.0 and 1.5:

Now before moving further, the way you've probably found to find out which version of TypeScript is installed is to send the -v option to the compiler which will "Print the compiler's version." You can do this from any location using the command prompt. Doing so on a default installation of say VS.NET 2013 with the 1.0 SDK folder present will yield the following:

Notice we have a SDK folder for version 1.0 however the compiler version is This is because what really matters is not the folder, but rather the actual version of the compiler within the folder. In this case the 1.0 folder contains version 1.3 of the TypeScript compiler.

As mentioned, you can run the -v option against the compiler from anywhere. If you run this command against the directory that physically contains the TypeScript compiler (tsc.exe), then the resulting version output will be that of the compiler in the SDK directory targeted.

Running the version command against the 1.0 directory:

Running the version command against the 1.5 directory:

OK great, we can run version commands in different spots and find out about versions of the compiler. However which one are VS.NET and my project using, and where is that compiler version coming from when I run the -v option in a non-TypeScript SDK directory?

Let's address the global version question 1st. You can run the where tsc command from any command line which will tell you the TypeScript compiler location the version is returned from using the version option:

OK so I have SDK tools version 1.0 (compiler version 1.3 as we know) and 1.5 installed. Why is it returning only the tsc.exe information from the 1.0 SDK folder? It turns out that this information is actually a part of the PATH environmental variable in Windows. There is no magic or real installation assessment going on here. It simply reads the directory value embedded within the path variable for TypeScript and finds the tsc.exe version within that specified directory. Here is what was within my Windows PATH variable for TypeScript:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.0\

Before we get much further it turns out all these versioning commands, PATH variable values, and the like, they have absolutely no bearing at all on which version of TypeScript VS.NET is using and compiling against. I'll get to that in a minute. 

However every Google search for, "which TypeScript version do I have installed" yields a bunch of results saying, "run tsc -v" which ultimately reads that value in the PATH variable and confuses the heck out of people. They get concerned that VS.NET is not targeting their newer version of TypeScript installed. 

The matter of fact is that TypeScript can have multiple side-by-side installations and it's all about the project's targeted value and none of what's in the PATH variable is important. You would think if the TypeScript team wanted to use the PATH variable they would update it to the newest version upon installing a newer TypeScript version. Not so. It remains stagnant at the old version which then shows the older TypeScript compiler version thus leaving everyone confused.  I found this comment on the following GitHub thread which confirms, folks will have to update the PATH variable manually for the time being:

Before manually changing the PATH variable to point to the newer TypeScript SDK version, lets look at what VS.NET reads to know which compiler to target. Unfortunately it is not available as a nice dropdown in the TypeScript properties for the project (hence adding to my rating of '2' for the version fun with TypeScript). Instead it is in the project's properties configuration within the .csproj or .vbproj file. I particularly like the EditProj Visual Studio Extension which adds a nice 'Edit Project File' to the context menu when right-clicking a project within VS.NET. Doing this will bring up the project's configuration, and I can see the TypeScript version targeted and used by the project inside the tag:

Now VS.NET will append this value to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\ path to get the compiler used for the project. In this case we know from above the 1.3 version of the TypeScript compiler is in that directory. 

Let's do a test and write some TypeScript using the spread operator that's not fully supported until ES6 or version 1.5 of TypeScript which can compile to ES5 JavaScript. Technically version 1.3 of TypeScript can still compile the following to JS but it will complain in the IDE which is what we'd expect:

Notice how we get the red squiggly under the spread operator usage (three dots ...) and a notice that this is a TypeScript 1.5 feature.

Now we can prove the tsc -v output and resulting PATH variable value are not what's being used by VS.NET (it's the Tools Version I showed above). If we change the PATH variable TypeScript directory value from:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.0\


C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.5\

...in the System variables (the TypeScript directory is embedded within the Path variable, so copy out to Notepad to locate and modify):

...and open a new command window we can see now the tsc -v command reads the updated PATH variable and outputs the resulting 1.5.0 version. 

So cool right? VS.NET should now reflect version 1.5 of TypeScript being used and our warning should go away. Nope. Save your TypeScript file, rebuild, reopen VS.NET, do whatever you feel, and you will still see the warning above. That's because what matters to VS.NET is what version is in it's own project configuration and not what the PATH variable returns via the version command.

What we need to do is manually update the project's configuration to point to the 1.5 SDK tools version (remember this should be the value of the folder that VS.NET appends to the SDK directory and not the actual compiler version). Using the 'Edit Project' tool I mentioned previously, I can change the 1.0 tools version to 1.5:

If I go back to my TypeScript file, immediately I notice the spread command is understood and accepted as we are pointing to version 1.5 of the TypeScript compiler:

So that's TypeScript versioning as of today. If you want to target a newer (or older) version of TypeScript, or just want to see which version your project is currently using, you'll need to take a look in the project's configuration for the  value.

As an aside, VS.NET will warn you if you have a newer version of the TypeScript tools installed, but your project is targeting an older version. It will ask if you would like to upgrade your project:

I can say I've had mixed results saying  'Yes' to this dialog including while writing this post. It did not update the version to 1.5 in my project's properties. I still had to manually modify the version.

To this end, I've made a recommendation on Microsoft Connect that the TypeScript tools version (and corresponding compiler version), be selectable from within the IDE on the 'TypeScript Build' tab within the project's properties. You can read and vote for this if you would like here: Allow switching TypeScript configured version from Project Properties IDE