Building Hacker News With Angularjs

This week Hacker News announced its official API. This is really great news. Prior to this official API all 3rd-party apps resorted to scraping the website to as their data source, a brittle and unscalable practice. This new API provides a standard and efficient way to create 3rd-party Hacker News applications.

Last night I decided to try out this new API. I randomly decided to sprint and see how quickly I could create an exact clone of Hacker News using angularjs. Turns out it took me almost exactly 2 hours to do. Pretty damn impressed with myself.

To cut to the chase, find the demo url here: http://hswolff.github.io/hn-ng/ And the source code here: https://github.com/hswolff/hn-ng

How Was This Made?

I started the project via scaffolding through Yeoman'shttp://yeoman.io/ gulp-webapp generator. This saved me a lot of initial work, as it created all the rote files I would have otherwise had to create and saved me the trouble of finding one of my old gulp files to copy over.

After that I added angularjs to my bower file:

bower install --save angularjs

And then used the magic of one of Yeoman's default tasks, gulp wiredep to automatically inject those new bower files into my index.html file.

I did hit a struggling point when it came to compiling my angular application. As angular dev's are aware, there are some issues surrounding minification. To surmount this I grabbed the gulp-ng-annotate plugin which handles adding all required annotations to your code.

There was also the issue of pre-warming my template cache. To solve this I used gulp-angular-templatecache, which allows you to pre-warm your $templateCache to not require any AJAX calls in production.

After solving those two hiccups everything was smooth sailing. I sprinted through the controller that handles the homepage and was just racing against myself.

All-in-all a wonderful exercise. I hope as the official Hacker News API expands I can also expand my clone, and maybe add some of my own personal enhancements to it. For now I hope you enjoy the code!