Angular Signals in 3 Minutes

Signals are an amazing addition to Angular. - What makes them so great?


The majority of the signals interface can be expressed in one small snippet

import {  signal, computed, effect } from '@angular/core';

export class SignalExample {
  // Init
  count = signal(1);

  // Get (Same in Template || Typescript)
  getCount = () => this.count();

  // Setters
  reset = () => this.count.set(1);
  increment = () => this.count.update((c) => c + 1);

  // Computed
  doubled = computed(() => this.count() * 2);

  // Effects
  logCount = effect(() => console.log(this.doubled()));

// Omitting untracked & mutate

We can also take a simple example of state, such as count state, and express it in very few lines / concepts compared to its rxjs alternative. i.e. Signals simplify the concepts / lines of code needed to write reactive Angular apps.


export class SignalCount {
  count = signal(1);
  increment_count() { this.count.update(c => c + 1) }
  log_count = effect(() => console.log(this.count()))


export class RxjsCount {
  count = BehaviorSubject(1);
  count$ = count.pipe(
    scan((acc, curr) => acc + curr),
    tap((count) => console.log(count)),
  increment_count() { }

Let’s break it down.

Initialization / Get

To create a signal, simply pass a value to signal. This can be anything. Primitive, object, etc… and to get its value, call it like a function.

person = signal({ name: 'erik' });
person(); // → { name: 'erik' }

// Template

Compare to an Observable, to get the value from an observable we have to:

  • Use async pipe if in a template
  • Use subscribe if in typescript (and remember to take/unsubscribe)

A signal works the same whether we’re in typescript or a template. And we don’t have to handle unsubscribing.

  • Typescript: person()
  • Template: {{person()}}


There are 2 ways to update a signal. (Which will reactively update anywhere we get the signals value)

We can really do most operations with just set. - update can be viewed as a helpful convenience function.

increment = () => this.count.update((c) => c + 1);
// Or
increment_with_set = () => this.count.set(this.count() + 1)

// Template
<button (click)="increment()">+</button>


Computed lets us derive a new read-only signal from another signal(s). Computed introduces a new concept known as dependencies.

Dependencies are actually quite simple. Any signal referenced inside of the computed function is a dependency of that computed signal.

A few simple examples below with different data types. Again, any signal referenced in the computed function is tracked as a dependency. When that signal changes, the computed function will re-evaluate.

doubled = computed(() => this.count() * 2)
person_name = computed(() => this.person().name)
first_item = computed(() => this.items()[0])
completed = computed(() => this.items().filter(v => v.completed))

Important - dependencies include signals nested inside of functions.

doubled = computed(() => get_count() * 2)

function get_count() {
  return this.count(); // → `doubled` tracks `count` 


Effects are very similar to computed in the sense that they track dependencies, i.e. track signals referenced in their callback. Effects serve a different purpose than computed. Their purpose is to invoke side effects.

Like computed, effects are re-evaluated when their dependencies change. In the example below, whenever count is updated, logCount logs the new value.

count = signal(1)
logCount = effect(() => console.log(this.count()));

If you’d like to learn about effects in greater details see Angular Signals: Effective Effects


An important part of an effect and computed is untracked. Untracked allows you to use a signal inside of an effect/computed without adding that signal as a dependency. i.e. changes to signals inside of untracked will not cause the effect/computed to re-evaluate.

a = signal(1)
b = signal(1)
c = effect(() => {
  const a = this.a();
  untracked(() => console.log(a + this.b()))
// → Only logs when `a` changes


That’s it. Looking for more on Signals? Read the rest of the series here.

More Angular Signals

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📡 Angular Signals Intro

Mon Oct 09 2023