Configuring TypeScript

TypeScript provides "compiler options" which interact with how Bazel builds and type-checks code.

General guidance

Keep a tsconfig.json file at the root of your TypeScript sources tree, as an ancestor of all TypeScript files. This should have your standard settings that apply to all code in the package or repository. This ensures that editors agree with rules_ts, and that you have minimal repetition of settings which can get diverged over time.

Mirroring tsconfig settings

ts_project needs to know some of the values from tsconfig.json. This is so we can mimic the semantics of tsc for things like which files are included in the program, and to predict output locations.

These attributes are named as snake-case equivalents of the tsconfig.json settings. For example, outDir is translated to out_dir.

The ts_project macro expands to include a validation action, which uses the TypeScript API to load the tsconfig.json file (along with any that it extends) and compare these values to attributes on the ts_project rule. It produces buildozer commands to correct the BUILD.bazel file when they disagree.

Locations of tsconfig.json files

You can use a single tsconfig.json file for a repository. Since rules_js expects files to appear in the bazel-out tree, the common pattern is:

  1. In the BUILD.bazel file next to tsconfig.json, expose it using a ts_config rule:
load("@aspect_rules_ts//ts:defs.bzl", "ts_config")

    name = "tsconfig",
    src = "tsconfig.json",
    visibility = [":__subpackages__"],
  1. In child packages, set the tsconfig attribute of ts_project rules in subpackages to point to this rule.
load("@aspect_rules_ts//ts:defs.bzl", "ts_config")

    tsconfig = "//my_root:tsconfig",

You can also use nested tsconfig.json files. Typically you want these to inherit common settings from the parent, so use the extends feature in the tsconfig.json file. Then you'll need to tell Bazel about this dependency structure, so add a deps list to ts_config and repeat the files there.

Inline (generated) tsconfig

The ts_project#tsconfig attribute accepts a dictionary. If supplied, this dictionary is converted into a JSON file. It should have a top-level compilerOptions key, matching the tsconfig file JSON schema.

Since its location differs from tsconfig.json in the source tree, and TypeScript resolves paths in tsconfig.json relative to its location, some paths must be written into the generated file:

  • each file in srcs will be converted to a relative path in the files section.
  • the extends attribute will be converted to a relative path

The generated tsconfig.json file can be inspected in bazel-out.

Remember that editors need to know some of the tsconfig settings, so if you rely exclusively on this approach, you may find that the editor skew affects development.

You can mix-and-match values in the dictionary with attributes. Values in the dictionary take precedence over those in the attributes, and conflicts between them are not validated. For example, in

    name = "which",
    tsconfig = {
        "compilerOptions": {
            "declaration": True,
            "rootDir": "subdir",
    out_dir = "dist",
    root_dir = "other",

the value subdir will be used by tsc, and other will be silently ignored. Both outDir: dist and declaration: true will be used.

As with any Starlark code, you could define this dictionary in a central location and load it as a symbol into your BUILD.bazel files.