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When you have an array of data to show in the page, ngFor does all the work. You simply define your UI element once, and ngFor takes care of the rest.

Creating a for loop is one of the first things every programmer learns. You set up your loop, and then define what should happen in each iteration of the loop. But while this may sound simple, it can create a lot of boilerplate code. Each time you need to set up an iteration, you need to create your counter variable (for example “var i = 0”). The thing is, this kind of repetitive code can quickly become tedious and difficult to manage. And since Angular takes care of DOM rendering for you, you actually don’t want to manually iterate data with the intention of rendering multiple DOM elements. So the better approach would be to let Angular do the heavy lifting when it comes to iterating data and rendering DOM elements based on that data.

When leveraging the Angular ngFor directive, the approach is very much the same. The number of iterations is determined by the length of your array, so Angular handles that for you. The only thing left to do is define your data and a variable that will represent the model on each iteration of the loop.

You’ll find that the approach here is somewhat similar to using a library such as underscore.js or lodash.js; you simply let the library take care of the tedious loop setup code. And Angular offers even more value here because it takes care of not only the data iteration, but the DOM rendering as well. In addition to this, Angular takes care of all the deep DOM management tasks such as hiding & showing, data binding and event handler binding. So let’s face it, that makes for a much more streamlined process and saves you a great deal of work!

Example # 1

In Example # 1, we have our component. Take note of the days property. It contains the seven days of the week. This is the data which we will use in our template.

Example # 2

In Example # 2, we have our template, containing an unordered list. Our goal is to have a list item for each day of the week. Instead of manually creating seven list items, we have only one. This single list item has an ngFor attribute. The value assigned to this attribute is: “let day of days”. What this means is: “let’s loop over our days array, and on each iteration of the loop, the item being iterated over will be referred to as: day.

On each iteration of the loop, Angular will create a list item with a paragraph inside of it. Inside the paragraph, we have a placeholder for the day variable in our loop. So {{day}} will be replaced with “Monday“, “Tuesday“, “Wednesday“, etc.

Video Example Code

If you want to download the example code, visit this Github page, and then follow the instructions: bit.ly/kc-angular-ngFor

Summary

I think most would agree that the Angular ngFor directive provides a powerful way to iterate over your data and render DOM elements. You’ll find that as is often the case with Angular, this directive saves you time and effort as it takes care of the most tedious aspects of this kind of challenge. Just add this to your bag of resources and you can rely on Angular to minimize human error and provide a more reliable solution for data iteration and DOM rendering.

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