Repeating Multiple Elements using ng-repeat-start and ng-repeat-end in AngularJS

10 Apr 2015
About 2 min read
AngularJS ng-repeat ng-repeat-start ng-repeat-end

When the AngularJS website is released, the TODO example in their website was one of the main attractions. The example was simple and just below 30 lines of code ( Here is the link if you want to check ). The whole trick behind the scene was done by a directive named ng-repeat, as shown below:

ng-repeat="todo in todoList.todos"

Till Angular 1.2, ng-repeat was designed to work on a single DOM element. In other words, ng-repeat can repeat only the DOM element on which it is added. Therefore, some of the situations -- see below -- lead Angular community to think about modifying ng-repeat in version 1.2. In the next section, we'll see the problem with ng-repeat and the solutions introduced.

What was the issue ? #

Consider the model like this:

$scope.data = [{
name: 'Shidhin',
info: 'I am from Dubai'
}, {
name: 'Someone',
info: 'I am from New york'

And assume if we need an output like this:

<td>I am from Dubai</td>
<td>I am from New york</td>

The fundamental problem here is, the TR tag cannot be grouped in another element other than TABLE. Since creating each TABLE for each TR is not feasible, it is difficult to create the above mark-up using ng-repeat.

What changed in Angular 1.2 #

From Angular version 1.2 onwards, ng-repeat got two siblings directives named ng-repeat-start and ng-repeat-end. With these, we can explicitly specify the starting and ending for ng-repeat. So, instead of using the ng-repeat directive on one single DOM element, we can specify the ng-repeat-start and ng-repeat-end on any two DOM elements.

These directives do the same job as ng-repeat -- it uses the same expressions as ng-repeat -- but the main difference is, it repeats all DOM elements between the starting element and ending element (including the starting and ending tags).

Let's implement the above example with these new directives:

<tr ng-repeat-start="d in data">
<tr ng-repeat-end>

The above code will generate the desired output. You can see a DEMO here

Summary #

Angular community had done a great job by introducing ng-repeat-start and ng-repeat-end directives. They're really powerful and solve some of the short-comings of the ng-repeat directive. I hope this article will help you for start using ng-repeat effectively in your next project. Thanks for reading!


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