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01 September, 2021

6 mins

Building an App Marketplace using Angular

One of the most significant benefits of the internet is its ability to allow software to expand by integrating additional tools. We make use of these integrations every day, from when we download add-ons for our browsers, to when we install plug-ins for web apps.

A logical way to give developers the platform to allow expansions of their product, is with an app marketplace. A marketplace helps your users find tools that developers have built using your product—an API, for example. Your platform will grow as developers and users make use of this system.

While developers access a developer portal for documentation and other tools, an app marketplace allows them to publish and promote their work. More importantly for your customers, the marketplace is their gateway to finding the apps they want, to make better use of your platform.

There’s no single technology that’s required for a marketplace, but you’ll want to build upon existing tools where you can. In particular, Angular can help organize your project into reusable components. This article will look at how you can build a marketplace with Angular—and how the OpenChannel API can make it even easier.

Features of an App Marketplace

Before jumping into the code for your marketplace, let’s look at the highlights of how it will be used. A full-powered app marketplace should allow your customers to easily find and install their desired app. Here are the features needed for each of these steps.

Browsing The App Marketplace

On the surface, the basic needs of your marketplace seem minimal: a place to browse apps built by developers for your user base. Make a list of the data and meta-data you need for each app and the project may seem a little more involved. Add to that, the functionality users expect, and you’ll want to lean on the capabilities of a framework like Angular.

Marketplaces need to be designed in a way that makes it easy for users to parse app information. At a minimum, you’ll want to include:

– App name

– App description

– Category

– Pricing

You might have more, such as logo, user rating and additional meta-data, which you can read about in our submission guidelines.

Help users find what they’re looking for by implementing robust search and filter functionalities. They will appreciate being able to filter based on parameters such as the app category and sort based on parameters like price.

A well-designed marketplace can dynamically adjust to the user’s interactions.

Installing Applications

Another critical aspect of a user’s interaction with your app marketplace is their installation of apps. It should be designed to allow for easy installation. That of course, is easier said than done—managing installations means connecting user accounts as well. In addition, you’ll need to decide whether or not to handle marketplace payments.

Regardless of financial transactions, you’ll need to at least provide user interaction to connect specific apps to their accounts. That requires:

* Dynamic web pages to list apps

* Management of user accounts to display status

That being said, how does one build a dynamic web app? Well, let’s look at how you could do so. 

Be Dynamic with Angular

The component-based framework Angular is well-suited for a project like an app marketplace. A typescript-based framework, Angular was developed and is supported by Google. The combination of Google-led support and open source development, results in a framework with a strong community and comprehensive documentation.

Angular is great for large, dynamic web apps. Creating a single-page application with Angular will give you a dynamic webpage without the need for reloading. It’s pretty straightforward to get an Angular page up and running. You can install the command-line interface, create and serve the app in just three commands:

“`

npm install -g @angular/cli

ng new test-marketplace

ng serve

“`

There are four types of files that each component of your app will have. They take the following form:

* app.component.css

* app.component.html

* app.component.ts

* app.module.ts

The .css and .html files are the ones you’ll edit to design your website’s appearance, as you might expect. You can start designing your web application by editing the `app.component.html` file. 

The HTML file for a marketplace might look something like this:

“`

<h2>Marketplace</h2>

<div *ngFor=”let app of apps”>

  <h3>

   {{ app.name }}

  </h3>

  <p *ngIf=”app.summary”>

summary: {{ app.summary }}

  </p>

</div>

“`

Angular supports pulling this data from a local file, your own backend, or another API. That gives you multiple opportunities for how to store your marketplace data. Though, you’ll want a dynamic method to allow developers to make updates to their apps on their own.

In the next section, we’ll show how to use the `HttpClientModule` to pull in data from an API. In particular, we’ll use the OpenChannel API, since it supports many marketplace functions automatically. You could also build your own backend to support your Angular marketplace.

Let OpenChannel’s APIs Power Your Marketplace

OpenChannel’s APIs can help you add functionality to your Angular-built marketplace. Let’s take a look at how it can do so. We’ll show a simple call to query all the applications in your marketplace, then add them to the component from the previous section. 

The OpenChannel API provides a list of apps in a single request:

`GET https://client-api.openchannel.io/v2/apps`

As mentioned earlier, incorporating API calls into your Angular website is done with the `HttpClientModule`. The modular design of Angular makes it easy to add modules. You simply do so by including it in the `app.module.ts` file.

“`

import { NgModule } from ‘@angular/core’;

import { BrowserModule } from ‘@angular/platform-browser’;

import { HttpClientModule } from ‘@angular/common/http’;

import { AppComponent } from ‘./app.component’;

 

@NgModule({

  imports: [

BrowserModule,

HttpClientModule,

  ],

  declarations: [

AppComponent

  ],

  providers: [],

  bootstrap: [AppComponent]

})

export class AppModule { }

“`

Then, you need to inject it into the constructor located within your `app.component.ts` file. You make API calls like so:

“`

constructor(private http: HttpClient,){

    url = https://client-api.openchannel.io/v2/apps`

    this.http.get(url)

}

“`

Then, all you need to do is choose how you want to display the information from the API call and store it accordingly.

Naturally, this example shows only the building blocks. With the additional app data, plus some HTML/CSS effort to display, you can display your marketplace without running your own backend.

OpenChannel has a few marketplace APIs, but our example used one that is particularly useful for single-page applications: the Client API. It’ll be the backend for your Angular-based web app. You won’t need to create a server-side application to make calls to the marketplace APIs; the client API takes care of that for you.

As you can see, our APIs were designed to make building an app marketplace as straightforward a process as possible. We encourage you to peruse our documentation for a more thorough rundown on what our APIs can do for you.

To give you a head start and equip you with the best practices we’ve gathered over the years, we’ve now open sourced our Angular partner portal and marketplace sites. You can get launch ready in a fraction of the time in four simple steps; design, download, build and launch. We’ve covered everything you might need, so go ahead and give it a try.

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