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Ionic 2 and Visual Studio


July 18, 2016, Ionic 2 (Beta 10) Visual Studio 2015 Templates

July 1, 2016 Ionic 2 Beta 10.

Although Ionic 2 is still in beta, the team working on Tools for Apache Cordova is so excited that we want you to be able to start building Ionic 2 apps in Visual Studio today. In this post I will walk through some tips and tricks you can use to avoid common problems working with Ionic 2 in Visual Studio.

This article targets Ionic 2 Beta 6,  based on Angular 2 Beta 15. Using Ionic 2 CLI Beta 25

Please note that this post may be outdated once Ionic releases a new version

Creating an Ionic 2 project

The first step will be to obtain the latest Ionic 2 beta version:
npm install -g ionic@beta

Then you will need to create the project.

ionic start MyIonic2App --v2 --ts --template sidemenu --skip-npm

There are some parameters you will want to use:

  • --v2 specifies that you want an Ionic 2 project
  • --ts specifies that you want to use TypeScript (if you do not specify --ts the project will be created with ES6, and this is not supported by VS yet)
  • --template sidemenu specifies the template you want to use, in this case we will be using the sidemenu template
  • --skip-npm disabled the npm package restore

As you can see in your console, ionic is not only creating all the project files, but it's also Installing all the npm packages specified in package.json. You need to understand that ionic will reuse the same npm version you have installed globally (see below a note about node versions in Visual Studio).

Start Building in Visual Studio

Ionic 2 comes with a set of predefined Gulp tasks that will help you to process the .ts and .sass files from the app folder and generate the output in the www/build folder. So, we need to customize the Visual Studio build process to set your project up with Visual Studio’s building and debugging functionalities.

  1. Import your Ionic 2 project into Visual Studio using the File->New->Project from existing code wizard (or you can use the tool I created for that: ocpief)
  2. Modify your project's gulpfile.js file within Visual Studio by adding as the first line in the file: var Promise = require('es6-shim').Promise;
  3. Open the solution explorer side-pane, right click on “Dependencies”, and select Restore Packages
  4. Open the Task Runner (View->Other Windows->Task Runner Explorer) and right click on build to set your machine up for build, or watch to build with Live Reload (in Ripple only)
  5. If you did't specify --skip-npm you will need to delete the node_modules folder. In the command line, navigate to the root of your project and delete your current node_modules using the command rd /s /q node_modules Since Visual Studio uses its own version on npm, we want to remove the ones generated during Ionic2 project creation.
  6. Now, build and deploy the normal way using the menu bar


Note that only the most recent versions of Ripple will support Angular2. If you have used Ripple before you should delete the cordova cache and build again. More info in the TACO Developer blog

Known Issues with Ionic 2 and Visual Studio

There are some cases where the Task Runner Explorer can't list the gulp tasks, and fail.


To see the error details you need to go to the Output Window and select the Task Runner Explorer Log.


To solve this issue, delete the node_modules folder and try to restore it again from Visual Studio

Use VS for editing only, and build & debug using Ionic Serve

Unfortunately, you can’t use Ionic Serve to debug in the Browser at the same time as Visual Studio. Ionic serve uses a build process that creates files in node_modules\ that is incompatible in Visual Studio.
So, if you want to use Visual Studio Intellisense, but not to build and deploy, here is how you build your project from the command line:

  • Starting at the root of your project folder, enter node_modules\.bin\gulp build to get your output in your www folder
  • Or enter node_modules\.bin\gulp watch to get your output in your www folder with live reload
  • Then, entering ionic serve will build, monitor for changes, and also launch your default browser

From here you can import the project in Visual Studio using the File->New->Project from existing code (or my tool ocpief), and can start editing your project.

A note on Node versions and Visual Studio

As any other JavaScript tooling Node and NPM becomes the de-facto standard to get your JavaScript dependencies, however there are some limitations based on the version of NPM you are running.

Default versions installed with Visual Studio

If you installed TACO (Tools for Apache Cordova), you will have a globally installed version of node 0.12.2 and NPM 2.7.4. However the NPM Dependency Manager and the Task Runner Explorer will use node 0.10.31 and NPM 1.4.9. You can find these versions here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft\Web Tools\External\

UPDATE. If you installed the new Web Tools version (as described here), your node version will be 5.4.1 and npm 3.3.4, both located here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Web\External

Recent Node versions and Visual Studio

You can configure the npm package restore and task runner explorer to use a custom version of node, as described here. In this case you won't need to configure the ES6-Promises, but if you go this route, remember that you should delete and restore your node_modules folder every time you change your node version.