TypeScript rules for Bazel

The TypeScript rules integrate the TypeScript compiler with Bazel.


This package provides Bazel wrappers around the TypeScript compiler.

At a high level, there are three alternatives provided: tsc, ts_project, ts_library. This section describes the trade-offs between these rules.


tsc is the TypeScript compiler published by the team at Microsoft. You can call it without any custom Bazel rules.

To use this option, you do not need to install the @bazel/typescript package.

The only reason to use raw tsc is if you want to compile a directory of .ts files and cannot enumerate them ahead-of-time in your BUILD file so that Bazel can predict all the output files. (For example if the .ts files are generated by some tool). This will produce an opaque directory of .js file outputs, which you won’t be able to individually reference.

Any other use case for tsc is better served by using ts_project, see below.

Like we do for any npm package that exposes a binary, rules_nodejs will see your dependency on typescript and will generate an index.bzl file allowing you to run tsc. To use it, add the load statement load("@npm//typescript:index.bzl", "tsc") to your BUILD file. (Possibly replacing @npm with the name of the repository where you installed dependencies)

Then call it, using the npm_package_bin documentation.

Here is an example: https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/blob/3.2.2/internal/node/test/BUILD.bazel#L491-L507


ts_project simply runs tsc --project, with Bazel knowing which outputs to expect based on the TypeScript compiler options, and with interoperability with other TypeScript rules via the DeclarationInfo Provider that transmits the type information.

It is intended as an easy on-boarding for existing TypeScript code and should be familiar if your background is in frontend ecosystem idioms.

Any behavior of ts_project should be reproducible outside of Bazel, with a couple of caveats noted in the rule documentation below.

ts_project is recommended for all new code.

Exhaustive examples of calling ts_project are in the test suite: https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/tree/stable/packages/typescript/test/ts_project

And there are also many uses of it in our


ts_library should not be used for new code, and may be deprecated in the future.

ts_library is an open-sourced version of the rule used to compile TS code at Google. However there is no support from the team that maintains that internal version. It is very complex, involving code generation of the tsconfig.json file, a custom compiler binary, and a lot of extra features.

It is also opinionated, and may not work with existing TypeScript code. For example:

  • Your TS code must compile under the --declaration flag so that downstream libraries depend only on types, not implementation. This makes Bazel faster by avoiding cascading rebuilds in cases where the types aren’t changed.
  • We control the output format and module syntax so that downstream rules can rely on them.
  • Some other options are incompatible. For example you cannot use the --noEmit compiler option in tsconfig.json.

The only reason to use ts_library for new code is if you are bought-in to using a concatjs bundler, which requires the named AMD module format. This may be faster than other tooling, and this format can be consumed by the Closure Compiler (via integration with tsickle). However it is very challenging to configure and there is little available support for problems you’ll run into.


Add a devDependency on @bazel/typescript

$ yarn add -D @bazel/typescript
# or
$ npm install --save-dev @bazel/typescript

Watch for any peerDependency warnings - we assume you have already installed the typescript package from npm.

Typical Usage

The ts_project rule invokes the TypeScript compiler on one compilation unit, or “library” (generally one directory of source files). In TypeScript terms, this is one “Project” which can use “Project References” to break up a large application.

Create a BUILD file next to your sources:

load("@npm//@bazel/typescript:index.bzl", "ts_project")

    name = "my_code",
    # glob is a quick way to select all the code,
    # but has performance penalty in that Bazel must evaluate it.
    srcs = glob(["*.ts"]),
    deps = ["//path/to/other:library"],

Here, //path/to/other:library is another target in your repo that produces TypeScript typings (for example, another ts_project rule). Be sure to set the rootDirs in your tsconfig.json as noted below, so that TypeScript can find the .d.ts files produced by that other target.

To use third-party libraries from npm, first install them (likely using npm_install or yarn_install rules) then add those to the deps as well:

    name = "my_code",
    srcs = glob(["*.ts"]),
    deps = [

You can also use the @npm//@types grouping target which will include all packages in the @types scope as dependencies.

To build a ts_library target run:

bazel build //path/to/package:target

Note that the tsconfig.json file used for compilation should be the same one your editor references, or extends from it, to keep consistent settings for the TypeScript compiler.

Anything you do with TypeScript is possible with ts_project, including json imports, type-checking only, transpile only, outdir, rootdir, and so on. See many examples in our test cases: https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/tree/stable/packages/typescript/test/ts_project



ts_config(name, deps, src)

Allows a tsconfig.json file to extend another file.

Normally, you just give a single tsconfig.json file as the tsconfig attribute of a ts_library or ts_project rule. However, if your tsconfig.json uses the extends feature from TypeScript, then the Bazel implementation needs to know about that extended configuration file as well, to pass them both to the TypeScript compiler.



(Name, mandatory): A unique name for this target.


(List of labels): Additional tsconfig.json files referenced via extends

Defaults to []


(Label, mandatory): The tsconfig.json file passed to the TypeScript compiler



ts_library(name, angular_assets, compiler, data, deps, devmode_module, devmode_target,
           expected_diagnostics, generate_externs, internal_testing_type_check_dependencies,
           link_workspace_root, module_name, module_root, prodmode_module, prodmode_target, runtime,
           runtime_deps, srcs, supports_workers, tsconfig, tsickle_typed, use_angular_plugin)

type-check and compile a set of TypeScript sources to JavaScript.

It produces declarations files (.d.ts) which are used for compiling downstream TypeScript targets and JavaScript for the browser and Closure compiler.

By default, ts_library uses the tsconfig.json file in the workspace root directory. See the notes about the tsconfig attribute below.

Serving TypeScript for development

ts_library is typically served by the concatjs_devserver rule, documented in the @bazel/concatjs package.

Accessing JavaScript outputs

The default output of the ts_library rule is the .d.ts files. This is for a couple reasons:

  • help ensure that downstream rules which access default outputs will not require a cascading re-build when only the implementation changes but not the types
  • make you think about whether you want the devmode (named UMD) or prodmode outputs

You can access the JS output by adding a filegroup rule after the ts_library, for example

    name = "compile",
    srcs = ["thing.ts"],

    name = "thing.js",
    srcs = ["compile"],
    # Change to es6_sources to get the 'prodmode' JS
    output_group = "es5_sources",

    name = "uses_js",
    deps = ["thing.js"],



(Name, mandatory): A unique name for this target.


(List of labels): Additional files the Angular compiler will need to read as inputs. Includes .css and .html files

Defaults to []


(Label): Sets a different TypeScript compiler binary to use for this library. For example, we use the vanilla TypeScript tsc.js for bootstrapping, and Angular compilations can replace this with ngc.

The default ts_library compiler depends on the //@bazel/typescript target which is setup for projects that use bazel managed npm deps and install the @bazel/typescript npm package.

You can also use a custom compiler to increase the NodeJS heap size used for compilations.

To do this, declare your own binary for running tsc_wrapped, e.g.:

    name = "tsc_wrapped_bin",
    entry_point = "@npm//:node_modules/@bazel/typescript/internal/tsc_wrapped/tsc_wrapped.js",
    templated_args = [
    data = [

then refer to that target in the compiler attribute.

Note that nodejs_binary targets generated by npm_install/yarn_install can include data dependencies on packages which aren’t declared as dependencies. For example, if you use tsickle to generate Closure Compiler-compatible JS, then it needs to be a data dependency of tsc_wrapped so that it can be loaded at runtime.

Defaults to @build_bazel_rules_typescript//internal:tsc_wrapped_bin


(List of labels)

Defaults to []


(List of labels): Compile-time dependencies, typically other ts_library targets

Defaults to []


(String): Set the typescript module compiler option for devmode output.

This value will override the module option in the user supplied tsconfig.

Defaults to "umd"


(String): Set the typescript target compiler option for devmode output.

This value will override the target option in the user supplied tsconfig.

Defaults to "es2015"


(List of strings)

Defaults to []



Defaults to True


(Boolean): Testing only, whether to type check inputs that aren’t srcs.

Defaults to False

(Boolean): Link the workspace root to the bin_dir to support absolute requires like ‘my_wksp/path/to/file’. If source files need to be required then they can be copied to the bin_dir with copy_to_bin.

Defaults to False



Defaults to ""



Defaults to ""


(String): Set the typescript module compiler option for prodmode output.

This value will override the module option in the user supplied tsconfig.

Defaults to "esnext"


(String): Set the typescript target compiler option for prodmode output.

This value will override the target option in the user supplied tsconfig.

Defaults to "es2015"



Defaults to "browser"


(List of labels) The dependencies of this attribute must provide: JsInfo

Defaults to []


(List of labels, mandatory): The TypeScript source files to compile.


(Boolean): Intended for internal use only.

Allows you to disable the Bazel Worker strategy for this library. Typically used together with the “compiler” setting when using a non-worker aware compiler binary.

Defaults to True


(Label): A tsconfig.json file containing settings for TypeScript compilation. Note that some properties in the tsconfig are governed by Bazel and will be overridden, such as target and module.

The default value is set to //:tsconfig.json by a macro. This means you must either:

  • Have your tsconfig.json file in the workspace root directory
  • Use an alias in the root BUILD.bazel file to point to the location of tsconfig: alias(name="tsconfig.json", actual="//path/to:tsconfig-something.json") and also make the tsconfig.json file visible to other Bazel packages: exports_files(["tsconfig.json"], visibility = ["//visibility:public"])
  • Give an explicit tsconfig attribute to all ts_library targets

Defaults to None


(Boolean): If using tsickle, instruct it to translate types to ClosureJS format

Defaults to True


(Boolean): Run the Angular ngtsc compiler under ts_library

Defaults to False



ts_project(name, tsconfig, srcs, args, deps, extends, allow_js, declaration, source_map,
           declaration_map, preserve_jsx, composite, incremental, emit_declaration_only,
           ts_build_info_file, tsc, typescript_package, typescript_require_path, validate,
           supports_workers, declaration_dir, out_dir, root_dir, link_workspace_root, kwargs)

Compiles one TypeScript project using tsc --project

This is a drop-in replacement for the tsc rule automatically generated for the “typescript” package, typically loaded from @npm//typescript:index.bzl. Unlike bare tsc, this rule understands the Bazel interop mechanism (Providers) so that this rule works with others that produce or consume TypeScript typings (.d.ts files).

Unlike ts_library, this rule is the thinnest possible layer of Bazel interoperability on top of the TypeScript compiler. It shifts the burden of configuring TypeScript into the tsconfig.json file. See https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/blob/master/docs/TypeScript.md#alternatives for more details about the trade-offs between the two rules.

Some TypeScript options affect which files are emitted, and Bazel wants to know these ahead-of-time. So several options from the tsconfig file must be mirrored as attributes to ts_project. See https://www.typescriptlang.org/v2/en/tsconfig for a listing of the TypeScript options.

Any code that works with tsc should work with ts_project with a few caveats:

  • Bazel requires that the outDir (and declarationDir) be set to bazel-out/[target architecture]/bin/path/to/package so we override whatever settings appear in your tsconfig.
  • Bazel expects that each output is produced by a single rule. Thus if you have two ts_project rules with overlapping sources (the same .ts file appears in more than one) then you get an error about conflicting .js output files if you try to build both together. Worse, if you build them separately then the output directory will contain whichever one you happened to build most recently. This is highly discouraged.

Note: in order for TypeScript to resolve relative references to the bazel-out folder, we recommend that the base tsconfig contain a rootDirs section that includes all possible locations they may appear.

We hope this will not be needed in some future release of TypeScript. Follow https://github.com/microsoft/TypeScript/issues/37257 for more info.

For example, if the base tsconfig file relative to the workspace root is path/to/tsconfig.json then you should configure like:

"compilerOptions": {
    "rootDirs": [

See some related discussion including both “rootDirs” and “paths” for a monorepo setup using custom import paths: https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/issues/2298

Issues when running non-sandboxed

When using a non-sandboxed spawn strategy (which is the default on Windows), you may observe these problems which require workarounds:

1) Bazel deletes outputs from the previous execution before running tsc. This causes a problem with TypeScript’s incremental mode: if the .tsbuildinfo file is not known to be an output of the rule, then Bazel will leave it in the output directory, and when tsc runs, it may see that the outputs written by the prior invocation are up-to-date and skip the emit of these files. This will cause Bazel to intermittently fail with an error that some outputs were not written. This is why we depend on composite and/or incremental attributes to be provided, so we can tell Bazel to expect a .tsbuildinfo output to ensure it is deleted before a subsequent compilation. At present, we don’t do anything useful with the .tsbuildinfo output, and this rule does not actually have incremental behavior. Deleting the file is actually counter-productive in terms of TypeScript compile performance. Follow https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/issues/1726

2) When using Project References, TypeScript will expect to verify that the outputs of referenced projects are up-to-date with respect to their inputs. (This is true even without using the --build option). When using a non-sandboxed spawn strategy, tsc can read the sources from other ts_project rules in your project, and will expect that the tsconfig.json file for those references will indicate where the outputs were written. However the outDir is determined by this Bazel rule so it cannot be known from reading the tsconfig.json file. This problem is manifested as a TypeScript diagnostic like error TS6305: Output file '/path/to/execroot/a.d.ts' has not been built from source file '/path/to/execroot/a.ts'. As a workaround, you can give the Windows “fastbuild” output directory as the outDir in your tsconfig file. On other platforms, the value isn’t read so it does no harm. See https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/tree/stable/packages/typescript/test/ts_project as an example. We hope this will be fixed in a future release of TypeScript; follow https://github.com/microsoft/TypeScript/issues/37378

3) When TypeScript encounters an import statement, it adds the source file resolved by that reference to the program. However you may have included that source file in a different project, so this causes the problem mentioned above where a source file is in multiple programs. (Note, if you use Project References this is not the case, TS will know the referenced file is part of the other program.) This will result in duplicate emit for the same file, which produces an error since the files written to the output tree are read-only. Workarounds include using using Project References, or simply grouping the whole compilation into one program (if this doesn’t exceed your time budget).



A name for the target.

We recommend you use the basename (no .json extension) of the tsconfig file that should be compiled.

Defaults to "tsconfig"


Label of the tsconfig.json file to use for the compilation

To support “chaining” of more than one extended config, this label could be a target that provdes TsConfigInfo such as ts_config.

By default, we assume the tsconfig file is named by adding .json to the name attribute.

EXPERIMENTAL: generated tsconfig

Instead of a label, you can pass a dictionary of tsconfig keys.

In this case, a tsconfig.json file will be generated for this compilation, in the following way:

  • all top-level keys will be copied by converting the dict to json. So tsconfig = {"compilerOptions": {"declaration": True}} will result in a generated tsconfig.json with {"compilerOptions": {"declaration": true}}
  • 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

Note that you can mix and match attributes and compilerOptions properties, so these are equivalent:

    tsconfig = {
        "compilerOptions": {
            "declaration": True,


    declaration = True,

Defaults to None


List of labels of TypeScript source files to be provided to the compiler.

If absent, defaults to **/*.ts[x] (all TypeScript files in the package).

Defaults to None


List of strings of additional command-line arguments to pass to tsc.

Defaults to []


List of labels of other rules that produce TypeScript typings (.d.ts files)

Defaults to []


Label of the tsconfig file referenced in the extends section of tsconfig

To support “chaining” of more than one extended config, this label could be a target that provdes TsConfigInfo such as ts_config.

Defaults to None


boolean; Specifies whether TypeScript will read .js and .jsx files. When used with declaration, TypeScript will generate .d.ts files from .js files.

Defaults to False


if the declaration bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .d.ts output for each .ts source.

Defaults to False


if the sourceMap bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .js.map output for each .ts source.

Defaults to False


if the declarationMap bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .d.ts.map output for each .ts source.

Defaults to False


if the jsx value is set to “preserve” in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .jsx or .jsx.map output for each .tsx source.

Defaults to False


if the composite bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .tsbuildinfo output and a .d.ts output for each .ts source.

Defaults to False


if the incremental bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel to expect a .tsbuildinfo output.

Defaults to False


if the emitDeclarationOnly bit is set in the tsconfig. Instructs Bazel not to expect .js or .js.map outputs for .ts sources.

Defaults to False


the user-specified value of tsBuildInfoFile from the tsconfig. Helps Bazel to predict the path where the .tsbuildinfo output is written.

Defaults to None


Label of the TypeScript compiler binary to run.

For example, tsc = "@my_deps//typescript/bin:tsc" Or you can pass a custom compiler binary instead.

Defaults to None


Label of the package containing all data deps of tsc.

For example, typescript_package = "@my_deps//typescript"

Defaults to "@npm//typescript"


Module name which resolves to typescript_package when required

For example, typescript_require_path = "typescript"

Defaults to "typescript"


boolean; whether to check that the tsconfig settings match the attributes.

Defaults to True


Experimental! Use only with caution.

Allows you to enable the Bazel Persistent Workers strategy for this project. See https://docs.bazel.build/versions/master/persistent-workers.html

This requires that the tsc binary support a --watch option.

NOTE: this does not work on Windows yet. We will silently fallback to non-worker mode on Windows regardless of the value of this attribute. Follow https://github.com/bazelbuild/rules_nodejs/issues/2277 for progress on this feature.

Defaults to False


a string specifying a subdirectory under the bazel-out folder where generated declaration outputs are written. Equivalent to the TypeScript –declarationDir option. By default declarations are written to the out_dir.

Defaults to None


a string specifying a subdirectory under the bazel-out folder where outputs are written. Equivalent to the TypeScript –outDir option. Note that Bazel always requires outputs be written under a subdirectory matching the input package, so if your rule appears in path/to/my/package/BUILD.bazel and out_dir = “foo” then the .js files will appear in bazel-out/[arch]/bin/path/to/my/package/foo/*.js. By default the out_dir is ‘.’, meaning the packages folder in bazel-out.

Defaults to None


a string specifying a subdirectory under the input package which should be consider the root directory of all the input files. Equivalent to the TypeScript –rootDir option. By default it is ‘.’, meaning the source directory where the BUILD file lives.

Defaults to None

Link the workspace root to the bin_dir to support absolute requires like ‘my_wksp/path/to/file’. If source files need to be required then they can be copied to the bin_dir with copy_to_bin.

Defaults to False


passed through to underlying rule, allows eg. visibility, tags