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App Engine deployment with Angular, Nginx, Docker, and Cloud Build

Author(s): @livesankp ,   Published: 2021-04-05

Sandeep Parmar

Contributed by the Google Cloud community. Not official Google documentation.

This tutorial shows you how to deploy a sample Angular application to App Engine using the gcloud command-line tool.

After following this tutorial, you will be able to deploy an Angular user interface in App Engine using Cloud Build, Nginx, and Docker. Using this technique, you can have dynamic API URLs or configuration directly defined in an app.yaml file so that you can use the same Docker image and deploy it in different environments like development, testing, staging, and production. All that you have to do is have a separate app.yaml file for each environment.

This technique can be integrated into GitLab CI/CD pipelines as separated build steps of build (Angular UI using ng build), publish (using Cloud Build), and deploy (using gcloud app deploy).


This tutorial assumes that you know the basics of the following products and services:


Before you begin

  1. Select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to the Manage resources page.

  2. Enable the App Engine, Cloud Build, and Container Registry APIs. For details, see Enabling APIs.

Angular project and App Engine environment variable setup

In this section, you create a sample Angular application and use App Engine environment variables to use dynamic API URLs in for your application interface.

You can see the sample code in this tutorial's GitHub repository.

  1. Follow these instructions to create a sample Angular application: Setting up the local environment and workspace.
  2. Verify that that the sample Angular application is working by going to http://localhost:4200.
  3. In the src/assets folder, add envconfig.js and envconfig.template.js files.
  4. Copy the following code into the envconfig.js file:

    (function(window) {
          window["envconfig"] = window["envconfig"] || {};
          // Environment variables
          window["envconfig"]["apiurl"] = "http://localhost:8080/api";
  5. Copy the following code into the envconfig.template.js file:

    (function(window) {
          window.envconfig = window.envconfig || {};
          // Environment variables
          window["envconfig"]["apiurl"] = "${API_URL}";           
  6. Add a reference to the envconfig.js file in index.html.

  7. Remove / from <base href=""> in the index.html file. This will be useful when you want to use dispatch.yaml later.

  8. Update the environment.ts file with this code:

    export const environment = {
         production: false,
         webapiurl: (window as any)["envconfig"]["apiurl"] || "default"                   
  9. For testing whether API_URL is working or not, add usage of this environment.webapiurl anywhere in the application.

    For example, you can add it as shown in the sample code in app.component.html and app.component.ts.

  10. Update outputPath in the build section of the angular.json file with "outputPath": "dist".

  11. Build your Angular project again and verify that you are able to see the webapiurl value as http://localhost:8080/api when you open the app in a browser.

    If everything is working, then you can go to the next steps using Cloud Build.

Cloud Build

There are many ways of using Cloud Build for any application. For simplicity, this tutorial uses the dist folder of the sample app for output.

  1. Create an nginx-hosting folder and copy the dist folder into it.
  2. Add a Dockerfile file in the nginx-hosting folder, and copy the following code into the file:

    # The standard nginx container just runs nginx. The configuration file added
    # below will be used by nginx.
    FROM nginx
    # Copy the nginx configuration file. This sets up the behavior of nginx. Most
    # important, it ensures that nginx listens on port 8080. Google App Engine expects
    # the runtime to respond to HTTP requests at port 8080.
    COPY nginx.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
    # create log dir configured in nginx.conf
    RUN mkdir -p /var/log/app_engine
    # Create a simple file to handle health checks. Health checking can be disabled
    # in app.yaml, but is highly recommended. Google App Engine will send an HTTP
    # request to /_ah/health and any 2xx or 404 response is considered healthy.
    # Because 404 responses are considered healthy, this could actually be left
    # out as nginx will return 404 if the file isn't found. However, it is better
    # to be explicit.
    RUN mkdir -p /usr/share/nginx/www/_ah && \
        echo "healthy" > /usr/share/nginx/www/_ah/health
    # Finally, all static assets.
    ADD dist/ /usr/share/nginx/www/sampleapp
    CMD ["/bin/sh",  "-c",  "envsubst < /usr/share/nginx/www/sampleapp/assets/envconfig.template.js > /usr/share/nginx/www/sampleapp/assets/envconfig.js && exec nginx -g 'daemon off;'"]
  3. Add an nginx.conf file in the nginx-hosting folder, and copy the following code into the file:

    events {
       worker_connections 768;
    http {
        sendfile on;
        tcp_nopush on;
        tcp_nodelay on;
        keepalive_timeout 65;
        types_hash_max_size 2048;
        include /etc/nginx/mime.types;
        default_type application/octet-stream;
        # Logs will appear on the Google Developer's Console when logged to this
        # directory.
        access_log /var/log/app_engine/app.log;
        error_log /var/log/app_engine/app.log;
        gzip on;
        gzip_disable "msie6";
        server {
            # Google App Engine expects the runtime to serve HTTP traffic from port 8080.
            listen 8080;  
            # Root directory and index files
            index index.html index.htm;
            location / {
                root /usr/share/nginx/www/sampleapp;
            location /sampleapp/ {
            root /usr/share/nginx/www;
  4. Add a cloudbuild.yaml file in the nginx-hosting folder, and copy the following code into the file:

    - name: 'gcr.io/cloud-builders/docker'
      args: ['build', '-t', 'us.gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/angular-nginx-container', '.']
    - name: 'gcr.io/cloud-builders/docker'
      args: ['push', 'us.gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/angular-nginx-container']
    images: ['us.gcr.io/$PROJECT_ID/angular-nginx-container']
  5. Add an app.yaml file in the nginx-hosting folder, and copy the following code into the file:

    runtime: custom
    env: flex
    service: angular-ui-dev
    threadsafe: true
      API_URL: "https://webapi-dev.appname.com"
  6. If you want to verify the setup in your local Docker environment, you can do so with the following two commands on the nginx-hosting folder. (To make this work you have to comment out listen 8080; in the nginx file.)

    docker build -t sampleapp .
    docker run --env API_URL="https://webapi-dev.appname.com" -dp 8080:80 sampleapp

    Verify on http://localhost:8080 that everything works.

  7. You can directly use the above four files to deploy your app in App Engine using the gcloud command-line tool. To do so, run the following commands:

    1. Create the Docker image on the specified path in the cloudbuild.yaml file.

      gcloud builds submit

      After this command, verify that you have a container image created at https://console.cloud.google.com/gcr/images/yourprojectid?project=yourprojectid.

    2. Deploy your image to App Engine with the service name that you provided in the app.yaml file:

      gcloud app deploy --image-url us.gcr.io/yourprojectid/angular-nginx-container
  8. Verify that the webapiurl matches what you provided in the environment variable as shown in the flow diagram at the beginning of this tutorial.

App Engine dispatch

You can extend the solution for dispatch.yaml. This deployment using nginx supports additional locations so that when you use dispatch as shown in the following example, you should be able to access your application using the root URL of your project. To make this work, you have to update the nginx location with your service name as a location angular-ui-dev and you should be able to access your application using the https://your-project-id.uc.r.appspot.com/angular-dev-ui/ URL.

  # Default service serves simple hostname request.
  - url: "your-project-id.uc.r.appspot.com/"
    service: default

  # Dispatch UI
  - url: "*/angular-ui-dev/*"
    service: angular-ui-dev

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