Note: I pulled this from an old abandoned site. It will be hopelessly out of date by now

The Players

AngularJS includes a module system to help decouple code, but it stops short of locating the code in files. The modules and the DI help to take a lot of rough edges off day-to-day code, but it can’t get rid of the need to list all your neat little JS files in a big lump at the end of your page.

RequireJS uses the AMD API to find and load dependencies for modules (in this case, modules are 1–1 with files). It does it by surrounding all the code you write in a (sometimes contentious) wrapper to define a factory function. The factories are invoked once all dependencies are resolved.

The Conflict

The two systems can play nice together, despite the clash over the name “module”, but not quite in the default configuration. New AngularJS projects usually bootstrap an “application module” and the internal mechanics of both libraries leads to a situation where RequireJS hasn’t produced the application module in time for AngularJS to bootstrap it.

Simple Resolution

The simplest fix is to manually bootstrap Angular with the application module once enough of the system has loaded. Using the ng-app directive causes the auto-bootstrap to run, so remove it and replace all scripts with the require.js script pointing at main.js. Now all JS files should contain AMD modules and the bootstrap code in main.js is what starts the application running:

  1. Remove the ng-app directive and point Require at the main file.
       <div ng-view></div>
       <script data-main="js/main" src="js/lib/require.js"></script>
  2. Use a shim to blend Angular into the AMD namespace
       shim: {
         angular: {
           deps: ['jquery'],
           exports: 'angular'
  3. Define the Angular application module as an AMD module
       'use strict';
       return require('angular').module('myApp', [])
         .config(['$routeProvider', function($routeProvider) {
           $routeProvider.when('/', {
             templateUrl: 'views/main.html',
             controller: require('controllers/main')
  4. Bootstrap the module once loaded.
     require( ['angular', 'app'], function(angular, app) {
       angular.bootstrap(document, []);

    main.js should just contain this and the RequireJS config.

Note how the controllers can be referenced via require(). It’s just as easy to register services and the rest:

mod.controller('LogViewCtrl', require('controllers/logview'));
mod.service('BackendService', require('services/backend'));

Lasting Solution

The recipe above solves one problem — referring to files instead of globals — but script loaders can also be used for lazy loading. Any application that uses the router will probably have separate top-level views and could benefit from only loading the code for the current view.

Plenty of people have tackled this problem. The solution is usually to delay the completion of routing until the controller script has loaded. If you follow the links, you’ll see that require isn’t the only game in town. I’ve heard rumours of integrations with goog.require().

I had some fun looking for a more complete solution, and by fun I mean rummaging through the guts of the Angular code as well as comparing approaches taken by different people. I tried extending the core providers to resolve AMD module references and a couple of other dead-ends. And then I got tired of chasing the perfect solution: I don’t need lazy loading that badly. But I am fond of a bit of module structure.