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Tinkering with Google Polymer and Typescript

Tinkering with Google Polymer and Typescript

I recently had the opportunity to experiment with something I have been meaning to play with for a little while, Google’s Polymer.

I first heard about Polymer at Google IO 2014:

I highly recommend watching that video if you want to know more about Polymer but the high level idea is that its a library built on top of the new HTML Web Components and it allows us to write our own custom HTML elements in a way that makes sense.

I really liked the look of it as it reminded me greatly of Adobe’s Flex (MXML) in the way you can write your own components in a declarative manner then bind to various data in the code behind.

So it took me a few days to get my head around things to begin with. One thing I would recommend if you are interested in tinkering with Polymer then first checkout this video:

I wish I had used that to begin with as it would have saved me a whole heap of “is this the correct way to do it?” headaches.

One complication with my setup however is that I really wanted to use Typescript rather than raw Javascript for my code. Well fortunately Visual Studio has really great Typescript support and I was able to create a Typescript project in Visual studio and get cracking immediately.

I ran into an issue with how to use Polymer with Typescript however and there wasn’t too much info on the web out there so hopefully this short guide will help:

1) Create your custom element

I’m using a login element as an example:


<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/polymer/polymer.html">
<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/paper-toast/paper-toast.html">
<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/paper-button/paper-button.html">
<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/paper-input/paper-input.html">
<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/paper-fab/paper-fab.html">
<link rel="import" href="/bower_components/core-icons/core-icons.html">

<polymer-element name="tt-login" attributes="userService">


            .card {
                margin-top: 64px;
                max-height: 580px;
                max-width: 512px;
                box-shadow: 0 2px 5px 0 rgba(0,0,0,.26);
                border-radius: 2px;
                padding: 20px 16px;
                box-sizing: border-box;
                background-color: white;

        <div class="card">

            <paper-input floatinglabel label="Your email" type="email" value="{{email}}" error="Input is not an email!"></paper-input>
            <paper-input floatinglabel label="Your password" type="password" value="{{password}}" error="Input is not an email!"></paper-input>

            <div horizontal center layout>
                <a href="/#signup"><paper-button disabled?="{{isLoggingIn}}">Signup</paper-button></a>
                <div flex></div>
                <paper-button id="check" on-click="{{login}}" disabled?="{{isLoggingIn}}">Login</paper-button>

            <paper-toast id="errorToast"></paper-toast>

    <script src="login.js"></script>

Its a pretty simple login element with some binding using some of Google’s paper elements but hopefully you get the idea.

2) Create your custom element’s script


class Login extends PolymerElement {

    userService: UserService;

    email: string;
    password: string;
    isLoggingIn: boolean;

    errorToast: PaperToast;

    ready() {
        this.errorToast = this.$.errorToast;

    login() {
        this.isLoggingIn = true;
        this.userService.login(this.email, this.password)
            .then(user => this.onUserLoggedIn(user))
            .fail(err => this.onParseError(err));

    private onUserLoggedIn(u: Parse.User) {
        this.isLoggingIn = false;

    private onParseError(error: Parse.Error) {
        this.isLoggingIn = false;
        this.errorToast.text = error.message;



Here we define the variables that we are going to bind to in the element. We also include the “userService” which is an attribute that is a dependency passed into the element.

Note that im able to use this.$ to access the “errorToast” element by ID. Im able to do this because Login extends a class I wrote called PolymerElement:

class PolymerElement {
    $: any;
    fire(eventname: string, payload?: any) { }
    addEventListener(eventName: string, handler: (e : CustomEvent) => void) { }

For now it a bit of a hack to get around the fact that Typescript requires that you implement all elements in an interface so I cant just do “class Login implements HTMLElement”.

Note also the call to Polymer:


We must pass the prototype into the call then do our variable initting in the ready() function.

3) Use the element

Now we can use it pretty easily:

<!DOCTYPE html>

    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, minimum-scale=1.0, initial-scale=1.0, user-scalable=yes">
    <title>Login Example</title>
    <script src="bower_components/platform/platform.js"></script>

    <!-- This is only needed because of the Typescript interface problem! -->
    <script src="lib/polymer_utils.js"></script>

	<!-- Our login element -->
    <link rel="import" href="login.html">

<body fullbleed layout vertical unresolved>
	<userService id="userService"></userService>
    <login userService="{{$.userService}}"></login>

I hope that helps other that are looking to do their own tinkering with Typescript and Polymer!