22.1.2018 Getting rid of endless „../../..“ in ES6/TypeScript imports of Ionic projects

You know these ugly ES6/TypeScript import statements with endless sequences of „../../..“ like in this example:

import { Topic} from '../../../services/domain/topic';
import { Rating } from '../../../services/domain/rating';
import { SmartAudio } from '../../../providers/smart-audio/smart-audio';
import { ENGLISH_GERMAN_DEFAULTS } from '../../../data/english-german';

And even worse, once you move your code to another directory, the number of „..“ in these relative paths does not match the target anymore? I wanted to get rid of these in my current project, looked for a solution and found some good hints on the web: [1], [2] and [3]. Thanks to you guys! In this article I’d like to show how I applied these to my TypesScript 2.4 / Angular 5 / Ionic 3 project:


Ionic v3 brings it’s own webpack.config.js in node_modules/@ionic/app-scripts/config/. So, you cannot just create your own, but you have to patch the existing one. So I copied this file to my project root (you could also create a subdirectory for such configurations), and amended as show here – see [HERE] tags:

function getProdLoaders() {

// [HERE] a helper function for alias definitions
function asPath(srcSubDir) {
  return path.join(__dirname, "src", srcSubDir);

var devConfig = {
  resolve: {
    extensions: ['.ts', '.js', '.json'],
    // [HERE] ./src is for getting rid of endless ../../.. in imports
    // see also tsconfig.json
    modules: [path.resolve('./src'), path.resolve('node_modules')],

    // [HERE] some aliases for imports,
    // tsconfig.json also needs to be maintained
    alias: {
      "$data": asPath('services')

And the same for prodConfig = !

To be able to easily re-apply these changes once Ionic changed their webpack.config.js, you can create a diff file using this command (Linux):

diff -Naur node_modules/@ionic/app-scripts/config/webpack.config.js \
   webpack.config.js >webpack.config.js-patch

And re-apply it with:

cp node_modules/@ionic/app-scripts/config/webpack.config.js webpack.config.js
patch <webpack.config.js-patch


To make the Ionic build system use your patched webpack.config.js, you need to amend your package.json file as follows:

"config": {
     "ionic_source_map": "source-map",
     "ionic_copy": "./config/copy.config.js",
     "ionic_sass": "./config/sass.config.js",
     // [HERE] make Ionic use our patched webpack.config.js
     "ionic_bundler": "webpack",
     "ionic_webpack": "webpack.config.js"


For TypeScript source code you also need to defines these in your tsconfig.json file:

"compilerOptions": {
    // getting rid of endless ../../... in imports
    "baseUrl": "src",

    // and some neat aliases for imports
    "paths": {
      // webpack.config.js also needs to be maintained
      "~data/*": [ "services/*" ]

the result

Now you can write these imports as follows:

import { Topic} from 'services/domain/topic';
import { Rating } from 'services/domain/rating';
import { SmartAudio } from 'providers/smart-audio/smart-audio';
import { ENGLISH_GERMAN_DEFAULTS } from '$data/english-german';

As you can see, there are actually two unrelated changes:

  1. automatically resolve ‚.src‘ for absolute imports
  2. definition of an alias ‚$data‘, where the ‚$‘ is just to avoid name conflicts – you can define as many aliases as you like

Comments welcome on Twitter

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[1] https://decembersoft.com/posts/say-goodbye-to-relative-paths-in-typescript-imports/
[2] https://stackoverflow.com/questions/41512923/how-to-extend-default-webpack-config-in-ionic-v2
[3] https://stackoverflow.com/questions/43107233/configuration-resolve-has-an-unknown-property-root