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Generating a local tsconfig.json file

Why you need a local tsconfig.json

Want to skip the theory? Click here to jump directly to How to generate a local tsconfig.json file.

When you open a WebUI TypeScript directory in VSCode for the first time, you'll probably see red underlines—a.k.a. "squigglies"—everywhere, especially in import paths.

This means that TypeScript's language server can't understand how to resolve absolute import paths, such as those that start with chrome:// (compared to relative import paths, e.g. ../myfile.js).

Note: A language server is a process that reads configuration files and provides IDEs/editors with language features like auto-complete and go-to definition. See Language Server Protocol - Wikipedia and Official page for Language Server Protocol for more information.

For example, if the path import {loadTimeData} from 'chrome://resources/js/load_time_data.m.js'; can't be resolved, it means that the TypeScript language server can't find the file at chrome://resources/js/load_time_data.m.js. If it could access that file, we'd have access to IntelliSense: the TypeScript language server would understand what loadTimeData is, and it would be able to autocomplete methods on that class (e.g. loadTimeData.getString(...)) and warn about incorrect usage.

To fix this, we'll need to generate a local tsconfig.json. This tsconfig.json will live in the current project's directory, and is not checked into git. This is because the file contains directory information that is unique to your filesystem.

For example, here is part of what a tsconfig.json might look like. These paths tell the TypeScript compiler where the generated file can be found in your personal filesystem (e.g. /usr/local/google/home/YOUR_USERNAME/).

"paths": {
  "chrome://resources/*": [
  "//resources/*": [
  "chrome://resources/polymer/v3_0/*": [

How to generate a local tsconfig.json file

There are two reasons you may want to generate a tsconfig.json, each with a different set of instructions:

Adding IntelliSense to an existing TS project

Use these instructions before you start working on the project; you should be running everything against the state of the latest git HEAD. (This way, there shouldn't be any build issues).

  1. Build your project by running a build_ts command, e.g. autoninja -C out/Default ash/webui/firmware_update_ui/resources:build_ts
  2. When the build succeeds, proceed to the instructions at Using the script.

Migrating a project from JS to TS

When you're in the process of migrating a JavaScript file to a TypeScript file, having access to IntelliSense is very helpful, because it can fix TypeScript compiler errors. However, if the project doesn't build because of those very same compiler errors, then you're stuck!

Here's how to fix this:

  1. Comment out the contents of the file(s) causing the compiler errors.
  2. Run your build command, e.g. autoninja -C out/Default ash/webui/firmware_update_ui/resources:build_ts
    • If the build fails, fix the issues or comment out more code until the build succeeds.
  3. When the build succeeds, proceed to the instructions at Using the script.

Using the script

There is a checked-in script called that uses the output of the build_ts command to generate a local tsconfig.json file.

Here's how to run that script:

$ ash/webui/personalization_app/tools/ \
--root_out_dir out/Default \
--gn_target PROJECT_PATH/resources:build_ts

Replace PROJECT_PATH with your project's directory, e.g. ash/webui/firmware_update_ui/resources:build_ts. In this example, the full command to run would be ash/webui/personalization_app/tools/ --root_out_dir out/Default --gn_target ash/webui/firmware_update_ui/resources:build_ts.

Note: The script happens to exist in the ash/webui/personalization_app/tools/ directory, but it should still work no matter where your project exists.

After running this command, you should see a new tsconfig.json file appear in your project's directory.

You'll probably also want to create a new .gitignore file in your project's directory with the following contents (example file):

# Generated from ash/webui/personalization_app/tools/

Important: After generating the local tsconfig.json, you will probably need to restart the TypeScript language server so that the changes can take effect. To do so, in VSCode press Ctrl+Shift+P to open the Command Palette, then find + execute the command called "TypeScript: Restart TS server".