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name Punditsdkoslkdosdkoskdo

angular.service vs angular.factory

I have seen both angular.factory() and angular.service() used to declare services; however, I cannot find angular.service anywhere in official documentation.

What is the difference between the two methods? Which should be used for what (assuming they do different things)?

  angular.service('myService', myServiceFunction);
  angular.factory('myFactory', myFactoryFunction);

I had trouble wrapping my head around this concept until I put it to myself this way:

Service: the function that you write will be new-ed:

  myInjectedService  <----  new myServiceFunction()

Factory: the function (constructor) that you write will be invoked:

  myInjectedFactory  <---  myFactoryFunction()

What you do with that is up to you, but there are some useful patterns...

Such as writing a service function to expose a public API:

function myServiceFunction() {
  this.awesomeApi = function(optional) {
    // calculate some stuff
    return awesomeListOfValues;
  }
}
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Injected in your controller
$scope.awesome = myInjectedService.awesomeApi();

Or using a factory function to expose a public API:

function myFactoryFunction() {
  var aPrivateVariable = "yay";

  function hello() {
    return "hello mars " + aPrivateVariable;
  }

  // expose a public API
  return {
    hello: hello
  };
}
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Injected in your controller
$scope.hello = myInjectedFactory.hello();

Or using a factory function to return a constructor:

function myFactoryFunction() {
    return function() {
        var a = 2;
        this.a2 = function() {
            return a*2;
        };
    };
}
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Injected in your controller
var myShinyNewObject = new myInjectedFactory();
$scope.four = myShinyNewObject.a2();

Which one to use?...

You can accomplish the same thing with both. However, in some cases the factory gives you a little bit more flexibility to create an injectable with a simpler syntax. That's because while myInjectedService must always be an object, myInjectedFactory can be an object, a function reference, or any value at all. For example, if you wrote a service to create a constructor (as in the last example above), it would have to be instantiated like so:

var myShinyNewObject = new myInjectedService.myFunction()

which is arguably less desirable than this:

var myShinyNewObject = new myInjectedFactory();

(But you should be wary about using this type of pattern in the first place because new-ing objects in your controllers creates hard-to-track dependencies that are difficult to mock for testing. Better to have a service manage a collection of objects for you than use new() wily-nilly.)


One more thing, they are all Singletons...

Also keep in mind that in both cases, angular is helping you manage a singleton. Regardless of where or how many times you inject your service or function, you will get the same reference to the same object or function. (With the exception of when a factory simply returns a value like a number or string. In that case, you will always get the same value, but not a reference.)

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