Intro to TypeScript 1.5 - Mixins

Intro to TypeScript 1.5 - Mixins

Brett M. Nelson - Friday, August 28, 2015


This is the eleventh post in a series on getting to know TypeScript. If you missed the few posts feel free to go back and read them.

  1. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Types
  2. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Interfaces
  3. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Functions Part 1
  4. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Functions Part 2
  5. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Functions Part 3
  6. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Classes Part 1
  7. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Classes Part 2
  8. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 beta - Intro to Modules
  9. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 - External Modules
  10. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 - Modules Remainders
  11. Intro to TypeScript 1.5 - Module Output Formats

Previously we have seen the that TypeScript allows the uses of traditional object oriented inheritance where a child class extends a parent class. TypeScript also allows for building up complex classes by combining more basic partial classes. This concept is usually referred to as "Mixins".

We will start with 2 smaller classes:

Greeter Mixin
class Greeter {  
    message: string;
    greet() {
        return this.message;

The first class Greeter has just a message and a function that returns that message.

TakesBreaks Mixin
class TakesBreaks {  
    onBreak: boolean;
    startBreak() {
        this.onBreak = true;
    endBreak() {
        this.onBreak = false;

The second class has a boolean for whether it's on break and two functions to change the on break status.

With these two smaller classes we will combine them into a more complex class:

BreakTakingGreeter Class
class BreakTakingGreeter implements Greeter, TakesBreaks {  
    constructor() {
        setInterval(() => console.log(this.interact()), 500);

    interact() {
        if (!this.onBreak) {
            return this.greet();
        return "I'm on Break";

    // Greeter
    message: string = 'Hello';
    greet: () => string;
    // TakesBreaks
    onBreak: boolean = false;
    startBreak: () => void;
    endBreak: () => void;

You might have noticed that instead of using the extends keyword we used the implements keyword. Using the implements keyword causes the c classes to be treated like they were interfaces. Since they are treated like interfaces the new class has to be able to implement the smaller classes. However we don't want to copy the classes over manually so we create standing properties to satisfy the complier.

Mix it All Together

To get the full functionality of our smaller classes we will need to have an applyMixins function somewhere in our code that looks library that looks like this:

function applyMixins(derivedCtor: any, baseCtors: any[]) {  
    baseCtors.forEach(baseCtor => {
        Object.getOwnPropertyNames(baseCtor.prototype).forEach(name => {
            derivedCtor.prototype[name] = baseCtor.prototype[name];

We will also need to call if before we create any of our new class.

Mixin it up
applyMixins(BreakTakingGreeter, [Greeter, TakesBreaks])

var halfTimeWorker = new BreakTakingGreeter();

setInterval(() => halfTimeWorker.onBreak ? halfTimeWorker.endBreak() : halfTimeWorker.startBreak(), 1000);  

There we have it. A BreakTakingGreeter class that we can use to sometime say hello to an imaginary customer.