TypeScript- Getting Started

Starting with TypeScript can be daunting at first. Here's a minimal guide to getting started.

The beauty of TypeScript is that it's quite easy to incrementally adopt it in an existing project. The thought of having to migrate a large codebase prevents a lot of people from getting started with TypeScript. However, with a proper tsconfig.json you can get rolling without the need for any large changes.


TypeScript compiles to JavaScript meaning a tool called a compiler (tsc in this case) takes code as input and produces different code (js in this case). If you're familiar with the JS ecosystem it can be helpful compare the TS compiler to babel. The settings for how compilation happens reside in your tsconfig.json which is stored in the root of your project (in almost all cases).

To generate a basic config run npx tsconfig.json (generates an opinionated config based on type of project) or npx -p typescript tsc --init.

Under compilerOptions make sure you have the following settings set:

"compilerOptions": {
  "noImplicitAny": false,
  "allowJs": true,
  "strict": false


You'll need to add TypeScript to your project as a dev dependency with yarn add -D typescript or npm i --save-dev typescript. If you want hot-reloading you'll want nodemon (yarn add -D nodemon) as well.

Typically, the compiler will include everything in your src directory and output it to dist (can be changed in tsconfig.json). That means you'll run the compiler and then execute code from your dist directory. Add the following scripts to your package.json:

"scripts": {
  "tsc": "tsc",
  "start": "node dist/index.js",
  "prestart": "yarn tsc",
  "develop": "nodemon --watch src/ -e ts --exec \"npm run start\""

Running yarn start will first run the TypeScript compiler and then execute dist/index.js. The develop script tells nodemon to watch file changes in the src directory with a ts extension and execute the start command anytime it detects changes (which in compiles and executes dist/index.js).

Write TypeScript!

Instead of running through all the TypeScript docs (which are phenomenal by the way), I think it's better to just start adding small pieces of TS to your project and learn as you go. I suggest you start with adding basic types to your project to get used to the syntax and slowly add more advanced types to your toolbelt as you get more comfortable. Here's a couple basic examples to get you rolling:

const currentlyLearning: string = 'how to use TypeScript'
const isEasy: boolean = true
const daysBeforeITryIt: number = 0

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