Typescript - decorators introduction

Typescript - decorators introduction

Information drawn from

With the introduction of Classes in TypeScript and ES6, there now exist certain scenarios that require additional features to support annotating or modifying classes and class members. Decorators provide a way to add both annotations and a meta-programming syntax for class declarations and members. Decorators are a stage 2 proposal for JavaScript and are available as an experimental feature of TypeScript.

NOTE  Decorators are an experimental feature that may change in future releases.

To enable experimental support for decorators, you must enable the experimentalDecorators compiler option either on the command line or in your tsconfig.json:

Command Line:

tsc --target ES5 --experimentalDecorators


  "compilerOptions": {
    "target": "ES5",
    "experimentalDecorators": true


A Decorator is a special kind of declaration that can be attached to a class declaration, method, accessor, property, or parameter. Decorators use the form @expression, where expression must evaluate to a function that will be called at runtime with information about the decorated declaration.

For example, given the decorator @sealed we might write the sealed function as follows:

function sealed(target) {
  // do something with 'target' ...

Decorator Factories

If we want to customize how a decorator is applied to a declaration, we can write a decorator factory. A Decorator Factory is simply a function that returns the expression that will be called by the decorator at runtime.

We can write a decorator factory in the following fashion:

function color(value: string) {
  // this is the decorator factory, it sets up
  // the returned decorator function
  return function (target) {
    // this is the decorator
    // do something with 'target' and 'value'...

Decorator Composition

Multiple decorators can be applied to a declaration, for example on a single line:

@f @g x

On multiple lines:


When multiple decorators apply to a single declaration, their evaluation is similar to function composition in mathematics. In this model, when composing functions f and g, the resulting composite (f ∘ g)(x) is equivalent to f(g(x)).

As such, the following steps are performed when evaluating multiple decorators on a single declaration in TypeScript:

If we were to use decorator factories, we can observe this evaluation order with the following example:

function first() {
  console.log("first(): factory evaluated");
  return function (target: any, propertyKey: string, descriptor: PropertyDescriptor) {
    console.log("first(): called");
function second() {
  console.log("second(): factory evaluated");
  return function (target: any, propertyKey: string, descriptor: PropertyDescriptor) {
    console.log("second(): called");
class ExampleClass {
  method() {}

Which would print this output to the console:

first(): factory evaluated
second(): factory evaluated
second(): called
first(): called

Decorator Evaluation

There is a well defined order to how decorators applied to various declarations inside of a class are applied:


Last update on 25 Apr 2022