angular.js link behaviour – disable deep linking for specific URLs

The question:

I have a working Angular.js app with HTML5 mode enabled.


What I want to achieve is to get some URLs or <a> tags to do the normal browsing behaviour instead of changing the URL in the address bar using HTML5 history API and handling it using Angular controllers.

I have this links:

<a href='/auth/facebook'>Sign in with Facebook</a>
<a href='/auth/twitter'>Sign in with Twitter</a>
<a href='/auth/...'>Sign in with ...</a>

And I want the browser to redirect the user to /auth/... so the user will be then redirected to an authentication service.

Is there any way I can do this?

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

Adding target="_self" works in Angular 1.0.1:

<a target="_self" href='/auth/facebook'>Sign in with Facebook</a>

This feature is documented ($location – search for ‘_self’)

If you’re curious, look at the angular source (line 5365 @ v1.0.1). The click hijacking only happens if !elm.attr('target') is true.

Method 2

An alternative to Fran6co’s method is to disable the ‘rewriteLinks’ option in the $locationProvider:

    enabled: true,
    rewriteLinks: false

This will accomplish exactly the same thing as calling $‘click’), but will not interfere with other javascript that handles click events on your app’s root element.

See docs, and relevant source

Method 3

This is the code for turning off deep linking all together. It disables the click event handler from the rootElement.

angular.module('myApp', [])
   .run(['$location', '$rootElement', function ($location, $rootElement) {

Method 4

To work off the Nik’s answer, if you have lots of links and don’t want to add targets to each one of them, you can use a directive:

Module.directive('a', function () {
    return {
        restrict: 'E',
        link: function(scope, element, attrs) {
            element.attr("target", "_self");

Method 5

I’ve run into the same issue a few times now with angular, and while I’ve come up with two functional solutions, both feel like hacks and not very “angular”.

Hack #1:

Bind a window.location refresh to the link’s click event.

  onclick="window.location = '';"

The downside and problems with this approach are fairly obvious.

Hack #2

Setup Angular $routes that perform a $window.location change.

// Route
.when('/external', {
  templateUrl: 'path/to/dummy/template', 
  controller: 'external'

// Controller
.controller('external', ['$window', function ($window) {
  $window.location = '';

I imagine that you could extend this using $routeParams or query strings to have one controller handle all “external” links.

As I said, neither of these solutions are very satisfactory, but if you must get this working in the short term, they might help.

On a side note, I would really like to see Angular support rel=external for this type of functionality, much like jQueryMobile uses it to disable ajax page loading.

Method 6

To add to Dragonfly’s answer, a best practice I have found to limit the number of target=”_self” attributes is to never put the ng-app attribute on the body tag. By doing that you are telling angular that everything within the body tags are a part of the angular app.

If you are working within a static wrapper that should not be affected by angular, put your ng-app attribute on a div (or other element) that surrounds only the location your angular app is going to be working in. This way you will only have to put the target=’_self’ attribute on links that will be children of the ng-app element.

    ... top markup ...
    <div ng-app="myApp">
        <div ng-view></div>
    ... bottom markup ...

Method 7

In your routes try:


All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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