AngularJS: Linking to elements in a directive that uses ng-repeat


I have a simple directive where the template uses ng-repeat inside it. I need to run some code to instantiate a jquery component against some of the elements created by the ng-repeat directive. The problem is that if I put this code in the link function. The ng-repeat hasn't built those elements yet so nothing is instantiated.

App.directive('myDirective', ['$compile', '$timeout', function($compile, $timeout) {
  return {
    scope: {
        domains: '='
    templateUrl: '/app/partials/my_directive.html',
    link: function($scope, element, attributes) {
        element.find('.standard-help').tooltip({placement: 'top', trigger: 'click hover focus'});

The template would look like the following. I'm trying to attach

<ul class="media-list domainList">
  <li class="media" style="position:relative;" ng-repeat="domain in domains">
    <a class="domainHeader" href="javascript://">
        <span class="domainHeader">{{domain.tag}}</span>
    <div class="media-body" style="margin-left: 52px;">
        <ul class="standardsList">
            <li ng-class="{ standardDisplayed: lessonLayout == 'standards' }" ng-hide="standard.lessons.length == 0" ng-repeat="standard in domain.standards">
                <a href="javascript://" title="{{standard.description}}" ng-show="lessonLayout == 'standards'" class="standard-help pull-right"><i class="icon-question-sign"></i></a>
                <h6 ng-show="lessonLayout == 'standards'">{{standard.tag}}</h6>
                <ul class="lessonsList">
                    <li ng-class="{ lesson: true }" ng-repeat="lesson in standard.lessons" ng-click="onLessonSelected(lesson)">
                        <i class="icon-lock lesson-locked"></i>

I've tried using $watch() and $observe() to register a callback when the domains change and instantiate the tooltip code then. However, I can't seem to get it to call me at the right time. Any ideas what I'm missing?

Problem courtesy of: chubbsondubs


I found that if created another directive that I added to the element where the ng-repeat was being created it would be notified for each element the repeat created. Then I could simply $emit an event that the parent directive could listen for. At which point it could perform the linking to the repeated elements there. This worked quite nicely especially for multiple ng-repeats within the dom because I could separate them by their event type which would be passed to the new directive.

Here is my directive:

App.directive("onRepeatDone", function() {
    return {
        restrict: 'A',
        link: function($scope, element, attributes ) {
            $scope.$emit(attributes["onRepeatDone"] || "repeat_done", element);

Here is the usage of that new directive in the template:

    <li on-repeat-done="domain_done" ng-repeat="domain in domains">...</li>

Then inside the parent directive I could do the following:

link: function( $scope, element, attributes ) {
    $scope.$on('domain_done', function( domainElement ) {
    } );
Solution courtesy of: chubbsondubs


$watch should be able to achieve what you want to do:

link: function(scope, elem, attrs) {
    var init = function() {
        // your initialization code
    var ulElem = elem.children()[0]; // ul element

    var unreg = scope.$watch(function() {
        return ulElem.children.length ===; // check if all "li" are generated
    }, function() {
        // at this point, the ul is rendered
        unreg(); // unregister the watcher for performance, since the init function only need to be called once

I have created a plunk to demonstrate this solution.

Discussion courtesy of: Ye Liu

I just ran across this exact issue and found what I believe is a better solution. Basically, you can use $timeout to queue a task for after the ng-repeats have finished rendering.

Note: this doesn't mean that you're actually utilizing the timer or any sort of time delay; it is just a simple way to append a function to the end of the $digest loop.

Below is an excerpt of my code. The directive uses ng-repeat to display the tabs, thus, I have to wait until after it has been rendered to run my tabSelected() method which adds the active class to the HTML element.

link($scope:ng.IScope, element:JQuery, attributes:ng.IAttributes):void {
  if (this.autoActivateFirstTab && this.tabs && this.tabs.length > 0) {
    var self = this;

    var selectFirstTab = function() {

    // Add a $timeout task to the end of the $digest loop to select the
    // first tab after the loop finishes
    self.$timeout(selectFirstTab, 0);

I found the solution from which has a live demo that shows it in action.

Parting words: If you are testing your code (like you should) with Karma, you will need to call $timeout.flush() in your test to ensure that it runs.

I wound up having to run the following within my test to get it to work properly:

// Re-digest to ensure we see the changes

// Flush any pending $timeout tasks to ensure we see changes
try {
} catch ( aException ) {
Discussion courtesy of: Topher Fangio

I think this is because of the angular bug.You can see this here

One workaround is to remove the template url and use the template in the directive itself or use $templateCache.get('/app/partials/my_directive.html')

This worked for me :)

Discussion courtesy of: Crypt

$watch should work in this context. try it

Discussion courtesy of: nitin

This recipe can be found in it's original form on Stack Over Flow.