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Workarounds for Out of Memory Crashes

First of all, congratulations! You found a bug in the Typescript compiler! Please file a bug. While you're waiting for a fix, here are some workarounds, plus some background on what is probably going wrong.

The root cause of an out-of-memory bug is usually one of two things: relating complex recursive types, or analysing control flow. Either of these can encounter infinite or exponential recursions. With control-flow analysis, it's usually a simple bug; with type relations, the behaviour is usually a structural limitation of the compiler.

Note: I update this document periodically to reflect current bugs and workarounds. Right now the solutions reflect Typescript 2.4 and 2.5. Previous versions targetted Typescript 2.2 and 2.3; you can see earlier versions by checking out https://github.com/sandersn/manual.

Complex Recursive Types

A good example of a complex recursive type is this example based on tsoption:

interface Some<T> {
  ap<U, V extends Some<(value: U) => U>>(option: V): Some<U>
  chain<U>(f: (value: T) => Some<U>): Some<U>
  chain<U>(f: (value: T) => None<U>): None<T>
}
interface None<T> {
  ap<U, V extends Some<(value: U) => U>>(option: V): None<U>
  chain<U>(f: (value: T) => Some<U>): None<T>
  chain<U>(f: (value: T) => None<U>): None<T>
}

type Option<T> = Some<T> | None<T>

Notice how Some and None return instances of each other from each of their methods. The instances are even unique per method, because each method has one or two type parameters.

noStrictGenericChecks

The first workaround you should try is "noStrictGenericChecks": true. Does compilation now succeed? This disables additional checking that was added in Typescript 2.4. With noStrictGenericChecks: true, compile time and memory usage should return to their 2.3 levels. But you miss out on the additional checking, so this is still just a workaround.

Avoid type aliases

If you want to use the stricter generic checking in 2.4, avoid type aliases in favour of interfaces. When checking type relationships, caching and early exit is more effective for interfaces. For example:

// don't write this:
type Some<T> = MonadSome<T> & {
  flatMap ...
}

// instead, write this:
interface Some<T> extends MonadSome<T> {
  flatMap ...
}

This example is once again based on tsoption.

Large Javascript

When you use "allowJs": true, Typescript may try to compile Javascript packages inside node_modules. Large Javascript libraries still crash Typescript sometimes, often because of expanding types (see next section). In general, Typescript works harder on unannotated code to infer types, which of course means that large Javascript libraries stress it the most.

Debugging

Do you have "allowJs": true in your tsconfig? Turn it off. Does compilation complete, even if it gives tons of errors? If there is no crash, then the culprit is the compiler getting stuck on Javascript code.

Workaround

  1. Install typings for libraries you use. The compiler will stop looking as soon as it sees the .d.ts and won't even try to process .js or .ts files.

    This is the best solution. You should do this for your dependencies anyway to get better type information. The simplest thing to try is just npm install --save-dev @types/packageName after you run npm install --save packageName.

  2. Specifically "exclude" node_modules or "include" your source directory.

    This will help the compiler to know that it doesn't need to process anything but your source code. For example, you might have this tsconfig:

    {
      "compilerOptions": {
        "allowJs": true
      },
      "include": [ "src" ]
    }

    Or this one:

    {
      "compilerOptions": {
        "allowJs": true
      },
      "exclude": [ "node_modules" ]
    }

Expanding types

Typescript can infer the types of some declarations based on the way they are used:

let x
let y = null
let l = []
x = 1 // x is now number
x = 'foo' // x is now string
y = 1 // y is now number
l.push(1) // l is now number[]
l.push('foo') // l is now (string | number)[]

This analysis is only turned on when "noImplicitAny": true. It requires the compiler to look at usages of a variable as well as its declaration to figure out its type. This necessarily takes more time and sometimes takes a lot more time when it hits a bug.

Debugging

Do you have "noImplicitAny": true? Turn it off. If compilation completes, then control flow analysis is the culprit.

Workaround

Look for un-annotated variables that are not initialised (let x) or initialised to null, undefined or []. Add annotations or give a more useful initial value to them.

let l = []
// instead try
let l: number[] = [];
// -or-
let l = [1, 2, 3]

Webpack

Webpack and ts-loader have an option "transpileOnly": true that tries makes the compiler skip as much checking as possible. Unfortunately, some control flow analysis still happens, so it's possible to hit an out-of-memory crash in this mode. The workaround is to turn off transpileOnly or to give variables an initial value that's not null/undefined/[].

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