Globally defined AngularJS controllers and encapsulation

According to AngularJS's tutorial, a controller function just sits within the global scope.

Do the controller functions themselves automatically get parsed into an encapsulated scope, or do they dwell within the global scope? I know that they are passed a reference to their own $scope, but it appears that the function themselves are just sitting in the global scope. Obviously this can cause problems down the road, and I have learned through experience and education to encapsulate Further more, if they do dwell within the global scope, would it not be considered a best practice to encapsulate them within an object to be referenced like this:


Rather than this:


So as to prevent issues that occur with the pollution of the global scope (ie overriding functions, etc..)



AngularJS supports 2 methods of registering controller functions - either as globally accessible functions (you can see this form in the mentioned tutorial) or as a part of a modules (that forms a kind of namespace). More info on modules can be found here: but in short one would register a controller in a module like so:

angular.module('[module name]', []).controller('PhoneListCtrl', function($scope) {

  $scope.phones = [..];

  $scope.orderProp = 'age';

AngularJS uses a short, global-function form of declaring controllers in many examples but while this form is good for quick samples it rather shouldn't be used in real-life applications.

In short: AngularJS makes it possible to properly encapsulate controller functions but also exposes a simpler, quick & dirty way of declaring them as global functions.


You can register a controller as part of a module, as answered by pkozlowski-opensource.

If you need minification you can simply extend this by providing the variable names before the actual function in a list:

angular.module('[module name]', []).
  controller('PhoneListCtrl', ['$scope', function($scope) {

    $scope.phones = [..];
    $scope.orderProp = 'age';

This will work the same after "minification":

angular.module('[module name]', []).
  controller('PhoneListCtrl', ['$scope', function(s) {

    s.phones = [..];
    s.orderProp = 'age';

This notation can be found under "Inline Annotation" at Dependency Injection.

To test a controller, that has been registered as part of a module, you have to ask angular to create your controller. For example:

describe('PhoneListCtrl test', function() {
  var scope;
  var ctrl;

  beforeEach(function() {
    module('[module name]');
    inject(function($rootScope, $controller) {
      scope = $rootScope.$new();
      ctrl = $controller('[module name]', {$scope: scope});

  it('should be ordered by age', function() {


This method of testing the controller can be found under "Testing Controllers" at Understanding the Controller Component.


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