What is AngularJS?

AngularJS is a JavaScript MVC framework for building dynamic, single-page web applications. When we say dynamic, we mean that the data and information used and displayed in the application can change automatically without manually editing or updating by a developer. AngularJS is an open-source framework project maintained by Google. It maintains a powerful list of features for developers to pick and choose from, and it doesn’t force you into any specific file structure or how to organise your code.

The Evolution of AngularJS

To better understand what this means, let’s go back in time to the origins of the web.

In the beginning, developers used HTML to create static documents with hyperlinks, allowing navigation between them. These would mainly have been academic documents with headings, paragraphs, and tables showing scientific data.

Common Gateway Interface

But, in 1993, with the creation of the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), it became possible to display dynamic content generated by server-side applications. One of the first languages used for this purpose was Perl, followed by other languages/platforms such as Java, ASP.NET, PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion and Python. Because of that, interacting with any complex application through the browser wasn’t an enjoyable task, and it was hard to experience the same level of interaction provided by desktop applications. 

The goal of web development has always been to create a rich, interactive user experience at a level that you get with desktop applications. However, the technology kept moving forward, at first with technologies such as Flash, Flex and Silverlight, which provided a fantastic user experience through plugins. 

At the same time, the new versions of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS had been quickly growing in popularity, transforming the future of the web by achieving a high level of user experience without using any proprietary plugin. 

This was just as well. In 2012 Steve Jobs released a statement that said Apple would no longer support Flash-based applications on any of their devices due to security concerns and the tendency for Flash to crash Apple’s Safari browser. 

Advances in libraries

Within months, developers worldwide began looking to alternatives that would provide a similar, rich experience to what they had just lost. Advances in CSS, Javascript libraries such as JQuery and the introduction of HTML5 meant that these plugins were no longer necessary. And with browsers more or less displaying content in the same way from 2010 onwards, some clever and creative people began creating more libraries and frameworks that offered a dynamic web experience using patterns that make developers lives a bit easier. 

In October 2010, AngularJS became part of this new generation of libraries and frameworks to support the development of more productive, flexible, maintainable, and testable web applications.

Declarative Programming

AngularJS is an open-source, client-side JavaScript framework that promotes highly productive web development. It was built on the belief that declarative programming is the best choice to construct the user interface, while imperative programming is much better at implementing the business logic of an application. 

To achieve this, AngularJS empowers traditional HTML by extending its current vocabulary, making the life of developers easier. The result is the development of expressive, reusable, and maintainable application components, leaving behind a lot of unnecessary code and keeping the team focused on valuable and important things.

The benefits of AngularJS

Nowadays, we have a visual and interactive expectation when visiting and using web applications. We expect dynamic content to appear on our screens often without the need to refresh our browsers. AngularJS is one framework that allows developers to create this experience for end-users. And through the use of an MVC based pattern allows developers to build applications quickly and, just as importantly, maintain them easily.

Here are some other benefits of AngularJS.

  1. Relatively easy to learn
  2. If you know how to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript, then AngularJS is relatively easy to pick up.
  3. It’s supported by Google.
  4. Because Google supports AngularJs, it has a huge network of programmers to offer advice and suggestions if needed.
  5. Promotes re-using code
  6. If you’ve developed the necessary code for different applications, it can be re-used in others. 
  7. Faster development of applications
  8. Because it is an MVC framework, it means that AngularJS can handle testing and maintenance quickly. 

AngularJS vs React

AngularJS is not the only show in town, and other frameworks like React are available. Below is some information about ReactJS. 

  • Allows you to build UI Components
  • It is backed by Facebook
  • Offers Uni-directional binding
  • Offers ultra-fast performance
  • If you make a mistake in React, it will tell you how to fix it and link you to the help docs.

AngularJS vs NodeJS

Node JS is excellent for quickly building scalable back-end networking apps, whereas AngularJS is for single-page front end apps. Here is some information on NodeJS.

  • NodeJS needs to be installed on your computer
  • It is great for small-sized projects
  • It’s helpful in generating database queries
  • NodeJS is great for when something scalable is needed quickly

AngularJS vs VueJS

VueJS uses HTML-based syntax and is said to be easier to learn than Angular. Here is some information on VueJS.

  • VueJS is great for lighter projects
  • VueJS is strictly for client-side projects
  • Vue is great for creating projects quickly. 

Free Coding Challenge

If you’re new to software development, then try our free 5 Day Coding Challenge. It will teach you some of the basics that are needed to master the many frameworks we’ve spoken about here. The challenge will teach you the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. After just one hour a day over five days, you will have built your first-ever web page. Register now through the form below.

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