Angular Explained: Definition & Reasons to Use it

ALEX MELNICHUK

Published: 03 Jun 2020

Technology

As one of the most popular software development tools available, Angular or AngularJS is being used to build some of the most intricate websites on the web. With this being the case, we can clearly see the reasons to choose it when building platforms, but it’s not the only one. To better be able to use AngularJS, we recommend you to note its pros and cons.

Now, there are a lot of terms that are notably associated with angularJS. You will typically come across such terms as angular 8, for example, along with angular 2, and in some cases, angular 6. This goes on and on, but for those who have yet to fully grasp what this software development tool even is, those words and numbers will mean next to nothing. So, let’s take a look at what exactly this tool is and what it involves.

What is Angular?

What is Angular

What is angular? Angular is a software development tool that was introduced by Google as an open-source platform. Development for this particular instrument began in 2009 by Misko Hevery and Adam Abrons, both of whom worked for the tech giant. In 2010, it was officially unveiled to the world, at large.

Since then, we have seen it become one of the most prolific tools for JavaScript being used to build websites for a few key reasons. The biggest of these would have to be the simplicity of its use, which is the angular definition.

While you do still need a fair amount of technical skills to make the most of angular, it offers a considerable level of accommodations for those who want to create interactive sites. It essentially enables you to transform documents made via HTML into dynamic versions of themselves.

This is why there are now even more websites that allow for more effective UIs in the wild than there had been before 2010. However, it would be wrong to say that Angular is the only tool responsible for this trend.

It’s also worth noting that angular belongs under the technology umbrella called a M-E-A-N stack. This is an acronym that means the following:

  • M – MongoDB, NoSQL
  • E – Express
  • A – Angular
  • N – Node.js

Any software developer will need to keep these aspects in mind if they want to successfully work with angular in building a website.

Read also: React vs. Angular.

The Different Versions of Angular

There are actually several versions of angular that we encourage you to keep in mind if you are actually interested in making use of this particular software development tool. Knowing about them will also save you from being confused about their use later on. Anyone wondering about stuff like angularjs vs angular will want to pay attention.

For the most part, however, you will likely come across the following angular versions:

  • Angular 2
  • Angular 4
  • Angular 5-6
  • Angular 7
  • Angular 8
  • Angular 9

Angular 2 - A version that was rewritten to come with a few additional features that include mobile support, this is arguably the form that made angular as popular as it is now. Not only did it allow for more flexibility in building websites, but it was also a lot easier to work with. The angular release date was certainly

Angular 4 - The more markedly improved version that caused the skip of the third iteration, this offering in the angular lineup basically allowed rendering outside of browsers. This is a major breakthrough in the angular router, which led to even more breakthroughs later on.

Angular 5-6 - Making the angular CLI more optimized, as well as making the compiler work more efficient are the most notable aspects of the fifth and sixth iterations of the software development tool. Workspaces were added, which then made it easier for multiple projects to be worked on in tandem.

We have also observed how migration also became much easier thanks to a new tool that was added, along with the super handy web workers function. Those made a lot of difference in making this particular version stand out.

Angular 7 - In the seventh version of angular, prompts were added to the CLI, that then helped to make understanding functions and elements much easier. This made the software development tool much less difficult to grasp, particularly for those of the later generations. This iteration certainly did much for the angular framework.

Angular 8 - Embodying quite a major change for the software development tool, the eighth version brings with it two features that really made a huge difference. These would be Ivy renderer and Bazel. On top of that, support was also provided that allows for faster loading and to help deal with legacy browsers.

Angular 9 - The most up to date version of angular available, the ninth iteration was actually released earlier this year in February. Naturally, it came with a whole host of improvements that impacted the CLI, framework, Angular Material, and platform. The syntax also so some adjustments, along with type checking and CSS style bonding.

So, there you have it. Those are the pertinent versions of angular that are worth noting so that you don’t end up confused by the terms when looking up this particular software development tool. As you might expect, using the latest version is pretty much expected, these days.

Familiarity with the older versions, however, will also allow you to adapt with relative ease. That’s why it’s worth asking what is angularjs.

Why Angular is Popular

There are several reasons that we have come across to explain why angular is so popular and it’s not just because it is an open-source platform that was developed and is continuing to be supported by one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

Among the biggest reasons for this would be the following;

  • Thanks to the Model View ViewModel or Model-View-Controller, structuring the source code is not a problem, at all. Especially with ide to consider.
  • The model and view can be kept in agreement without a fuss thanks to the two-way data binding that then directly impacts the level of boiler plate code involved.
  • It is possible to work in parallel with the use of HTML for the template, which software developers can take advantage of to create better user interfaces.
  • Observable functions become less of a necessity.
  • Changing properties and functions are fairly easy thanks to this software tool being based on Plain Old Java Object(POJO).
  • No need to rely on external frameworks in order to create apps for browsers.
  • Plenty of support for testing units and even communications that are based on context.

Those are the biggest reasons why Angular is such a popular software development tool. If you are looking for other reasons, there is certainly more to be found. Those are just the premier points that are worth considering when you want to use this particular software development tool for building your site.

How Angular is Used

There are actually a lot of uses for angular javascript, which are largely dependent on the creation of web applications and UIs. As arguably one of the most popular software development tools out there, it is only to be expected that it would have its fair share of functionality.

Among the ways that angular can be used are the following:

  • Creating desktop, browser, and mobile apps.
  • Bringing static web pages to life.
  • Allowing for smoother UI.
  • Faster coding and editing.
  • More fluid typing of scripts.
  • Fewer restrictions on creating secure networks.
  • Learning curve is less steep with less of a need for external frameworks.

Those are some of the biggest reasons why Angular programming is often used and the uses can extend far beyond what most other software development tools are made for. At the end of the day, the ease of use of angular makes it one of the most prolific platforms for JS.

The Pros and Cons of Angular

The Pros and Cons of Angular

As with everything in the world, the use of angular for creating apps and websites does come with its own set of pros and cons that are well worth considering. After all, these will have merit on your decision to use the software development tool when taking projects, timelines, and costs into consideration.

To that end, you can take a look at the points made below to see if this particular platform is worth your time and attention for your angular documentation.

Pros

  • Components-based architecture - Basically offering segmented options when building applications, this particular feature allows developers to easily pick and choose the interactive interfaces that they will be using. These can include such things as video players, maps, images, and so much more.
  • Typescript - Thanks to this particular aspect, designers get a bunch of useful services that include tooling, cleaning, and scaling. This then allows for a smoother, cleaner coding with fewer issues and better functionality.
  • RxJS - Thanks to this library, which is pretty much parts and parcel with angular, the handling of asynchronous data calls becomes a lot more reliable. It basically allows for the fluid execution of functions that then leads to a parallel and continuous flow of data.
  • Platform-agnostic - There are practically no limits to the platforms that you can use angular to build applications on since it can be used for desktop, browsers, and mobile. The OS will not matter that much, either.
  • Awesome Performance - There is no denying that angular offers excellent performance. By running components parallel to each other through decoupling, they become less prone to interruptions. Among the most noteworthy points here are hierarchical dependency injection, angular Universal, ivy renderer, and differential load.
  • Long-Term Support - Because angular was developed by Google, it is to the tech company’s best interest to keep supporting the software development tool. This means that it will keep being updated and the improvements will only keep coming with the addition of new features. With each new iteration, there will always be new features and functions.
  • Angular Material - For those who are interested in Material Design, angular keeps getting better and better in this area with each iteration. The material design components help keep interactions consistent when designing components. The experience for the users also becomes a lot smoother and the aesthetics also get marked improvements.
  • Smooth Updates - Thanks to angular CLI, the updates get quite smooth and there are fewer issues that arise thanks to the transfer of new data. Because the setup with angular can be a bit tricky, this is a boon that saves a lot of time and effort later on. The recommendations are intuitive and easy to apply, as well.
  • Ecosystem - Thanks to how prolific this particular tool is, there are now a lot of features, plugins, community boards, and so much more that have become practically aligned with angular. As such, you will not have any trouble with how robust this ecosystem is that has been established over the years.
  • Elements - Thanks to the Angular Elements feature that you can get with the most recent iterations of this tool, it is now possible to run multiple projects at the same time using different environments. Switching between elements has become a lot easier, as well.
  • Directives - Making HTML a lot more flexible and adds a lot more room for customization, that directives that come with this tool offer quite a bit of convenience. These directives happen to be component, attribute, and structural. It is also much easier to either add or remove elements via the DOM tree.

Cons

  • Community - While there is much to be gained thanks to the enthusiasm from members of the angular community, it cannot be denied that it is also a community with a lot of arguments. The passion of some of the members on how to proceed and what to change with the tool can often prove to be a hindrance.
  • Legacy migration - While it is possible to move legacy data from older versions of angular into newer versions, it can take quite a while to do so. This isn’t really the worst thing in the world, but depending on the legacy, developers will have to wait quite a while.
  • Complex - There is no denying that angular java is quite the complex platform and is also quite verbose. The management of the components can be particularly complex.
  • Steep learning curve - Although easier to learn than most, angular still requires much from developers, especially those who have never encountered it before. There will still be a requirement for time invested, for sure. However, learning angular is well worth the effort.

With those points made, we would certainly recommend making use of angular for your application building needs.

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