Why Angular?

There are many JavaScript frameworks to choose from, but for most projects the choice comes down to React and Angular. This article is not intended to be a comparison of the two but rather a closer look at how Angular has changed from its previous version and matured into a more stable platform for front-end development.

Building for the Modern Web
The first Angular version was created to make building large-scale JavaScript applications easier and more efficient, but over the years it has begun to show its age. Based on more than five years of community feedback, Angular was completely rewritten as a modern, modular codebase to provide a platform for building modern web applications, with a particular focus on performance and scaling. The new architecture streamlines core concepts. For example, components and services are simply JavaScript classes—there is no need for controllers or to distinguish between providers and services. For Angular 1 users who are planning on upgrading, many of these concepts and practices have been back-ported to ease the transition.

Angular itself is written in TypeScript. Building your application with TypeScript—a superset of JavaScript—gives you access to tooling that makes navigating and refactoring a large app easier and less risky, but it comes at the cost of increased developer environment complexity. Using TypeScript is not a requirement, however—Angular also has full support for ES6, ES5, and Dart.

Starting with the official 2.0.0 release, the Angular team has adopted a standard release policy that includes semantic versioning, time-based release cycles, and a standard deprecation policy. These practices will maintain stability of the framework and help development teams stay current with releases and API changes while enabling the community to move forward with new releases.

Performance and Mobile
Changes to Angular’s architecture have improved baseline performance substantially from the previous version, making it a much better fit for mobile and progressive web applications. Opting into using immutable data or Observable inputs provides additional rendering performance. Angular components can be precompiled at build time—a process known as Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation—to reduce time-to-interactive when the application loads.

Managing multiple views and navigating between them while keeping the URL state in-sync can be challenging. With Angular 1, the UI-Router module became the de facto standard for managing complex, nested view components, replacing the built-in ngRoute module. The new Angular Router module addresses the shortcomings of ngRoute, providing complete support for nested views and URL state management. Support for lazy loading parts of the application that may not be needed in the initial bundle is built into the new Angular router. Asset loading can be further optimized by specifying modules to preload after initial bootstrap.

Angular components can be rendered on the server to enable search engine indexing or reduce perceived client-side load time by rendering a significant portion of the application structure before it is sent to the browser.

Best Practices
The Angular team has put a substantial effort into documenting the Angular framework. In addition to the API reference, there are comprehensive guides for general and advanced topics, a guided tutorial, a cookbook with recipes for common scenarios, and examples in both TypeScript and JavaScript.

Many community style guides emerged to help organize Angular 1 development teams around consistent coding style and patterns. The Angular documentation provides an opinionated style guide for syntax, conventions, and application structure.

Angular CLI is a command line interface that makes it easy to generate a fully functioning application that follows best practices. Even if a project later requires a different setup, starting with the CLI can get a project up and running quickly.

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