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Web apps built with Angular: when and why is it worth using the Angular framework?

Web apps built with Angular: when and why is it worth using the Angular framework? - Develtio

Have you been looking for the best way to create cutting-edge web applications? Are you fantasizing about the robust framework that makes this job easy and ensures the developed apps’ flexibility, scalability, and maintainability? Well, your quest ends here. This article presents the benefits of using one of the most popular front-end development frameworks – Angular. So read on to see if this is the right technology for your project.

What is Angular?

Angular is a popular open-source framework supported and developed by Google. It’s one of the best packages for user-centric front-end development and part of the Big3 of the most popular frameworks – its main competitors are React and Vue. Adaptable and feature-rich, Angular is a perfect solution for creating dynamic web applications.

Its primary form, AngularJS, was launched already in 2010; however, this is not the framework we will be talking about in this article. To avoid any confusion, let’s look at the brief history of Angular’s development. The differences between AngularJS and Angular will help you understand the main advantages of the latter.

AngularJS vs. Angular

Once upon a time… Actually, we can be more precise.

In 2009, two Google developers – Miško Hevery and Adam Abrons, were working on a side project aiming to make building web apps easy for designers with no coding background. Once they proved that the number of code lines could be significantly minimized, Google realized the potential of their invention and developed a framework based on it. It was the beginning of AngularJS – the solution which gained popularity by making web app building faster and easier.

With time, the development landscape changed, and with it emerged new standards in JavaScript and new user needs. It wasn’t enough to simply expand AngularJS’ functionality, so Google decided to rewrite the framework completely. As a result, in 2016, the so-called Angular 2 (otherwise known as Angular v2, or simply Angular) was launched. Subsequent versions were introduced yearly, offering additional features, faster build options, and styling improvements.

If you want to learn about Angular‘s technical details, we recommend reading this ARTICLE. We will only mention the main differences between AngularJS and Angular, the most significant being – the language. The former framework is based on JavaScript, while the latter is on TypeScript.

TypeScript is suitable for large projects. It’s famous for its readability and predictability, which speeds up the development process and makes it easy to involve new people in the project team. It is an object-oriented language, giving developers much more control over variables and allowing them to remain organized even with several thousand components in an application. It’s also great for collaborating on data retrieval from the backend thanks to the ability to standardize the types of transferred objects. Moreover, with TypeScript, bugs are easy to spot, and you’re automatically alerted about any possible issues with the code.

Structure: An Angular code is made of multiple code containers called modules. When you build components, directives, pipes, or services, they are grouped and arranged into buckets responsible for various functionalities. Different modules are combined together to create an application. Such a puzzle-based structure makes it easy to organize code and allows multiple team members to work on the project simultaneously.

A word of explanation regarding the terminology:
Directives change the style or behavior of application elements – they are the instructions that can be used, for example, for handling events such as click or scrolling or adapting the layout. A component is the app’s building block – it’s a type of directive associated with a template (view). Pipes transform the way the original data appears to the user. Lastly, services define values, functions, or features needed to complete a task.

Architecture: AngularJS uses a Model-View-Controller (MVC) design that divides a web app into three levels with separate functions. Model is responsible for data management, while View reviews the information in the model and displays it to users. The Controller coordinates the Model-View relation – responds to the user’s input and interacts with the Model in order to prepare data for the View.

Angular, on the other hand, defines each aspect of the app by components. Components are the UI building blocks used to render the application’s view. Each integrates features within the unique structure, and each can be reused separately in an application. The advantage of using the components is that thanks to their independence from one another, they are scalable, replicable, replaceable, and easily tested.

Other Angular Pros: One of the main advantages of Angular over AngularJS is that it supports mobile application development. Moreover, its in-built lazy loading option improves the speed of application, and the ahead-of-time (AOT) compiler translates Typescript into JavaScript at the time of development, thus allowing for faster browser rendering.

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Why should you choose Angular for web app development?

Even the mere presentation of the framework’s history and the comparison with its first iteration already shows the benefits of using Angular. They are directly linked to the framework’s language, structure, and architecture. So let’s see what other strengths of this solution could convince you that it’s an excellent option for web application development.

1. Google support

Whether you like Google or not, it’s a big player in the digital market, and it’s here to stay. Google offers long-term support to Angular and uses it in their own apps, which indicates the company’s belief and dedication to keeping and maintaining this solution. Backed by a tech giant, Angular makes for a safe, reliable option. In addition, the possibility to learn from Google’s professionals is a bonus for developers everywhere.

2. Rich ecosystem

This framework is powered with components needed for functionality improvements. Angular has plenty of such ‘off-the-shelf’ tools, so developers don’t need to install extensions and search externally for ways to solve problems. Unless they want to – there is an extensive choice of third-party solutions available too. Moreover, with Angular, development projects are supported by a vast, active community constantly producing and updating documentation, study materials, and FAQs.

3. Cross-platform solution

Angular is a framework that can create projects for various platforms – from native to desktop and progressive web apps supported by different operating systems, like macOS, Linux, or Windows. This saves companies time and money on their project, as one application can be placed on multiple platforms.

4. Dependency injection

Different objects in the project depend on one another. In Angular, for example, a component may require a particular service to complete a task. Traditionally the code knows about its dependencies and directly creates them. But with the code written this way, it’s very hard to replace dependencies for testing purposes or necessary modifications.

With the dependency injection technique, the code doesn’t create dependencies but instead relies on an external source to inject (supply) them. Angular makes it possible to check whether a component needs a service to perform the task. If so, it provides access to the certain service. In principle though, the component and services remain decoupled. This makes it easier to modify and test the code without damaging any application part. Moreover, it allows loading of only some selected objects at the time, thus improving the app’s speed.

5. Ivy Renderer

Ivy is an advanced rendering engine that makes it possible to compile components independently from each other. This solution brings significant advantages. For example, during the build, the whole application doesn’t need to be recompiled when changes are introduced, only the adapted components. That significantly speeds up the development process.

Ivy also offers a unique ‘tree-shaking’ capability. It means that it looks at the code and eliminates its unused bits to make it (and the app) smaller. That, in turn, shortens the app’s loading time. Ivy allows for lazy loading and dynamic rendering of components; it also empowers the ahead-of-time compilation we mentioned before. Overall, it improves the speed and performance of an application.

6. Consistent, reusable code

The framework’s modular design and independent components allow developers to reuse the code in new application releases or even in entirely different apps. Split components are easy to configure, upgrade and test separately from one another. Moreover, consistent coding is easy to read for new developers, which makes the project development and implementation much easier.

7. Angular material and libraries

Both frameworks and libraries are made of reusable code written by someone else. Frameworks provide the foundation for the project, while libraries are used to simplify tasks. Thanks to them, developers don’t need to write codes for specific functionalities from scratch – the library already includes them. You can go ahead and take a piece of code from the shelf, so to speak. Angular offers many in-built libraries that make developers’ work easier.

One of them is Angular Material. If you use Google’s design system (aka Material Design), then this particular library may prove extremely useful. It’s an official library of components used for layout, menu and navigation design, pop-ups creation, and data presentation. Developed by the Angular team, it’s very well-documented and thoroughly tested.

8. Web app development

Above all, Angular is THE tool to use when building websites optimized for mobile that behave like apps on the user device.

What types of applications can you build with Angular?

You will turn to Angular if you’re interested in a safe, highly scalable, easily tested, and feature-rich solution. Lots of industries use Angular, especially when they care about the development of fast, dynamic apps, with impeccable interface and robust features. Thus, you can see examples of Angular-based solutions among travel, social, weather, or e-commerce apps.

Angular supports the following types of applications:

  • Single Page Applications. The way they work is that when you land on the page, Angular dynamically displays information, thus providing an immersive user experience.
  • Progressive Web Applications. They resemble native mobile apps. They offer responsive design, quick loading time and are accessible offline.
  • Applications with Animated UI. You can use available Angular libraries to create unique experiences.
  • Enterprise Web Apps. Scalability and application of high-security standards are beneficial when building advanced projects for enterprises and large corporations. With Angular, the development process is also easy to control.
  • Server-Side Rendered apps. In this case, the server is responsible for preparing custom data, which reduces the site’s loading time.
  • Mobile applications. Angular was created to make developing web apps that run on mobile possible.

Conclusion

Angular is a high-quality framework acclaimed worldwide for its many advantages. Backed by Google, it’s a reliable, well-tested solution that ensures superb performance. It’s great for small and large-scale projects and supports the development of various kinds of applications. Some may find management of its component-based architecture a bit complex, though. So if you’re considering diving into the Angular-based project, ask experienced, TypeScript-fluent developers for help. For example, our team in Develtio! Netflix, YouTube, PayPal, and Lego use this tool, so go ahead and join the biggest companies that employ Angular for their projects.

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Błażej Dziuk
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