Understanding the Different Angular Frameworks

For most front-end developers, Angular is known as THE framework for building web applications. However, the term “Angular” refers to two distinct types of JavaScript frameworks, known as AngularJS and Angular. While the two share the same purpose, they differ in implementation, which is why it’s important to know the differences when deciding which framework is the right choice for you.

As we compare AngularJS with various Angular versions, we’ll share a quick look at the evolution of each version from 2006 until today:

  • AngularJS is a front-end, open source, JavaScript framework used to create dynamic web applications. Each version of AngularJS match the 1.x.x pattern, such as 1.5.6, 1.7.3, etc. By using HTML language, this framework enables developers to create a more expressive and customized environment that’s developed much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods.

  • Angular distinguishes almost all versions launched since AngularJS with numbers differentiating each new version from 2.0.0 to today’s latest version of 7.1.4. This framework is also often referred to as Angular 2+. Unlike AngularJS, all Angular 2+ versions are conversely TypeScript-based, front-end, open-source web application platforms.

  • This Angular 2 version was a complete rewrite of AngularJS and shares many features with its successor, Angular 4, along with its backward compatibility.

  • Several drawbacks from Angular 4 were removed in the next version, Angular 5, to provide improved performance and more advanced features.

  • Improving even further on the aspects of Angular 5, Angular 6 is faster, smaller and even easier to use for developers.

AngularJS

AngularJS was developed in 2009 and has since become the fastest emerging and evolving front-end web application frameworks. It allows developers to utilize HTML as the format language to develop dynamic web applications with the ability to extend the capabilities of HTML syntax to express application parts precisely and compactly. This means that developers aren’t required to learn another syntax or language, but can simply add built-in components to achieve custom attributes.

A Complete Framework Makeover

In 2016, Angular 2 was launched, but this new version didn’t just update the framework. Instead, it completely transformed it. Controllers and scope in AngularJS were replaced by directives and components (or directives with a template). Unit testing in the framework can also be done much more quickly in Angular 2, so they can be analyzed for the use of resources, event execution and component flow. While AngularJS wins out in terms of communication with smooth and fast messaging processing, Angular 2 is 5x faster in performance overall. It also featured the ability to support all mobile devices, in addition to offering a much larger selection of language choices for developers. 

AngularJS vs. Angular (Angular 2+)

By design, the Angular team releases a new Major version every six months to continually evolve and improve the performance of the services that were completely rewritten from scratch in Angular 2. Major versions released so far include 4.0.0 through 7.0.0, all featuring newer, more advanced capabilities. These include a Build Optimizer known to eliminate useless code from the application for a more optimized and neat code structure, as well as added support for native elements and much more.

The main differences between AngularJS and Angular lies in the framework structure. AngularJS is based on Javascript, while Angular 2+, and each of its Major versions, are based on TypeScript. Angular 2+ has also moved its core functionality to different modules. This modularity allows for lighter and faster core dynamic loading and added support for reactive programming. It also features Angular CLI, which is a command line that not only provides a scalable project structure, but also handles all the common tedious tasks for developers.

Other Differences & Advancements in Angular 2+

  • Improved decorator and error message scheme
  • Multiple new validators for array method
  • Closure compiler to continuously generate small bundles
  • Typescript 2.7 + supports
  • Missing lifecycle tests that can be added to projected components
  • Canonical view query can be added
  • Restored state and navigation source to be added to NavigationStart

Angular Javascript frameworks have helped the web application development process become more secure, fast and easy, while unique and powerful new features are continuously added with the launch of each new version. If you need help deciding which implementation of Angular is the best fit for your requirements, check out Angular FAQs for more information, or contact us to discover all the courses we offer for Angular training.

Marc Brookland January 9, 2019

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