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Angular 101: Pros, cons, features and more

May 08, 2019
Learn something new. Take control of your career.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or early in your programming career, there’s always something to learn about Angular.

This guide includes:

  • What is Angular?
  • How does it work
  • How often is it updated?
  • When to use Angular
  • Pros and cons

What is Angular?

Angular emerged for the primary purpose of simplifying web and mobile app development by combining end-to-end tooling, declarative templates and other features like dependency injection.

Angular is a front-end web development platform that operates as a JavaScript framework. Angular is not to be confused with a JavaScript library, like jQuery. Angular is similar to platforms such as Polymer, Aurelia and React. This open source framework was developed by Google under the MIT License in 2010 and has since received several upgrades and facelifts to keep up with the times.

In less than eight years, Google has released half a dozen updates, which makes this platform a desirable tool for web developers. Angular hasn’t always remained in good favor with users. New versions have not always been back-version compatible, and this had led to confusion and the proliferation of various Angular migration myths.

However, Google seemed to win back the hearts of the people after the launch of Angular 2, for a number of reasons. This release offers improved data binding, TypeScript features, and some pretty great Angular Modules.

Today, Angular 6 is still pleasing the masses. In the Stack Overflow Survey of 2018, Angular was ranked as the second most-used technology for developers. The Stack Overflow survey included over 100,000 developers weighing in on a wide range of topics, from their favorite tools to career-building advice. If you’re serious about a career in website or software development, you’ll definitely want to stay current on the latest Stack Overflow surveys. They’re filled with helpful information you can use to further your career and hone your skills.

How does Angular work?

This JavaScript framework offers a robust collection of components that simplify the art of writing, altering, and using code.

If you’re experienced in JavaScript—which you definitely should consider before trying to understand how to use Angular—then you know that this language can easily become a real tedious, copy-and-paste gig. The AngularJS framework reduces the amount of time developers spend writing JavaScript stacks, which speeds up the completion of monotonous tasks and frees up your schedule to focus more on the functionality and design of your creation.

For every application you design, there are several lines of code to be written, most of which you’ve holstered in your handy dandy Notepad++ for easy access. But it doesn’t matter how quick you are on the ctrl+shift+v trigger, you’re still spending an unnecessary amount of time compiling a JavaScript stack that someone else has already provided—that someone being Angular.

How many hours have you spent coding solutions to common problems associated with creating a responsive application? Reducing padding, leveling margins, condensing sidebars, centering text blocks, designing mobile headers and menus that are still readily available without complicating or disrupting the user experience?

The list is exhaustive, right? And it never seems to end. At the drop of a hat, Google can (and will) release another list of demands to weed out the spammy URLs and ensure websites are delivering credible, quality content. Just recently, web developers had to log in to the back end of every website they manage and set up a highly-visible disclaimer for using cookies. In case you haven’t already noticed, there are countless websites that have failed to implement this new requirement in such a way that doesn’t hideously disrupt the user experience on mobile devices. Most of these disclaimers, you can tell, were added begrudgingly by developers who didn’t want to be bothered with another wave of Google’s golden scepter.

Can you blame them? When you’re writing your own code, even the smallest task can become an annoying inconvenience—especially if there’s a hidden flaw in the code that takes you forever to resolve in order to make the application function properly.

Angular JS was designed as a way to simplify the tedious, repetitive, time-consuming task of writing code. This framework can make development a lot easier and faster—once you’re familiar with how to use the program—which opens your schedule to new opportunities, new clients, and more profit.

For more on the benefits and advantages this JavaScript framework has to offer, check out this expert-authored quick take on why you should learn Angular.

When to use Angular

Angular is intended to create a simplified experience for front-end developers who are focusing on the design aspect of an application and creating an advantageous user experience. If you primarily work as a back-end developer, then you may find that this platform isn’t the best fit for your role.

In case you were wondering if Angular would be a good fit for your next project, we’ve laid out a few key instances where this framework would be most beneficial.

  • You’re designing a progressive web application (PWA)
  • You’re creating a large enterprise website or another large-scale project that involves a complex infrastructure
  • You develop website applications that rely on dynamic content
  • You’d like to upgrade outdated website application designs
  • You’ve been hired to improve the user experience for a large website by initiating a major redesign

To summarize, Angular is intended for large-scale projects of a certain complexity. This platform is widely used by professional developers who have a high level of skill, knowledge, and experience in writing code, crafting dynamic content, and creating web applications that are capable of performing a number of different functions.

YouTube TV and Google Cloud are a couple examples of complex applications that use this framework. This isn’t to discourage developers from pursuing large-scale projects with this platform, of course, but these examples should put Angular’s primary purpose and target audience into perspective.

Static content, short-term projects, and simple websites aren’t exactly ideal for a program of this nature. While Angular can be used for lightweight projects such as these, it can prove to be more trouble than it’s worth when compared to frameworks that are generally simple, basic and easier to learn.

The pros and cons of using Angular

Under the right circumstances, Angular can provide an array of benefits for its users. Overall, this is an excellent JavaScript framework that can save you loads of time when completing monotonous tasks, improve the form and function of the final product, and hone your skills as a developer. That being said, just like any platform, Angular comes with its fair share of both pros and cons. Review the list below and decide for yourself which way the scale tips.

Pros

 
  • Angular is supported by Google, which makes for a dependable, trustworthy program that is most likely to keep up with Google’s occasional updates and announcements. Couple this with a wealth of detailed documentation and you’ve got a reliable framework backed by a robust amount of helpful information and answers to common questions.
  • Angular provides a great selection of third-party integrations that can be added to the framework with ease. This gives developers even more tools to improve the overall form and function of their product.
  • Angular offers faster load time and increased security by using a brilliant concept commonly known as “ahead-of-time compiler." Angular compiles HTML and TypeScript into JavaScript during the development, which means all of the code is compiled before the browser even loads your web app.
  • With Angular elements and modules, this framework is designed to be fully customizable, giving more power to the developer and designer. Angular elements can also easily be added to projects that were built using another framework, which just adds to the appeal of this program.
  • The dependency injection capabilities of the Angular framework can be a huge advantage—if you know how to use it. Creating the various dependencies can be time-consuming, but well worth it if you’re working on a large-scale project that is expected to perform a number of different functions.

Cons

 
  • One of the major drawbacks to using Angular is the platform’s limited SEO options and poor accessibility for search engine crawlers. Being that Google is the number one search engine on the planet, we can’t imagine this problem will continue to persist for much longer before a solution is presented in another update.
  • Another glaring con of using the Angular framework is that it can be quite difficult to learn. With such a complex web of modules, coding languages, integrations and customizing capabilities, understanding Angular definitely takes some time. Fortunately, Angular provides phenomenal support and there are a number of online tutorials and courses you can take to catch up and start taking full advantage of all the program has to offer.
  • Unless you’re working on a project of appropriate size and complexity, Angular can easily weigh you down. Save this one for the big-ticket assignments and you’ll fare just fine.

Angular quick facts and tips

 
  • Angular is a framework used for front-end development. This involves the client-side of the application and has little to do with the back end.
  • Angular is best utilized for completing advanced, large-scale projects under the direction of a seasoned developer.
  • Angular elements can be added to projects that were built using a different platform, such as React or Polymer.
  • Angular is supported by Google.
  • This program is not up to par with SEO best practices, so if your primary focus is search engine optimization, opt for a different platform.
  • Angular is a JavaScript framework—not a JS Library.
  • Angular reaches beyond Java to incorporate CSS and TypeScript capabilities. Users even have the option to add Angular to ASP.NET applications.
  • Angular ranked second in “most used technology” in the Stack Overflow Survey of 2018.

Are you ready to take on the best and become a master of the Angular framework? Check out Pluralsight for a variety of fantastic courses from beginners to more advanced users.

Learn something new. Take control of your career.