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Get started with AngularJS: The InfoWorld tutorial

Angular, the successor to AngularJS, is a development platform for building mobile and desktop applications using TypeScript and/or JavaScript and other languages. Angular is popular for building high-volume websites and it supports web, mobile web, native mobile, and native desktop applications.

The Angular core development team is split between Google employees and a robust community; it’s not going away any time soon. In addition to its own extensive capabilities, the Angular platform has a strong external ecosystem: Several prominent IDEs support Angular, it has four data libraries, there are half a dozen useful tools and over a dozen sets of UI components, and there are dozens of Angular books and courses. In 2015, when InfoWorld awarded AngularJS a Bossie Award, I explained that it is a model-view-whatever (MVW) JavaScript AJAX framework that extends HTML with markup for dynamic views and two-way data binding. Angular is especially good for developing single-page web applications and linking HTML forms to models and JavaScript controllers. The new Angular is written in TypeScript rather than JavaScript, which has many benefits, as I’ll explain.

The weird-sounding “model-view-whatever” pattern is an attempt to include the model-view-controller (MVC), model-view-view-model (MVVM), and model-view-presenter (MVP) patterns under one moniker. The differences between these three closely related patterns are the sorts of things that programmers love to argue about fiercely; the Angular developers decided to opt out of the discussion.

Basically, Angular automatically synchronizes data from your UI (views in AngularJS and templates in Angular 2 and above) with your JavaScript objects (model) through two-way data binding. To help you structure your application better and make it easy to test, Angular teaches the browser how to do dependency injection and inversion of control. The new Angular (version 2 and above) replaces views and controllers with components and adopts standard conventions, which makes it easier to understand, and allows developers to concentrate on developing ECMAScript 6 modules and classes. In other words, Angular 2 is a total rewrite of AngularJS that tries to implement the same ideas in a better way. Angular view templates, which have a fairly simple syntax, are compiled into JavaScript that is well optimized for modern JavaScript engines. The new component router in Angular 2 can do code-splitting (lazy loading) to reduce the amount of code delivered to render a view.

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Download this Angular tutorial in convenient PDF format InfoWorld

Why Angular? And when is it not a good choice?

Choosing a JavaScript framework for a web app is the sort of process that sets off religious wars among developers. I’m not here to proselytize Angular, but I do want you to know its advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, you should pick the framework that’s appropriate for your app, taking into account the skills in your organization and the frameworks you are using in other applications. In general Angular has good tooling and is suitable for really large, high-traffic projects. Angular, as a complete rewrite from AngularJS, was designed from the ground up for use on mobile devices and for high performance. Like its predecessor, it does data binding easily and well.

Angular uses a web component pattern, but not Web Components per se. It’s not Polymer, which creates real Web Components, although you can use Polymer Web Components in Angular applications if you wish. Angular does use inversion of control (IoC) and dependency injection (DI) patterns, and fixes some problems with the AngularJS implementation of these.

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