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Angular 6 is Out! What Should Developers And Businesses Expect?

We are halfway in 2018 and the rate at which toolkits and frameworks for the web are being released is unprecedented. In an earlier post, I articulated upon ReactJS — a lightweight Javascript library best suited for developing front-end for web or mobile apps. As popular as the library is these days, I analyzed how businesses can productively employ React into their existing systems by leveraging its features to create visually appealing user interfaces.

Continuing with the pace and keeping up-to-date with front-end platforms, it made sense to talk about the latest Angular 6, that was released exactly two months ago from today. Developers have been anticipating its arrival and data-rich, web-based businesses have been yearning to shift to the next platform, with the intention to improve their existing software solutions.

In this interesting battle to decide which front-end framework works better, the answer to that is — it depends. Each set of tools, packages, libraries or even a small snippet of code have a time and place when it has to serve its purpose when developing a software solution. But instead of diverging, let’s save this discussion for later date, shall we?

A Summary of What Angular Is

Angular (referring to v2.0 and beyond) is a typescript based, open source framework that has enabled developers worldwide, to create dynamic and highly interactive Single Page Applications (SPAs). From their website, we get a clear picture of Angular’s objectives:

Angular combines declarative templates, dependency injection, end-to- end tooling, and integrated best practices to solve development challenges

The framework is best for creating complex out-of-the-box applications with a rich presentation layer. Since it is backed by the Angular Team at Google, also supported by a massive community of developers around the globe, there is plenty of help for software engineers to refer to.

It is important to note that, Angular is a complete re-write of AngularJS; that is v1.0, and have very little in common. They are two different learning curves and it will only be a hassle for companies and developers to invest wasteful time on both. However, versions 4, 5 and 6 are backward compatible with Angular 2.

Enterprises that use Angular as a framework

Unlike other frameworks, Angular has the completeness of building powerful, feature-rich enterprise solutions from the ground up. While React and Vue necessitate the use of APIs for other layers of the application, Angular offers front-end, back-end, security, data-binding and routing, all in one package. The multi-level support from Angular makes it suitable for large companies to choose this as their choice of web framework.

While researching, I came across this vast portfolio illustrating the companies that are currently using Angular versions 2.0 and beyond: Google, VMWare, Teradata, Youtube TV, CVS, Barnes & Noble, Citibank, Freelancer, AIESEC, Chase, Air Asia, Udacity, Crunchbase, and Kaplan, among the major brands.

As we progress through 2018, it is undeniable that emerging libraries such as React and Vue are triggering developers to jump with joy because of their lightweight nature and shorter learning curve. However, Angular is and will stay relevant in the market. As we can observe from the list above, enterprises who looking to create a solid, fast performing software solution and one that works smoothly with real-time data, still prefer Angular over most modern toolkits.

Okay, so we’re done with the overview. let’s dive deeper into the features included in Angular 6.

1.0 What’s new in Angular 6?

1.1 New CLI commands

In the newest version, Angular 6 has incorporated the ng add and ng update commands. ng add makes library installation and dependency consolidation easier. It does that by using an existing package manager such as npm or bower, directly invoking an installation script.

ng update is another new Angular-CLI command that simply makes updating project libraries and packages painless.

1.2 Angular Material Design Components

In my opinion, this is the most anticipated installment as part of the new version. With Google rapidly incorporating new design standards on its apps especially on Gmail; that went through a complete makeover only two months ago, the new Angular has standardized Material Design to streamline front-end development.

Material Components include the side nav, dashboard, and data-table templates to assist developers in bootstrapping projects quickly. The side-nav starter component includes a nifty toolbar displaying the name of your app with side navigation bar. The Material Dashboard contains a grid list of cards that can adapt dynamically depending upon the event trigger. Lastly, the data table pack comes ready with existing data entries to play around with.

Moreover, Angular 6 now has also added the custom components feature. It goes without saying that this is a direct challenge to React’s capabilities of creating module-like, reusable components.

Developers can import the createCustomElement class and start building their own components right away. They perform similar to React components and can be inserted in any pages of their web application, based on requirements.

1.3 Better Performing Animations

Animations created using SVG or GIFs may not perform optimally on different browsers. Sometimes, code that runs an animation on Chrome or Mozilla may not be supported on Safari. For that, developers use polyfills.

Polyfills are snippets of code that translate another piece of code to a format that would enable it to run smoothly on older browsers. With the oncoming of Angular 6, developers do not need to include the web animation polyfill, saving you 47kb space on your project while also adding Safari support.

As to the question of why I mentioned the exact space size of the polyfill? That is because one of the main objectives while coding a project is to load less code on the browser to preserve the optimal performance of the app.

1.4 Long Term Support (LTS) For Older Versions

A lot of web applications ranging from simple web apps to full-blown SaaS-based solutions are using the latest Angular versions. Henceforth, the folks at Angular have announced to extend Long Term Support for all major releases or patches that cover v4, v5 and v6.

This would facilitate small as well as large-scale projects to plan ahead, to carry out the necessary updates to make the shift to newer platforms. A time period of 18 months has been allocated where Angular will try to cater to bug fixes and security loopholes, patching them up to help streamline mission-critical projects.

2.0 Looking At A Business Perspective

Now, to the main part of this write-up. When it comes to software solutions, businesses are looking to grow and carry out the meaningful lead generation that will garner them revenue. Angular is an all-in-one package that enables developers to create interactive applications for both web and mobile-friendly platforms.

2.1 Angular Is A Fully Matured Framework

The best thing about Angular is that it has been around for almost a decade now. The first Angular version was released in 2009 but ever since it has only evolved into a behemoth of a framework. Now in 2018, Angular having launched its sixth version, has support from thousands of developers with a range specialty in Android, iOS, full-stack, UI visualization and front-end engineering.

2.2 Unit Testing Friendly

When developing a software solution, businesses are looking to leverage development processes to shorten time-to-market. Its equally important to create a functional application is bug-free and has a minimum number of glitches once deployed. Once again, Angular to the rescue. The modular-like components are easy to test individually. Due to the simple nature of these components quality assurance procedures are streamlined and developers can validate even the smallest nooks of the application.

2.3 Angular is best for creating Progressive Web Apps

Angular was created by Google with a mobile-first perspective. As the primary influencer of mobile technology, it makes sense to create apps that are platform independent. With that vision the concept of Progressive Web Apps was born. In a nutshell, it meant that one code base; written with Angular, could work seamlessly on Apple and Android devices without the need to re-invent the wheel.

For businesses, this entails a quicker development process and faster application deployment on selected app stores. Progressive web apps are hot these days and startups are now more inclined towards creating applications that open up right into their home screens with a press of a button.

3.0 Conclusion

As Angular becomes a more sophisticated and sturdier framework, developers are able to productively as the changes are mostly subtle. Angular 6 is more focused on enhancing the experience of using the toolkit and simplifying processes required to shift to future Angular versions.

Angular 7 is set to be released this October and it is interesting to find out what ingredients are being cooked by the team working on the soon upcoming release.


Appendix

MVVM: Model-View-View Model
SPA: Single Page Application
SaaS: Software as a Service
JS: Javascript

Works Cited

Angular Website— https://angular.io/docs
Projects Developed using Angular — www.madewithangular.com
Information about polyfills — https://bit.ly/2ubVQuf


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