- This article explains the fundamentals of AngularJS, its working, and some of its key benefits and challenges.
What Is AngularJS?
The popularity of AngularJS comes from the fact that it allows you to use HTML as a template to build next-generation web applications. As HTML and application development frameworks are too diverse for developers to get their heads around, AngularJS draws a line between the two. It provides key data binding and code reuse features that enable your browsers to learn new syntax formats via directive specifics.
This structural arrangement is called AngularJS’s MVC (model-view-controller) architecture. The framework created three separate layers for model, view, and controller within an application. It meant that although UI and the application logic were separate, they had an association between themselves.
The data binding feature ensured that any changes made to the data in the underlying model were instantly captured and reflected on the client side. It made the web applications dynamic as updates could be introduced on the go without requiring a page reload. Moreover, these two-way data binding capabilities enabled AngularJS to play a key role in creating ‘single-page applications (SPAs).’ These SPAs are known to carry out all web functions without undertaking the page reload process. Several interactive websites today observe the SPA approach as a standard, and AngularJS has been integral to its development.
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How Does AngularJS Work?
AngularJS follows a workflow primarily using MVC architecture to design and develop web applications. Let’s understand the working of MVC to understand the operational flow of AngularJS.
MVC refers to a web design pattern AngularJS uses to break the application into three key elements — model, view, and controller. Let’s look at the role of each element in application design.
- Model: The ‘model’ element encapsulates a database or application data.
- View: The ‘view’ element relates to the UI of an application displayed on the user’s side.
- Controller: The controller element refers to the software code that works with application logic to complete a task. Moreover, the controller is key to maintaining the communication between the model and view elements.
As the user inputs a URL in the web browser, the request goes to the specific server, which calls the controller to take further action. The controller then works with an appropriate model that suits the user request to prepare data needed by the view layer. Here, the view element is automatically chosen due to the two-way data binding construct of MVC based on the data prepared by the controller. The view element is sent back to the user’s browser as a presentable response to the initial request.
How does MVC work?
Changes to the view element are reflected in the model and vice versa. The view element provides the model projection, while the model reveals the application state. Moreover, the controller is isolated from the model and view element. Consequently, the controller part can be tested independently without considering the DOM or browser dependency variables of the view part.
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Benefits of AngularJS
With a focus on code quality and testability, AngularJS is a go-to choice for web developers. According to an August 2022 report by Statista, about 20.39% of global developers use the Angular framework, an upgraded version of AngularJS.
The front-end framework helps build data-driven and customer-centric applications in a quick time and cost-effective manner. Several known websites and applications like Gmail, Paypal, Udemy, Snapchat, Amazon, Netflix, Upwork, Weather.com, and YouTube for PS3 are built with AngularJS.
Let’s understand some of the key benefits of AngularJS for web development.
1. MVC support
Several web development frameworks require programmers to split the software code into three MVC components. Additionally, the programmers need to write another separate code to glue these components. However, AngularJS offers a facility that stitches these separated codes dynamically. As a result, it saves a lot of time for developers.
2. Code reuse
Code reusability is crucial for developers as it allows them to use the predefined templates and modify them as required. AngularJS uses HTML templates, enabling the browser to parse it into DOM via the AngularJS compiler. The templates can be readily used to develop responsive web apps even by people with minimum programming skills as it involves less coding. The practice saves time and money and enhances overall app performance.
3. Plug-and-play feature
AngularJS allows developers to add existing components to newly developed web apps. The code can be directly copied to the component directory. Moreover, the directory can be used to access all framework assets quickly and efficiently.
4. Data binding feature
AngularJS supports one-way and two-way data binding features. It allows developers to manipulate data in the model layer and update the view layer simultaneously. Thanks to automatic data synchronization, data sharing and updating are possible between the two MVC layers of the applications. Also, it reduces the work of developers as they do not have to deal with codes of separate layers.
5. Large community support
AngularJS is managed by Google. It also garners support from the open community as it is an open source framework. Being backed by Google implies that the features will receive regular updates and support. Moreover, open community members can share experiences, address issues, and solve critical problems of fellow members.
6. Support dependency injection (DI)
Dependency injection refers to the process of injecting dependent functionality into the existing software modules at runtime. AngularJS has built-in support for DI. It allows code reusability, where developers can define a specific service and utilize it across multiple modules. Applications are developed, tested, and maintained efficiently with the support of DI.
7. Real-time testing
AngularJS supports both end-to-end testing and unit testing. Testing features, in turn, maintain the high code quality as codes remain bug-free. Moreover, testing also aids in code documentation and resolves dependencies, if any.
8. Quick application prototyping
AngularJS developers can develop interactive applications by writing less code. As a result, the design to the final production timeline is reduced from months to days, saving considerable time, effort, and resources necessary for application implementation.
9. Enhanced server performance
The business operations of any organization depend on its network functionality and availability. That’s why optimizing server performance and ensuring end-user satisfaction is crucial. AngularJS offers features like caching that free up the server CPUs. As a result, the traffic to and from the server is kept in check, which, in turn, increases the efficiency of data processing on the server side.
10. Legal license
Several web development frameworks do not have a clear stand on whether they have legal licenses to provide services of any kind. However, businesses need to use applications that are legally premised. AngularJS is a framework that is released under the MIT license. This implies it is open to the developer community and businesses who intend to use it commercially.
11. Focus on UX
With time, user experience (UX) has become crucial for all businesses as it builds trust and relationships with potential customers. AngularJS enables organizations to design SPAs that allow users to access all the information they need on one page. It not just suits the business needs but also gives a great user experience.
Challenges of AngularJS
Although AngularJS is a popular interactive web development framework, it does have its own share of challenges. Let’s look at some reasons that could cause its downfall if not addressed in the long run.
2. Performance issues
Websites and applications developed using AngularJS find it difficult to handle heavy traffic. They sometimes lag, resulting in below-par app performances. This can particularly affect businesses that have to handle huge volumes of data simultaneously.
3. Difficult to learn
AngularJS lacks the necessary documentation for knowledge sharing and learning. As a result, new learners or web developers take time to adapt to the framework. Moreover, developers who lack experience working with MVC architectural patterns or are unfamiliar with MVC can face even more challenges.
Additionally, directives and features like dependency injections are quite complex for traditional developers to grasp. Hence, AngularJS presents a steep learning curve for budding web developers, business owners, or entrepreneurs looking to build responsive applications.
4. Memory leakage
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As businesses continue to evolve, several investors and business owners are looking to take proactive steps to meet market expectations. They seem more inclined towards linking their businesses (i.e., products or services) to the target market. This is achievable if you have the right front-end apps that act as a medium to reach potential customers without hassle.
That’s where AngularJS comes to the rescue, as it helps develop customized apps that guarantee you faster market reach and ensure substantial business growth. Hence, organizations can plan their AngularJS strategies if they intend to reach a larger user base in today’s fast-paced world.
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