What is AngularJS?

What is AngularJS?

Design your own car. Customise your perfect pizza. A few years ago, building this type of interaction-intensive web application was highly complex and labour-intensive. Now, open-source frameworks like AngularJS make developing these rich interactions faster and easier.

Since launching in 2009, AngularJS (or Angular as it’s commonly referred) has become a leading JavaScript framework. However, if you’re looking to understand the power of AngularJS, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a source that’s not steeped in technical jargon. With that in mind, we give you…

AngularJS for dummies

Let’s start with an analogy to set the context for Angular’s strengths.

Imagine your web page is a house. The walls, floor and ceiling combine to make the structure; the HTML. The paint, carpet and curtains are the decorative elements; the CSS. The electrical wiring behind the switches provides power to lights and other devices; the JavaScript. AngularJS is like an impressive C-Bus home automation system that supercharges what the electrical wiring can do in your home.

For a more technical definition, AngularJS is an open-source JavaScript framework created by Google that lets you build more interactive web applications, which is especially handy if you want users to input lots of data. It’s lightweight, it supports all major browsers and uses a very popular Model-View-Controller (MVC) software architecture.

We’ve picked out a few of Angular’s key strengths here:

  • Data binding: A few years ago, a user’s input would have to be sent to the server for immediate processing, then the page re-drawn to show the new data. Data binding as with AngularJS has revolutionised this process by making user input immediately available for the website’s code for further action.
  • MVC model: MVC is a software architecture that separates the visual appearance of the page from its database and from its data-transforming code. This is most often a benefit for your designers and developers who are able to work simultaneously without impacting each other.
  • Dependency injection: Angular is designed to have a “plug-and-play” style architecture. In other words, it’s easy for your developer to swap components in and out with minimal fuss.
  • Templates: Angular templates are written in HTML and contain Angular-specific elements and attributes. The best part about this is that it combines with model and controller information to render the dynamic view.

By now many of our readers may have glazed over, so let’s bring it back to laymen terms. Remember the house analogy.

Reasons to choose AngularJS?

First, it’s developed and maintained by Google. That means that there’s an extensive community to learn from, as well as talented and available engineers to answer your questions. If Google’s backing it, you can bet it’s a solid foundation built on efficient and reliable code.

Second, and this is a big one, with AngularJS there’s less code to write. Angular does a lot of the heavy lifting around managing user inputs and synchronising data between the server and your web page. With this, your developers will be empowered to produce a more robust solution, while your end users will be impressed and immersed in a smarter, more interactive experience. Also, smarter (less) code could even mean less development time, which means less $$.
 

AngularJS is brilliant for data and interaction-intensive tasks, but it’s not for every website. For instance, it provides no real advantage for simple text and image-focused sites. The learning curve is hard and steep, of that there’s no doubt. But for data and interaction-intensive web pages, it’s likely to be worth the considerable heart-ache of learning AngularJS.

Also, as it’s a JavaScript only framework, an application written in AngularJS doesn’t degrade gracefully. As in, if JavaScript is disabled, the advanced functionality disappears. Using the house analogy from earlier, without JavaScript all of the electrical wiring (and its benefits, such as lights) won’t be available.

If you’re looking for more information about this amazing framework, head to the AngularJS website or contact iFactory.

iFactory is one of Brisbane’s leading digital agencies providing advanced responsive web design, eCommerce solutions, complete internet marketing and systems integration. See for yourself our portfolio, whether it be our online designs or offline designs.

Contact iFactory today to find out how a sophisticated online presence with or without AngularJS can drive your business further.

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