What is Angular?

Angular is a front-end framework for JavaScript that forces web developers to use specific patterns. It was developed by Google and introduced in 2009 as an open-source framework to support the Model View Controller (MVC) structure for the development of dynamic websites. Before this innovation, building dynamic single-page applications (SPAs) was complex and tedious. Therefore, Google simplified the process by developing Angular to let programmers use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) as a basic language and then provide the ability to build on top of the template. Since all data binding and code happens on the client-side, the platform is browser independent and can use any server technology.

What makes Angular different and a great choice for web development is that it is not simply a specific tool but a full client-side solution. Included in the solution is everything that a programmer needs for Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) applications including the way to bind data, validate forms, route, reuse components, and more. The framework abstracts development at the cost of flexibility. However, given that Angular targets CRUD development, the flexibility would be important only for non-CRUD applications such as gaming programs. Angular also uses the concept of declarative programming, which is the programming paradigm that declares an element but provides the code logic somewhere else.  In layman’s terms, declarative programming is like hiring someone to cook dinner. You provide information as to what to cook, but no instructions on how to cook it. It is up to the person to determine the exact recipe.

Programmers can save a lot of time by writing less code. For example, many of the headaches that website developers face includes dealing with the cluttered code created by having to register callback functions. Angular removes this requirement and handles the callbacks for the developer. Furthermore, the HTML Domain Object Model (DOM) no longer has to be manipulated programmatically, thus further simplifying the programmer’s responsibilities from having to deal with low-level tasks. Angular also eliminates a lot of code that handles CRUD operations that require moving data from the server to the user interface and then back to the server. Tasks such as validating a form or displaying errors in input validation are intuitively handled by the framework.

However, not all Angular’s characteristics provide for a positive experience. The framework also has a set of cons that programmers need to consider when selecting a development solution. For example, in certain test scenarios, the performance of applications built with Angular resulted in poor execution. This generally occurs in complex SPAs. Additionally, because of the way that the platform addresses the development of web applications, there is a steep learning curve in adopting the framework. Nevertheless, the code reusability provided by Angular, the ease of readability, its friendly unit-testing features, and the ease of code maintainability all offset any cons and, along with the other benefits, the framework is a great solution that should be considered by all serious web developers.

Because of the steep learning curve and differentiation with other available frameworks, programmers should seek out training specific to the use of the platform. Angular training will help lower the learning curve and will reduce the amount of time needed to begin writing web applications with the new technology.  Individuals seeking training should look for programs that provide insight to concepts that are indispensable to Angular programming including data binding, using directives, developing and using components, service and dependency injection, reactive form design, and communication services, among others. As technology changes and companies develop new programming concepts, it is indispensable for programmers to stay current by seeking training and learn the new platforms.

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