What is AngularJS?
Two of the main features Angular offers are data binding and dependency injection. Data binding allows you to quickly connect the elements of the HTML document you want to alter with the database or form manipulation code. Dependency injection is a method of passing resources to angular when and where they are needed, keeping the code base clean and logical while avoiding a big mess with global variables.
Where did it come from?
Angular is an open source library which was developed by engineers at Google and has since gained support from a community of individuals and corporations who want to continue to address the challenges faced by developers working on single-page applications. The framework provides a client side model-view-controller (MVC) structure which allows for easy and concise manipulation of data on the page as the user interacts with the application. Angular is currently in use by websites like Wolfram Alpha, NBC, Intel, Sprint and ABC News.
Angular employs a MEAN stack – MongoDB for the database, Express for a web application framework, Angular.js scripts and Node.js for a runtime environment. Installation is quick and easy, allowing developers to quickly install and test the platform to see if it will be a benefit to their projects. Some familiarity with Node.js will give devs an advantage here, but you can get started without having to become an expert first.
The AngularJS project was originally developed in 2009 by Misko Hevery at Brat Tech, LLC but the developers decided after their initial launch to change gears and release the project as open source. Currently the software package is at version 1.5 but there has been a 2.0 release which many users are having difficulty adopting. Users are encouraged to continue to work with the 1.5 version if they have already established sites using it, but start with 2.0 and its altered syntax if they are just picking up the library.
What do people commonly use it for?
Angular was built with the goal of adapting and extending traditional HTML to present dynamic content through a two-way data-binding which allows for the automatic synchronization of models and views. This means that using the Angular framework you have less to worry about when you are ready to link your website’s forms to the database. With a modified HTML attribute you can indicate which fields should be connected to which variables in the data model and the library will perform the updates for you. Users are prevented from having to worry about creating the update process and there is far less managing of data structures on the back-end.
Ways you can improve your website with AngularJS
So now the question is: will the AngularJS library benefit you? If you are looking to create single-page applications then this framework is meant for you. You will save precious time by taking advantage of the data binding system and your code will be clean and easy to understand thanks to the dependency injection strategy.
If you are aiming to construct a larger web application you will still be able to take advantage of Angular’s tools. The library aims to simplify construction by providing the programmer with a higher level of abstraction. This is ideally suited to Create Read Update Delete (CRUD) methods, which make up the majority of web applications. However, if you are creating a web game or GUI editor the level of DOM manipulation required means AngularJS might not be as useful.
Places to learn about AngularJS
If you are interested in learning more about this popular new library for enhancing your web application development process the best place to start learning is Angular’s own documentation. Another option is the interactive tutorial at learn-angular.org. Finally, if you need to get up to speed quickly CodeAcademy.com offers a “Learn Angular” series of training modules.