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Difference between Angular and AngularJS: A Detailed Guide

Published: 30th November, 2023
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Meghdeep Patnaik

Head - Content and Social Media at almaBetter

In this article, we explore the difference between Angular and AngularJS, shedding light on their architectures, features, and how they have evolved over time.

In the dynamic universe of web development, Angular and AngularJS have made their mark as powerful frameworks, each serving distinct purposes in building robust and interactive web applications. As developers navigate the evolving dynamics of the industry, understanding what is the difference between Angular and AngularJS is crucial for making informed choices. In this article, we dive deep into these two frameworks, shedding light on their architectures, features, and how they have evolved.

AngularJS: Laying the Foundation

Introduction:

AngularJS, developed by Google, debuted in 2010 as an open-source front-end JavaScript framework. It introduced the concept of declarative programming and two-way data binding, allowing developers to create dynamic and interactive web applications with less boilerplate code.

Key Features:

1. Two-way Data Binding: AngularJS pioneered the concept of two-way data binding, enabling automatic synchronization between the model and the view. Any changes in the model instantly reflect in the view and vice versa.

2. Dependency Injection: AngularJS embraced dependency injection, making managing components and their dependencies easier. This feature enhances code modularity and testability.

3. Directives: Directives in AngularJS are markers on a DOM element that tell the library to do something to a DOM element. Directives allow developers to create reusable components and extend HTML with custom behavior.

4. Scope: AngularJS introduced the concept of a scope - an object that refers to the application model. It serves as a context where expressions are evaluated.

Advantages:

Quick Prototyping: AngularJS is well-suited for rapid prototyping, enabling developers to create dynamic applications with less effort.

Declarative Code: The framework's declarative approach simplifies code readability and maintenance.

Community Support: Being one of the earliest JavaScript frameworks, AngularJS boasts a large and supportive community.

Disadvantages:

Performance: As applications grow in complexity, two-way data binding can impact performance.

Outdated Technology: AngularJS relies on older JavaScript practices, which may not align with modern development trends.

Angular: The Evolution Continues

Introduction:

Angular, commonly called "Angular 2+" or simply "Angular," emerged as a complete rewrite of AngularJS. Google released it in 2016, bringing a more modular and component-based architecture. Unlike its predecessor, Angular is written in TypeScript, a statically typed superset of JavaScript.

Key Features:

1. Component-based Architecture: Angular embraces a component-based architecture, where applications are built as a tree of components. Each component encapsulates its logic, templates, and styles.

2. TypeScript: Angular is built with TypeScript, introducing static typing and enhancing developer productivity through features like interfaces and classes.

3. Hierarchical Dependency Injection: Angular continues to leverage dependency injection more hierarchically and efficiently. This allows for better organization and management of dependencies.

4. RxJS for Reactive Programming: Angular utilizes RxJS (Reactive Extensions for JavaScript) for handling asynchronous operations and events in a reactive and scalable manner.

5. Improved Performance: Angular's change detection mechanism and Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation contribute to improved performance compared to AngularJS.

Advantages:

Modularity: The component-based architecture promotes modularity and reusability of code.

TypeScript: TypeScript enhances code quality, improves tooling support, and enables better developer collaboration.

Mobile Development: Angular offers tools like Angular Mobile Toolkit for building mobile applications.

Disadvantages:

Learning Curve: The transition from AngularJS to Angular can be challenging due to the significant architectural changes.

Complexity: Angular introduces additional concepts and features, which might be overwhelming for smaller projects.

Angular vs AngularJS:

1. Architecture:

AngularJS: Follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture.

Angular: Embraces a component-based architecture, where applications are built as a tree of components.

2. Language:

AngularJS: Primarily uses JavaScript for development.

Angular: Built with TypeScript, a statically typed superset of JavaScript.

3. Data Binding:

AngularJS: Implements two-way data binding.

Angular: Retains two-way data binding but provides more control with one-way data binding when needed.

4. Mobile Development:

AngularJS: Lacks dedicated tools for mobile development.

Angular: Offers tools like Angular Mobile Toolkit, making it more suitable for mobile app development.

5. Performance:

AngularJS: May face performance issues, especially as applications grow in complexity.

Angular: Introduces improved performance through mechanisms like Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation.

6. Dependency Injection:

AngularJS: Supports dependency injection but in a less hierarchical manner.

Angular: Leverages hierarchical dependency injection, enhancing organization and efficiency.

7. Code Structure:

AngularJS: Emphasizes a more imperative coding style.

Angular: Promotes a declarative coding style focusing on templates and components.

8. Tooling:

AngularJS: Limited tooling support compared to Angular.

Angular: Offers comprehensive tools, including the Angular CLI (Command Line Interface) for project scaffolding and management.

9. Community and Support:

AngularJS: Boasts a mature community but is gradually transitioning to Angular.

Angular: Has a vibrant and active community with continuous updates and support.

Choosing Between Angular and AngularJS:

1. Legacy Projects:

AngularJS: Suitable for maintaining and updating existing AngularJS projects.

Angular: Recommended for new projects or significant updates to existing projects.

2. Learning Curve:

AngularJS: Easier to learn for developers familiar with JavaScript.

Angular: Has a steeper learning curve owing to its component-based architecture and TypeScript.

3. Performance Requirements:

AngularJS: Appropriate for smaller projects with less emphasis on performance.

Angular: Preferred for larger projects focusing on performance and scalability.

4. TypeScript Adoption:

AngularJS: Lacks native TypeScript support.

Angular: Ideal for developers who appreciate the benefits of TypeScript and static typing.

5. Mobile Development:

AngularJS: Not the primary choice for mobile development.

Angular: Offers dedicated tools for building mobile applications.

Check out our new guides on "AngularJS Interview Questions" and "Typescript vs Javascript"

Conclusion

In the perpetually evolving web development domain, the choice between Angular and AngularJS depends on a project's specific needs, the development team's existing skill set, and the performance requirements. AngularJS, with its two-way data binding and simplicity, is a reliable choice for legacy projects or smaller applications. On the other hand, Angular, with its modern architecture, TypeScript integration, and improved performance, is the go-to framework for building robust, scalable, and feature-rich applications.

As developers venture on the journey of crafting web applications, the decision between Angular and AngularJS becomes pivotal. The intricacies outlined in this article aim to guide developers in making informed choices aligning their projects with the strengths of each framework. Whether it's the declarative nature of AngularJS or the modular architecture of Angular, both frameworks continue to play essential roles in shaping the landscape of modern web development.

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