AngularJS, an open-source front-end web framework, was released ten years ago on October 10, 2010. Six years later, the same team at Google that created AngularJS, released Angular, also an open-source front-end web framework often cited as Angular 2.
Having read the above two sentences, we observe that the definitions of both the frameworks contain absolutely the same terms. Both are open-source, front-end web frameworks and were developed by the same team. So what really is the difference? And where do we use them?
How are AngularJS vs Angular different?
As a programmer, it becomes important for one to identify which technological framework or technique one should use for a particular project. To be able to do this, one must have a clear understanding of how every framework is different and which one is apt for a particular task.
Therefore it becomes necessary to understand how AngularJS vs Angular are different. The difference comes majorly from the fact that Angular is the improved version of AngularJS. Therefore, what AngularJS can do, Angular can do better. But not always!
In this article, we will look in detail at how the two are different and whether Angular really is better than AngularJS.
TypeScript (TS) is a programming language that was developed by Microsoft for the development of large applications. TS is a superset of JS.
If we have to depict the relation between JS and TS through a diagram, it will be such:
Take note of the little bridge between TS and JS, we shall come to its significance at the end of this section!
What sets TS apart from JS is its feature of Static Type Checking. Let’s look at this term word by word.
TS is a programming language that finds out the errors in a code without running it. This characteristic refers to Static Checking. Now, what does it check that makes it different from JS? Types. TS determines error based on the kinds of elements or the types of elements.
This is referred to as Type Checking. Now since this type of checking is done before the code is executed, we call it Static Type Checking. We take an example from TypeScript Docs to illustrate this:
Image Source: Documentation – TypeScript for the New Programmer
Here, the error is pointed out without running the code, based on the type of <obj>.
Now coming to the little bridge between TS and JS in the diagram above. Well, TS is a superset of JS and the two are connected with a bridge because one, a code that you have written in JS can be run as TS and two, to learn TS you must learn JS first and then go through the bridge to learn TS.
Components VS Directives
AngularJS is Directives-Based whereas Angular is Component-Based. Now, what exactly are components and directives?
- Directives: In AngularJS, directives are something that goes hand in hand with the HTML Compiler.
At a high level, directives are markers on a Document Object Model(DOM) element (such as an attribute, element name, comment, or CSS class) that tell AngularJS’s HTML compiler ($compile) to attach a specified behaviour to that DOM element (e.g. via event listeners), or even to transform the DOM element and its children.
So when the HTML Compiler runs through the DOM, it matches every directive to its element.
- Components: Components are just a subset of Directives. They are the most important aspects of any Angular application. Every Angular application consists of a tree of Angular components.
The Angular Docs, points out that every Angular component consists of four parts as shown in the diagram below.
Something to note here is that Angular does use some standard directives (AngularJS uses a pack of them) and AngularJS uses components as a special derivative.
1. Architecture of Angular
As we discussed in the previous section, every Angular application has its basic building block as Components. Components are further organised into NgModules which is a set, define an Angular application. Take a look at the diagram below.
An Angular application is defined by a set of NgModules. An application always has at least a root module that enables bootstrapping and typically has many more feature modules.
For a more detailed description of the architecture, referring to this page would be helpful.
2. Architecture of AngularJS – MVC
The architecture of AngularJS follows MVC, i.e. Model View Controller. It consists of three parts:
- Model: Manages application data.
- View: It reviews the data in the model and then generates the output.
- Controller: It sends commands to the model and the view which are generated from the input that it receives.
Image Source: developer.mozilla.org
Mobile Support: AngularJS does not provide mobile support whereas Angular does.
Tool Support: Having its own interface and being a programming language in itself, Angular uses the Command Line Interface. On the other hand, AngularJS requires third party interfaces like IDEs.
What had made AngularJS popular among web developers was its two-way binding feature. Which gives it good performance but only while the applications are small. As the code becomes more and more complex, it becomes a bane rather than a boon.
Angular on the other hand, because of its improved architecture makes applications faster and has an overall better performance when it comes to bigger applications.
Advantages over one another
Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of the two over another.
Advantages of AngularJS
- The MVC architecture allows you to separate the interface code from the data and programming logic. This proves to be a great advantage while working on complex applications.
- The two-way data binding characteristic of AngularJS is a major boon to web developers as it makes it much faster and easier to bind the data.
- AngularJS frameworks are highly re-usable because of their simpler codes.
Advantages of Angular
- As we discussed in the section on Performance, Angular applications are much faster than AngularJS applications. It is even said that the former is five times faster than the latter.
- Because of being TypeScript based, Angular codes are much cleaner and accurate. The outcome is always a very high-quality code.
- Mobile Support is a huge plus.
- In Angular applications, only those components are put into action that has been required at a certain moment. This avoids slow loading.
- The CLI (Command Line Interface) allows the testing to be more accessible. The dependency on third-party interfaces becomes null.
Which one should I learn – Angular or AngularJS?
Having gone through all the differences between the two and also the advantages, it is fair to ask which of the two one should learn. We have understood that while your application is small, AngularJS is the framework to go to without any hesitation. But as the applications become more complex, the need to implement Angular arises.
This being said, one must keep in mind that learning Angular consists of a very steep learning curve. It takes a lot to master it considering you also have to master TypeScript as a prerequisite. Nevertheless, Angular is undoubtedly the future. Big companies like Google have shifted to TypeScript.
Take a look at the search trends comparison of Angular vs AngularJS. The solid line represents Angular and the dotted line represents AngularJS.
Image Source: Google Trends
Frequently Asked Questions
Angular is better than AngularJS only while building bigger, more complex applications.
AngularJS is considered to be the first version of Angular. But it is not right to call it Angular since this term is more often used to denote Angular 2.
AngularJS is losing its popularity when it comes to building bigger applications because of the improved characteristics of Angular. But it is still preferred by developers while building smaller applications.
Angular is an open-source front-end web framework.
No, Angular does not have an MVC architecture.
In this article we ran you through the following:
- How Angular is different from AngularJS
- Difference between Components and Directives
- Advantages of Angular
- Advantages of AngularJS
With this discussion, this article attempted to give you a clear understanding of AngularJS vs Angular and the difference between the two.