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Angular 2 is coming. And it’s a big deal.

by Patrick Sinke on December 16, 2015 · 0 comments

Angular is not new. The first version of this javascript framework saw the light of day in 2009, and back then it already was an impressive framework for building complex, singlepage browser applications with Javascript (EcmaScript 5 or ES5 and the soon-to-be-released ES6 language), Typescript or Dart.

Six years later it’s not the only Javascript framework that can do that. Competitors are Meteor, Facebook’s React , EmberJS, good old jQuery and many others. All have their specific strengths. For instance, Angular has two-way binding and supports modular applications. The thing is, all those frameworks became more and more popular, where the interest in Angular was declining.

But yesterday, 6 years after the first release, the Angular team announced Angular 2. Angular 2 is the successor of AngularJS (sometimes referred to as Angular.JS). And the development team promises an enormous gain in performance, but also in scalability, and wider browser support. Internet Explorer 9, 10, 11, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Mobile Safari and Android 4.1+ can now benefit from Angular 2.

One of the features the team has invested in heavily, is the so-called Change Detection. An Angular application is a reactive system, and detection of changes is in the core of that. By optimizing this process, they managed to make web applications more responsive. Other performance improvements are realised in view caching, so that subsequently rendered elements are much faster, one-time and offline compile, and other ways of making sure pages are loaded as fast as possible.

Beside the well-known MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern, Angular 2 will also have improved support for FRP, or Functional Reactive Programming by “implementing a unidirectional data flow where changes always propagate from parent components to their children”.

There is a catch though. Unfortunately, Angular 2 is not backwards compatible, and there is no migration tool. That means any AngularJS applications must be migrated step by step. A small silver lining is that they have enabled mixing of Angular 1 and 2 in a single application, and even components of different versions in the same view should work. And last but not least, the ngUpgrade library (still in alpha state!) should help calling Angular 1 from Angular 2 code and vice versa.
I’d expect some bumps on the road anyway when moving to Angular 2, but the good thing is the upgrade does not need to be big bang.

There is a quickstart tutorial on the Angular site, so check it out.

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