When it comes to choosing a front-end web development framework, modern programmers have several good options. Angular, an open source framework that was created by Google and officially released to the public in 2010, is one of them. Other popular contenders include React and Vue.
Wondering which one to choose? This article offers some insight by highlighting eight reasons to use Angular for developing front-end web apps. I’m not here to argue that Angular is the best framework in all cases, but I want to emphasize some of its strengths, and explain how it compares to frameworks like React and Vue.
Reason #1: Angular simplifies MVC
Model-view-controller (MVC) architectures, which break applications into three distinct components, are a common strategy for developing user-facing applications. Most web development frameworks require developers to implement an MVC architecture by designing and writing the code for each component separately, then writing more code to connect the components together.
Angular simplifies and streamlines this process by putting the different components together automatically, saving you time. Thus, although Angular is certainly not the only framework that supports MVC architectures (it can be done with Vue and React as well, but putting the components together requires more effort in that case), it makes it easier and faster than other frameworks to build an MVC architecture.
Reason #2: The large Angular ecosystem
When it comes to technology ecosystems, bigger is better. Technologies that have a large community of individuals and companies engaged in them are easier to use because support is abundant, compatibility is widespread, and the risk of the technology being abandoned is low.
Angular has all of these strengths. It is supported and built by a dedicated team at Google, and Google itself uses Angular. The company has also given Angular Long-Term Support (LTS). This means that the tech giant plans to stick with Angular and scale it up in the future.
The strength of the Angular ecosystem doesn’t end with Google. Angular also has a very large community of users who are willing to support each other. This community provides another source of support and dynamism.
Reason #3: Angular Universal and server-side rendering
Server-side rendering is a technique that allows web servers to generate content that would normally be built by the client (in other words, the end-user’s browser). Server-side rendering is useful for several reasons. It makes pages easy for web crawlers to access. It also improves performance, especially on mobile and low-powered devices that would struggle to render the content on the client side quickly due to low resources. And it helps to keep users satisfied by facilitating faster page load time.
A regular Angular app executes in the browser and renders pages in the DOM in response to the actions of users. However, the Angular community offers a simple tool for changing this behavior: Angular Universal, which allows static application pages to be generated on the server through server-side rendering. By integrating Angular Universal with applications, server-side pages can be generated and served in response to requests from browsers.
Reason #4: Angular Material Design
Starting with Angular 5.0, Angular features integrated support for Material Design in its framework. Material Design is an open source toolset that helps developers build attractive interfaces quickly. It streamlines the creation of modern UI components that work across the Web, mobile, and desktop.
Material Design themes and templates are preconfigured for use with Angular, making them easy to integrate into an Angular project. In addition, Material Design components can be used in conjunction with server-side rendering on Angular, making it easy to incorporate them into an Angular-based application that takes advantage of the server-side performance improvements described above.
Most other frameworks also work with Material Design, but not all of them offer official, integrated support for it.
Reason #5: Hierarchical dependency injection under Angular
Angular provides hierarchical dependency injection, which is particularly useful for assembling data services for applications. In hierarchical dependency injection, there is a tree of injectors parallel to an app’s component tree. With dependency injection, a class asks for dependencies from external sources, rather than creating the dependencies itself. This can improve performance. It also simplifies the work of Web developers by allowing them to import dependencies externally instead of configuring them within the application. Angular provides declared dependencies to a class when it is instantiated. The Angular dependency injection framework lets users supply data from an injectable service class, defined separately in its own file. Any dependencies that a service requires can be “injected” into its constructor, and into the objects at runtime. This allows injected objects to be overridden if needed and provides consistency across the application.
Reason #6: Angular’s modular design
Within Angular, everything is organized into modules, and everything from services to directives has to be organized into one or more modules. Modules increase code reusability by dividing code into features and reusable chunks. They also immensely simplify division of labor in an organization, as well as consistency and maintenance of code.
To be sure, Angular is by no means unique in its modular design. Modularity is common within a number of modern programming languages and frameworks.
Still, I’d argue that Angular is especially modular, in that not only basic code components like functions, but also any object you build using Angular, can be configured and deployed using a modular architecture. This modularity is especially advantageous in today’s era of microservices and distributed architectures, which are easier to integrate with applications that have a modular design and can therefore be deployed as distinct parts of services across a large infrastructure.
In most respects, Vue offers the same modularity features as Angular. I can’t say the same about React, which wasn’t designed with modularity as a primary goal.
Reason #7: Angular unit testing
Angular is unit-testing ready. Unit tests are one of the first types of tests that developers can perform within the software delivery pipeline to ensure that their code meets intended expectations. Unit testing allows developers to test new features thoroughly before adding them to an application’s main code base. That way, bugs can be detected quickly and in isolation from the main code base, which makes them much easier to address.
In theory, code written in any programming language can be subjected to unit testing. However, unit test compatibility is an explicit design goal of Angular, which means developers do not have to modify their code or use special testing tools to do unit tests with Angular.
Reason #8: Angular’s TypeScript foundation
This is helpful not only because it streamlines your workflow and helps you avoid converting files from one format to another, but also because using TypeScript increases your chances of catching an error early. Keep in mind, too, that if you’re not comfortable with TypeScript, you can opt out of the TypeScript-specific features in Angular.
Vue features limited support for TypeScript (although Vue developers say that will change in the upcoming Vue 3.0 release). As for React, it can be used with TypeScript, but only if you add it to your project; TypeScript is not built into React.
Admittedly, not all of the features described above are unique to Angular. You’ll find some of them in other web frameworks. But when you put all of these features together, Angular stands out for its versatility, modularization and hierarchical dependency injection. If those traits are important to your project, Angular may be the best fit for your programming needs.