How to upgrade your Angular and NgRx Apps to v8

How to upgrade your Angular and NgRx Apps to v8

How to upgrade your Angular and NgRx Apps to v8 - Do you have an awesome application written with Angular v7 using NgRx v7, but have been feeling left out will all the mentions online and at conferences about Angular v8 and NgRx v8?..

How to upgrade your Angular and NgRx Apps to v8 - Do you have an awesome application written with Angular v7 using NgRx v7, but have been feeling left out will all the mentions online and at conferences about Angular v8 and NgRx v8?..

Well you are in luck! Today we will explore together, how to upgrade our applications to use Angular v8 using the Angular CLI tooling. We will also explore upgrading to NgRx v8. This will allow us to take advantage of the new features provided in NgRx v8. Included with NgRx v8 is a shiny set of creators, or type-safe factory functions, for actions, effects, and reducers.

Upgrading Dependencies Upgrading Angular

The Angular team has provided a great website that walks through the process of upgrading in-depth. This website can be found at Angular Update Tool. We will touch on some of the information today.
The first step is the process is to upgrade our application to Angular v8. We will use the Angular CLI to manage this process for us.

This is the preferred method, as Angular has provided built-in migration scripts or schematics to alleviate some of the manual process involved had we just simply updated versions in our package.json.

Let's start by running the following command in the terminal:

Update the Global Angular CLI version

npm install -g @angular/cli

Update the core framework and local CLI to v8

ng update @angular/cli @angular/core

Throughout this process, we might encounter issues with third-party libaries. In those instances, it is best to visit the GitHub issues and repositories for those libraries for resolution.## Upgrading NgRx

Now that we have upgraded our application to use Angular v8, let's proceed with updating NgRx to v8. We will make use of the Angular CLI here as well.

Update NgRx to v8

ng update @ngrx/store

The prior command should update our package.json dependencies and run any NgRx-provided migrations to keep our application in working order.

Depending on your setup, ng update @ngrx/store may not automatically update the additional @ngrx/* libraries that you have installed. If this happens, the best course is to manually run npm install for each additional module in use with NgRx.

Examples are as follows:

npm install @ngrx/[email protected]
npm install @ngrx/[email protected]
npm install @ngrx/[email protected]
npm install @ngrx/[email protected]

NgRx Migration Guide

The NgRx team has provided a detailed migration guide for updating to NgRx v8. More information on upgrading to v8 of NgRx can be found here: V8 Update Guide

Learn by Example - a Fruit Store (NgRx v7)

One of the most popular ways to learn new methods, is through code examples. Let's explore the following example of a simplified NgRx store that holds an array of Fruit objects.

Each Fruit object consists of three properties fruitId, fruitClass and fruitName.

interface Fruit {
    fruitId: number;
    fruitType: string;
    fruitName: string;
}

For example, if we had an orange, it might look something like this:

const orange: Fruit = {
    fruitId: 1,
    fruitType: 'citrus',
    fruitName: 'orange'
};

State

Exploring further, our State object in the NgRx store will contain properties like fruits, isLoading, and errorMessage.

  • fruits is defined as an array for Fruit objects
  • isLoading is a boolean to keep track of when the store is in the process of loading data from an external API.
  • errorMessage is a string property that is null unless an error has occurred while requesting data from an external API.

An example State interface might look like the following:

interface State {
    fruits: Fruit[];
    isLoading: boolean;
    errorMessage: string;
}

An example store with fruits loaded might look like the following:

const state: State = {
    fruits: [
        {
            fruitId: 1,
            fruitType: 'citrus',
            fruitName: 'orange'
        }
    ],
    isLoading: false,
    errorMessage: null
}

Actions

Following proper redux pattern guidance, we cannot directly update state, so we need to define a set of actions to work with our state through a reducer. Let's imagine we have 3 actions for this example:

  • [App Init] Load Request - This action is intended to be dispatched from our UI layer to indicate we are requesting to load Fruit objects into our store. This action does not have a payload or props.
  • [Fruits API] Load Success - This action is intended to be dispatched from our effects when an [App Init] Load Request has been dispatched, an API has been called and successful response is received from the API. This action contains a payload or props object that includes the array of Fruit object to be loaded into our store.
  • [Fruits API] Load Failure - This action is intended to be dispatched from our effects when an [App Init] Load Request has been dispatched, an API has been called and failure response is received from the API. This action contains a payload or props object that includes the error message of our API request, so that it can be loaded into our store.

NgRx v7 Implementation

The actual NgRx v7 implementation of our actions might look something like the following:

import { Action } from '@ngrx/store';
import { Fruit } from '../../models';

export enum ActionTypes {
  LOAD_REQUEST = '[App Init] Load Request',
  LOAD_FAILURE = '[Fruits API] Load Failure',
  LOAD_SUCCESS = '[Fruits API] Load Success'
}

export class LoadRequestAction implements Action {
  readonly type = ActionTypes.LOAD_REQUEST;
}

export class LoadFailureAction implements Action {
  readonly type = ActionTypes.LOAD_FAILURE;
  constructor(public payload: { error: string }) {}
}

export class LoadSuccessAction implements Action {
  readonly type = ActionTypes.LOAD_SUCCESS;
  constructor(public payload: { fruits: Fruit[] }) {}
}

export type ActionsUnion = LoadRequestAction | LoadFailureAction | LoadSuccessAction;

NgRx v8 - Upgrading to createAction

It's important to note, that while createAction is the hot new way of defining an Action in NgRx, the existing method of defining an enum, class and exporting a type union will still work just fine in NgRx v8.
Beginning with version 8 of NgRx, actions can be declared using the new createAction method. This method is a factory function, or a functionthat returns a function.

According to the official NgRx documentation, "The createAction function returns a function, that when called returns an object in the shape of the Action interface. The props method is used to define any additional metadata needed for the handling of the action. Action creators provide a consistent, type-safe way to construct an action that is being dispatched."

In order to update to createAction, we need to do the following steps:

  1. Create a new export const for our action. If our action has a payload, we will also need to migrate to using the props method to define our payload as props.

Example for [App Init] Load Request

// before
export class LoadRequestAction implements Action {
  readonly type = ActionTypes.LOAD_REQUEST;
}
// after
export const loadRequest = createAction('[App Init] Load Request');

Example for [Fruits API] Load Success

// before
export class LoadSuccessAction implements Action {
  readonly type = ActionTypes.LOAD_SUCCESS;
  constructor(public payload: { fruits: Fruit[] }) {}
}
// after
export const loadSuccess = createAction('[Fruits API] Load Success', props<{fruits: Fruit[]}>());

  1. Remove the old action from the ActionTypes enum
  2. Remove the old action from the ActionsUnion

Our final migrated actions file might look something like this:

import { Action, props } from '@ngrx/store';
import { Fruit } from '../../models';

export const loadRequest = createAction('[App Init] Load Request');
export const loadFailure = createAction('[Fruits API] Load Failure', props<{errorMessage: string}>());
export const loadSuccess = createAction('[Fruits API] Load Success', props<{fruits: Fruit[]}>());

As we can see, this is a huge reduction in code, we have gone from 24 lines of code, down to 6 lines of code.

NgRx v8 - Dispatching createAction Actions

A final note is that we need to update the way we dispatch our actions. This is because we no longer need to create class instances, rather we are calling factory functions that return an object of our action.

Our before and after will look something like this:

// before 
this.store.dispatch(new featureActions.LoadSuccessAction({ fruits }))

// after
this.store.dispatch(featureActions.loadSuccess({ fruits }))

Reducer

Continuing with our example, we need a reducer setup to broker our updates to the store. Recalling back to the redux pattern, we cannot directly update state. We must, through a pure function, take in current state, an action, and return a new updated state with the action applied. Typically, reducers are large switch statements keyed on incoming actions.

Let's imagine our reducer handles the following scenarios:

  • On [App Init] Load Request we want the state to reflect the following values:
    state.isLoading: true``````state.errorMessage: null* On [Fruits API] Load Success we want the state to reflect the following values:
    state.isLoading: false``````state.errorMessage: null``````state.fruits: action.payload.fruits* On [Fruits API] Load Failure we want the state to reflect the following values:
    state.isLoading: false``````state.errorMessage: action.payload.errorMessage### NgRx v7 Implementation

The actual NgRx v7 implementation of our reducer might look something like the following:

import { ActionsUnion, ActionTypes } from './actions';
import { initialState, State } from './state';

export function featureReducer(state = initialState, action: ActionsUnion): State {
  switch (action.type) {
    case ActionTypes.LOAD_REQUEST: {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoading: true,
        errorMessage: null
      };
    }
    case ActionTypes.LOAD_SUCCESS: {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoading: false,
        errorMessage: null,
        fruits: action.payload.fruits
      };
    }
    case ActionTypes.LOAD_FAILURE: {
      return {
        ...state,
        isLoading: false,
        errorMessage: action.payload.errorMessage
      };
    }
    default: {
      return state;
    }
  }
}

NgRx v8 - Upgrading to createReducer

It's important to note, that while createReducer is the hot new way of defining a reducer in NgRx, the existing method of defining a functionwith a switch statement will still work just fine in NgRx v8.
Beginning with version 8 of NgRx, reducers can be declared using the new createReducer method.

According to the official NgRx documentation, "The reducer function's responsibility is to handle the state transitions in an immutable way. Create a reducer function that handles the actions for managing the state using the createReducer function."

In order to update to createReducer, we need to do the following steps:

  1. Create a new const reducer = createReducer for our reducer.
  2. Convert our switch case statements into on method calls. Please note, the default case is handled automatically for us. The first parameter of the on method is the action to trigger on, the second parameter is a handler that takes in state and returns a new version of state. If the action provides props, a second optional input parameter can be provided. In the example below we will use destructuring to pull the necessary properties out of the props object.
  3. Create a new export function reducer to wrap our const reducer for AOT support.

Once completed, our updated featureReducer will look something like the following:

import { createReducer, on } from '@ngrx/store';
import * as featureActions from './actions';
import { initialState, State } from './state';
...
const featureReducer = createReducer(
  initialState,
  on(featureActions.loadRequest, state => ({ ...state, isLoading: true, errorMessage: null })),
  on(featureActions.loadSuccess, (state, { fruits }) => ({ ...state, isLoading: false, errorMessage: null, fruits })),
  on(featureActions.loadFailure, (state, { errorMessage }) => ({ ...state, isLoading: false, errorMessage: errorMessage })),
);

export function reducer(state: State | undefined, action: Action) {
  return featureReducer(state, action);
}

Effects

Because we want to keep our reducer a pure function, it's often desirable to place API requests into side-effects. In NgRx, these are called Effects and provide a reactive, RxJS-based way to link actions to observable streams.

In our example, we will have an Effect that listens for an [App Init] Load Request Action and makes an HTTP request to our imaginary Fruits APIbackend.

  • Upon a successful result from the Fruits API the response is mapped to an [Fruits API] Load Success action setting the payload of fruitsto the body of the successful response.
  • Upon a failure result from the Fruits API the error message is mapped to an [Fruits API] Load Failure action setting the payload of errorMessage to the error from the failure response.

NgRx v7 Implementation

The actual NgRx v7 implementation of our effect might look something like the following:

@Effect()
  loadRequestEffect$: Observable<Action> = this.actions$.pipe(
    ofType<featureActions.LoadRequestAction>(
      featureActions.ActionTypes.LOAD_REQUEST
    ),
    concatMap(action =>
      this.dataService
        .getFruits()
        .pipe(
          map(
            fruits =>
              new featureActions.LoadSuccessAction({
                fruits
              })
          ),
          catchError(error =>
            observableOf(new featureActions.LoadFailureAction({ errorMessage: error.message }))
          )
        )
    )
  );

NgRx v8 - Upgrading to createEffect

It's important to note, that while createEffect is the hot new way of defining a reducer in NgRx, the existing method of defining a class property with an @Effect() decorator will still work just fine in NgRx v8.
Beginning with version 8 of NgRx, effects can be declared using the new createEffect method, according to the official NgRx documentation.

In order to update to createEffect, we need to do the following steps:

  1. Import createEffect from @ngrx/effects
  2. Remove the @Effect() decorator
  3. Remove the Observable<Action> type annotation
  4. Wrap this.actions$.pipe(...) with createEffect(() => ...)
  5. Remove the <featureActions.LoadRequestAction> type annotation from ofType
  6. Change the ofType input parameter from featureActions.ActionTypes.LOAD_REQUEST to featureActions.loadRequest
  7. Update the action calls to remove new and to use the creator instead of class instance. For example, new featureActions.LoadSuccessAction({fruits}) becomes featureActions.loadSuccess({fruits}).

Once completed, our updated loadRequestEffect will look something like the following:

  loadRequestEffect$ = createEffect(() => this.actions$.pipe(
        ofType(featureActions.loadRequest),
        concatMap(action =>
        this.dataService
            .getFruits()
            .pipe(
                map(fruits => featureActions.loadSuccess({fruits})),
                catchError(error =>
                    observableOf(featureActions.loadFailure({ errorMessage: error.message }))
                )
            )
        )
    )
  );

Full Video Walkthrough

If you would like to watch a full video walkthrough here you go.

Conclusion

This brings us to the end of this guide. Hopefully you've been able to learn about upgrading your application to Angular v8 and NgRx v8. In addition, you should feel confident in taking advantage of some of the new features available in NgRx v8 to reduce the occurrence of what some might refer to as boilerplate. Happy updating and upgrading!

How to Use Cookies in Angular for Storing user’s Credentials

How to Use Cookies in Angular for Storing user’s Credentials

In this post, I will be explaining about using Cookies in Angular for Storing user’s Credentials

By using cookies we are going to store the user's login data, if the user's credentials are valid, then it will be directed to the Dashboard page.

In this post, I will be explaining about Angular cookies. So what is a cookie? Cookies are like a small package of information that is stored by the user’s browser. Cookies persist across multiple requests and browser sessions that should be set so that they can be a great method for authentication in web applications. Sometimes we will have some queries about which is to be used -- either local storage or cookies? Before that, I like to say that the cookies and local storage serve different purposes.

The local storage can be read on the client-side, whereas the cookies are being read on the server-side. The biggest difference is the data size is about to store, the local storage will give more space to store, whereas the cookie is limited by the size of to store.

As I said above the cookies are used on the server-side whereas the local storage is used on the client-side. The local storage is a way of storing the data in the client’s PC, by saving the key/ value pair in a web browser with no expiration date. We will discuss about using local storage in the next article, so coming to the point, as I said the cookies are a kind of small file that are stored on the user’s browser.

The cookie is a small table which will contain key and data values so, by using this it will be very useful to carry information from one session to another session. Once we are about to store data on the server without using cookies then it will be difficult to retrieve a particular user’s information without a login on each visit to that website.

So far we have seen about the overview of a cookie and the usage of it. Now in this article, I will explain about storing the username and password of a static user in the cookie table. So, I have created two components, namely the login component and dashboard component, and I have set a static username and password in authservice.ts file.

So, when a user logs in to the login form by providing his user’s credentials the authservice checks the input and redirects the user to the dashboard if the user’s credentials are valid. If the user’s credentials are not valid it will alert by throwing enter valid email or password. And if the dashboard page is being accessed by unauthorized usage the page will be redirected to the login page automatically.

Setting up

In order to use cookies in Angular, we need to install the Angular cookie library by using the following npm package manager.

npm install ngx-cookie-service –save

After installing the package manager, we need to import the cookie service in the inside of our modules.

I have used the ng zorro library UI for form design, and you can find more information about ng zorro from the following link. The next step is to design a login form. So, open login.component.html file and replace the following code.

<form fxFill #Login="ngForm" (ngSubmit)="onsubmit()">  
    <div nz-row>  
        <div nz-col nzMd="12" nzXs="24">  
            <hr />  
            <nz-form-item>  
                <nz-input-group>  
                    <div nz-col nzMd="11" nzXs="8">  
                        <nz-input-group nzPrefixIcon="user">  
                            <input type="text" nz-input name="Login_name" placeholder="User Name" id="userName"  
 
#userName="ngModel" [(ngModel)]="Obj.username">  
                            </nz-input-group>  
                            <div *ngIf="Login.submitted && userName.errors" style="color: red">  
                                <div *ngIf="userName.hasError('required')">  
  
Login ID is required  
  
</div>  
                            </div>  
                        </div>  
                    </nz-input-group>  
                </nz-form-item>  
                <nz-form-item>  
                    <div nz-col nzMd="11" nzXs="8">  
                        <nz-input-group nzPrefixIcon="lock">  
                            <input type="password" nz-input name="user_password" placeholder="Password"  
  
id="password" #password="ngModel" [(ngModel)]="Obj.password">  
                            </nz-input-group>  
                            <div *ngIf="Login.submitted && password.errors" style="color: red">  
                                <div *ngIf="password.hasError('required')">  
  
Password is required  
  
</div>  
                            </div>  
                        </div>  
                    </nz-form-item>  
                    <div class="button">  
                        <button nz-button nzType="primary">  
  
submit  
  
</button>  
                    </div>  
                </div>  
            </div>  
        </form>  

Now open login.component.ts file and replace the following code in it.

import {  
    Component,  
    OnInit  
} from '@angular/core';  
import {  
    FormGroup  
} from '@angular/forms';  
import {  
    AuthService,  
    User  
} from '../services/authservice.service';  
import {  
    Router,  
    ActivatedRoute  
} from '@angular/router';  
import {  
    CookieService  
} from 'ngx-cookie-service';  
@Component({  
    selector: 'nz-demo-card-simple',  
    templateUrl: './login.component.html'  
})  
export class LoginComponent implements OnInit {  
    Obj: User;  
    constructor(private srvLogin: AuthService, private router: Router, public activatedRoute: ActivatedRoute, private cookieService: CookieService) {  
        this.Obj = new User();  
    }  
    ngOnInit(): void {}  
    onsubmit(): void {  
        this.cookieService.set('username', this.Obj.username);  
        this.cookieService.set('password', this.Obj.password);  
        console.log(this.cookieService.get('username'));  
        console.log(this.cookieService.get('password'));  
        const a = this.Obj;  
        if (this.srvLogin.checkLogValues(this.Obj)) {  
            this.srvLogin.isloggedin = true;  
            console.log(this.srvLogin.isloggedin);  
            this.router.navigate(['/dashboard']);  
        }  
    }  
}  

The next point is to create an authentication service, we can create a service file by using the syntax.

ng generate service AuthService

The service name which I have given is Authservice and the service will be created and I have provided a default static username and password in service file so that the validation will be executed and redirected to another page (dashboard page) if the user’s credentials are being valid. Open Authservice service.ts file and replace the following code and import it in both service and as well in app-module.ts file.

import {  
    Injectable  
} from '@angular/core';  
import {  
    HttpClient  
} from '@angular/common/http';  
import {  
    CookieService  
} from 'ngx-cookie-service';  
@Injectable({  
    providedIn: 'root'  
})  
export class AuthService {  
    private username = 'vidya';  
    private password = '123456';  
    isloggedin = false;  
    constructor(private http: HttpClient) {}  
    checkLogValues(value: User): boolean {  
        if (this.username === value.username && this.password === value.password) {  
            console.log(this.username);  
            console.log(this.password);  
            // alert('Login valid');  
            return true;  
        } else {  
            alert('please enter valid data');  
            return false;  
        }  
    }  
}  
export class User {  
    username: string;  
    password: string;  
}  

After that create a component named as dashboard and open dashboard.component.html file and replace the following code.

<h3>Hello {{userDisplayName}} you are in Dashboard </h3>  
<div style="text-align:right">  
   <button nz-button nzType="danger" (click)="logout()">Logout</button>  
</div>  

The next step is to open dashboard.component.ts file and replace the following code inside it.

import {  
    Component,  
    OnInit  
} from '@angular/core';  
import {  
    AuthService,  
    User  
} from '../services/authservice.service';  
import {  
    Router,  
    ActivatedRoute  
} from '@angular/router';  
import {  
    CookieService  
} from 'ngx-cookie-service';  
@Component({  
    selector: 'dashboard',  
    templateUrl: './dashboard.component.html'  
})  
export class DashboardComponent implements OnInit {  
    Obj: User;  
    [x: string]: any;  
    userDisplayName = '';  
    password = '';  
    constructor(private srvLogin: AuthService, private router: Router, public activatedRoute: ActivatedRoute, private cookieService: CookieService) {  
        this.Obj = new User();  
        this.userDisplayName = this.cookieService.get('username');  
        this.password = this.cookieService.get('password');  
        this.Obj.username = this.userDisplayName;  
        this.Obj.password = this.password;  
        if (!srvLogin.checkLogValues(this.Obj)) {  
            router.navigate(['/login']);  
        }  
    }  
    ngOnInit(): void {}  
    logout(): void {  
        this.router.navigate(['/login']);  
        this.cookieService.deleteAll();  
    }  
}  

The following next step is to log in to the dashboard by providing the user’s credentials and after the valid login, we can see the user’s name in dashboard as a welcome note by using the user’s login name. So, after entering into the dashboard page open the developer’s tool in the browser and navigate -> Application and select cookies from storage. So, on that, we can see the user name and password have been stored in the cookie table.

So  far we have seen about storing the user’s details in the cookie table and now we can take an overview on clearing the cookies in the cookie table; for that use deleteall() method for clearing the cookies table if  the user is about to click-> logout button.

Conclusion

In this post, we have seen about using cookies in Angular for storing user’s credentials. I hope this article will be useful for you.

Angular Tutorial - Learn Angular from Scratch

Angular Tutorial - Learn Angular from Scratch

Angular Tutorial - Learn Angular from Scratch: This course is for beginners who are curious on how to get started with Angular. In this course you will learn how to download, install and play around with Angular. We teach you the main components of Angular, so that you can get up and running with it asap. You will learn now to start building applications with Angular.

This course is for beginners who are curious on how to get started with Angular. In this course you will learn how to download, install and play around with Angular. We teach you the main components of Angular, so that you can get up and running with it asap. You will learn now to start building applications with Angular.

Learning Angular can be a daunting experience that's why this course was created; to give you an easier learning experience with it.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • You will learn the mayor fundamentals of Angular
  • You will learn how to get up and running with Angular
  • You will learn to create Applications using Angular 5 and beyond

What you'll learn

  • You will learn the mayor fundamentals of Angular
  • You will learn how to get up and running with Angular
  • You will learn to create Applications using Angular 5 and beyond

An Angular Roadmap — The Past, Present, and Future of Angular

An Angular Roadmap — The Past, Present, and Future of Angular

✅Interested in being an Angular developer in 2019? ... blog post it's most likely that you've written some code in javaScript in the past.

Paleolithic JavaScript — SproutCore

In the beginning, there was SproutCore. It was the first comprehensive JavaScript framework aimed at making it easy to build desktop-quality single-page web apps. It’s not that this wasn’t possible before. When Google released Gmail, it showed the world that web apps really could replace complex desktop applications. Google even open-sourced the Closure toolkit — a set of libraries and an optimizing compiler that it used to build Gmail.

The problem was that Google’s Closure tools weren’t very developer-friendly. They relied heavily on Java, which alienated web developers who were used to working with JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and Python. Gmail was a great demonstration of what was possible, but developing similar applications still felt out of reach for many.

Some courageous developers managed to string together amazing single page apps using a combination of jQuery, duct tape, and hope. While these apps looked amazing to end-users, for the developers working on them, the apps quickly turned into hulking piles of technical debt that made the dev team dread heading to work in the morning.

As a result, a few enterprising developers began to work on frameworks that would bring Gmail-like apps within easy reach of web developers everywhere. SproutCore was the first of these frameworks to take off. It came with a complete set of widgets that made it possible to build complex web applications without even touching HTML or CSS.

This ended up being great for former desktop developers who had been dragged kicking and screaming onto the web. Several more frameworks popped up with similar goals; GWT and Cappuccino were the most prominent. These frameworks even avoided JavaScript by transpiling other languages into JS. Again, this was great for desktop developers. But it left passionate web developers out in the cold and made them feel as though their hard-won HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills weren’t valuable.

This left an opening for a framework that truly embraced the web, instead of trying to plaster over it and pretend it was something else. A couple of early frameworks (Backbone and Knockout) appeared, and achieved a moderate amount of success. Ember also showed up around this time. It took SproutCore, stripped it down to its bones, and tried to rebuild it into something truly web-friendly. Ember wanted to be the Six Million Dollar Man of the JavaScript world: rebuilt better, stronger, and faster.

None of these frameworks rocketed to popularity. The world was waiting for something better. In 2010, that something better appeared — it was named Angular.

The Golden Age of Angular

Even before Angular version 1.0 had been released, Angular took the front-end development world by storm. Finally, we had an easy-to-use JavaScript framework that treated HTML as a first-class citizen. Developers and designers could now work together to build amazing single-page applications. This came as a relief to designers, who had been annoyed and offended because older frameworks had treated HTML and CSS as tools for barbarians, tools that no civilized developer should have to touch.

The first thing that seemed magical to developers trying Angular for the first time was two-way data binding. Prior to this, most developers had only seen this kind of data binding in desktop frameworks like WPF and Windows Forms. It was great to be able to bind forms and other UI elements to JavaScript model objects. While two-way data binding could cause performance problems when overused, teams that used it judiciously found that Angular enabled them to create complex front-end applications much more quickly than ever before.

Angular proved to be popular for more than just easy binding of data to HTML elements. Angular directives provided an easy way to create reusable HTML + CSS components. Although other JavaScript frameworks provided this before Angular, Angular was the first one that became extremely popular. Reusable components had long been in-use in server-side frameworks. ASP.NET user controls and partial templates in Rails and Django are but a few examples.

Finally, Angular made dependency injection popular in the front-end development world. Dependency injection had long been popular in enterprise applications, which is perhaps why it hadn’t caught on in the JavaScript world. Front-end developers have long been averse to what they see as needlessly complex enterprise software design patterns. This concern isn’t without merit. Have you ever, in the course of writing an application, said to yourself “What I really need here is a “SimpleBeanFactoryAwareAspectInstanceFactory?”

Dependency injection, though, has proven its worth. And Angular made dependency injection easy to use for an audience that hadn’t used it much in the past. Need an HTTP client? Or perhaps you’d like to do some animation? No problem. Angular had built-in services for those. Just ask for them, and Angular would inject them into your components. No need to instantiate anything yourself.

Or perhaps you wanted to use the browser’s window or location objects without making it impossible to unit test your components outside of a browser? Angular had you covered there too, with its built-in $window and $location services. At runtime, you’d get the browser objects you were expecting. And when running unit tests server-side in Node.js, you could pass mock services into your components to ensure they behaved as expected in various scenarios.

If all of this wasn’t enough, Angular also made it simple to register and inject your own services. For developers who were used to binding all their data to the DOM and hoping for the best, this was awesome. If you were writing a new front-end app that called for APIs that would cost your company a lot of money if overused, you’d probably prefer to be able to write tests ahead of time to ensure that your application doesn’t try to do something like calling the Twilio API 800 million times.

So you’d create a Twilio service that gets injected at runtime. At testing time, you’d create a mock service that records the cost of every API call your application is trying to make. You’d write tests that cover common usage scenarios and ensure that these scenarios don’t result in your company receiving a 7-figure bill. Overall, most developers found that Angular directives combined with dependency injection made it possible to write modular, testable front-end applications using tried-and-true software engineering techniques. Many development teams decided that this resulted in a happy state of affairs, and decided to go all-in on Angular.

The Angular Decline? The Rise of React

While things were mostly great in the world of Angular, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Developers were starting to run into severe performance problems when they tried to bind too many model objects to too many DOM elements. Some applications slowed to a crawl. Direct calls to $digest and other black-magic sorcery started becoming necessary to achieve acceptable performance. Around the same time, a new challenger appeared: React. At first, React didn’t seem to pose too large a danger to Angular. After all, these React weirdos had gone to the trouble of inventing JSX, which looked a lot like a way to mix markup into your code. Hadn’t we gone to a lot of trouble to invent templating languages for the explicit reason of avoiding mixing markup and code?

As it turned out, React’s approach was pretty popular in the front-end development community. It didn’t rocket to popularity, however. Angular was still dominant, and it looked like it would remain that way. Until that is, Angular’s popularity was given a good kick in the teeth from an unexpected source: the Angular team itself.

The Introduction of Angular 2

Angular 2 was first announced at the ng-europe conference in 2014. The Angular team’s plans came as a shock to the Angular community, to say the least. Reaction from Angular developers was swift and negative… and not without reason. Angular 2 would be getting rid of many familiar concepts from Angular 1, introducing a new, incompatible templating language (and oh, by the way) would also be programmed using an entirely new language.

AngularJS

Although both Angular 1 and Angular 2 were called ‘Angular,’ in reality, they were very different frameworks with a few things in common. To help prevent confusion, the Angular team started referring to the old version of Angular as ‘AngularJS’, and the new version as simply ‘Angular.’ This makes intuitive sense since AngularJS was written in JavaScript, and Angular was not. To keep the distinction between the frameworks clear, I’ll be referring to Angular 1 as AngularJS from this point forward.

As a result of all of this, AngularJS developers lost faith in the framework’s future. They threatened to move to a new framework on future projects, and that is precisely what many of them did. React was the biggest beneficiary of the mass exodus from AngularJS.

Although React didn’t do as much as AngularJS, in a way that was positive. If you’re using a view library that doesn’t try to include everything plus the kitchen sink, it’s a lot more difficult for the developers of that library to pull the rug out from under you in the future. In the beginning, using React was a bit of a pain compared to AngularJS. You had to cobble together a patchwork of libraries just to cover the functionality the AngularJS provided out of the box.

Many teams saw this as a good way to reduce risk, because it was unlikely that the developers of all of those libraries would decide to make backward incompatible breaking changes at the same time, which is essentially what Angular had done.

The Emergence of Vue

To compound AngularJS’ woes, another framework named Vue showed up at about the same time the drama over Angular 2 was occurring. Vue was inspired by AngularJS but aimed to simplify it and get rid of what Vue’s creator saw as unnecessary complexity (so Vue felt very familiar to existing AngularJS developers). Vue provided a safe haven for many AngularJS developers who didn’t want to move over to React.

This doesn’t mean that AngularJS developers were not waiting patiently for Angular 2 to appear. But it’s clear that there was a mass exodus from AngularJS to React and Vue due to the uncertainty caused by the plans for Angular 2.

Rising From the Ashes with Angular 2

Eventually, Angular 2 was released. As expected, it did away with many familiar concepts from AngularJS but kept a few of the best pieces like services and dependency injection. Fortunately for the sanity of developers, Angular uses plain TypeScript and not a fork as originally planned.

To make things more confusing, the Angular team maintained a fork of the new framework that used the Dart programming language instead of TypeScript. Initially, the TypeScript and Dart versions were developed in sync, generated from a single code base. Eventually, the TS and Dart versions of Angular decided to go their separate ways, and Angular Dart now exists on its own.

Even with this confusion, Angular’s popularity began to increase again after the Angular 2 release. It happened slowly. As often occurs in software development, trends shifted. Developers realized that a big, batteries-included framework might actually be useful. After all, when your application grows large enough, you end up actually needing all of those batteries.

Enterprise developers, in particular, began moving back to Angular. This makes sense. Usually, when you start an enterprise web app, you know it is going to be complex. There’s no point in starting with a tiny MVP when you know from the beginning all 87 things your application is going to be expected to do.

Where’s Angular 3?

Although Angular 2 wasn’t perfect, many developers of complex web applications began to realize that the new-and-improved Angular was a good fit for their needs. Fortunately for them, Angular had some exciting improvements in store. More importantly, the Angular team demonstrated that it could consistently publish new versions of the framework with few breaking changes between versions

In a move that seemed odd at the time, the Angular team decided to skip version 3 entirely and move to version 4. This was done for good reason: the team working on Angular’s router package had already pushed ahead and released version 3, while the remainder of Angular was still at version 2.3. They decided to keep all Angular package versions in sync moving forward, and bumping everything up to version 4 for the next release was the easiest way to achieve this.

Angular 4

Angular 4 had some significant changes, including added ahead of time compilation, which resulted in small production JavaScript bundles and shorter application load time. Support for server-side rendering was added, which was a boost for teams that wanted to render their app ahead of time to improve initial load performance. Many other improvements were added throughout the framework, but upgrading apps from Angular 2 to 4 was quick and painless in most cases.

Angular 4.3 and Angular 5

Angular 4.3 added a new HTTP client that was easier to use than the old HTTP service. In Angular 5, the old HTTP service was deprecated and would be dropped in the next release. In spite of this inconvenience, there was relatively little grumbling because the upgrade in most cases was straightforward. Angular 5 also added better internationalization support and further build optimizations.

Angular 6 and 7

Angular 6 and 7 were disappointing to some developers. There were no large changes, but there were many small quality of life improvements, especially to the Angular CLI tooling. The decreasing number of visible changes isn’t an indication that the Angular team has stopped innovating. Instead, it shows that the framework is mature, so the development team is now free to do more work behind the scenes, fixing bugs and improving performance.

The stability of the framework since the release of Angular 2 has drawn some old-school AngularJS developers back into the Angular world. It has also attracted the attention of enterprise development teams. When you’re building enterprise apps that may live for decades it’s ideal to use a framework that gets new releases on a predictable schedule but doesn’t change too rapidly. A developer who had only used Angular 2 could be up and running and contributing to an Angular 7 app within minutes.

The Future of Angular

Angular 8 and Angular Ivy

And that brings us to today. As we’ve seen, Angular has come a long way. It has gone from loved by web developers to being reviled to being admired, although it isn’t yet loved again like it was in its early days.

On the horizon, we have Angular 8. A ton of work has been done in Angular 8 to make it easy to use with the Bazel build system, which is absolutely amazing news for all 3 developers who are using it outside of Google. More excitingly, though, the Angular team is hard at work on a new rendered called Angular Ivy. It’s intended to be a drop-in replacement for the current rendered. For the most part, current apps won’t need to make any changes to use Angular Ivy.

If Angular Ivy is a drop-in replacement, why should developers care? Two important reasons: speed, and bundle size — two very important concerns. For a few years, it seemed like web developers had gone a bit crazy. Teams were shipping JavaScript bundles that were 5MB, 10MB, or even larger, and thinking that there was no problem with this. After all, the applications worked perfectly on the developers’ i7-powered MacBook Pros so they should work fine for everyone, right?

Unfortunately, in the real world, not everyone is running the latest and greatest hardware. Hundreds of millions of people access the internet solely on older Android phones with slightly more processing power than a potato, through internet connections only a little faster than dial-up. For these users, a huge JavaScript bundle takes forever to load, and even longer for their device to parse and run. Even in less extreme cases, there are countless users around the world who aren’t using the latest and greatest hardware. For them, massive JavaScript apps are usable (but painful).

Angular Ivy Expectations

The Angular Ivy renderer will help in several ways:

  1. It is being written with an eye on efficiency, so it will accomplish the same tasks while executing far fewer CPU instructions. This will improve both the battery life and the sanity of users with less-than-powerful devices.
  2. The renderer will be written in a much more modular fashion that the current renderer. This will make it much more amenable to tree-shaking and dead code elimination. As a result, your production JavaScript bundle will include only the code that is needed to run your application, instead of bundling together everything plus the kitchen sink as often happens with the current rendered.
  3. In addition to the bundle-size reduction and improved rendering speed, Angular Ivy has another few quality-of-life enhancements for Angular developers. Rebuild times are significantly faster. So if you’re running your app in development mode and waiting for your changes to appear, you’re now going to be spending a lot less time waiting.
  4. Template-type checking is improved, which means you’ll catch more errors at compile time instead of at runtime. Runtime template bugs are annoying, because they either bite you during testing, or they bite your users when they’re trying to use your app.
  5. The Angular Ivy template compiler will generate code that is human readable, which the current View Engine compiler doesn’t do. This will come in handy when trying to track down tough template bugs.

The net result: smaller apps, faster apps, happier developers, and happier users.

Angular’s Past, Present, and Future

If you’ve been using Angular from its early days all the way until now, then congratulations! While there have been plenty of rough patches, we’ve ended up with a fast, modern framework that is fun to use.

If you were an AngularJS developer but moved on to React, Vue, or something else, I encourage you to give Angular another look. It’s worth your time, even if you decide to stick with what you’re using now.

And if you’ve never used Angular at all, why not give it a shot?

We’ve just been on a whirlwind tour through Angular’s past, present, and future. Without a doubt, it has been quite a ride. Regardless of your Angular background, I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!

30s ad

Angular 2 Firebase - Build a Web App with Typescript

Angular 2 Demystified

Master Angular 2 - The No Nonsense Course

Complete Angular 7 - Ultimate Guide - with Real World App

A Quick Guide to Angular 7 in 4 Hours