Do You Need to Upgrade to Angular 2?

The Angular 2 team has had a busy year so far. Actually, the two years leading up to the announcement of Angular 2 have been exceedingly busy for the whole Angular community. The first release candidate (RC) was announced in early May, which was followed by several more RC being pushed out as we approach a stable release. The latest version, RC4, was pushed out on June 30th.

Is it worth to upgrading to Angular 2 ASAP or will Angular 1 remain sufficient to progress alongside other notable frameworks and libraries like React? We’ll take a look below.

Optimized for Mobile

Let’s start with the Angular 2 homepage. You’ll notice that it says, “One framework. Mobile and desktop.” This is as clear of an indication as any that Angular 2 is going to serve as a mobile-first framework to encourage mobile app development.

Angular 2 has been optimized for mobile performance, boasting improved memory efficiency and fewer CPU cycles. The framework’s newest version supports sophisticated touch and gesture events across modern mobile and tablet devices. A recent benchmark study from Meteor concluded that Angular 2 is faster than React, Blaze, and the latest version of Angular (v. 1.4.2) in a database-oriented test. Additionally, Angular 2 will support native desktop apps for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

TypeScript Support

Here’s a huge perk: Angular 2 fully embraces Typescript. For those unfamiliar, TypeScript Lang builds on top of what you already know about JavaScript but incorporates a variety of additional tools to your ability to refactor code, write in modern JS (ECMAScript 2015), and compile to older versions depending on the browser request. Another important facet is IDE integration, which makes it easier to scale large projects through refactoring your whole code base at the same time. Its in-built code completion tool saves you time from having to look up features from the libraries you use individually. If you’re interested in Typescript, the docs is a great place to begin.

Developers utilizing Angular 2 can enjoy the TypeScript functionality and all of its affiliated libraries, making it simple to integrate database interfaces like MongoDB via TypeScript support. With libraries like React already using TypeScript, developers can implement the library in their Angular 2 project seamlessly.

Modular Development

Angular 1 created a fair share of headaches when it came to loading modules or deciding between Require.js or WebPack. Fortunately, these decisions are removed entirely from Angular 2 as the new release shies away from ineffective modules to make room for performance improvements. Angular 2 also integrates System.js , a universal dynamic modular loader, which provides environment for loading ES6, Common, and AMD modules.

$scope Out, Components In

Angular 2 gets rid of controllers and $scope. You may wonder how you’re going to stitch your homepage together! Well, don’t worry too much − Angular 2 introduces Components as an easier way to build complex web apps and pages.

Angular 2 utilizes directives (DOMs) and components (templates). In simple terms, you can build individual component classes that act as isolated parts of your pages. Directives were a crucial part of Angular 1 and, embracing their strengths for page creation, were brought over to Angular 2. Components then are highly functional and customizable directives that can be configured to build and specify classes, selectors, and views for companion templates.

With these changes, Angular 2 will be able to provide better functionality and be easier to build your web applications from scratch. Angular 2 components make it possible to write code that won’t interfere with other pieces of code within the component itself.

Native Mobile Development

Angular 2 is more framework-oriented. This means that the code you write for mobile devices will need to be converted using a framework like Ionic, or NativeScript.

This might seem contradictory if performance is your main concern, but Angular 2 really shines in the code structure department. One single code base and skillset can be used to build and scale large architectures of code and ,with the integration of a framework (like, you guessed it, Ionic or NativeScript), you get plenty of room to be flexible with the way your native apps function.

Code Syntax Changes

Angular 2 adds more than a few bells and whistles to your syntax usage. This includes (but is not limited to) changing the way routing works, improving data-binding with properties inputs, changing appearance of directives syntax, and, finally, improving the way local variables that are being used.

That’s a lot of small changes. Small, but utterly important. Once again, I’d recommend looking through the Angular 2 Docs for the finer details, and an opportunity to take Angular 2 for a test drive.

Final Thoughts

Many web development communities have shifted from discussing the first version to exclusively serving as independent Angular 2 communities. It’s clearly not too late to start catching up with Angular 2. There are numerous great frameworks out there right now. React might be better at handling performance, but Angular 2 focuses on the deeper aspects of development process, in particular for scaling large codebases. Additionally, the same team who worked on Angular 1 is also working on Angular 2, leading to some additional familiarity.

Before settling for any framework, it’s best to come up with a solid list of goals and important factors that are relevant to your project. When making that decision, you could do far worse than starting your newest project on Angular 2.

About the Author Alex Ivanovs comes from a background in web development and project management. He has been actively developing and managing some of the largest developer resources on the web for the last decade, with his latest project being Stack Diary -- an active and aspiring community for developers and designers alike. More by this Author