What is Angular?: Architecture, Features, and Advantages

From social media to healthcare, from ecommerce to online banking, billions of people worldwide use web and mobile applications for almost everything. These apps are convenient and help us with our day-to-day lives, offering seamless user experiences and interfaces. How are these apps developed to provide such reliability? Part of the credit goes to widely used frameworks like Angular, making it easy to create robust apps.

So, let’s get to know Angular better!

This article covers the following topics: 

  • What is Angular?
  • Why Do You Need a Framework?
  • Why Angular?
  • What Are the Different Versions?
  • Angular Features
  • Angular Architecture
  • Angular Directives
  • Angular Advantages
  • Angular Limitations
  • What are the Differences Between Angular and AngularJS?
  • Companies That Use Angular

What Is Angular?

Angular is an open-source, JavaScript framework written in TypeScript. Google maintains it, and its primary purpose is to develop single-page applications. As a framework, Angular has clear advantages while also providing a standard structure for developers to work with. It enables users to create large applications in a maintainable manner. 

Why Do You Need a Framework?

Frameworks in general boost web development efficiency and performance by providing a consistent structure so that developers don’t have to keep rebuilding code from scratch. Frameworks are time savers that offer developers a host of extra features that can be added to software without requiring extra effort.

Why Angular?

Why_Angular-What_is_Angular

JavaScript is the most commonly used client-side scripting language. It is written into HTML documents to enable interactions with web pages in many unique ways. As a relatively easy-to-learn language with pervasive support, it is well-suited to develop modern applications. 

But is JavaScript ideal for developing single-page applications that require modularity, testability, and developer productivity? Perhaps not. 

These days, we have a variety of frameworks and libraries designed to provide alternative solutions. With respect to front-end web development, Angular addresses many, if not all, of the issues developers face when using JavaScript on its own.

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What is Angular: Different Angular Versions

“Angular” is the catch-all term for the various framework versions out there. Angular was developed in 2009, and as a result, there have been many iterations.

First, there was the original Angular, called Angular 1 and eventually known as AngularJS. Then came Angulars 2, 3, 4, 5, until finally, the current version, Angular 11, released on 11/11/2020. Each subsequent Angular version improves on its predecessor, fixing bugs, addressing issues, and accommodating increasing complexity of current platforms.

If you want to design apps better suited for mobile devices, and/or more complex apps, you had best to upgrade to its current version.

Features of Angular

1. Document Object Model 

DOM (Document Object Model) treats an XML or HTML document as a tree structure in which each node represents a part of the document.

Data Object Model

Angular uses regular DOM. Consider that ten updates are made on the same HTML page. Instead of updating the ones that were already updated, Angular will update the entire tree structure of HTML tags.

2. TypeScript 

TypeScript defines a set of types to JavaScript, which helps users write JavaScript code that is easier to understand. All of the TypeScript code compiles with JavaScript and can run smoothly on any platform. TypeScript is not compulsory for developing an Angular application. However, it is highly recommended as it offers better syntactic structure—while making the codebase easier to understand and maintain. 

Angular TypeScript

You can install TypeScript as an NPM package with the following command:

npm install -g typescript

3. Data Binding

Data binding is a process that enables users to manipulate web page elements through a web browser. It employs dynamic HTML and does not require complex scripting or programming. Data binding is used in web pages that include interactive components, such as calculators, tutorials, forums, and games. It also enables a better incremental display of a web page when pages contain a large amount of data. 

Angular uses the two-way binding. The model state reflects any changes made in the corresponding UI elements. Conversely, the UI state reflects any changes in the model state. This feature enables the framework to connect the DOM to the model data through the controller.

4. Testing 

Angular Testing

Angular uses the Jasmine testing framework. The Jasmine framework provides multiple functionalities to write different kinds of test cases. Karma is the task-runner for the tests that uses a configuration file to set the start-up, reporters, and testing framework.

Now that you’re familiar with Angular’s basic features, you need to understand its architecture if you want to work with Angular daily. You can also expand your Angular knowledge by taking the Angular Certification Training Course and learning concepts such as TypeScript, Bootstrap Grid System, dependency injections, SPA, forms, pipes, promises, observables, and Angular class testing.

Learn the concepts such as TypeScript, Bootstrap Grid System, dependency injections, SPA, forms, pipes, promises, observables, and Angular class testing with the Angular Certification Training Course.

To continue learning what is Angular, let’s move on to architecture

Angular Architecture

Angular is a full-fledged model-view-controller (MVC) framework. It provides clear guidance on how the application should be structured and offers bi-directional data flow while providing real DOM. 

Angular Architecture

The following are the eight building blocks of an Angular application: 

1. Modules

An Angular app has a root module, named AppModule, which provides the bootstrap mechanism to launch the application.

2. Components

Each component in the application defines a class that holds the application logic and data. A component generally defines a part of the user interface (UI).

3. Templates

The Angular template combines the Angular markup with HTML to modify HTML elements before they are displayed. There are two types of data binding: 

  1. Event binding: Lets your app respond to user input in the target environment by updating your application data.
  2. Property binding: Enables users to interpolate values that are computed from your application data into the HTML.

4. Metadata

Metadata tells Angular how to process a class. It is used to decorate the class so that it can configure the expected behavior of a class.

5. Services

When you have data or logic that isn’t associated with the view but has to be shared across components, a service class is created. The class is always associated with the @Injectible decorator.

6. Dependency Injection

This feature lets you keep your component classes crisp and efficient. It does not fetch data from a server, validate the user input, or log directly to the console. Instead, it delegates such tasks to the services.

Angular comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The next two sections briefly explain them.

AngularJS Directives

AngularJS directives extend the HTML by providing it with new syntax. You can easily spot directives because they have the prefix “ng-.” Consider them markers on the DOM element, instructing AngularJS to attach a certain behavior to the element, or even change it outright.

Here are two sample directives:

  • The ng-model Directive

The ng-model binds the value of the HTML control with the specified AngularJS expression value.

  • The ng-bind Directive

This directive replaces the HTML control value with a specified AngularJS expression value.

Advantages of Angular

Advantages of Angular

Many versions of Angular have been released since its inception. All these versions have added to the efficient working of the framework.

1. Custom Components

Angular enables users to build their own components that can pack functionality along with rendering logic into reusable pieces. It also plays well with web components.

2. Data Binding

Angular enables users to effortlessly move data from JavaScript code to the view, and react to user events without having to write any code manually. 

3. Dependency Injection

Angular enables users to write modular services and inject them wherever they are needed. This improves the testability and reusability of the same services. 

4. Testing

Tests are first-class tools, and Angular has been built from the ground up with testability in mind. You will have the ability to test every part of your application—which is highly recommended. 

5. Comprehensive

Angular is a full-fledged framework and provides out-of-the-box solutions for server communication, routing within your application, and more.

6. Browser Compatibility

Angular is cross-platform and compatible with multiple browsers. An Angular application can typically run on all browsers (Eg: Chrome, Firefox) and OSes, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Limitations of Angular

Limitations of Angular

1. Steep Learning Curve

The basic components of Angular that all users should know include directives, modules, decorators, components, services, dependency injection, pipes, and templates. More advanced topics include change detection, zones, AoT compilation, and Rx.js. For beginners, Angular 4 may be challenging to learn because it is a complete framework. 

2. Limited SEO Options

Angular offers limited SEO options and poor accessibility to search engine crawlers. 

3. Migration

One of the reasons why companies do not frequently use Angular is the difficulty in porting legacy js/jquery-based code to angular style architecture. Also, each new release can be troublesome to upgrade, and several of them are not backward-compatible.

4. Verbose and Complex

A common issue in the Angular community is the verbosity of the framework. It is also fairly complex compared to other front-end tools.

Enroll for the Angular Certification Training Course and gain in-depth knowledge of concepts like TypeScript, Bootstrap Grid System, and more!

What Are the Differences Between Angular and AngularJS?

Angular is the catch-all term for every version of the framework (1-11), while AngularJS is the initial Angular version, renamed. Although it’s over ten years old, AngularJS isn’t obsolete; it still finds lots of use developing smaller web applications.

Here’s a handy chart outlining some of the basic differences.

AngularJS

Angular

Architecture

Supports mode-view component design

Uses directives and components

Language

JavaScript

Microsoft’s TypeScript

Mobile capability

No mobile browser support

Supported by all popular mobile browsers

Structure

Not as manageable as Angular, but ideal for small applications

Easier to build and maintain large applications

Routing

Uses $routeprovider.when() for routing configuration

Uses @Route Config{(…)} for routing configuration

Performance

Not as fast as Angular

Faster than AngularJS

Companies Using Angular

Many top tier companies, such as Google, Nike, Upwork, HBO, and others leverage Angular.

Companies Using Angular

Next Steps

This article only touched on the basics of Angular, including its powerful features and its complexities. To learn more about Angular—more importantly, how to leverage it to boost your coding career—a certification is highly recommended. Simplilearn's Angular Certification Training Course will help you master front-end web development skills with Angular. You will gain in-depth knowledge of various concepts, such as facilitating the development of single-page web applications, dependency injection, TypeScript, components, and directives with this applied learning, hands-on course. 

If you have any questions or feedback, let us know in the comments section, and our experts will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the Author

Chinmayee DeshpandeChinmayee Deshpande

Chinmayee is a Research Analyst and a passionate writer. Being a technology enthusiast, her thorough knowledge about the subject helps her develop structured content and deliver accordingly.

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