// All About Angular
What is Angular, Why should you learn it, where is it used? - Find out answers to all the questions you may have about Angular in this blog.
What is Angular?
Angular is built on TypeScript, and it uses a component-based architecture to build applications. It implements both essential and optional features as a collection of TypeScript libraries that you import into your applications. According to the StackOverflow developer survey, It is one of the most used web frameworks.
Angular: History and Angular team
Google released the initial version in 2010, and it has since become one of the world's most widely used frontend frameworks. The framework is well-known for its two-way data binding, modular architecture, and dynamic templates, which enable developers to build fast, scalable, and highly interactive web apps.
It was created primarily by Miko Hevery and Adam Abrons with the intention of making it easier to make dynamic, single-page web apps. It was originally known as Angular JS, but in 2016, Angular version 2 was released, which was a complete rewrite of the original framework that offered improved performance, a more flexible architecture, and better mobile support.
Since then, it has become one of the most active and updated frameworks; its more than 86,000 stars on GitHub show how well-liked the framework is and the angular team is constantly updating with new features.
Why do we use Angular?
With Angular, we can build applications that are medium-to-complex and have a structured, modular approach. More and more Fortune 500 companies are adopting it, some of them include Paypal, Gmail, Samsung, etc.
Some of the notable features of Angular are
- Two-way data binding: Angular automatically synchronizes the data between the model and view in a web application. This helps developers to build a seamless experience on the web without worrying about data flow. One key advantage of two-way data binding is that it reduces the need for manual DOM (Document Object Model) manipulation.
- Reusable components: The UI components and angular elements are isolated according to their logic, like the navbar, header, banner, etc., and can be reused effortlessly. Reusability reduces the chance of duplication and increases the overall efficiency during the development process.
- MVC pattern: The MVC pattern helps to separate the different aspects of an application and makes it easier to maintain in the long run. It uses data binding to automatically update the View whenever the Model changes, and vice versa. This separation of concerns helps improve the application's maintainability and scalability.
- Modular approach: Components are the building block of any Angular applications. Each component is a self-contained logical UI section of the website. This modular structure makes it easier to develop and maintain the application. One key advantage of this is that we can scale the application and it will be much easier to maintain it.
- Cross-platform: Angular is a cross-platform framework, which means it can be used to build web-apps that run on multiple platforms, including desktop and mobile devices. It helps to make PWAs (progressive web applications ) easier and we can have that native app-like feel.
- Performance: Angular is designed to be fast and efficient, and provides several features and tools that help improve the performance of web applications.
Angular has many characteristic, and it is not just limited to these, which makes it one of the most popular web framework options.
How to become an Angular developer
Learn the basics: Before diving into Angular, you need to have a solid understanding of web fundamentals. Understand how the browser, internet, and web work in general. Having a good understanding of DNS, hosting, etc., would also be a plus.
Learn HTML/CSS: HTML is the foundation of the web and is used to define the structure and content of web pages. Start by learning the basics of HTML tags and attributes, and how to use them to make a basic web page. Along with HTML, learn CSS and know how the layout works with things like flexbox and grid. A good understanding of the box model is also needed.
Learn web development tools: There are many tools that are used in web development, such as text editors, development servers, and version control systems. Choose one or more tools to learn, and start by practicing using them in your web development projects.
Learn the basics of Angular: Start by learning the basics of Angular, including its architecture, components, Template, Directives, such as two-way data binding and reusable units, etc.
Build Projects: The best way to learn is to practice coding and building projects. Start small and gradually increase the complexity of the project you build. It can be social media clones, Saas, or a new todo app.
Participate in the Angular community: Joining the community and participating in online forums, blogs, and social media can help you stay up to date with the latest developments in framework and learn from other experienced developers. You can use websites like Twitter, Medium, or Hashnode to connect with the community.
Getting Started with Angular
If you're new to Angular and want to get started building your first Angular application, this section is for you.
Setting up the development environment
You need to have a few tools installed on your computer before you can start using Angular. The following are the items you will need:
NPM (Node Package Manager)
NPM is a package manager for Node.js and comes bundled with Node.js. Installing and managing packages and dependencies for you application is possible with the aid of npm. When you use npm to manage dependencies and Angular's dependency injection pattern, you can buil an organized and maintainable application. Alternatively, we can use yarn or PNPM.
You'll need a code editor to write your application. There are many well-liked code editors available, including Visual Studio Code, Atom, and Sublime Text.
With these tools installed, you're good to go!
Creating Your First Angular Application
Now let's start building with Angular. To make your first Angular application, you'll need to use the Angular CLI (Command Line Interface). The Angular CLI is a command-line tool that makes building testing, and deploying apps easier.
To install the CLI, open a terminal or command prompt and run the following command:
Once the CLI is installed, you can make a new application by running the following command:
This will create a new app with the name "my-first-app". Once the application is created, navigate to the application root directory by running the following command:
Now, you can start the development server by running the following command:
This will compile your application and start a local development server. You can view your application in a web browser by navigating to http://localhost:4200/. You should see a "Welcome" message.
Understanding Angular CLI
In the previous section, we mentioned using a CLI to build the app. The CLI (Command Line Interface) command-line tool is used to make and manage your applications. It is an essential tool for developers because it automates a lot of tedious tasks and offers a reliable, effective way to work with i.
The CLI is a set of commands for generating, testing, and deploying apps that are built on Node.js and npm. You can quickly build a new project, generate components, services, and other components for your application, and run tests with the CLI. You can also build and deploy your application with a single command.
One of the primary benefits of using the CLI is that it enforces best practices and standards for Angular development. By doing this, it will be simpler to make sure that your application is well-structured, scalable, and maintainable.
Some of the most commonly used CLI commands include:
- ng new: This command creates a new Angular application.
- ng serve: This command starts a local development server and compiles your application.
- ng build: This command builds your application for production.
- ng generate: This command generates various parts of your Angular application, such as components, modules, services, etc.
- ng test: This command runs unit tests for your Angular application.
These are just a few of the many Angular CLI commands available. You can learn more about the CLI by running the ng help command in a terminal or command prompt.
The architecture of Angular: How to build scalable applications
Angular can build everything from small-scale webpages to high-end websites. Its architecture is designed to provide scalability and maintainability while making it easier to develop and test applications. In this section, we will understand the main concepts and components of Angular's architecture.
Modules and Components
In an Angular application, modules serve as building blocks. They specify a group of interconnected logic and parts that are reusable and arranged in the application. The small parts that make up an Angular application's individual views' user interface and behavior are known as components. They interact with modules and services to display and manipulate data.
Here's an example of a simple Angular component that displays a list of items:
Routing and Navigation
Routing and navigation are important aspects of any web application. It allows users to easily jump around different pages in the application. Angular provides an inbuilt powerful routing system that supports nested routes, lazy loading, etc.
Here's an example of how you can set up routing in an Angular application
Here we import the required modules for routing from the @angular/router module. Each route definition has two properties: path and component. The path property defines the URL pattern that you see on the browser URL bar, and the component property defines the component that should be displayed when this route is visited.
We then use the RouterModule to configure the routing for our application. The RouterModule.forRoot function takes the routes array as an argument and returns a router module. Finally, we define the AppRoutingModule class, which exports the router module so other parts of the application can use it.
Now, in order to display the component for the active route, we can add a router-outlet directive in our main application template:
Even though this is just a small example, it should help you understand how Angular's routing and navigation work. You can find more information and code examples in the official Angular documentation.
Directives and Pipes
One of the main features of Angular compared to other frameworks is the use of directives and pipes. Directives are reusable components that add functionality to an Angular application. They are used to manipulate the DOM and define custom UI elements. Pipes, on the other hand, are functions that transform data before it is displayed to the user. They can be used to format data, perform calculations, or display data in different formats.
Directives can be used to add conditional rendering, event handling, and other custom behavior to your application. You can build your own unique directives to customize HTML as necessary, but Angular comes with a number of built-in directives like ngIf and ngFor.
Pipes are used for formatting or manipulating data so that it can be displayed in HTML templates. Angular includes several pipes, such as the date pipe, which formats dates for display, and the currency pipe, which formats numbers as currency. You can also use custom pipes to format data as needed.
We can easily display dynamic data and format it with these directives and pipes, making our Angular application more powerful and flexible. Let's look at an example to see what I mean:
In this example, we're using the ngFor directive to loop over an array of products and display each product's name and price. We are also using the currency pipe to format the price as a currency.
Implementing two-way data binding
Two-way data binding is also one of the important features of Angular. It gives components in your application a way to share data. In simple terms, it is the process of binding a property in the model to an input in the view, and vice versa. When the model changes, the view updates, and when the view changes, the model updates.
Here's a simple example of implementing two-way data binding in Angular:
In this example, we're using the ngModel directive to bind the name property in the model to an input in the view. By using the [(ngModel)] syntax, we're telling Angular to bind the name property in both directions.
When the user types in the input, the model's name property is updated, and the view displays the updated value in the <p> tag. And whenever the name of the property in the model changes, the input will be updated with the new value.
Working with forms in Angular
Working with forms in Angular is made easy with the built-in FormsModule. This module provides directives and services that make it easy to create and manage forms.
Here's a simple example of using forms in Angular:
In this example, we're using the FormGroup and FormControl classes from the @angular/forms module to create a form model. The FormGroup class represents a form, and the FormControl class represents a form control. We're using the formGroup directive to bind the model to the <form> element, and the formControlName directive to bind a form control to an input element.
With Angular's built-in form support, we can easily create and manage forms in our application, as well as bind data to the model.
Testing your application
Angular is built with testing in mind, with tools and techniques to help make testing easier. Apps can be tested at several levels, including unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests.
Writing Unit Tests:
Unit tests are used to test individual units of code, like a component, in isolation. Unit tests can be done using the Jasmine testing framework and executed using the Karma test runner.
To write unit tests, you need to import the component or service that you want to test and create a test suite using the describe function. Within the test suite, you can write individual test cases using this function. To test the same, you can use the methods provided by the Angular testing utilities, such as fixture.detectChanges and debugElement.query
Here's a simple example of writing a unit test in Angular using Karma and Jasmine:
First, let's consider a component called "GreetingComponent" that displays a greeting message to the user:
Next, let us write a unit test for this component using Karma and Jasmine:
In this example, we use the TestBed class from the @angular/core/testing module to configure and create an instance of our GreetingComponent.
Then, we use the fixture.detectChanges method to trigger the change detection mechanism and render the component. Finally, we check that the component displays the right message using the Jasmine library's expect method.
Writing End-to-End Tests:
End-to-end tests are used to test the application as a whole, simulating the user's interactions with the application. End-to-end tests in Angular can be written using the Protractor testing framework.
To write end-to-end tests, you need to define a set of test cases that simulate interactions with the application. For each test case, you can use Protractor's built-in commands, such as element and click, to interact with the application.
Angular best practices
- Write Clean and Organized Code: Write clean and well-organized code using the modular approach of Angular, and make use of best practices in development like organizing files and classes into modules, using proper naming conventions, and splitting code into reusable elements.
- Implement Effective Error Handling and Logging: To track down and identify problems and bugs in your code, implement error handling and logging mechanisms in your application. This will enhance the overall quality and stability of your application.
- Use Built-in Directives and Pipes: Make use of the built-in directives and pipes provided by Angular for common tasks such as data binding, templating, and formatting. It helps to manage everything so easily.
- Implement Two-Way Binding: Implement two-way data binding to achieve efficient and responsive UI in your app, and keep the model and the view in sync.
- Implement Automated Testing: Automate your tests in your apps to improve code quality and stability, and ensure that your application is functioning well.
- Use Lazy Loading for Large Applications: Use lazy loading for large and complex Angular apps to improve loading times and improve overall functionality.
- Stay Up-to-Date with Best Practices: Stay up-to-date with the latest Angular releases and best practices, and continuously improve your development skills by practicing.
Thanks for reaching out so far, you are a fantastic reader!
In this detailed article, we have looked into one of the most popular web frameworks, Angular. We have looked into the various benefits of using Angular. We have also covered some of the best practices that you can implement while developing an application in Angular.
This blog is a good place to start if you are starting out your journey as an Angular developer.