Now might be the best time to replace your AngularJS Applications

Angular2 has been on the radar for quite a while, and so has the desire to retire legacy AngularJS applications. However, with Angular2 in transitional development for over a year, and the ability to deliver better and faster than ever with AngularJS, most companies have still decided not to change.

I wanted to outline the changes I’ve noticed with the now official release of Angular2, and the recent commitment of the project to a more predictable release schedule.

A change needed, a rewrite required

As we all know, Angular2 is quite different than AngularJS — it’s arguably a different framework. It’s certain that the overhaul to the original framework was necessary, as it was probably the only option for Angular to survive as a brand. It’s important to understand the different forces that led to a rewrite to help us to accept the changes:

  1. The framework was originally designed for people who don’t know how to code. It was described as “[Imagine] a spreadsheet that you can style with CSS and HTML” by its creators.
  2. AngularJS was focused on improving our ability to deliver faster, mostly achieved via revolutionary two-way binding, but unfortunately, it lacked support for structured development practices. The number of best practices and style guides available online really speak to that point. But again, AngularJS was not intended for developers, at least not at first.
  3. It had some design flaws and performance issues. For instance, the dependency injection was often interfering with the minification process and the digest cycle created slowness at times.
  4. Last but not least, AngularJS could not fully embrace Web Components; which we believe will play an important role in a near future and potentially redefine the way we work and collaborate.

The world has changed, you have changed

The other aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is the overall technical landscape. Back in 2012, when we first started with AngularJS, JavaScript was scary, almost sketchy. Basically, not suitable for the enterprise.

Since then, things have changed. A lot. To the point that JavaScript is now a first-class citizen, and is present in most projects. Today, if you look around, you’ll see JavaScript experts everywhere.

We, as an industry, have clearly committed to JavaScript, grown our skills, and are now really understanding the language, its strengths, its flaws, and its ecosystem.

With AngularJS ending its life, and the rise of new standards such as web components, as well as the availability of enterprise-ready frameworks like ReactJS, Angular2 or even Polymer, we believe now is a great time to reconsider your UI strategy and pave the way for future revolutions.

So, what’s next?

At this point, really, we’re down to 3 distinct options:

  • Do nothing — Keep using AngularJS
  • Migrate — From AngularJS to Angular2
  • Look at options beyond Angular — Rely on a different framework

Although, “Do nothing” is an option, we don’t think it is the right answer. Clearly frameworks and browsers are both going in a different direction than AngularJS. Soon, AngularJS will become obsolete and fade away…and so will AngularJS developers.

Realistically, we don’t expect the next framework to be as revolutionary as AngularJS or even to last as long. However, we know we have to change in order to stay relevant and now is a great time.

If you’re not sure what direction is best for you, check out our findings in our white paper Post-Angular Bake-off: Where to go next, after AngularJS?

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