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The symbolic end of an era in the history of frontend development
How it all started
When I found out that Google officially ended the official LTS support for Angular, it literally hit me. Due to COVID, this period was extended, originally it should end on July 1st after exactly 3 years. To be honest, I didn't have much contact with the first version of Angular, but in a way, I always associated it with the beginnings of this "modern" web development. It definitely increased the pleasure of work and simplified a huge part of the process. For most of us, probably the biggest breakthrough was the launch of Node.js in 2009, but exactly in the same year, Miško Hevery, a developer working in a startup came up with the idea of a tool that can be used to accelerate the development of enterprise applications. Of course, it was significantly different from what it evolved later, but it already gave an idea of what later would have a huge impact on the development of the first web frameworks. A year later, Google adopted this tool to increase web development productivity, and the story began. A story spanning over 11 years.
Angular made a clear division between the declarative user interface and imperative business logic. There are three main concepts of AngularJS: Model, View, and Controller. They are building the most popular architecture used in AngularJS - MVC. "Model" means the scope, or, in other words, data and variables that can be accessed by the View and also by the Controller. A controller is used for changing the scope, View is used for presentation. Thanks to this, we have a strong division which simplifies a lot both testing and development. The first version of this framework should be strongly distinguished from all subsequent versions, because there is a significant difference between them. In 2014, Angular 2 was released (known simply as Angular), which was rebuilt from scratch and based on the TypeScript language. From then on, Angular 1 is known as AngularJS and all subsequent versions are a separate product, actively maintained by Google to this day.
The end of the official support doesn’t mean the end of the project. CDN links will remain active so all projects that are using AngularJS still can work without any problems. The website angularjs.org also will remain active. The Github repo and all related libraries will be archived and there will be read-only access. It means, there will be access to the commit history, issues, and pull requests. The project can still be developed by the community on separate forks. The creators recommend switching to the newer Angular version. The development experience is much much better in every way. It is estimated that approximately 16% of Angular developers are still using the first version (AngularJS). Translating this into the number of downloads from the NPM repository, it is still over half a million per month. This number will probably decrease significantly soon. Google publishes new versions of its framework twice a year, so developers cannot complain about the low frequency of releases. They also cannot complain about the content of an individual release. The latest version (13), released in November 2021, includes many improvements such as support for the latest TypeScript version, many improvements in testing, and much more.
What’s the future?
I think it's a good time to recap what was then and focus on what will be. AngularJS has a great successor, actively developed by Google, and it's doing well. Other libraries and frameworks such as React, Vue, or Svelte are also doing great. Currently, we definitely cannot complain about the number of technologies and tools helping us develop apps and websites.
What are your memories and thoughts about AngularJS? Do you still remember this tool? I'm sure many of you took your first steps playing around with modules and controllers. Write your thoughts in the comments section. See you in the next news!