March 19, 2021

Apply AngularJS in production? If the answer is yes, the topic raised in this article is quite essential for you. Companies currently using this technology have faced the real challenge related to the Google team’s announcement. The AngularJS end of support became breaking news for many technology companies. Every team is trying to figure out what AngularJS end of support will mean for them and what to do next. This article will help you to find answers to these questions.

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WHAT IS GOING ON WITH ANGULARJS RIGHT NOW?

Being one of the earliest JavaScript frameworks, AngularJS development services has grown fast in popularity within web development teams. It’s a fact that this framework has laid a good foundation for front-end development. AngularJS was the breaking technology, initially released by Google in 2010. It combined good practices of different libraries and presented a number of powerful features.

AngularJS development quickly became the default option for new web applications, like Angular or React today. This client-side framework was a step forward in creating progressive web apps. Moreover, it gained strong community support and evolved over time. Unfortunately, the lifespan was not that long as for other more mature web technologies. Google team, notorious for killing new projects and products, saw flaws in AngularJS that could not be solved through technology evolution and updates and used it as a blueprint that, unfortunately, had to be redone from scratch.

AngularJS end of supportThe turning point was a ground-up rewrite of AngularJS. Handling its drawbacks, the Google team presented a completely new framework in 2016, though called it Angular 2. Therefore all versions 1.x.x are referred to as AngularJS, and versions two and later are Angular. 

The Angular and AngularJS difference isn’t about the name or just newer framework versions. Technologies differ at their core. First of all, AngularJS is based on JavaScript, whereas Angular is written in TypeScript, a better-structured superset of JavaScript. Secondly, the basic architecture and data binding approaches have also changed. Finally, Angular got better in performance, improved browser compatibility, and supported mobile development with several next releases.

For many developers and companies, it was a tough decision on what to do next. The fact was that the release of Angular didn’t mean the stop of applying its predecessor. There are still a vast number of large projects that keep on using AngularJS in production. All applications built by AngularJS developers continued to work, but product owners were encouraged to start the migration process.

The key moment was the Google announcement of the final AngularJS version 1.7 with no intention of further releases. Thus on the 1st of July, 2018, AngularJS entered a three-year Long Term Support period that was later extended by six months due to pandemic.

Consequently, many question what to expect from AngularJS end of support after the 31st of December, 2021. We don’t recommend waiting longer but take steps forward. To better understand what’s going with AngularJS development services right now, the statistics will be helpful.

Over years, it was hard for AngularJS to compete with other technologies. Angular has found better support among the developers’ community. Even being among the most popular web frameworks, AngularJS is considered the most dreaded framework at the same time. According to Stackoverflow, 75.9% of specialists have no more interest in developing with this framework. Thus it becomes harder to hire AngularJS developers to join the teams. 

If we compare Github commitments and the users’ number for the last few years, AngularJS is way behind such technologies as Angular or React.

Github commitments - AngularJS, Angular and ReactIndeed, the support team managed to identify and fix many bugs, but AngularJS support hasn’t provided any new features over the last years. In other words, it turned into a stable framework to build web applications, whereas adding new functionality becomes impossible. So what should companies do if they need to support the AngularJS application after 2021 or, what’s more, want to advance the existing web product?

ANGULARJS END OF SUPPORT: WHAT’S NEXT?

With AngularJS end of support in 2021, we need to raise the issue of apps’ future built with this framework. Everyone understands that changes are inevitable. Companies don’t have so many possible alternatives – either abandon their product or accept new solutions. AngularJS end of support is not the only reason to look for some alternatives. Thus you’d better not panic but draw attention to other compelling reasons.

Switching from this framework is an important decision as it becomes harder to meet the needs and requirements within AngularJS web app development. We should accept that AngularJS end of life is normal as the market offers newer and better options for building web applications. it won’t be able to compete with frameworks that are innovated and improved with each new release. Topical issues regarding AngularJS web app development include:

AngularJS end of support: concerns over development

Hiring new developers and retaining the old teamSetting a professional team is very important for efficient product delivery. If the company wants to hire AngularJS developers, the task could be quite challenging. As the technology decreases in popularity, many specialists have already switched to newer frameworks. The same situation is with retained teams. The majority of AngularJS developers don’t want to continue with outdated approaches. In both cases, companies either set up new teams or need time to retrain the old ones.  

Browser support – AngularJS team informs that any major browser release will cause current apps using the latest version 1.8.x might stop working or lose some functionality after browser update. Not to mention the earlier versions that no longer developed or supported. Even though the support team tries to provide fixes, it is endless trouble with a consistent and responsive web experience. Moreover, it is a real threat to your app’s complete absence on some browsers in the future.

Security – The same situation is with adopting security policies. AngularJS Long Term Support is available for the 1.8.x branch in case of detecting security flaws. As for previous versions, only security patches are provided for AngularJS 1.2.x. It means that updating to the latest version is the minimum you need to do. AngularJS developers have to follow security practices strictly. For instance, the way they control AngularJS expressions and templates. Regardless of the version, attackers can exploit the app via an XSS attack by gaining access to manage them.

Mobile supportAngularJS doesn’t provide cross-platform support, which is among the main requirements for today’s market. Developers aren’t able to build mobile responsive applications; that’s, for example, possible for the Angular framework.

Distinctive features – The future of projects on AngularJS doesn’t look so bright. Having no possibility to add new features won’t be suitable for the majority of products. Evolving the software is essential for engaging users and adding new functions. In the case of web development using AngularJS, the developers will be limited to the standard set of features that are no more updating.

Constant technical debtApplying outdated technology in production always results in technical debt. Lack of documentation and code complexity leads to unreadable code and its poor maintenance. Thus it is harder to manage the web application and predict its accurate behavior. At the same time, developers have a small chance to solve newly occurring issues with AngularJS apps.

New pluginsThey help to make applications cleaner and easier to maintain. The absence of new AngularJS plugins means no possibility of extending your web app functionality. For example, the framework is used in combination with the jQuery library that is not so popular these days. For AngularJS 1.8, the team suggests jQuery 3.5.1 or above to avoid potential security issues. Any new library releases are considered the cause to stop applications’ work if not fixed by the AngularJS Long Term Support team.

Support of third-party APIsCarrying out common tasks like converting data, comparing, and iterating objects is way easier with APIs. However, after AngularJS end of support, it will be impossible to use third-party APIs. For example, the integration with payment gateways and services might not work properly or stop working at all.

Mentioned above aspects have already made an impact that AngularJS is less applied in web development. Besides, this framework is actually being abandoned by developers. They would rather learn up-to-date technologies and apply new development techniques and approaches. Considering this, we’ve come to the following question what alternatives to AngularJS web app development companies can find and, most importantly, how to do it right.

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ANGULARJS END OF SUPPORT: WHAT TO DO?

For those who want to develop a new web application, the answer is obvious. The product owners will choose some up-to-date front-end technology that meets both tech and business needs, like Angular 2+, React, or Vue.js. But what about the companies that already have AngularJS applications in use? They need to find a way to support product or service delivery via the web application they started. They can’t just disappear from the market because of AngularJS end of support. 

Of course, AngularJS applications won’t stop working at once, but companies shouldn’t wait longer. At some point, making the transition from the outdated framework will be a necessity. Nobody wants to reach the point where changing something will be infeasible. When the technology becomes inefficient, it is time to act. Companies should understand that the transition process could be complex and lengthy, for example, due to the app size or complexity.

Developing a migration strategy depends on each business case. Besides understanding needs, you’d better estimate effort and time to get there. It is important to make use of resources efficiently. Companies decide whether to migrate immediately, rewrite an application from scratch, or update it incrementally. Staying with AngularJS in 2021 and further is not an option because it will inevitably handicap the business potential of an app. Let’s get into more details on each option and find out what it means for your business?

AngularJS end of support: options for web development

Upgrading / Migration

The AngularJS end of support doesn’t mean that tech companies need to abandon their existing products. There are several ways to complete migration and continue advancing web solutions. 

Upgrading an AngularJS app turns into a reasonable solution as it allows developers to handle the transition and add new features in parallel. This approach’s main advantage is that you don’t need to stop development or impact the user experience.

Applying other JS frameworks like Angular, React, or Vue.js, the teams can migrate old applications. As a rule, it is completed incrementally with the help of inbuilt tools. For example, ngUpgrade is a special library that mixes and matches AngularJS and Angular components. Similar libraries are available for migrating to React (ngReact, angular2react, react2angular and ngimport) or Vue.js (ngVue).

If the team decides on the migration, they deal with running two different frameworks side by side. Even though developers are able to add functionality without using legacy code, we don’t recommend lengthening the migration period. It’s better to focus on completing the transition and migrate old components to the new framework. Running two code bases is the transitional stage as they find a way to integrate AngularJS with the new technology. 

For large applications, it is great to migrate module by module, component by component. As for small apps, the team can rewrite the reusable components and proceed to ones using them. With a new framework adoption, you will be able to migrate and get rid of all AngularJS code lines.

Considering the business perspective, it is the step-by-step approach suitable for most projects. Besides, it is good for those limited on time and resources. There is no need to freeze development but continue using your web product. The team will complete every new feature within new technology while facilitating the smooth transition of the AngularJS app. Once the transition is done, they continue web development with a newly applied JS framework only.

Rewriting

This option brings the most possibilities as the team won’t be limited to any aspect. They can choose any framework, change the app architecture, design and functionality. However, it means building the application from scratch. It is about assigning the cross-functional team responsible for delivering the up-to-date market product with a different set of technologies. While implementing the new application, the AngularJS development company will need to support the existing product and even add new functionality. 

Many find rewriting controversial as it has both many pros and cons. Not every team is ready to work on both apps simultaneously and increase the workload twice. As you build a completely new application, you need more time and resources. Besides, this approach might not work for every project. It is easier to rewrite the small AngularJS app, but the complex application will be challenging and lengthy. 

Another benefit to mention is flexibility. It allows companies to switch to newer technologies and eliminate the drawbacks of AngularJS web app development. They don’t need to change or comprise the existing app. The team focuses on the new app development with the technology they choose.

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Continuing with the latest AngularJS version

If upgrading or rewriting is not possible for the AngularJS development company right now, they can still keep the app in support. Moreover, some teams have no intention to migrate their apps at all. They could be satisfied with the existing solution’s performance and don’t plan on advancing the web product with any new features. It has been a stable technology for front-end development and can meet basic needs. But they forget that the changes happen rapidly. If it’s efficient for now, there will be no guarantee for later. The Google team will support AngularJS till the 31st of December, 2021. The support team is responsible for fixes related to browser updates, security, and jQuery patches.

But what is going to happen after AngularJS end of support? How will the AngularJS development company prove that they have the supported software? There is one more option left – paid Extended Long Term Support delivered by the third-party provider. The company will need to sign the agreement with the independent team that provides such services. Extended AngularJS support is available for the latest AngularJS version 1.8. They can help to set the project and provide periodic updates. These will remain custom fixing of bugs caused by jQuery, web browsers, and security weaknesses. Besides, you need to be aware of the fact that those teams currently plan on providing support till December 2026. Any further plans will only depend on market and customer demand. 

Consequently, AngularJS end of life becomes closer with each day. Product owners of existing apps have to accept changes and make steps forward. Let’s consider the best alternatives and how you can migrate there.

ANGULARJS END OF LIFE: ALTERNATIVES FOR MIGRATION AND REWRITING

After the AngularJS end of support announcement came, the IT teams started to look for possible alternatives. Due to the variety of technology and other good market practices, the companies are faced with quite a difficult choice. Moreover, the perfect option for one project might not work for others. Companies should consider their tech requirements, business needs, and available resources. 

The existing product is always a starting point for making any further changes. Developers take into account the app complexity, available functionality, performance, etc. Besides, the success of switching from AngularJS to other frameworks depends on how well the team can handle the transition process. The technology stack matters, but the application’s purpose also helps determine the necessary technology and migration steps. Let’s consider the top front-end frameworks that developers consider for migration or rewriting AngularJS apps.

Angular -general facts

ANGULAR

Let’s start with the AngularJS successor, which was initially created to replace this technology. 

Angular maintains certain similarities to AngularJS development services, like built-in directives or templating language. Sharing main concepts and being continuously advanced, Angular is among the best frameworks to deliver cross-platform solutions, including building web, mobile, and desktop applications.

 AngularJSAngular
LanguageJavaScriptTypeScript
ArchitectureMVCComponent-based
DOMStaticVirtual
SpeedSlowFast
Data bindingTwo-way data bindingTwo-way data binding
Tooling supportThird-party toolsCLI
Mobile supportNoYes
Developer communityDecreasing number of developersHuge developer community
SupportTill December 31, 2021, GoogleOngoing, Google

Angular has brought so many improvements to be an alternative to AngularJS web app development. To understand how far the story has gone, we can check the number of Angular versions. On the 11th of November 2020, the Google team presented Angular version 11. 

With each new release, the Angular team and developer community achieve excellent performance, scalability, and advanced functionality. Besides, it is faster to build larger apps with Angular due to improved debugging and easier maintenance. Choosing this framework allows companies to decrease the development cycle and manage resources efficiently.

Development teams have several options on how to migrate the AngularJS application to Angular.

  • Hybrid migration with ngUpgrade: Angular has the built-in tools to migrate apps of the latest AngularJS versions. Developers switch to a new framework incrementally, thus facilitating a smooth transition. The migration process always starts with the preparation stage that organizes the legacy code, breaks it into components, and later proceeds with TypeScript and Components Directives. The migration itself begins by mixing and matching the components of both frameworks. It is completed with the help of the ngUpgrade library in Angular. Each technology can manage components and services of another one, thus enabling efficient interoperability. As a result, the team is ready to start applying Angular code in their product and finish upgrading. 
  • Angular elements: As for the complex AngularJS products, the team can use the special package in Angular for transforming separate components into custom elements. The main advantage is adding them to other front-end frameworks, including React or Vue.js. As for AngularJS apps, developers apply Angular 7 components to use elements in a standalone capacity. This approach isn’t suitable for complete migration as it can’t provide all the benefits of the transition to the new framework.
  • Rewriting: Starting from scratch will be the most complex and time-consuming case, but the payoff will be huge. Developers will suggest it when the AngularJS product is quite outdated. It is about the need to redesign and restructure the existing app completely. While building a new solution with Angular, the team also needs to support the old one. It can be the right choice for small projects that are limited on functionality but aim to deliver better features, outstanding performance, and excellent user experience.

React -general facts

REACT

Since AngularJS is a JavaScript framework, the teams can apply other JS front-end frameworks for the transition. Let’s consider one of the most popular technologies for web applications – React. It brings a number of solutions to web app development. React offers fast rendering, reusable components, and stable code. It allows developers to build rich-user interfaces and support excellent app performance. Besides, it is known for the strong community support and high demand on the market.

 AngularJSReact
LanguageJavaScriptJavaScript
ArchitectureMVCComponent-based
DOMStaticVirtual
SpeedSlowFast
Data bindingTwo-way data bindingOne-way data binding
Tooling supportThird-party toolsThird-party tools
Mobile supportNoYes
Developer communityDecreasing number of developersBig supportive community​
SupportTill December 31, 2021, GoogleOngoing, Facebook

Focusing on the main advantages of React development, the team is able to handle the drawbacks of AngularJS development services. This vibrant and diverse framework can become a good addition to your project. React provides better code maintenance, thus boosting the productivity of the development process. 

If you decide to switch to React, you can apply a progressive migration strategy. As the team changes to a completely new framework, they will start with the preparation steps related to organizing AngularJS components and getting the code ready for the transition. Like with any other technology, the development team can choose between several approaches:

  • Use React components – That is a perfect option to add new functionality with React while replacing existing features incrementally. Developers can apply different React libraries like ngReact, angular2react, react2angular or ngimport. It enables building React components and then embedding them into existing products. The teams favor this approach as they build new features and work on migrating the legacy code incrementally. They will be able to convert the codebase and switch entirely to React
  • Run two separate apps – Some projects try to run React and AngularJS apps at the same time. The idea relies on having separate applications but mixing their functionality. Developers can either run the legacy code within React or a new code within AngularJS. We need to mention that this solution is difficult to support and maintain. Teams often face issues with routing and reproduction of existing services. Moreover, all the new functionality will be implemented with React though they continue to support the outdated technology. Anyway, the company will make a decision to switch to Reach sooner or later.
  • Rewriting – Creating a new web application with React is always an option but maybe not so often applied. As for the reasons to choose to rewrite, it is totally the same as with other frameworks. Companies can create an advanced product with an up-to-date web development framework. The only disadvantage remains time and resources. Though, we can recommend considering this option as sometimes rewriting can cost less than the migration.

Vue.js - general facts

VUE.JS

Another web framework to consider is Vue.js. The technology is similar to React and Angular in many aspects. Thus, the developers obtain one more option for the migration process. The first thing to emphasize about Vue.js development is simplicity, clarity, and flexibility. It is the easiest framework to learn, integrate with other libraries, and apply for existing projects. Based on Javascript, developers can integrate Vue.js in any JS product, including AngularJS applications.

 AngularJSVue.js
LanguageJavaScriptJavaScript
ArchitectureMVCComponent-based
DOMStaticVirtual
SpeedSlowFast
Data bindingTwo-way data bindingReactive two-way data binding
Tooling supportThird-party toolsVue CLI
Mobile supportNoYes
Developer communityDecreasing number of developersSmaller community​
SupportTill December 31, 2021, GoogleOpen-source, the core team

If we talk about web development using AngularJS, it deals with supporting heavy applications. On the contrary, Vue.js is better for lightweight projects. Due to the light coding structure, the technology is faster in development and better in performance. As a result, Vue.js can be suitable for integration but not always for the complete rewriting of large AngularJS apps.

Another fact to mention is that it obtains fewer features in comparison with Angular or React. Many experts have doubts about extensive flexibility. Depending on your project, it can be good as well as cause some irregularities. In fact, Vue.js is entirely created, supported, and maintained by the developer community. Vue.js community grows fast, but it is smaller in comparison to others. 

When the team considers switching from AngularJS to Vue.js, they can go with the following options:

  • Apply Vue components – To make migration smooth and progressive; developers can use ngVue. It is a similar approach as with React components. Vue.js library presents a separate module to integrate Vue components into AngularJS code. Teams can use it to build new features as well as migrate the existing product to Vue.js. Moreover, developers need to convert AngularJS components into Vue ones. Most teams acknowledge that hosting Vue components is quite simple. 
  • Incremental migration – Companies often start using Vue.js even before migrating. They can develop new features with incremental migration in parallel. The sooner they invert the existing product from AngularJS, the faster they will be able to continue advancing functionality with Vue.js. They might also need to refactor and optimize the previously converted components to fit the Vue model perfectly. From the business perspective, it is the most reasonable approach to complete migration but not impacting user experience.
  • Rewriting – Started as a small project, Vue.js turned into the full-fledged framework. It allows developers to work within a modular and flexible environment. As we mentioned, rewriting is not the first option to consider. Moreover, using Vue.js for migrating from AngularJS development services has carried many great benefits.

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Each of these frameworks can be a good alternative to AngularJS web app development. They have gained support and popularity among both developer communities and businesses. Because of the AngularJS end of support, companies tend to choose among the up-to-date solutions. Angular, React, Vue.js are suitable for migration or rewriting due to improved performance, better security, added functionality, flexibility, ongoing support, and lower development costs. Companies can go with different transition approaches, but the main goal is to receive a functional web app that meets the market requirements.

IN CONCLUSION

With the advancement of technologies that can be better for web development, AngularJS has considerably declined in popularity. Moreover, the AngularJS end of support has caused many discussions on the market. Developer communities and businesses started to express concerns about AngularJS end of life. They realize the needs and support the idea of transition to better solutions. It could seem like a complicated process at first sight, but it is worth all the effort. Companies need to accept challenges in order to support their web products on the market.

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