Why Angular?

There are many front-end JavaScript frameworks to choose from today, each with its own set of trade-offs. Many people were happy with the functionality that Angular 1.x afforded them. Angular 2 improved on that functionality and made it faster, more scalable and more modern. Organizations that found value in Angular 1.x will find more value in Angular 2.

Angular's Advantages

The first release of Angular provided programmers with the tools to develop and architect large scale JavaScript applications, but its age has revealed a number of flaws and sharp edges. Angular 2 was built on five years of community feedback.

Angular 2 Is Easier

The new Angular codebase is more modern, more capable and easier for new programmers to learn than Angular 1.x, while also being easier for project veterans to work with.

With Angular 1, programmers had to understand the differences between Controllers, Services, Factories, Providers and other concepts that could be confusing, especially for new programmers.

Angular 2 is a more streamlined framework that allows programmers to focus on simply building JavaScript classes. Views and controllers are replaced with components, which can be described as a refined version of directives. Even experienced Angular programmers are not always aware of all the capabilities of Angular 1.x directives. Angular 2 components are considerably easier to read, and their API features less jargon than Angular 1.x's directives. Additionally, to help ease the transition to Angular 2, the Angular team has added a .component method to Angular 1.5, which has been back-ported by community member Todd Motto to v1.3.


Angular 2 was written in TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript that implements many new ES2016+ features.

By focusing on making the framework easier for computers to process, Angular 2 allows for a much richer development ecosystem. Programmers using sophisticated text editors (or IDEs) will notice dramatic improvements with auto-completion and type suggestions. These improvements help to reduce the cognitive burden of learning Angular 2. Fortunately for traditional ES5 JavaScript programmers this does not mean that development must be done in TypeScript or ES2015: programmers can still write vanilla JavaScript that runs without transpilation.


Despite being a complete rewrite, Angular 2 has retained many of its core concepts and conventions with Angular 1.x, e.g. a streamlined, "native JS" implementation of dependency injection. This means that programmers who are already proficient with Angular will have an easier time migrating to Angular 2 than another library like React or framework like Ember.

Performance and Mobile

Angular 2 was designed for mobile from the ground up. Aside from limited processing power, mobile devices have other features and limitations that separate them from traditional computers. Touch interfaces, limited screen real estate and mobile hardware have all been considered in Angular 2.

Desktop computers will also see dramatic improvements in performance and responsiveness.

Angular 2, like React and other modern frameworks, can leverage performance gains by rendering HTML on the server or even in a web worker. Depending on application/site design this isomorphic rendering can make a user's experience feel even more instantaneous.

The quest for performance does not end with pre-rendering. Angular 2 makes itself portable to native mobile by integrating with NativeScript, an open source library that bridges JavaScript and mobile. Additionally, the Ionic team is working on an Angular 2 version of their product, providing another way to leverage native device features with Angular.

Project Architecture and Maintenance

The first iteration of Angular provided web programmers with a highly flexible framework for developing applications. This was a dramatic shift for many web programmers, and while that framework was helpful, it became evident that it was often too flexible. Over time, best practices evolved, and a community-driven structure was endorsed.

Angular 1.x tried to work around various browser limitations related to JavaScript. This was done by introducing a module system that made use of dependency injection. This system was novel, but unfortunately had issues with tooling, notably minification and static analysis.

Angular 2.x makes use of the ES2015 module system, and modern packaging tools like webpack or SystemJS. Modules are far less coupled to the "Angular way", and it's easier to write more generic JavaScript and plug it into Angular. The removal of minification workarounds and the addition of rigid prescriptions make maintaining existing applications simpler. The new module system also makes it easier to develop effective tooling that can reason better about larger projects.

New Features

Some of the other interesting features in Angular 2 are:

  • Form Builder
  • Change Detection
  • Templating
  • Routing
  • Annotations
  • Observables
  • Shadow DOM

Differences Between Angular 1 & 2

Note that "Transitional Architecture" refers to a style of Angular 1 application written in a way that mimics Angular 2's component style, but with controllers and directives instead of TypeScript classes.

Old School Angular 1.x Angular 1.x Best Practices Transitional Architecture Angular 2
Nested scopes ("$scope", watches) Used heavily Avoided Avoided Gone
Directives vs controllers Use as alternatives Used together Directives as components Component directives
Controller and service implementation Functions Functions ES6 classes ES6 classes
Module system Angular's modules Angular's modules ES6 modules ES6 modules
Transpiler required No No TypeScript TypeScript

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