Why Prefer AngularJS for Single Page Application Development?

ByJames M

Before delving deeper into the main topic of building Single page applications using AngularJS, first, we would unveil the concept of Single Page Application. Today, the majority of the visitors are not patient enough to wait for more than two seconds for a page to load. Although there are many ways to enhance the speed of a website, most are opting for single page applications to upsurge the site speed and augment the user experience.

What are single page applications?

A Single Page Application or SPA refers to a type of website or web application which is capable of dynamically reloading particular page elements as per the interactions of the users. This helps to avoid loading new pages from a specific server, which in turn enhances the speed and overall experience of the user. Further, SPA tries to render the same experience as a desktop application to the user. Some popular users of single page applications include Gmail, WhatsApp Web, Maps, Flickr, and so on.

The CTO of the renowned content marketing firm ReleVenture, Randolph Morris breaks down the concept of SPA in this way: “A single page application is when a single page is modified dynamically as the user interacts with the page elements. You might have noticed there are sites where the entire content of the site is on a single page and the navigation at the top anchors to sections on this page, this would be an example of a SPA.”

Key Features of single-page applications

If you are new to the notion of building single page applications using AngularJS, you first need to accustom yourself with the essential features of a Single Page Application. In a good SPA, the contents as well as the resources including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, among others are either recovered during a single page load or dynamically brought in as and when required. In other words, the page is not made to refresh or reload; instead, it adjusts itself as per the requests of the user and performs accordingly.

It is quite essential to gain knowledge about the critical features of a Single Page Application if you want to move further in the domain of single page application development.

• Well-organized Routing
A good SPA can keep track of the current state and location of a user during the process of navigation using JavaScript routers. You can do it either by the HTML5 History API usage or the ‘Hashtag technique.

• The absence of Round Trips on the Server Side
A competitive SPA is capable of restructuring any portion of the User Interface (UI) without the need of an entire server-side trip to recover an HTML page. In most cases, this is accomplished by employing a ‘Separation of Concerns‘ design theory which implies that the segregation of data from the presentation of data via a model layer which deals with the former part and a view layer which retrieves information from the latter part.

• Flexibility and Performance
A persuasive SPA usually transmits the entire UI to the client, which is observed to be good for the overall network performance, as maximizing the execution from the client side as well as offline processing minimizes the UI effect on the whole network. The highlight of this approach is the flexibility aspect allowed to the UI, by enabling the developer to rewrite the application front end without disturbing the server.

What is AngularJS?

AngularJS is a powerful JavaScript-based framework fondly referred to by its developers as Superheroic JavaScript MVW Framework.

The official definition goes like this:

“AngularJS is a structural framework for dynamic web apps. It lets you use HTML as your template language and lets you extend HTML’s syntax to express your application’s components clearly and succinctly. AngularJS’s data binding and dependency injection eliminate much of the code you would otherwise have to write. Moreover, it all happens within the browser, making it an ideal partner with any server technology.”

It has many features which are highly beneficial for the developers. AngularJS offers the developers an opportunity to write client-side applications with the help of JavaScript in the MVC format. Further, those applications written in AngularJS are compliant across multiple browsers. In general, AngularJS is used for creating web applications which highlight attributes like high performance and easy maintenance.

Core features of AngularJS

Data Binding

It refers to the automatic integration of data between the model as well as view elements. AngularJS executes data binding in a way you tend to think of the model as the single-source-of-truth as far as your application is concerned. You can regard this view as an element of projection for the model. A change in the model reflects the same change in the view component, and it happens vice versa as well.
As far as AngularJS is concerned, a two-way data binding occurs instead of the conventional one-way binding.

Scopes

Scopes function as a gel between controller and view and acts as an object which refers to the model. AngularJS places scopes in a hierarchical way similar to the DOM format of an application.

Controllers

In AngularJS, a controller refers to a JavaScript function that links to a specific Scope. The initial state of the Scope object, as well as incorporate behavior to the same, are set up using controllers. A controller is expected to include only the logic required for a view.

Services

These are objects which could be substituted and glued together using Dependency Injection (DI). The services feature could be used to arrange and share code throughout your application.

Templates

Templates are usually written using HTML which includes attributes and elements which belong to the AngularJS family.

Directives

Directives serve as markers for DOM elements including attributes, CSS, and the like. These could be used to build custom HTML tags which serve the purpose of custom widgets.

Different Versions of AngularJS in a Nutshell

There have been different versions of AngularJS released from time to time since it was first released in 2010 by Google. AngularJS is usually referred to as Angular1 by many. The only version of AngularJS is known as Angular 1.x. All was going fine until the launch of React JS which had a significant impact on the developers. The competition which followed between two popular companies regarding the framework led to the launch of Angular 2 in 2016. It was entirely a rewritten version of AngularJS. The main drawback of these models was that they were unable to update themselves from one model to the other. So, the only option left was to migrate. AngularJS functions on an MVC framework while Angular 2 operates on a Service/Model framework. Then Angular 3 was developed but skipped immediately. Following this Angular 4 was launched in 2017 and contained some new features. Unlike its previous versions, Angular 4 is easily compatible with Angular 2 and is not a rewritten version. Angular 5 was released soon after, but it was just the updated version of Angular 4. It also has some additional features. Angular 6 is the brand-new version released in 2018. Many features like Library Support, Angular Material Starter Components, among others are included in the new version.

Why is Building Single page applications using AngularJS highly appreciated?

As discussed earlier, SPA has become part and parcel in developing both web as well as mobile applications. The users need not roam about on different pages. Instead, they can get what they want staying on the same page. The community of developers is high-spirited owing to the less amount of work they have to carry out while writing codes to retrieve pages from the respective servers. Further, the easy scalability offered by single page applications helps developers to tackle any demands raised by the start-ups.

AngularJS can serve as the best building companion for SPA. There are several attributes offered by AngularJS which serves this purpose.
Let us discuss some of these:

1. Quick Performance
The single page applications developed in the AngularJS framework tend to load quickly. The component router feature of AngularJS makes this possible by delivering automatic splitting of codes. This enables the users to load only the requester code for the view.

2. Cross-Platform Compliant
An AngularJS framework enables a Single Page Application to be compliant with every platform.

3. Offers Excellent Support for UI
Building SPAs using AngularJS renders an excellent experience for the users.

4. Enables Easy Maintenance
If you prefer AngularJS to develop your SPA, the maintenance of the latter would be quite easy in the future.

5. Renders Great Flexibility
Once AngularJS is in your control, the job of creating SPAs becomes much more relaxed. The AngularJS framework offers options to build animation timelines and complicated choreographies by using a minimal number of codes. As a result, it is possible to build interactive and user-friendly web applications with greater flexibility.

In short, AngularJS is an excellent option for building SPA applications, considering the number of features which makes it possible.

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