The Ins and Outs of AngularJS

August 15, 2014 | By: Raj Dubey | 2 min read

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AngularJS is a framework designed to make the building of a web application's front-end easier. The description is simple enough to say, but it is so much more with the available modules that can extend its capabilities.  It adheres to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) methodology creating an abstraction between the data, code and rendering. Utilizing a mixture of markup and JavaScript, AngularJS does all the heavy lifting and saves considerably on development time. AngularJS does an excellent job of speeding up development and reducing the number of defects when designing your front-end framework.

Why AngularJS?

By no means is AngularJS the only option out there, and I encourage you to review the other frameworks as I have done. A few good examples are Ember and Knockout. Each has its own merits and is very functional and useful, but my personal preference for AngularJS came down to several factors. The three main ones are:

  1. Learning curve
  2. Documentation
  3. Flexibility

There are two main types of learning curves: one is easy at first and gets more challenging, and the other is hard to begin with but easy to master. AngularJS falls into the first category; it is extremely easy to get started with it, but the details can take a while to master.

The lower entry is made possible by the quantity and quality of resources available. The AngularJS main website is a good place to get started and refer to regularly. The vast community of users and developers also serve as additional resources outside of the website.

Lastly, the flexibility that you get with this framework is phenomenal. AngularJS was built to be modular. By breaking down its framework into smaller pieces, it lets you use only what you need. Having prebuilt modules that satisfy most of your needs is helpful, and the numerous ways you can extend the framework with this system makes it easy to fit any requirements.

Why not AngularJS?

AngularJS is not without its limitations, the biggest of which is a side effect of the data binding. Because the framework monitors the markup for changes in order to update the model, third party plugins that also modify the markup can cause unexpected results. Be extremely careful when utilizing any plugins, such as third party jQuery. The other frameworks I mentioned (Ember and Knockout) are also prone to this problem.

Another frequent issue that I have encountered in my use of AngularJS is in the way it handles errors. Often it will error or be erratic without providing useful details or information to assist in debugging the problem. After a while I was able to match the somewhat cryptic errors with typical symptoms which helped to alleviate some of the headaches. Often reviewing the code will reveal an obvious mistake, however in the worst case the browser console will tell you where and roughly what is causing a problem.


Having just finished a rather large-scale project that utilized AngularJS, I am comfortable in saying it was an excellent decision to utilize. Our team was able to spin up quickly and develop quality code efficiently. If you’re thinking about which system to use for your next project, make sure to give AngularJS a look. If you decide that the framework is not a good fit, take the time to find one that is, as this will help to reduce time, costs, and pain points.

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