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Why and How to Migrate from AngularJS to Angular
14 min.

Angular is one of the most popular frameworks for building applications for both mobile and desktop devices. Since it was introduced in 2016, it has grown to be a darling among both front-end and back-end developers. It features advanced capabilities that make code more structured and more efficient. How to migrate AngularJS to Angular is something business leaders should know and be equipped to implement.

moving from angularjs to angular

6 Reasons: Why Migrate from AngularJS to Angular

You should know that both frameworks are quite different, Angular is not an AngularJS update, still, that does not fully explain why migrate from AngularJS to Angular. This article is not just to know how to migrate, but also why. Therefore, 6 points of differences between the two frameworks are explored.

Architecture

AngularJS uses the MVC (model-view-controller) architecture, whereas Angular uses component-based architecture. That means it features components and directives, whereas the former is really a directive but uses a template. Because components are independent, Angular architecture is preferred for building a very dynamic user interface.

 how to migrate angularjs to angular

Structure

Overall, Angular has a neater structure including features like better dependency injection than Angular JS, and so it makes for more efficient development.

On top of that, consider that you wish to develop a website with a standard, widely-used layout. What if there was a template that you can use? Wouldn’t it be simple for you to simply code and tweak it to meet your needs?

There is a solution to that, and it is called Bootstrap. You may build an interactive web page by integrating Bootstrap into your Angular application.

In a nutshell, Bootstrap is a huge collection of reusable, useful pieces of code written in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Also being a front-end framework which enables developers to create responsive websites.

Language

One major difference between Angular and AngularJS is that the former uses TypeScript while the latter uses JavaScript. And TypeScript is better in so many ways! It has exceptional capabilities to handle large projects.

It also makes for better productivity, since a programmer can automatically detect errors while coding, ensuring that efficiency is multiplied. Finally, being an object-oriented language, TypeScript helps to write cleaner code that can be more easily reused.

typescript better than javascript mem

Mobile Support

Put simply, AngularJS, even though it may be used to build dynamic web pages, lacks support for mobile browsers and there will be no AngularJS update with mobile support ever!

Material Design

AngularJS material brought to life Google’s famous Material Design Specification, which was supported from 2014 through to 2017. In 2016, Google made a significant update that ushered in a new TypeScript-based material design called Angular Material. Angular Material implements responsive design smoothly and it is more extensible than its predecessor.

Speed and performance

Angular is more modern than AngularJS in every way, including speed. For one, the former’s support for component-based architecture instead of the traditional MVC makes Angular programming run multiple times faster than AngularJS.

Business Benefits of Migration from AngularJS to Angular

The reasons given above are mainly technical reasons. However, there is also a business angle to why migrate. What does your business stand to gain by migrating AngularJS applications to Angular?

Future-proofing

This is the most compelling reason for migrating to Angular from AngularJS. Basically, AngularJS last received any new exciting features eight years ago. Whereas, support for Angular is still strong and updates are being released regularly.

angularjs to angular migration plan

Efficient Development

You should not forget that Angular is not an update of AngularJS! In terms of architecture, structure, and features, Angular is more advanced than AngularJS. Angular code is cleaner than AngularJS code, the architecture is more efficient, and the development process is more productive. 

Add this to the use of the more modern TypeScript over JavaScript, support for mobile devices and browsers, and an advanced data binding algorithm; what you get is a framework that is more efficient than AngularJS multiple times over.

Mobile-oriented development

54.8% of the world’s internet browsing in the first quarter of 2021 was done from mobile devices, according to Statista. Over the years, mobile internet browsing has been growing around the world.

If anything, mobile compatibility should be a priority. Fortunately, if you have been using AngularJS, you have a chance to upgrade the AngularJS service to Angular and provide mobile support for your business applications.

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Cost Optimization

The ultimate reason why to migrate is to improve code efficiency so that the development process becomes more productive. 

In turn, this reduces the development life cycle, enabling you to spend less (than what you would have spent using AngularJS) and yet produce much better results. More so, Angular comes with an official Command Line Interface, which means that your developers no longer need to depend on many of the third-party tools that are required in AngularJS.

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Which Approach in AngularJS to Angular Migration Choose?

To migrate from AngularJS to Angular, you need a well-thought upgrade plan because when you are going to move from AngularJS to Angular, some applications must be rewritten from scratch (the way Angular 1 was rewritten from scratch to build Angular 2), while other applications only require an update. What are the factors that make either of both options necessary? These are some of the discussions to be had when setting up an AngularJS to Angular migration plan.

Rewrite

Upgrading from AngularJs to Angular can be tricky that is why most legacy applications need rewriting because they are often so out of touch with modern principles that migration can be a hassle unless an entirely new code is developed. 

However, even more, modern applications may be rewritten based on different reasons. For one, rewriting offers more freedom to add new features and significant improvements that may not be supported by a simple update. 

The Rock faced a challenge

However, rewriting also costs more time and effort, particularly because at some point, your team(s) would have to maintain two different applications since you want to make the transition smooth for the application users. 

Therefore, when planning how to migrate from AngularJS to Angular,, consider that rewriting can be a lot of hassle the bigger the application is, notwithstanding the flexibility it offers.

AngularJS Update

On the other hand, in how to migrate AngularJS to Angular or any other platform for that matter, updating is less flexible than rewriting, in terms of options for the new application. 

Updating is best suited for large applications whose complexity would mean a great multiplication of expenses if they were to be rewritten. An update is quicker to release. A common tweak around the updated model is to use a hybrid approach, where various parts are gradually rewritten until you have a fully updated code.

A man is talking about responsibility

That is, at no point in the process would you have two parallel applications. Instead, the new and the old code coexist until the update process is complete. Although, note that this hybrid code is more difficult to maintain. 

Of course, whichever model you choose, the developer should have a deep understanding of both AngularJS and Angular.

How to Migrate from AngularJS to Angular

It is no small decision to migrate. It is one that can impact your business and service delivery, especially when your model relies on a software application. Therefore, you need a formidable AngularJS to Angular migration plan. This short guide gives you an overview of what the project looks like, even though it is not exhaustive.

  • Prepare by setting up TypeScript using the @types/angular package. Thereafter, set up TypeScript to be interoperable with the old JavaScript code with the aid of the TypeScript Compiler as well as a TypeScript module integration.
  • Create a new build of the existing AngularJS app using Angular CLI. Some developers use Webpack directly instead but that seems to be time-consuming, especially since Angular CLI supports Webpack internally. Copy the AngularJS files to a new folder in Angular. The features would be automatically connected, and you have an Angular app.
  • Use the ngUpgrade toolkit to implement a hybrid update and operate two frameworks simultaneously of the same application. This makes the migration process easier.
  • Transfer services and components. You can use the downgrade components to make the Angular component to be available within the AngularJS segment of the project. You might need to rewrite some code while migrating the AngularJS component to the new Angular version of the app.
  • At the final stages comes routing, often implemented by using UI-Router. ngUpgrade supports this by default and UI-Router has smooth support for hybrid migration.

Angular versions: keep updating, stay innovative

As mentioned before, Angular is constantly updated, there are new versions almost every year and updating to the latest version is always a good thing because they have new angular upgrades, bug fixes, features, and so on, but you have to be sure that the latest version out there is stable! 

You might be wondering if upgrading all the time would be a hassle, well don’t you worry, it is not! The official steps of how to update your Angular version (taken from their site) are:

When you are ready to go run this command to update Angular and CLI:

ng update @angular/cli @angular/core

Head over to update.angular.io to find detailed information and guidance on updating. We always recommend upgrading one major release at a time to have the best update experience.

That is all! See how easy it is! I repeat, make sure that the version you are updating to has a stable release. That is your best bet. To be honest with you, it is what makes Angular so popular, it is being updated all the time. Remember, you won’t ever see an AngularJS update out there!

Our Experience

Here at Procoders, we have helped numerous clients migrate from AngularJS to Angular, we actually have experts in our pool who are well versed in AngularJS (it is not a common thing to find AngularJS experts nowadays). These experts have helped our clients make the jump without any obstacles!

Case:

Actually, There is a very interesting case that we at ProCoders worked on, we helped our clients from MultiQ (the largest provider of Digital Signage and customized monitors in Northern Europe).

Interview:

To bring you the whole experience in detail, I got in touch with our Lead Developer Andrew. He gave me insight into the whole process, how it happened and what did they exactly do to help our client out. 

We planned to meet with Andrew in one of the quieter cafes, Since it was a bit cold out, I put on a trench coat. I should be honest here, my attire was inspired by how I had seen detectives in movies dress. 

When I got there, Andrew was waiting for me in the parking lot already, smoking a cigarette, I asked him if he wanted to finish smoking it, but he said let’s get in and get started while chucking a half-smoked cigarette. 

So, now we are sitting down and I pull out my laptop to take notes, and I start with my first question. 

Why? Just like you, I was curious to find out why the client had decided to migrate, I mean they had their project up and working, and they were making money already. But why?

The answer to this question made a lot of sense, Andrew reminded me of the fact that the last update that AngularJS received was 8 years ago! Yup! 8 years, since then there has been no support, no fixes, no updates, nothing! Whereas, Angular to this day is being updated, there are newer versions. It is better in so many ways! 

the reason to consider how to migrate angularjs to angular mem

Upon hearing that, I instantly inquired about how did he do it.

He told me that he used a HybridHelper while migrating, it is something that allows both the frameworks to function simultaneously so you can work with your project while the developers are working on the migration and rewriting what needs to be rewritten.

He shared that it took him around a year to rewrite all the necessary components, while the project was live and the client was producing revenue, Andrew also mentioned the use of the Downgrade component and Upgrade component which makes components written in AngularJS operable in Angular and vice versa. 

And when he was ready with everything, he just migrated everything to Angular and viola, a fully functioning project in Angular 5. I also got to know that the migration process itself took a month or so, whereas, the original project was completed in 5 years! 

Although, I might not be too fond of cats, but I share their curious nature. So it was necessary for me to ask my friend, what were the complications and obstacles that he faced along the way.

Well, his answer was simple, and I quote “There are not many challenges when migrating but there is one huge pain in the backside and that is scope, scope and once again scope”. We got into some technical details after that, where he explained what it exactly is and how it functions.

let us get serious and clean some code

He told me that Scope and numerous watchers in AngularJS turn out to be a problem and they cannot be migrated to Angular because it doesn’t use it. That is why he had to rewrite components, in Angular you have every component separately located, which makes it quicker and easier to use. 

So, here I asked him, why Angular, I mean there are so many other Frontend frameworks out there, what made him choose this one? 

Andrew took a sip of his coffee and then explained that even though Angular and AngularJS are completely different, the basics of how the code is written are the same and since he was using the HybridHelper, he was able to write new components while the client was making money on the side. 

If they had gone with a different language/framework they would have to create the whole project from scratch and the client would not have access to their site for a long period of time. To which I inquired, “how much longer?”. To which he replied, “it took 5 years to create the original version, so you do the math!”

Here is when Andrew asked for a smoke break, and I used this break to get my notes in order. Upon returning he asked me what my next question was and I asked him about how he came to the conclusion that using a HybridHelper and Upgrade and Downgrade components was the right way to approach the task at hand. 

Interestingly, he told me that the client had already heard about this solution and that they were having some doubts about implementing it, that is when our friend came in and told them about this solution to their problem and they seemed on board. At some stage, the whole project was updated and everything was on Angular already without anyone even noticing. That is how smooth Andrew is!

Get our Clients’ Contacts to Discuss their Experience with Us!

I was ready with the next question straight away, and I asked, How big was the team that was provided to the client to help them out? I was surprised to know that only Andrew and another developer named Slava were on the team. The advantage of having quality experts, who don’t just know the ins and outs of the modern frameworks but the outdated ones as well, is what we at ProCoders have. 

That is why Andrew and Slava were able to handle the whole process, why was I surprised you wonder? It is because these 2 have done what a team of 5-6 developers would do if they don’t know how to approach the migration process. 

On top of that, the client was in business the whole time, this solution has probably saved the client hundreds of thousands of dollars! With this thought, I got up and shook this gentleman’s hand, thanked him and wished him the best of luck.

Numbers:

I have got some numbers here for you so you can see for yourself how the migration actually helped out our client!

Cost Reduction -57%
Revenue Increase +40%
Productivity Increase +28%
Order Rate+33%

Review:

So y’all must be wondering what the client had to say about the work that we put in! Well, what can they say, they were super happy with our work and they left a sweet review saying, “ProCoders is able to accomplish high-quality deliverables in a very timely manner. The team serves as a valuable extension of the company’s development team, and the internal stakeholders are particularly impressed with their detail-oriented approach, as well as their level of commitment.”

How to Choose the Right Development Partner for Migration or Make Suitable in-house Team Extension

Since migrating is not just an AngularJS update, you need a developer with a high level of expertise in both frameworks, the question here is, how does one find such an expert? It is essential that you find the right partner because they will be helping you out throughout the process and they have to be in agreement with you in terms of the technology used, you would also have to find out which components would be rewritten and which would be updated. 

Some steps will be outlined below which you should pay some attention to before starting the migration process:

  • If there are any case studies or reviews available, please go through them. For example, you can use sites like Clutch, UpWork, etc. On top of that, if there is a way to contact current or previous customers and find out what they think about the potential partner would be an advantage too. 
  • It is also important that you sign proper documentation (NDA, Contract, etc) before you begin, in order to maintain the integrity of your project. pay attention to the time zone that your potential partner is located in because communication is key during the upgrading process.

Developers they provide should be experienced in working with both frameworks and must be well-versed in the techniques used while migrating. One of the first few questions that you must ask them is the method they would use during the process. How was their performance rated during their previous migrations? What were the problems that they faced? At this stage, testing developers is preferable in order to understand their skills.

F. A. Q.
What is Angular Migration?

It is when a website or a web app which was created using AngularJS is migrated to a newer, better, faster framework, usually Angular is the framework of choice.

Why Migrate From AngularJS to Angular?

AngularJS is no longer updated or supported, thus, it has become a legacy framework. Whereas, Angular is being constantly updated and supported and all the bugs are being fixed. 

On top of that, Angular is faster, better, and easier to code.

What is the most stable Angular version?

At the moment Angular 14 is the latest most stable version out there

Conclusion

If anything, the consideration that AngularJS is coming to the end of its lifecycle is enough to inspire a decision to migrate to a more advanced, more refreshed framework, in the form of Angular.

Leaving old friends behind can be challenging, but trust me, migrating is the best option, We shared an experience that we had, so you will get the motivation and take the steps required. 

As for AngularJS, I want to say thank you old friend, you helped the world out when we needed you the most and as for Andrew and the guys at ProCoders, I really must say that not all superheroes wear capes!

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