Why and How to Migrate from AngularJS to Angular [Based on Our Experience]

11 min read
May 21, 2021
Why and How to Migrate from AngularJS to Angular [Based on Our Experience]
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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.

However, there is still some confusion about whether there is any difference between Angular and AngularJS or if both even mean the same thing. Basically, it is better to upgrade AngularJS service to Angular because the latter is a significant update to AngularJS.

moving from angularjs to angular

Moving from AngularJS to Angular or even understanding the concept at all may be murky at the level of the details. In any case, this is where your questions would be answered.

6 Reasons: Why Migrate from AngularJS to Angular

Even if you know that both frameworks are quite different, that does not fully explain why migrate from AngularJS to Angular. This article is not just to know how to migrate from AngularJS to Angular, but also why. Therefore, 7 points of differences between the two frameworks are explored.

Architecture

Angular uses the MVC (model-view-controller) architecture, whereas Angular uses component-based architecture. That means it features components and directives, where the former is really a directive but using a template.

Because components are independent, the Angular architecture is more preferred for building a very dynamic user interface for an application. More so, MVC architecture distils features into various application development levels, which may be chaotic; whereas, Angular uses components, which encompass all the features in a single class, leading to a more efficient development process by moving from AngularJS to Angular.

Structure

Angular, from version 2 upwards, is built on a different structure from Angular 1.x (or AngularJS).

The differences in the structure make the new Angular model more efficient for creating and managing larger and more complex applications, while simplicity remains an attractive quality for AngularJS.

the reason to consider how to migrate angularjs to angular mem

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

Language

One major difference between Angular and AngularJS is that the former uses TypeScript while the latter uses JavaScript.

TypeScript, though built upon Javascript, has more features than the latter. TypeScript (and by extension, Angular) is particularly suited for front-end development. More so, it has exceptional capabilities to handle large projects.

typescript better than javascript mem

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.

Mobile Support

Put simply, AngularJS, even though it may be used to build dynamic web pages, lacks support for mobile browsers. That’s why more leaders need to know how to migrate AngularJS to Angular for their business applications.

This is a serious limitation since the world is increasingly moving towards mobile over desktop browsing. More so, Google, through its search engine algorithm has been championing support for mobile-first browsing.

this is next level

On the other hand, moving from AngularJS to Angular ensures support for most kinds of mobile browsers and devices and can be conveniently used to build native mobile applications. That’s why more leaders need to know how to migrate AngularJS to Angular for their business applications.

Material Design

AngularJS material brought to life Google’s famous Material Design Specification, which was supported from 2014 through to 2017. It has quite a number of benefits but its use is limited to AngularJS 1.x.

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. More so, it has support for versions 2.x upwards.

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.

Not to mention that the former has a more advanced data binding algorithm, doing away with the slow-running, two-way binding of AngularJS. In addition, Angular’s TypeScript language supports static typing, which prevents various runtime errors that often cause problems for AngularJS in building complex applications.

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 from AngularJS to Angular. That is what this section touches. 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. A forward-thinking business should have commenced or been planning to implement steps to upgrade AngularJS service to Angular.

One reason for this is that AngularJS is fast nearing its end of support. In the middle of 2018, AngularJS entered a three-year long-term support (LTS) period that would have ended on May 31, this year. However, the development team extended the support period by six months due to the impacts of COVID-19 to December 31.

angularjs to angular migration plan

Basically, that obviously means that AngularJS last received any new exciting features three years ago, being limited to only bug fixes security patch updates. More so, from the end of this year, those security updates too would stop and any applications built upon AngularJS would be open to vulnerabilities.

Whereas, support for Angular is still strong and updates are being released regularly. Therefore, migrating from AngularJS to Angular quickly is a way to future-proof your applications and essentially your business going forward. Therefore, it is highly necessary for every business to have an AngularJS to Angular migration plan.

Efficient Development

In terms of architecture, structure, and features, Angular is more advanced than AngularJS. The code is cleaner, the architecture is more efficient, and the development process is more productive.

AngularJS has some benefits though, in that it is flexible and lightweight for building small applications. However, it fails the test when it comes to building large, complex applications. Angular is better suited for such. Considering how to migrate AngularJS to Angular, this boils down to its use of component-based architecture.

let us get serious and clean some code

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.

Google must have intentionally built a new Angular version from scratch in 2016 having considered the limitations of the first Angular, or AngularJS. Businesses can build better applications by using Angular instead of AngularJS because the latter improves the speed of compilation and provides code optimization by reducing the incidence of runtime errors.

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.

This has boosted the development of the responsive UI design approach. Even more, search engine giants, Google are taking a mobile-first approach to indexing websites on their platform. This means, when developing a web application today, you can’t afford to leave mobile out of consideration.

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

In addition, Angular does not just provide display support for mobile; it also scales performance by providing faster page loading and a more efficient framework structure, as discussed already in the point above.

Cost Optimization

The ultimate reason why migrate from AngularJS to Angular 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.

In the development process, every teeny-weeny saved cost adds up to something huge at the end of the day. Cost optimization is not merely about reducing costs, though. It is mainly about getting adequate value for the amount of money you are spending.

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Therefore, if you can spend less by moving from AngularJS to Angular and getting better results, then nothing should stop you from migrating.

Which Approach in AngularJS to Angular Migration Choose?

When updating from one framework to another, 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

Most legacy applications need rewriting because they are often so out-of-touch with modern principles such 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.

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 update model is to use a hybrid approach, where various parts of the code 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 code 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 from AngularJS to Angular. 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 application 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.
  • 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.

Our Experience

ProCoders is known for building world-class software development teams and executing projects for companies across the globe. Our developers are proficient in both front end and back end tools, including Node.js, React.JS, Flutter, Laravel, and so on, as well as of course, Angular.

One experience working with Angular was a fitness app we developed, Dryft. It is not exactly an AngularJS to Angular migration plan; however, it underscores the importance and role of Angular in the development world today.

Basically, the app provides users access to gym classes, fitness equipment, and payment options. Once the project parameters were set, we got to work, using Angular 8 and the Ionic framework. Both frameworks use the same code base; so, we were able to reduce development cost by 40% and development time by 35%, spending 3 months on a project that would have taken 5 months and delivering excellent results.

Conclusion

If anything, the consideration that AngularJS is coming to the end of its lifecycle is enough to inspire a decision to upgrade AngularJS service to Angular, a more advanced, more refreshed framework, in the form of Angular. Therefore, you need a definite plan on how to migrate from AngularJS to Angular.

Google continues to support Angular and developers love it as well because it is simple and intuitive to use, compared with other frameworks. By migrating from AngularJS to Angular, you would not be jumping on a fad bandwagon; instead, you would be making a decision to future-proof your application with smart forward-thinking.

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