AngularJS - Cole Holland

What is Angular JS, Exactly?

Basically, Angular JS is a very powerful, open-source front-end web application framework used exclusively by JavaScript for Single Page Application (SPA) projects. [Tp] It is mainly maintained by Google, as well as a community of individuals and corporations to address the quantity of challenges presented by SPA's. [Wp]

The purpose for this framework is to try and simplify both the development and the testing of SPA's by using itself for client-side model-view-controller (MVS) and model-view-viewmodel (MVVM) architectures, both of which are software architectural patterns that help implement user interfaces on computers. However, Angluar JS largely fails to do this due to each new version failing to protect the core API and destroying important pieces of code that depend on previous versions. [Wp]


In 2009, Miško Hevery and Adam Abrons from Brat Tech LLC developed Angular JS as software to go behind an online JSON storage service to make applications much easier to create for the enterprise. It was sold online at the web domain "", with the price allocated by the megabyte. Unfortunately, not very many people wanted to spend their money on this software, so Hevery, Abrams, and Brat Tech decided to release the framework as an open-source library and Abrons decided to quit Angular altogether.

Eventually, Hevery went on to work for Google, specifically on a team that was currently involved in the making of a project called Google Feedback. During the development of the project, the team wrote more than 17,000 lines of code in about 6 months. Any programmer, including Hevery, can see that if something needs that many lines of code, then there must be a way to shorten it, even by a bit. In this belief, he made a bet with his manager, Brad Green, that he can shorten the code considerably in two weeks time. Three weeks later, Hevery, along with his GetAngular framework, cut the code from 17,000 lines to a whopping 1,500 lines. Hevery lost the bet, but Green was nevertheless impressed and had Hevery start the official development of Angular JS.

With the efforts of Green, Hevery, and the rest of the team assigned by Green, GetAngular was re-amped as Angular JS. This investment into the new technology paid off when Google took control of a company called DoubleClick. [Aa] Hevery's team was assigned the job of re-writting the applications of the company with the Angular JS framework, and the apps code from the company was shortened significantly and ran better that it ever did before. Because of this big success, Google invested more and more in the growth of Angular JS and the Angular team has grown rapidly.

How is it used?

First, Angluar JS reads the HTML page that it is scripted on using the <script> tag. The tag should look like this:

<script src=""></script>

The "...1.4.8..." part can vary based on different versions, of course. Angluar interprets the attributes in the page as directives, which start with ng- and are used to extend HTML. Some examples of these directives are:

  • ng-app, which starts an Angular JS application.
  • ng-init, which initializes the application data.
  • ng-model, which binds the values of Angular JS application data to HTML input controls.
  • ng-repeat, which repeats HTML elements for each item in a collection. [Tp]

Here are some code examples of these directives:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<div ng-app="">
        <p>Enter your name here: <input type="text" ng-model="name"></p>
        <p ng-bind="name"></p>

In this example, we use the ng-app directive in the div tag to show we are making an application inside div. We ask the user to input his/her name, which we will label as "name" using the ng-model directive. The ng-bind directive will bind the "name" to the model, making whatever is typed in the input box to dynamically be shown on-screen upon typing. Here is what this would look like:


This shows that the letters "Richar" are dynamically appearing on screen when typed. You can type as much as you want, too:


If someone would like to initialize a name or something else before running the application, then they can use the ng-init directive. This is how to set it up:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<div ng-app="" ng-init="name='Johnny Appleseed'">
        <p>My name is <span ng-bind="name"></p>

And here's how it would look:


The ng-init directive goes where the div is declared, with what the variable name is called and what data to initialize in the variable, then the span tag contains the ng-bind directive to bind the data from the variable to the page.

Other Cool Features of Angular

Scopes are used as the binding parts between the HTML and the JavaScript, or rather the view and the controller. Think of scope as a liibrary, like JQuery, except it can only be used through the view and the controller. Also, think of it like this: if an application were made up of a View (the HTML), a Model (data available for the current view), and a Controller (the JavaScript function that makes/changes/removes/controls the data), then the scope is the Model due to it showing what is available to view and applying the JavaScript to it.

Controllers are regular JavaScript objects that control the data of Angular JS applications. With controllers, you can create functions that use scopes to do what you want in the function. Many controllers contain large functions, so it would be more beneficial to import controllers from external files instead of putting all that code on the page.

Animations are from the transformation of HTML elements that give you the illusion of it being in motion. The tag used for animation, ngAnimate, does not specifically animate the HTML, but adds and remove classes on the fly, so to speak. If an event occurs, the tag will recognize it and can hide, show, or do anything else available throught the animation on Angular.

Angular JS comes with its own API, which stand for Application Programming Interface. This framework's specific API is a collection of JavaScript functions that perform common functions such as comparing and iterating objects and converting data.

Filters can be used to format data. These filters include currency (formats numbers to currency format), date (formats dates to specified format), json (formats objects to JSON string), and more. You can call these filters on the fly in expressions to, for example, make a variable containing the word apple to uppercase, making it appear on the page as APPLE. [W3]

Browsers That Support Angular?

The Angular team has claimed that they support what they call "Class A Browsers", which are basically browsers that are commonly used. They include Chrome, Firefox, Safari, iOS, Android, and IE8+ (Internet Explorer). However, since the release of Angular JS 1.3, the team has announced that they will no longer be giving support of Angular JS for IE8.

Out of this collection of browsers, people tend to use Chrome the most for Angular because of the extension made by the Angular team called Batarang, which improves debugging for the applications made through Angular. Specifically, Batarang aims to easily detect bottlenecks and even offers a GUI for debugging the applications.

What are the Cons of Angular?

Unfortunately, Angular JS has terrible error reporting. What is meant by that is when you get an error in the JavaScript console, you will more likely than not be pointed to the complete wrong line and will be none the wiser as to where the error is. A way to fix this annoying bug is to have your code manually return where the errors would occur instead of having the browser run a stack trace.

Because of the flexibility of Angular, another potential issue is that it is not opinionated. What is implied by that is if you were to look at a bunch of different Angular JS applications, you would most likely find each of them doing things completely different from the others. A lot of people like this kind of flexibility, but there are those that would prefer everything to work all the same way and for the coders to change them when they want them to.


All in all, Angular JS is a solid framework for enterprise development that can be used as both front-end and back-end. It does have some minor problems, and learning how to use all of the components to it can be hard, but it's still one of the more solid frameworks out there if you're looking to get into web development, especially if you're looking into how to shorten some code.


[Tp](1, 2) "AngularJS Tutorial." Tutorialspoint, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
[Wp](1, 2) "AngularJS." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Apr. 2017. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
[W3]"AngularJS Tutorial." AngularJS Tutorial. W3Schools, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
[Aa]Austin, Andrew. "An Overview of AngularJS for Managers." Andrew Austin. Andrew Austin, 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.