Angular vs AngularJS: What Are the Differences?

Ian Deed
Ian Deed
Published: 11.08.2022

Angular is one of the web’s most productive modern tools for building scalable web apps. AngularJS, in comparison, is a technology with an almost unmatchable user base and an extraordinary number of applications still depending on its use. So what are the differences that matter when it comes to Angular vs AngularJS? How do we compare the two tools, and which do we choose to build and maintain our applications?

As a technology for building remarkable and dynamic web apps, Angular is a technology we have appreciated since its initial release. Our support and resources for choosing Angular development services within your teams can easily help you get started with the technology, its tooling, and its developers.

Yet, despite Angular offering vast performance improvements and modernized designed credentials over its predecessor, the longevity and widespread legacy deployment of AngularJS means that it’s a technology still worth spending resources and time on maintaining within teams.

Here, we’ve broken down the specific differences when it comes to Angular vs AngularJS and provided the resources necessary to help you decide when it’s worthwhile migrating from the previous version of the framework to its newer rival.

History of Angular and AngularJS

First released in 2009 by Google, engineers Miško Hevery and Adam Abrons built AngularJS to create single-page applications (SPAs) without the need for any additional plugins or frameworks.

In the months and years following the release of AngularJS the framework rapidly grew to become one of the most popular for the web and a highly productive tool for future web development projects.

In 2016, Google released another highly productive tool too. Angular came as a complete rewrite of AngularJS, retooling the highly popular framework from the ground up. The groundbreaking approach the AngularJS team took when rewriting the framework meant building an entirely new framework from scratch rather than patching on updates and modifications to the existing work.

As a result, Angular is a completely modernized codebase with modular code that is easier to maintain and more user-friendly than its predecessor. While AngularJS has benefited from a large following of developers and widespread legacy use, Angular still managed to make it high up in the rankings of top web development frameworks highly rated by developers.

Angular vs AngularJS code on a laptop screen showing benchmark results

Many legacy projects still use and maintain AngularJS to deliver critical services today. However, recent benchmarks have shown Angular to be a notably more performant framework than AngularJS in head-to-head comparison. Combined with being easier to maintain and having a longer shelf-life than AngularJS, now might be the ideal time to begin migrating to the more modern of the two frameworks.

Primary Differences: Angular vs AngularJS

Angular introduced many innovations and tools to the development ecosystem that have made it easier for developers to create complex and highly interactive web applications. Yet, AngularJS is a technology that introduced groundbreaking innovations in the way we build SPAs and other web technologies.

Despite their similarities, Angular and AngularJS are very different frameworks, from the programming language used to the Angular framework itself. High-quality Angular development companies can lean on both technologies to create a modern and forward-looking service that can be easily maintained and upgraded in the future.

Some of the key differences when it comes to Angular vs AngularJS include:

Performance

Angular is a faster framework than AngularJS. This is because Angular uses Ahead of Time (AoT) compiling, which compiles your Angular application at build time rather than run time. This makes Angular apps load faster and work smoother.

AngularJS, on the other hand, uses Just in Time (JiT) compiling, which compiles your AngularJS application when it is first loaded. JiT compiling can make AngularJS apps slower to load and less responsive.

Our breakdown of the highest performing web framework benchmarks takes a closer look at the performance credentials that split Angular and AngularJS and shows the advantage that the more modern tool has over its predecessor.

Architecture

Angular uses a component-based architecture, while AngularJS uses a directive-based architecture. In Angular, components are self-contained units with their own views and styles. Components are also more modular than directives, making them easier to reuse and maintain. However, directives are more flexible than components, which can make them more suitable for certain tasks.

Data binding

Angular supports both one-way and two-way data binding, while AngularJS only supports two-way data binding. As a result, Angular’s data binding system is much more powerful than AngularJS, and it gives you significantly more control and flexibility when working with your application’s data.

Language

Angular is written in TypeScript, while AngularJS is written in JavaScript. A superset of JavaScript, TypeScript adds object-oriented features and optional static type-checking to the language. These features make TypeScript more maintainable and easier to work with than JavaScript. AngularJS is still a powerful framework, but Angular’s use of TypeScript makes it more robust and easier to use.

Our Ultimate Guide to JavaScript Framework has a detailed breakdown of what web languages mean when applied to various frameworks and breaks down the things you should consider for your web technologies.

Dependency injection

Angular uses dependency injection to manage its various components, while AngularJS requires developers to handle their dependencies using the $injector API manually. Dependency injection makes it easier to instantiate components in Angular, and it also helps ensure that they are always created as singletons by default. This simplifies development and prevents common issues like memory leaks in your applications.

Mobile support

Angular was designed from the ground up to be a mobile-friendly framework, while AngularJS does not have built-in mobile support. Angular provides several features that make it easy to develop for mobile devices, such as touch-based gestures and responsive layouts. AngularJS, on the other hand, requires developers to use third-party libraries or frameworks to add mobile support to their applications.

Ease of use

Angular is easier to use than AngularJS. Angular’s component-based architecture and use of TypeScript make it more straightforward and intuitive to work with than AngularJS. AngularJS’s directive-based architecture can be confusing for developers who are not familiar with it, and its lack of TypeScript can make it more difficult to read and understand.

Community

Angular has a larger and more active community than AngularJS. Angular is maintained by Google, which has a large team of dedicated developers working on it. AngularJS is also developed and maintained by Google, but its development team is much smaller. As a result, Angular has more resources available and a more active community.

Despite these differences, both versions of Angular remain widely used by developers. Many companies still use AngularJS, and Google uses Angular for its popular AdWords platform.

Angular is the more suitable option if you’re starting a new project from scratch. But if you’re working on an existing AngularJS project, it’s probably best to stick with AngularJS for now.

The Future of Angular

Angular is regularly being updated with the latest features and improvements, while AngularJS has been in maintenance mode since 2016. Unfortunately, Google stopped providing support for AngularJS in 2021, which means that developers who continue to use it will have to do so at their own risk.

Professionals sit around a table in a coworking environment Angular vs AngularJS software development

Angular is the clear choice for new development going forward. So if you’re beginning a new project, you should use Angular. And if you’re working on an existing AngularJS project, you should make plans to migrate it to Angular.

Advantages of Angular over AngularJS

Angular is the better choice if you’re starting a new project from scratch. Angular’s use of TypeScript makes it more maintainable and easier to work with than AngularJS. Angular’s component-based architecture and use of dependency injection also make it more straightforward and intuitive to work with than AngularJS.

And finally, Angular has a bigger and more dynamic community than AngularJS. There are several reasons for this, including its powerful data binding system, robust mobile support, and ease of use. Thanks to its more extensive community, angular is also the more popular choice among developers.

Advantages of AngularJS over Angular

One of the main advantages of AngularJS over Angular is that AngularJS is a more lightweight and streamlined version of Angular. AngularJS uses a simpler, more declarative syntax that makes it easier to write and maintain code while still providing all of Angular’s powerful features and functionality.

Additionally, AngularJS offers superior performance compared to Angular, as it takes advantage of browser capabilities such as two-way data binding and AJAX requests without the need for additional plugins or frameworks. Ultimately, AngularJS provides a faster and more efficient way to build complex web applications than Angular does.

Overall, Angular is more modern and easier to use than AngularJS. However, some developers still prefer AngularJS because it is more flexible and customizable than Angular.

The decision ultimately comes down to the needs of your project and whether Angular or AngularJS best meets those needs. Whether you’re using Angular or AngularJS, your applications are sure to benefit from these powerful frameworks.

FAQs:

Q1. Is Angular better than AngularJS?

Angular is notably better than AngularJS in that Angular is a more modern, highly performant, and modular framework for creating web applications. With AngularJS reaching end-of-life earlier this year it’s a technology that is no longer receiving security, performance, or maintenance updates to support its applications.

While AngularJS still has a vast user base and tens of thousands of active applications and developers relying on the framework, it’s a framework that is rapidly fading from use in favor of its more modern and capable predecessor.

In testing, web performance benchmarks have shown that the younger Angular framework benefits from improved performance credentials over the older AngularJS. In addition, the young framework benefits from more developer resources dedicated to the project from Google modernized design credentials, and a more modern architecture fitting to the size scale and use of the project.

Q2. Are Angular and AngularJS the same?

Angular and AngularJS are not the same project. Angular is a more modern framework designed to take the reigns from AngularJS. While the two projects have the same lead developers and both ate backed and maintained by Google, there are marked differences in the architecture, performance, and code between the two frameworks.

AngularJS is a web framework first released back in 2009. Built on JavaScript, this small project within Google rapidly grew to be a major web technology used by engineers worldwide. Angular, released in 2016, came as a re-write of the AngularJS framework to address some of the issues and drawbacks of the framework. Built on TypeScript, migration from AngularJS to Angular can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly for companies and teams.

The younger framework, however, is notably more performant, easier to use, and easier to maintain within application development teams. While migration is difficult and often requires investment in learning Typescript, it’s often well worth the time and cost on projects.

Q3. Which is the latest Angular or AngularJS?

Angular is much newer than AngularJS. While AngularJS was first released back in 2009, Angular came as a complete redesign to the framework in 2016. More recently, Angular has taken the reigns from AngularJS, with the JavaScript-based technology reaching end-of-life earlier this year and Angular being promoted as the leading alternative for developers.

Today, however, AngularJS has managed to maintain its place amongst the most popular and widely appreciated web technologies in developer polls. The older technology is still used to maintain and build many legacy web apps and remains a popular — if diminishing — technology still in widespread use.

For developers, Angular offers better performance, improved architecture, and better language features in TypeScript for the web apps it can produce. While migration from AngularJS towards Angular is happening slowly due to the difficulty and costs involved, Angular is rapidly growing in use and appreciation and is quickly taking over as a leading web framework amongst developers.


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