For the past 7 years, we have used Google's Angular framework to create hybrid mobile applications, games, financial portals, peer-to-peer applications, and more. In fact, we even wrote about Why We Choose Angular over React.
With the recent release of Angular 9, we wanted to provide an update on what's new, what existing Angular 8 teams should do, and how we think the space is evolving.
What is Angular 9?
Angular is an open source design framework and development platform from Google. It's most commonly used to create single-page applications on web, native mobile, and native desktop.
The original Angular framework, AngularJS, was released in 2010 and revolutionized how front-end applications were built.
Angular is a TypeScript rewrite of the AngularJS framework, and its initial version "Angular 2" was released in 2016. Angular had early stumbles caused by the complexity of upgrading existing applications, leaving many organizations to jump to React or Vue.
However, despite initial setbacks, Angular continues to gain popularity due to its rapid iteration cycles, robust security standards, depth of features, and a backing by Google.
In February 2020, Angular Version 9 was released. The largest changes include a move to TypeScript 3.7, a new rendering engine (Ivy), and a change to ahead-of-time (AOT) compiling.
What Does Angular 9 Mean for You?
As with most major updates, moving from Angular 8 to Angular 9 will require some work. In particular, TypeScript versions 3.4 and 3.5 are no longer supported. It is recommended that teams upgrade to TypeScript 3.7.
In addition, by rearchitecting core components and making more components optional, the codebase for Angular 9 is smaller than Angular 8. The Angular devs shared that whether you have a small or large app, you will see an overall size reduction when upgrading.
Other upgrades to Angular 9 include: faster testing, better debugging, and more robust errors at build time.
Introducing the Ivy Rendering Engine
Angular 9's most exciting and long-awaited update is the shift from View Engine, their old compiler and runtime, to the Ivy rendering engine.
A rendering engine takes your Angular templates and turns it into code that runs in web browsers. According to Google, Ivy was specifically created to make your web apps smaller, faster, and simpler.
Ivy was introduced as an opt-in preview in Angular 8, giving forward-looking community members a chance to play with the new rendering engine and ensuring it was production-ready. Moreover, internal Google services such as Firebase and Google Analytics were used to test Ivy. It's safe to say that the new engine has been fully vetted.
Furthermore, Angular 9 introduces advanced ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation by default. As mentioned above, developers write Angular code and that code needs to be translated into something that web browsers can understand.
AOT compiling, as the name suggests, does this transformation before the browser downloads and runs the code, which means a faster loading page and a more seamless user experience.
In Angular 9, Ivy is now the default rendering engine but you do still have the option to opt-out if you are not ready to rewrite your renderer code. This gives teams an opportunity to quickly take advantage of other updates in v9, such as smaller application bundles, with less refactoring.
Angular is a popular framework for building all types of projects. Yes, you can build a web app using Angular but the project has been extended far beyond its early roots.
As mentioned, we have been using Angular to help budget-conscious startups build MVPs and enterprises ship applications that need to support thousands of users on day one. We have found Angular's rapid iteration cycles to be a strong benefit. Our development team knows that a new version of Angular and is coming that will support the latest technology.
With Angular 9, Google has shown its focus on performance and clean code. We are excited to get more projects onto Angular 9 to take full advantage of the Ivy rendering engine.
Looking for a free evaluation of Angular 9? Contact Tragic today to learn more about how we can update your current software stack to get you access to the latest features.