A grouchy writeup on the Angular 2 situation

Datetime:2016-08-22 23:04:22          Topic: AngularJS           Share

I decided to write this blog after reading an excellent comparison of AngularJS and Angular2 posted

on our book’s forum. But today I’d like to talk about another aspect: how Angular 2 is being marketed and delivered to us.

When I started learning Angular 2 in Spring of 2015, it was clear to me that Angular 2 to AngularJS is as ham is to hamster (yes, I’m rephrasing a popular Java to JavaScript comparison). More than a year later, I still think that these are two different animals.

AngularJS 1.x was and still is the most popular JavaScript framework, and more than on million (!) developers are using it today. I guess someone at Google decided to capitalize on the popular brand and this is how the concept of the new version of AngularJS came about. Overall I think it was a smart marketing decision, which was supported by the fact that the creator of AngularJS and Angular 2 was the same rock star software engineer Misco Hevery. But rock star software engineers do create difference products.

If Microsoft would use the same marketing strategy, they would not use the name TypeScript for the new language but would market it as C# 2. Both of these languages were created by Anders Hejlsberg, right? Then they’d publish a migration guide from C# to C# 2 similar to the migration path from AngularJS to Angular 2. I’m sure next year we’ll see more guides explaining how to migrate your app to Angular 2 from React, Ember, and ExtJS, which will be a similar effort to upgrading from AngularJS to Angular 2.

All right, let’s move from naming the framework to naming the releases. While writing the book we created multiple sample apps and had to change all of them each time when the new alpha release of Angular 2 was made available. This was expected and we survived a couple of dozen of such releases. Early this year the framework went to the beta phase, and in May of 2016 the Release Candidate 1 was announced.

If someone would ask me in January if it’s safe to start developing new apps in Angular 2, I’d say “Yes, it’s pretty stable now”. Boy, I was wrong! I always thought that alphas are for introducing new features and breaking APIs, betas are for fixing bugs, and release candidates are just for polishing things up. Who would expect that between RC.1 and RC.5 the router and forms API would be completely rewritten, and a new API (modules) would be introduced for packaging/loading apps?

If you’d ask me today (August 22, 2016) if it’s safe to start new development in Angular 2, I’d answer “If Angular 2.0 won’t be officially released in September of 2016, don’t bother.”

Go to StackOverflow and you’ll see that people are asking questions like “I’m having problems with so and so. I’m using Angular 2 RC.1”. If someone would suggest to upgrade to the latest RC.5, a typical answer would be, “Sorry, I have no time for this”.

Does it really have to be that time consuming to upgrade from one RC to another? Apparently it can be. There is even a guide titled “ RC4 to RC5 migration “. It has an optimistic subtitle “Migrate your RC4 app to RC5 in minutes.” Yeah, right! This is exactly what I’m doing now. I’ve allocated a week to upgrade about 40 small apps from RC.4 to RC.5.

From a recent Adventures in Angular podcast I’ve learned that to decide if the next breaking change should be introduced in the next RC, the members of the Angular team ask themselves, “Would this make Angular better?” If the answer is Yes, they break the API.

A Popular Russian comedian Mikhail Zvanetsky once said, “Who cares about the borscht if so much is going on in the kitchen!” Dear Angular team, I really like Angular 2 RC.5 as it is. Please concentrate on fixing bugs and stop cooking the borscht! Give us a stable release that won’t dramatically change for six months so we can release our apps too.

The happy ending

Angular 2 is a powerful platform for building complex suites of app. Being most of my professional life a Java developer, I can see that Angular 2 can make an effect in the JavaScript community similar to what Spring Framework made in the Java world, which was huge!

Keep in mind that there is about 15 million of Java and .Net that have not tried Angular 2 yet, but when they will, they’ll love it too!

I used AngularJS but never liked it. It was the most popular JavaScript framework, but I never liked it anyway. As a matter of fact, I never liked neither JavaScript nor any other JavaScript framework. But I really like the Angular2/TypeScript duo!

Looking forward to hearing the following announcement at the AngularConnect 2016, “Ladies and Gentlemen, We’re happy to announce the release of Angular 2.0 today!”





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