ENTRIES TAGGED "AngularJS"

The Future of AngularJS

Charting the progress towards AngularJS 2.0

sextantAngularJS, for me, was a revelation the first time I encountered it. I was coming from using GWT (Google Web Toolkit), and seeing our large application shrink in lines of code by 90% was close to a spiritual experience. I was a convert from day one, because I knew how bad things were otherwise. Ever since, I have been associated with AngularJS in one way or another, and have seen how it makes things absolutely simple with data binding, templating, routing, unit testing, and so much more. But the more I used it, some things didn’t make sense, from naming to concepts. I got the hang of it, but I never really got to like why directives needed to be so complex, or how the built-in routing was quite limiting. While AngularJS made it trivial to write applications, it also made it trivial to write slow, hard-to-maintain applications if you didn’t understand how it all worked together.

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Prototype and adapt with the MEAN stack

Rapid web development with MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and Node.js

Web development may seem like a bustling space where everything changes every 5 minutes, but, in reality, the fundamental high-level concepts of building a web application haven’t changed much since the introduction of Ajax. The libraries and concepts, like the MEAN stack, that people have built up around HTTP and browser-side JavaScript simply provide abstractions to help people build sophisticated browser-based tools more easily. However, the fundamental challenges of web development remain mostly unchanged, and the ultimate arbiter of the value of a web development framework is how easily it enables you to overcome these challenges. In this article, I’ll highlight what I believe to be the fundamental categories of web development problems, and how the MEAN stack, consisting of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js, helps you solve them.

Problem 1: Prototyping, or, how do I build the damn thing?

With the growing popularity of the lean startup model, the pressure to shorten product development cycles and churn out a prototype application quickly and cheaply has never been greater. And, as developers, we’re doing this better at an exponential rate. Projects that once required hundreds of millions of dollars of capital in the late ‘90s became projects that you could build in a month or two with a couple tens of thousands of capital at a startup accelerator around 2008. Now, these sorts of projects are being churned out at hackathons around the country in a matter of days. As great as this seems, we can do better.

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Radar podcast: anthropology, big data, and the importance of context

JavaScript emerges as a heavyweight computing tool, and laser rangefinders illustrate the need to slow down and consider context.

Jim Stogdill, Roger Magoulas and I enjoyed a widely discursive discussion last week, available as a podcast above. Roger, fresh from our Fluent conference on JavaScript, opens by talking about the emergence of JS as a heavyweight computing tool and the importance of openness in its growth. A few other links related to our discussion:

If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to our podcast series on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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The Fluent Online Conference Preview

JavaScript power on display

As JavaScript and the Web connect more and more technologies, conversations grow broader and broader. While the Fluent conference is large enough to cover a broad range, we created a sampler of topics for the two-hour online conference I hosted with Peter Cooper last Thursday. They’re all very different talks, showing many paths you can explore.

Martha Girdler opened the show with a pure JavaScript talk, “this” in JavaScript: How It Really Works (at 6:38). She isolated the headaches I’d given myself the last time I used “this” with her discussion of sorting out the scope chain (at 14:34).

Next up was Wes Bos, demonstrating Hardware Access and Device APIs with JavaScript and HTML5 (at 23:30). As new APIs let JavaScript connect more deeply with the capabilities of the mobile devices we carry, he’s finding opportunities that go well beyond what we thought of as “the Web” even a couple of years ago. He demonstrated how access to the camera and microphone can let you treat the device as a motion detector, an unusual task for a web browser (at 44:07).

Pam Selle visited the server side, demonstrating Prototyping a la Node with Express (at 1:02:41). She showed how to quickly build a simple application for user testing, explaining how the testing worked as well as the code (at 1:14:17, though I really liked the discussion of anger in testing at 1:17:20).

Given the intense activity in JavaScript frameworks, we had to explore at least one. Brad Green and Shyam Seshadri, who just finished our AngularJS book, explored the Principles of AngularJS (at 1:23:35). The shift toward a model in which a framework “allows you to teach the browser how to understand these new components that you create” (at 1:27:08) reminded me that JavaScript isn’t just working with the browser lately. In many ways, it’s becoming a tool for adding capabilities to the browser instead. As they put it later (at 1:42:03), AngularJS is in many ways a meta-framework.

The video doesn’t quite capture the interactivity of the event, though you’ll get to see the questions speakers took from the audience over chat. For a much more intense encounter with JavaScript and the Web, please consider coming to the live version of Fluent, May 28th to 30th in San Francisco. We’ll have coverage of all of these topics and many many more.

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