Angular vs AngularJS — Why you should migrate from AngularJS to Angular

2 months ago

After its release, AngularJS became a trusted and popular frontend framework. It was used to build many successful web applications, and it helped thousands of businesses reach their goals. However, when Angular — note the name difference — was released in 2016, it was announced that it comes as a next-generation replacement for AngularJS. Businesses who were relying on AngularJS until this point had to make the big decision: should they migrate their applications and frontends? Eight years later, that question still remains relevant.

In this article, we will discuss the primary differences between AngularJS and Angular, how the AngularJS to Angular migration process works, and how you can get started today.

How your business will benefit from an AngularJS to Angular migration

An application built on an outdated framework negatively impacts businesses on a daily basis.  It’s been eight years since Angular was released — still using an AngularJS application in 2024 no longer makes sense. Relying on an deprecated framework causes your product to be incompatible with modern technologies, and leaves you with a UI that may lack features your users expect. Furthermore, code vulnerabilities put user data safety at risk. That’s why migrating your application to a modern, future-proof technology is the best thing you can do for your business. 

Let’s take a look at all the ways Angular will help you achieve your business goals and prove that your product is ahead of both trends and your competition. 

Major Difference between AngularJS and Angular

AngularJS and Angular, both developed by Google, differ significantly in their architectural approach and the way they use the language. AngularJS adheres to the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture, relying on JavaScript with its specific syntax. 

In contrast, Angular embraces a component-based architecture, utilizing TypeScript — a superset of JavaScript. A notable distinction lies in their performance; AngularJS often encountered challenges, especially with larger applications. On the other hand, Angular introduces several enhancements to address that issue.

Moreover, Angular offers better modularity through Angular Modules and standalone components. Compare this to AngularJS, where building truly modular applications is much more challenging. What this means in practice is that Angular has nearly a decade of quality-of-life improvements that make developing even complex applications easier. This translates to happier developers — after all, who wants to deal with cruft and half-baked workarounds when simpler, better methods are available?

Angular also provides enhanced mobile support, particularly through frameworks like Ionic, whereas AngularJS had limited mobile development support. This makes it easy to offer a mobile version of your project without spending significant amounts of development time. If you want to offer your service to users as a mobile app, Angular is the way to go.

In terms of tooling and ecosystem, Angular outshines AngularJS by offering a comprehensive ecosystem, the Angular CLI, as well as more robust tooling. Furthermore, Angular continues to receive active development and support from the Angular team, while AngularJS reached its end-of-life (EOL) in 2022 and is no longer actively developed. Like we mentioned earlier, Angular enjoys the benefits of nearly a decade of continuous development, while AngularJS has mostly remained the same since the mid-2010s. The last meaningful update to AngularJS happened in 2018 — that’s six years ago!

Despite their differences, both frameworks share foundational concepts, such as data binding, directives, testing support, and have experienced significant adoption within the developer community during their respective times. However, Angular is where all of the important new developments are made. AngularJS remains in use primarily — even overwhelmingly — to support legacy applications that haven’t yet made the switch for one reason or another.

AngularJS vs Angular — a comparison

Framework feature AngularJS Angular
Language JavaScript with specific syntax Angular is based on TypeScript
Performance Less efficient for large applications Optimized performance
Modularity Less modular by default Built-in support for modularity
Dependency Injection Supported Enhanced and more powerful system
Mobile Support Limited Improved support through PWA or frameworks like Ionic
Tooling & Ecosystem Limited tooling support Comprehensive ecosystem, Angular CLI, debugging tools
Long-term Support No longer actively developed or supported Active development and support from Angular team

AngularJS and Angular — what’s the difference?

AngularJS (Angular 1.x):

  • Released in 2010, AngularJS quickly gained popularity for developing single-page applications (SPAs) and dynamic web applications.
  • It was widely used for creating interactive front-end experiences, handling data binding, managing UI components, and implementing complex functionalities.
  • Many existing applications built on AngularJS are still in use, even though the framework has reached its end-of-life and is no longer actively developed.

Angular (Angular 2 and above):

  • Angular, the successor to AngularJS, offers a more modern approach and enhanced features for building web applications.
  • It is suited for both small applications, as well as large-scale enterprise applications and complex front-end systems. Significant development effort has gone into ensuring Angular is capable of handling any scenario a developer wants to throw at it.
  • Angular provides a component-based architecture, supports better modularity, and offers improved performance optimizations. Its design principles facilitate the development of more maintainable and scalable applications.
  • Its ecosystem, tooling, and support for mobile development make it suitable for a wide range of applications, from smaller projects to enterprise-level solutions.

Both AngularJS and Angular are widely utilized for web development, but Angular’s advancements, better performance, and continued support have positioned it as a more preferred choice for modern web application development, especially for larger and more complex projects.

A simple and cost-effective migration process to new version of Angular

Since Angular is the successor to AngularJS, the two frameworks share similarities that make the migration process as easy as possible, especially compared to other technologies.

A shorter migration process means reduced costs and resources. Additionally, any in-house AngularJS developers you may have can easily familiarize themselves with Angular, if they haven’t already. This means you’re going to save on recruitment and in-house training costs.

Long-term support for the Angular framework

Angular is a future-proof technology that offers long-term stability and security. The team at Google is dedicated to keeping the framework up-to-date and bug-free with regular updates. They address any code vulnerabilities as soon as they are detected and ensure the framework is compatible with any new web standards and trends. That’s why after you migrate your app to Angular, you won’t have to worry about any part of the technology or your product being outdated any time soon. Angular will give your business peace of mind.

Compare this to AngularJS, which received its last feature release in 2018 and hasn’t been maintained since 2022. Not only does that mean there won’t be any new security fixes for the framework — the hiring pool of developers will only continue to shrink. After all, who wants to learn an outdated, dead framework, when most of the market has already shifted to its successor?

Improved application performance in Angular project

The latest version of Angular is a modern framework that offers a rich user interface, a slew of useful features, and incredible performance. The speed with which Angular applications run is much faster compared to AngularJS. This is due to features such as lazy loading, ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation, and improved change detection mechanisms. 

For a long time, Javascript applications have had a reputation of being frustratingly slow. The Angular community, alongside the wider JavaScript world, has been keenly aware of this. This is why modern frameworks, such as Angular, have introduced features and mechanisms built directly into the framework that address performance.

New features precipitate new, better programming features. Because developers don’t need to create a lot of mechanisms we take for granted in modern development — like they would have to in AngularJS — development is faster. What’s more, because applications are often broken down into discrete components, the overall codebase is easy to maintain.

The component-based architecture also improves code organization. Because developers are encouraged to isolate their code into components, code reusability becomes very easy. This also means a lower tendency for technical debt — it’s easy to update relevant areas of your application as time goes on.  

Since each component performs a different function, it’s easy to separate them from each other. If a need arises, you can isolate and fix any issues without disrupting the entire application. This makes your code reliable and the user experience positive. 

Better developer experience and productivity with Angular 2

Angular’s language is TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript, which is what’s used in AngularJS. The primary difference is in typing: JavaScript typing has been famously mocked to no end. As a result, developers often found themselves dealing with unpredictable results — unless they possessed the arcane knowledge of weird edge cases. TypeScript addresses that issue by introducing static typing to JavaScript. The mere presence of a compiler helps catch bugs and errors early on, which simply isn’t possible with a purely interpreted language like JavaScript.

As an open-source technology, Angular has a large ecosystem of resources that includes libraries, tools, and community support. This enables them to quickly find the solution to any challenge your application might face. This isn’t unique to Angular, of course. It does, however, remain the second most used framework, according to most statistics. The Angular community is dedicated and engaged with the framework — which leads to a wealth of resources available to developers.

Additionally, ambitious developers want to work with modern technologies, not maintain legacy software. Once again — nobody wants to have to MacGuyver workarounds when a better, simpler way is available. As such, any future recruiting for in-house developers will be much easier, quicker and therefore, cost you less. 

Mobile support  — Angular vs AngularJS

Both Angular and AngularJS are made primarily for web applications, but Angular provides robust support for mobile applications as well. Using technologies such as NativeScript or Ionic, you can easily create a mobile experience using Angular. No need for time-consuming conversion processes — the framework offers a readymade path for turning your web app into a mobile solution in a matter of hours.

The Best Way to Migrate from AngularJS to Angular? Hire an Expert! 

The best way to migrate your application is to hire experts that will take the lead or handle the entire migration process. For most developers, a migration like this is something they deal with occasionally — therefore they may fall victim to common pitfalls and mistakes that developers familiar with this sort of work know how to avoid. Therefore, you have two options: 

  • hire an experienced in-house Angular developer to take the lead on migrating and then maintaining your application, or
  • work with an outside agency that will provide you with a team of Angular developers that will handle the migration.

If you decide that an outside agency is the best option for you, we can help. At House of Angular, we have over a decade of experience creating and working with Angular applications and have handled many AngularJS to Angular migrations from start to finish. We can transform your application into a modern, scalable and high-performance product:
https://houseofangular.io/services-migration-angularjs-angular/

Closing thoughts 

Having an AngularJS application in 2024 causes your product to be incompatible with modern technologies. Your UI may also be missing features expected by your users. The unmaintained nature of AngularJS also presents the possibility of code vulnerabilities that put data safety at risk. Migrating your application to the newest version of Angular is not so much an option, as the only viable path forward.

Angular is designed as the successor to AngularJS — this means the two frameworks share similarities and have an easy migration path between them. As such, it’s easier to migrate an AngularJS application to Angular than to any other technology.

The other benefits of migrating your AngularJS application to Angular include: long-term support, improved performance, a better developer experience,  and mobile support. To migrate your application, you can hire an in-house Angular developer or work with an outside agency. 

About the author

Grzegorz

CTO

Supervises current technological resources and technological development of the organization in order to provide the best possible support.