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For Which Web Apps Is AngularJS Best Suited?

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015

With web application development being such a wide problem domain, it can often be hard to tell which types of applications are best served by which JavaScript framework. AngularJS is no different in this regard. While it can be used in any type of application, there are a number of situations in which the power of AngularJS really shines. Below we’ll look at a few different types of web applications to which AngularJS is well-suited.

RESTful Applications

With its focus on data presentation and two-way data binding, AngularJS is ideally suited as the front-end framework for an application built on top of a RESTful API. Using AngularJS makes setting up an event-driven architecture to augment an underlying data API a very straightforward process. The use of two-way data binding means that you can call the API to record changes as they happen, enforcing your application’s data integrity and ensuring that all changes are present in the underlying data store when they happen, as opposed to at a future synchronization point. Angular’s MVC architecture also allows you to build an application that more closely mirrors the underlying API’s functionality, maintaining an architectural parallel between the two entities that may not be possible with other JavaScript frameworks.

CRUD-based Applications

Somewhat related to RESTful applications are data-driven CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete) applications, and once again this type of application is ideally suited to AngularJS. Angular’s use of two-way data binding allows you to synchronize the data changes made by the user with the data store, and likewise update the user interface with any subsequent data changes. Ultimately this focus on UI and data presentation allows the developer to build a solid, responsive CRUD front-end on top of a dynamic data store using AngularJS as the driver. Couple this with a deep focus on unit testing built into the framework, which results in a much more stable code base, and your CRUD application can provide a highly-responsive and resilient user experience using AngularJS.

Single Page Applications

In many ways, Single Page Applications are the very core of what AngularJS was designed to do. Using two sub-components – ng-route and ng-view – you can achieve complex user interactions without having a large and diverse HTML ecosystem underlying the application. Angular’s extensive use of templates for data integration allows you to import and render different portions of your app as necessary, providing a dynamic and responsive user experience on a single page. This focus on the representation of the data as opposed to manipulation of the presentation schema allows developers to focus on the data as a concept, rather than its representation and implementation, resulting in more compact code that represents coherent functionality reflecting the underlying data.

Conclusion

The flexibility of a framework like AngularJS can apply across a large range of application types, but there are some functional areas in which Angular really shows its strengths. Applications built on top of a RESTful API work very well with Angular, with two-way data binding allowing for immediate calls back to the underlying API to reflect user interface changes. Likewise data-driven CRUD applications are ideally suited to AngularJS, which can quickly react to underlying data store modifications and present the changes to the user in a concise and accurate fashion. Finally, single-page applications are at the very core of what AngularJS does best, allowing the developer to focus on the concepts inherent in their web application as opposed to the particulars of representing specific instances of data. Ultimately AngularJS is flexible enough to function in any number of web application types – it is simply a matter of understanding where Angular’s strengths lie and applying them appropriately.

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