Tuesday 2 May 2017

Unfolding the update : ANGULAR 4.0

While the recent version of Angular 2 is still hot topic for front end developers, Google has released Angular 4 in the month of March. Angular updates tend to be challenging for developers with existing frameworks, remember when the Angular 2 released a completely different architecture without backward compatibility?
On the other hand, Angular 4 is an improvement over angular 2 with little to no breaking changes, providing better code optimization and some exciting new features. Sigh! that is a relief for angular community which is still recovering from Google’s radical shift in Angular 2.

With this latest release of Angular, the team is introducing semantic versioning with minor version released every month with new features. Also, major version released every six month with minimal breaking changes. So, there might be a major upgrade to Angular 5 later this year.

So, what’s new in Angular 4?

View Engine - View Engine significantly improves the compilation step resulting smaller application size compared to earlier iterations.

Separate Animation Module - The new release separates animation in its own module from core. This makes applications not requiring animations slightly smaller.

Web pack configuration - Latest Angular version doesn’t expose web pack configuration file unlike the previous versions. This inability to configure web pack file and add own modules and libraries was a deal breaker to the developers.
Apart from these development updates in Angular 4, there were few development processes updates too. It is vital for developers to understand these process changes to successfully migrate to Angular 4 or higher versions.

The following are newly adopted development process:

1.Semantic Versioning (SemVer):
Use of semantic versioning for indicating the content of Angular releases, SemVer suggests that new version numbers are meaningful. 

2.Time-based Release Cycles:
In addition to those using meaningful numbers for angular releases, new version is built with a schedule of releases so developers can plan and coordinate with the continuing evolution of Angular.
Angular has been following this new schedule since 2.0 announcement and plan to release a new minor release.

3.Deprecation Policy:
In Angular 4, a deprecation policy is being introduced so that developer knows how to get notified of API changes. When deprecation via release notes is announced, the recommended update path will be updated to developers. During the deprecation period, developer will always have more than 6 months to update to the changes.

4.Stable vs Experimental APIs:
There are some APIs marked as experimental in the Angular docs. These experimental APIs are good enough to be in production. But field testing required to validate the usage in the variety of community test cases. The Experimental APIs follow SemVer, but not deprecation policy. 

5.Public API Surface:
Angular is a collection of many packages, sub-projects and tools. To prevent accidental use of private APIs, peer dependencies of Angular 4 like TypeScript, Zone.js, or RxJS etc., are not considered part of API surface. But they are included in SemVer policies. Angular might update the required version of any of these dependencies in minor releases.

So now, developers can expect patch updates and ongoing work on next version. The Angular team laid a road map for the next six months. These new guidelines match what already exists in several ways. I hope this describes about Angular 4 clearly. If you are looking for Angular 2, read here. Thanks for stopping by.

NagaTeja Rupavataram
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