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Q&A with Brice Wilson: What's New in Angular 9

We caught up with expert web developer/trainer Brice Wilson to get his take on Angular, which always appears at or near the top of periodic rankings of the most popular JavaScript-based web development frameworks.

Wilson is the go-to guy for this because Angular, now out in version 9, is the subject of his "Deep Dive" presentation at the upcoming Visual Studio Live! conference set for March 30 - April 3 in Austin, Texas.

He will teach best practices related to component, service, and module organization as well as how to create shared libraries in part one of his presentation, followed up by explaining multiple techniques that enable advanced component communication in part two.

Ahead of the show, we asked Wilson some questions about the current state of Angular.

Angular 9 was released last week. What's your No. 1 favorite new feature in the release?
My No. 1 favorite feature is the inclusion of Ivy as the default compiler and runtime. However, Ivy is really a single HUGE feature that includes lots of great smaller features and benefits. I think my favorite feature that Ivy enables has to be smaller bundle sizes. I love that bundles keep getting smaller. It creates faster downloads for users and greatly increases usability on low-bandwidth platforms and environments.

What's No. 2?
Ivy enables lots of great new features, so it's hard to pick just a couple of favorites. If pressed, I would probably say the improved type checking is high on my list. There are now additional compiler flags you can turn on to apply stricter rules. I've always been a fan of any feature that helps you spot bugs during development before they make it into production. That's one of the reasons I love TypeScript. Speaking of TypeScript...Angular 9 also now supports TypeScript 3.7 which is great!

Should developers upgrade now or are there reasons to wait?
I think the answer to that will be a little different for every project. I definitely trust that the framework is stable and would have no concerns about upgrading now.

"I definitely trust that the framework is stable and would have no concerns about upgrading now."

Brice Wilson, Web Developer, Pluralsight Author, and Trainer

If you're currently dealing with issues that are specifically addressed by new features in version 9, then I would absolutely work on upgrading right away. However, if things are generally working well with your current version and your users are happy, then I don't think there's any reason to rush to upgrade. Having the freedom to take your time and upgrade gradually is never a bad thing.

Is the upgrade process fairly painful?
Not at all! In fact, the upgrade process has gotten even better with version 9. In the last couple of years, I think the Angular team has done a great job refining and documenting the upgrade process. You can find everything you need to know about it at https://angular.io/guide/updating-to-version-9.

Are there any features in Angular 9 that readers should watch out for, or that you're still on the fence about?
I don't think so. The amount of testing the Angular team does before releasing a new version to production is very impressive, so there aren't things that worry me from a stability standpoint. There may be features that some teams won't really take advantage of, but I also don't think that's anything to worry about. It's usually easy to ignore, or even disable, features you don't care about.

What version do you use day in, day out?
Until now it's been Angular 8, but I'm already in the process of upgrading some of my apps to Angular 9. I don't spend as much time as I used to maintaining large enterprise apps, so it's often easier for me to quickly upgrade to the newest versions as soon as they come out.

How do you typically answer the question of Angular vs. React?
They're both great frameworks and enable a level of polish and productivity that those of us building web apps 15 years ago could only dream about! I say use the one that makes you and your team happy. I'd much rather see developers spend time implementing the features their users want rather than endlessly debating the pros and cons of two awesome frameworks.

Anything else that we haven't asked you that you wish we had?
You could have asked how I can help folks learn more about Angular! I'll be speaking at VS Live in Austin March 30-April 3. I'll also be doing a VS Live! Angular Hands-On Workshop in Atlanta April 22-23. I'm also available for private training on-site for companies using Angular.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the former editorial director and director of Web for 1105 Media's Converge 360 group, and she now serves as vice president of AI for company, specializing in developing media, events and training for companies around AI and generative AI technology. She's the author of "ChatGPT Prompt 101 Guide for Business Users" and other popular AI resources with a real-world business perspective. She regularly speaks, writes and develops content around AI, generative AI and other business tech. Find her on X/Twitter @beckynagel.

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