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Angular Q&A: Components, Getting-Started Tips (and that 'Total Rewrite' Thing)

Noted database expert and author Ted Neward explains his favorite features of Angular and how to get started with the popular database.

Ted Neward, director of Developer Relations at Smartsheet.com, is well-known as a presenter at Visual Studio Live! and Live! 360 events. He has long served as a columnist for MSDN Magazine as the "Working Programmer," where he's noted for investigating and explaining new database technologies and techniques, signing off with a cheerful, "Happy coding!" We caught up with to ask some questions about Angular in advance of an upcoming presentation in Orlando.

What were the special challenges developers faced when moving from Angular 1 to Angular 2?
Well, one of the challenges is inherent in your question itself: The Angular team chose to rename the framework from "AngularJS" to "Angular," meaning that "Angular 1" should actually be "AngularJS," and "Angular 2" should actually be just plain ol' "Angular." That raises no end of confusion when speaking about the two frameworks, to be sure.

"Component-based design is like object design, but with "thicker skin", meaning we treat components in a more opaque fashion, making them more accessible and usable for reuse purposes, among other things."

Ted Neward, director, Developer Relations, Smartsheet.com,

But the naming change was appropriate, because in many ways Angular was a near-total rewrite of AngularJS, meaning that any AngularJS code will not be silently upgradable to Angular. They kept many of the same concepts, but sought to strengthen those concepts and make them more apparent and clear. So moving from AngularJS to Angular means making a slight conceptual shift, but a near-total rewrite of anything that isn't pure business logic in the code.

What is your favorite improvement in Angular 2?
The new emphasis on "components." Component-based design is like object design, but with "thicker skin", meaning we treat components in a more opaque fashion, making them more accessible and usable for reuse purposes, among other things. Components were what enabled the Golden Age of GUI Builders (the days of VisualBasic, Delphi, PowerBuilder and the like), and there's solid reasons to imagine that something similar will emerge out of this approach for the Web -- which in turn means that developers can deliver useful and powerful applications for the Web so much faster than before.

What are your top 3 tips for anyone getting started with Angular?

  • Bookmark the Angular CheatSheet on the Angular Web site.
  • Learn and master the TypeScript language.
  • Come to the Hands-on-Labs in Orlando. ;-)

What do you think is the most helpful section of your full-day hands-on lab at VS Live?
We spend as little time as possible talking -- the emphasis is on the "hands-on" part of the title. Programmers often learn best by doing, so we'll talk only enough to get the concepts in front of people, then turn them loose to learn by doing.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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