Modus Create – Back from ngConf 2015

Modus Create – Back from ngConf 2015

In March of 2015 the Angular community again gathered to attend the second annual ngConf. For ngConf’s second iteration Modus Create sent a small team, including yours truly.  Each day of the conference was carefully orchestrated mayhem, which included delicious meals – not to mention an unhealthy amount of snack options – culminating in a Girl Scout cookie give away at the end of the final day. The actual presentations were buttressed by the extremely funny Dave Geddes and Aaron Frost, both of whom kept the audience happy and excited through improv and random prizes. The success of this year’s conference rests largely at their feet: this was easily the most hilarious technical conference I have ever attended. Overall, the event was well conceived and organized, contained multiple big announcements, and demonstrated several examples of Angular playing nice with other, partner technologies.

Big Announcements

Continued Development of Angular 1.x & the Many Paths to 2.0.

The biggest news in the Angular community remains the march toward Angular 2.0. Members within the community, spectators, and particularly detractors, are all eager to hear how the release of Angular 2 will break the upgrade path and ruin investments made in the framework. Fortunately, with multiple planned implementation paths this will not be the case. Angular core team members Brad Green and Igor Minar discussed this issue in the ngConf keynote presentation, which you can find here:

Brad Green & Igor Minar Keynote Presentation

The New Router

Angular core team member Brian Ford’s hard work on the new Angular router will finally be available in Angular 1.4. A particularly cool aspect of the new router will be the easy shifting from Angular 1 to Angular 2, thanks to a shared code base. New features of the router include ng-link (creates hrefs on behalf of the developer), ng-viewport (allows nesting, multiple versions, naming, and more), and out of the box support for ngAnimate. The router also makes building web components (a template and controller referenced through the controllerAs syntax) simpler, and moves developers closer to the Angular 2 web component paradigm. Brian Ford’s fantastic presentation covering these and many other points is available here:

Brian Ford’s New Router Presentation

Farewell Transclusion

Transclusion – a random term resurrected from the 1980’s (and hilariously mocked in Shai Reznik’s ng-wat presentation) – will again fade away with the release of Angular 2. The replacement? Shadow DOM! Available on many desktop and mobile browsers, Shadow DOM is a largely untapped resource into which markup, styling and javascript can be injected and later retrieved and blended with markup from the “Light DOM.” An excellent example of this technology appears in the presentation given by Kara Erickson and Rachael Moore, employees of OpenTable, available here:

Kara Erickson & Rachael Moore’s Create Container Components with Web Components Presentation

Partner Technologies

React & Angular Directives

By now most in the front end development world have heard of the React platform, consisting principally of React.js and React Native. If you haven’t, the React.js Conf 2015 keynote introducing React Native makes for great viewing. React is a fast and flexible View oriented solution, unconcerned with other, traditional MVC duties. With routing and backend connectivity, Angular in this sense makes for a fantastic partner. Particularly beneficial are Angular directives which can easily be made to support React modules. Dave Smith gives a clear example of this in his entertaining presentation, available here:

Dave Smith’s Angular + React = Speed Presentation

Introducing Falcor

Falcor is a library that will help developers build an asynchronous model for MVC frameworks like Angular. Root data pulled from the server using Falcor will contain the APIs necessary to access additional data elements. In other words, the data itself is a proxy for a larger, cloud based JSON data object. The controller retrieves the root node required by a particular view, and the view takes over the job of pulling the data it needs to populate itself, via asynchronous calls independent of the controller. Falcor will shine particularly bright once Angular 2 emerges on the scene with support for asynchronous data bindings made in the View itself. The talk given by Falcor architect Jafar Husain illustrates these points and more:

Jafar Husain’s Binding to the Cloud Presentation

TypeScript 1.5+ and Angular 2

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, which means JavaScript is automatically valid TypeScript. TypeScript modularity is supremely easy, which lends itself to being a powerful solution for building scalable application structures. Heaps of TypeScript plugins also exist for nearly every IDE you care to code in. Of course what is most beneficial about TypeScript are the advanced language features like classes, interfaces and strongly typed variables. Angular 2 is actually built with TypeScript, but is also perfectly compatible with regular JavaScript. For more information about current and planned integration between Angular 2 and TypeScript watch Jonathan Turner’s talk:

Jonathan Turner’s TypeScript and Angular 2 Presentation

Wrap Up

ngConf 2015 was an amazing experience that delivered one main take away: Angular 2 is coming, but not at the expense of Angular 1. We had a fantastic time attending the convention and exploring some of beautiful Salt Lake City. We wish to thank Domo for organizing the event, and all of the sponsors who helped make it possible.

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