The myth of AngularJS migration: Moving from JS to Angular 11 is going to feel like replatforming

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Date published
January 8, 2021
Angular 11 migration illustration

AngularJS will no longer be supported as of December 2021.

For those still using the JavaScript framework, it’s time to migrate your frontend to the modern Angular 11+, in order to avoid security risks and browser compatibility issues once the end-of-life date approaches.

However, the work involved in this migration is more than a few simple updates—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, or that companies should stall their migration any longer than necessary. The effort involved will be closer to a replatform than a migration. Why? Part of the complexity comes from AngularJS having non-standard build systems as well as the overall structure and architecture.

While modern Angular’s architecture is component-based, AngularJS went through several architectural evolutions before shipping Components as a feature. Widely used AngularJS Directives, introduced in earlier versions of the framework, aren’t supported in today’s version of Angular and are one of the biggest issues when updating. The framework features your AngularJS application uses could pose added challenges. Conversely, the overall flexibility of AngularJS that allowed for creative updates in it’s development make it less stable and less manageable, which will no doubt cause a number of issues after 2021 when there won’t be patches and bug fixes to address problems.

As heavy a lift as this seems, it’s possible to avoid a “big bang” total conversion or rewrite, and instead upgrade your platform in pieces. Componentizing to embed or wrap Angular in AngularJS or vice versa will enable pages and chunks of functionality to be upgraded piece by piece. This offers you flexibility with both timelines and the ability to plan with business objectives in mind focusing first on high risk components of your application.

Since AngularJS is built and packaged with miscellaneous libraries, the bulk of the upfront work of replatforming to modern Angular will be updating the build tooling. Typescript is easy to initially convert to and offers static analysis to help find errors as well as optimizing the code reaching customers. Thanks to the new Ivy compiler, Angular will significantly reduce your runtime and provide much better support and performance across devices.

If leaders in your organization are concerned about the time and cost of replatforming to modern Angular, this hybrid method will allow you to start quickly, ahead of the December cutoff, and address the potential compatibility and security issues before they arise. You can tie the migration efforts to your key business goals to ensure it’s a steady climb towards full migration, and that your leadership team will understand the new opportunities that using Angular 11 will unlock for your business.

It’s important to choose a partner for this type of stepwise Angular upgrade. Rangle’s team can help you create a plan and work together to execute it. Figuring out how pieces of your code need to be rewritten, is itself a difficult process, and requires deep expertise in both modern Angular and the original JavaScript framework. If your team of developers doesn’t currently have this skill, our experts will not only create your plan, but we’ll level up your team along the way, partnering with them in the process of creating the plan, executing it and ensuring they have the skills for ongoing maintenance and upgrades once our engagement is complete.

On that note, planning for the future of staffing your development teams is another reason why replatforming to Angular 11 is critical: More developers know how to use modern Angular rather than AngularJS, and this scale will only keep tipping as time goes on and more senior developers move on from your company. The risk of losing senior talent who know the intricacies of your JavaScript-based platform could spell major trouble down the road. As noted, the flexibility of this early form of Angular makes it more unstable, and the likelihood that critical pieces of your infrastructure depend on non-standard code or patterns is much higher with this older framework. Keeping up to date offers its own kind of security in knowing it will be easier to hire talent that can easily work with your products and applications.

If you’d like to learn more about how our development team can work with yours to create an upgrade plan ahead of the December 2021 deadline, please Contact Us.

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