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@ngdoc overview
@name Developer Guide: Overview
@description
# What Is Angular?
AngularJS is a structural framework for dynamic web apps. It lets you use HTML as your template
language and lets you extend HTML's syntax to express your application's components clearly and
succinctly. Out of the box, it eliminates much of the code you currently write through data
binding and dependency injection. And it all happens in JavaScript within the browser, making it
an ideal partner with any server technology.
Angular is what HTML would have been had it been designed for applications. HTML is a great
declarative language for static documents. It does not contain much in the way of creating
applications, and as a result building web applications is an exercise in *what do I have to do
to trick the browser into doing what I want.*
The impedance mismatch between dynamic applications and static documents is often solved with:
* **a library** - a collection of functions which are useful when writing web apps. Your code is
in charge and it calls into the library when it sees fit. E.g., `jQuery`.
* **frameworks** - a particular implementation of a web application, where your code fills in
the details. The framework is in charge and it calls into your code when it needs something
app specific. E.g., `knockout`, `ember`, etc.
Angular takes another approach. It attempts to minimize the impedance mismatch between document
centric HTML and what an application needs by creating new HTML constructs. Angular teaches the
browser new syntax through a construct we call directives. Examples include:
* Data binding, as in `{{}}`.
* DOM control structures for repeating/hiding DOM fragments.
* Support for forms and form validation.
* Attaching code-behind to DOM elements.
* Grouping of HTML into reusable components.
## A complete client-side solution
Angular is not a single piece in the overall puzzle of building the client-side of a web
application. It handles all of the DOM and AJAX glue code you once wrote by hand and puts it in a
well-defined structure. This makes Angular opinionated about how a CRUD application should be
built. But while it is opinionated, it also tries to make sure that its opinion is just a
starting point you can easily change. Angular comes with the following out-of-the-box:
* Everything you need to build a CRUD app in a cohesive set: data-binding, basic templating
directives, form validation, routing, deep-linking, reusable components, dependency injection.
* Testability story: unit-testing, end-to-end testing, mocks, test harnesses.
* Seed application with directory layout and test scripts as a starting point.
## Angular Sweet Spot
Angular simplifies application development by presenting a higher level of abstraction to the
developer. Like any abstraction, it comes at a cost of flexibility. In other words not every app
is a good fit for Angular. Angular was built for the CRUD application in mind. Luckily CRUD
applications represent the majority of web applications. But to understand what Angular is
good at one also has to understand when an app is not a good fit for Angular.
Games and GUI editors are examples of applications with intensive and tricky DOM manipulation.
These kinds of apps are different from CRUD apps, and as a result are probably not a good fit for Angular.
In these cases it may be better to use a library with a lower level of abstraction, such as `jQuery`.
# An Introductory Angular Example
Below is a typical CRUD application which contains a form. The form values are validated, and
are used to compute the total, which is formatted to a particular locale. These are some common
concepts which the application developer may face:
* attaching data-model to the UI.
* writing, reading and validating user input.
* computing new values based on the model.
* formatting output in a user specific locale.
<example>
<file name="script.js">
function InvoiceCntl($scope) {
$scope.qty = 1;
$scope.cost = 19.95;
}
</file>
<file name="index.html">
<div ng-controller="InvoiceCntl">
<b>Invoice:</b>
<br>
<br>
<table>
<tr><td>Quantity</td><td>Cost</td></tr>
<tr>
<td><input type="number" ng-pattern="/\d+/" step="1" min="0" ng-model="qty" required ></td>
<td><input type="number" ng-model="cost" required ></td>
</tr>
</table>
<hr>
<b>Total:</b> {{qty * cost | currency}}
</div>
</file>
<file name="scenario.js">
it('should show off angular binding', function() {
expect(binding('qty * cost')).toEqual('$19.95');
input('qty').enter('2');
input('cost').enter('5.00');
expect(binding('qty * cost')).toEqual('$10.00');
});
</file>
</example>
Try out the Live Preview above, and then let's walk through the example and describe what's going
on.
In the `<html>` tag, we specify that it is an Angular
application with the `ng-app` directive. The `ng-app` will cause Angular to {@link
bootstrap auto initialize} your application.
<html ng-app>
We load Angular using the `<script>` tag:
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/angularjs/?.?.?/angular.min.js"></script>
From the `ng-model` attribute of the `<input>` tags, Angular automatically sets up two-way data
binding, and we also demonstrate some easy input validation:
Quantity: <input type="number" ng-pattern="/\d+/" step="1" min="0" ng-model="qty" required >
Cost: <input type="number" ng-model="cost" required >
These input widgets look normal enough, but consider these points:
* When this page loaded, Angular bound the names of the input widgets (`qty` and `cost`) to
variables of the same name. Think of those variables as the "Model" component of the
Model-View-Controller design pattern.
* Note that the HTML widget {@link api/ng.directive:input input}
has special powers. The input invalidates itself by turning red when you enter invalid data or
leave the input fields blank. These new widget behaviors make it easier to implement field
validation common in CRUD applications.
And finally, the mysterious `{{ double curly braces }}`:
Total: {{qty * cost | currency}}
This notation, `{{ _expression_ }}`, is Angular markup for data-binding. The expression itself can
be a combination of both an expression and a {@link dev_guide.templates.filters filter}: `{{
expression | filter }}`. Angular provides filters for formatting display data.
In the example above, the expression in double-curly braces directs Angular to "bind the data we
got from the input widgets to the display, multiply them together, and format the resulting number
into output that looks like money."
Notice that we achieved this application behavior not by calling Angular methods, nor by
implementing application specific behavior as a framework. We achieved the behavior because the
browser behaved more in line with what is needed for a dynamic web application rather than what is
needed for a static document. Angular has lowered the impedance mismatch to the point where no
library/framework calls are needed.
# The Zen of Angular
Angular is built around the belief that declarative code is better than imperative when it comes
to building UIs and wiring software components together, while imperative code is excellent for
expressing business logic.
* It is a very good idea to decouple DOM manipulation from app logic. This dramatically improves
the testability of the code.
* It is a really, _really_ good idea to regard app testing as equal in importance to app
writing. Testing difficulty is dramatically affected by the way the code is structured.
* It is an excellent idea to decouple the client side of an app from the server side. This
allows development work to progress in parallel, and allows for reuse of both sides.
* It is very helpful indeed if the framework guides developers through the entire journey of
building an app: from designing the UI, through writing the business logic, to testing.
* It is always good to make common tasks trivial and difficult tasks possible.
Angular frees you from the following pains:
* **Registering callbacks:** Registering callbacks clutters your code, making it hard to see the
forest for the trees. Removing common boilerplate code such as callbacks is a good thing. It
vastly reduces the amount of JavaScript coding _you_ have to do, and it makes it easier to see
what your application does.
* **Manipulating HTML DOM programmatically:** Manipulating HTML DOM is a cornerstone of AJAX
applications, but it's cumbersome and error-prone. By declaratively describing how the UI
should change as your application state changes, you are freed from low level DOM manipulation
tasks. Most applications written with Angular never have to programmatically manipulate the
DOM, although you can if you want to.
* **Marshaling data to and from the UI:** CRUD operations make up the majority of AJAX
applications. The flow of marshaling data from the server to an internal object to an HTML
form, allowing users to modify the form, validating the form, displaying validation errors,
returning to an internal model, and then back to the server, creates a lot of boilerplate
code. Angular eliminates almost all of this boilerplate, leaving code that describes the
overall flow of the application rather than all of the implementation details.
* **Writing tons of initialization code just to get started:** Typically you need to write a lot
of plumbing just to get a basic "Hello World" AJAX app working. With Angular you can bootstrap
your app easily using services, which are auto-injected into your application in a {@link
http://code.google.com/p/google-guice/ Guice}-like dependency-injection style. This allows you
to get started developing features quickly. As a bonus, you get full control over the
initialization process in automated tests.
# Watch a Presentation About Angular
Here is a presentation on Angular from May 2012. The {@link http://mhevery.github.io/angular-demo-slides/index.html#/list corresponding slides} are also available.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bfrn5VNpwsg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>