Earlier this summer, I realized AngularJS was going to be f’ing huge.
I don’t just mean it was going to be the next hot thing that would be here for a few months only to be replaced a few months later.
By huge, I mean it was going to change the entire frontend development industry forever, with ripples felt across all aspects of the tech industry.
Like most people, when I first started learning Angular I found it to be a very high quality foundation for building great apps, and doing it quickly. Testability, dependency injection, separation of the logic/view layer, and designer-developer harmony are all great things us devs can get behind, and Angular had it in spades.
But we all know it’s hard to get by on just merit alone, and the verdict is always going to be out on whether Angular is really technically better than the alternatives (developers are notoriously unwavering when it comes to tech wars).
No, in order for a technology to be truly, incredibly successful, it needs to become more than just a quality framework. It has to become a platform.
Historically, massive platforms are rare in the world of developer tools, especially relative to how many frameworks, libraries, and languages pop up each day. Technology can be stubborn about evolving from a tool in a toolbox into an entire sub industry on its own.
But it happens. Some recent success stories are Java, .NET, and jQuery. Each one of these technologies created entire sub-industries, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to build interesting and valuable companies for those in the community, developers the chance to find high paying jobs with new required skill sets, and educators with passionate students ready to learn the next big thing.
It was a few weeks ago at the first ever AngularJS conference, ng-conf, that all of my assumptions about Angular were proved true.
As one of the first sessions at the conference, I spoke to an overflow room of passionate devs, project managers, and even execs about our mobile framework built to harness the power of Angular and make it easy to build great native-feeling apps with web technologies they already knew and loved.
After the talk, I wound up chatting to developers from companies as big as Bank of America and TSYS, to 10k employee financial firms. They all told the same story: their bosses were directing entire dev teams to switch to Angular. They were even paying for AngularJS training and tools!
Over the next few days of the conference, the crowd of over 700 AngularJS fans reiterated the impact AngularJS had on their job. It wasn’t just a fun framework that a few rogue developers slipped into a project. It was actually being mandated from the top down, changing job requirements almost overnight.
The reality is that AngularJS is winning the frontend framework war. It’s not to say there aren’t great, high quality alternatives out there, but few have gained so much developer mindshare that slow and conservative companies see it as a wonderful investment. And it’s all the better that normal developers actually love developing with it!
For individual developers this means an investment in Angular is a safe bet that will pay off handsomely over the coming decade. For entrepreneurs, it means building companies that help AngularJS developers and teams can generate some pretty great returns. For managers, it means it’s time to rethink which technologies your team should invest in, and what skillsets you’ll need to hire for in order to build the increasingly complicated and powerful frontend apps users expect.
And if you need convincing that AngularJS is the future, this graph of Google Search Trends should help: