Angular First Impressions & Resources

I cut my teeth with a Javascript MVC frameworks on the granddaddy of them all, Backbone. Managing a page’s events, views and data away with a framework rather than just straight JS and JQuery was a godsend. The learning curve was steep though. There was a lot of confusion on the “right way” to do things and each app required a lot of boilerplate code that needs to be written. A year has passed and things on the JS MVC front have changed significantly. You can take a look at Addy Osmani’s TodoMVC project to how the field has grown. Look at all those options!

My current gig doesn’t require much JS work. I’ve been watching from the sidelines and growing jealous of my peers that have had opportunities to build big single page apps in Angular. Thus, I recently decided to scratch my own itch and started a small project for managing cooking recipes. Time to take Angular to the mat and form my own opinion.

So far Angular feels like magic compared to Backbone. Automatic binding????!?! Say wat?! As with every framework, learning the lingo is key and good documentation is essential. I’m impressed with Angular’s documentation. There are a lot of examples that a user can not only look over but edit and play with. They have a tutorial set up as well. Each step includes instructions on the site along with a code repo to check out. I haven’t downloaded the code so I can’t speak to its usefulness but the instructions alone are helpful with seeing the process involved in adding complexity to an app.

Ryan Bates has as Railscast episode on integrating Angular with a Rails app. I always appreciate how well he lines up his tutorials. They are simple and straight forward. Great for getting a quick overview of how the app interfaces with Rails.

Overall I’m most impressed with the Egghead website. Its vast array of short screencasts provide information in a simple, easy to follow format. Great for taking a break for a few minutes from the regular rhythm of the day. John Lindquist does an excellent job of demonstrating core concepts in a matter of minutes, pointing out gotchas along the way and building on skills throughout the series. If I could forgo sleep I might have watched every episode in one sitting.

I’m excited to see how far I can take my little app with the resources I listed above. I’ll be collecting more tutorials and tips as I go along. If I’m smart I’ll remember to post them here. Until then, data binding here I come!