Sweet Spot for <angular/>

October 4th, 2009 · 3 Comments ·

Building web-applications is hard! Even the simplest hello world application will take you hours to set up and you have to know a lot about how many different pieces of technologies work together. Here is a quick inventory from the browser to the back end of what a typical web-application developer needs to know about: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, cookies, HTTP, URL encodings, Servlets, web-framework (i.e. web-work), authentication, threading, SQL, ObjectRelational mappers, DB Schema, RDMS, DB indexing. If you know all of that, than you have a good chance that after week of work, you can have a hello world application written which will allow the user to authenticate, and persist some data.

But, if you think about it most web-applications are just pretty UI on top of database CRUD (create, read, update, delete). Everything else you do is a constant marshaling of data back and forth. From the HTML input, to URL parameters, to HttpRequest, to BussinessObject, to Value Object, to SQL. Hope you did not make any mistakes, as now you have to do all of this in reverse.

The goal of <angular/> is to make CRUD applications easy to build. <angular/> is not a generic framework where you can build any kind of application, its sweet spot are CRUD web-applications.

We believe that there are many web-application which do not get build because the cost of building them is prohibitive. With <angular/> the cost of building these simple applications is greatly reduced.

While building <angular/> we had few goals in mind:

Managed Database

Building a web-applications is just half the battle, deploying them is another. Now you need to rent a host in the data-center where you can deploy the application, where the database can run. I hope you know how to administer and back up your database. <angular/> provides the database hosting as a service so that your <angular/> application does not have to worry about it.


There are a lot more web-designers out there than web-developers. We wanted to make <angular/> simple enough where many of the web-designers, which do not know how to program can now move to the business of building simple web-applications and hence provide a greater value to their customers. In order to build a simple web-application a knowledge of HTML & CSS is all which you need to know. The best way to think about <angular/> is that it is HTML with few extra attributes.


The cost of building security and authentication into your web-application is often overlooked when building web-applications. <angular/> offers both out of the box.


There are many ways to get your HTML published. (Blogs, Wikis, Content Management systems, to name a few) <angular/> allows you to enhance all of these pages behavior by adding the power of CRUD to these pages. Embeddability opens up a whole new set of possibilities of enhancing existing web-pages or creating mash ups.


I can teach HTML to almost anyone (willing to learn) in just a few minutes. Teaching programming languages such as JavaScript requires weeks of work, and that is if you already know how to program. The difference is that HTML is declarative whereas JavaScript is procedural. You describe how the page looks like, vs instructing the browser how to draw one. This is a huge for the learning curve. Declarative vs procedural is the difference between web-designer and the web-developer.

Rich Widgets

Finally, HTML forms have very limited widgets, you want date-picker? charts? maps? form validation? barcodes? formatters? well you have to go and integrate some JavaScript library and you have to know how to program (vs declaring what you want). We want to extend the HTML so that you can ask for these widgets in declarative fashion in <angular/>.


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3 responses so far ↓

  • Giorgio Sironi // Oct 5, 2009 at 12:23 am

    A declarative approach is a possibility explored from the Dojo framework, where tags are enhanced with the dojoType attribute. I also think a declarative approach it’s better as there are few things to keep in mind and it will make the transition to html5 easy if it succeeds.

  • Trevor // Oct 5, 2009 at 9:21 am

    looks really cool! Do you see any issues with the heavy javascript dependency? (rss readers, search engine bots, …)

  • Pardeep // Dec 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Misko,

    Would it be possible to do CRUD actions in AngularJS without using REST services?