The Pros and Cons of Choosing Angular for MVP Development

Choosing the right technology stack for building a Minimum Viable Product may be one of the most critical tasks in planning your project. An MVP, despite being “minimum”, should not be poorly made or faulty. On the contrary, with the MVP you are meeting your audience of users face-to-face for the first time, and it may be the factor that makes users stay or go.

On the other hand, if your MVP is successful, it can grow into a large product with a complete functionality and the full set of features, delivering the full business value of your application. In this context, the right technology stack enables easy further development and maintains the app's scalability.

One of the recommended solutions for building MVPs is the MEAN stack, MEAN standing for MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js. The MEAN stack is a JavaScript platform covering all aspects of custom software engineering and is often used for MVP app development.

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Let's talk about one of the components of the MEAN stack – Angular, the front-end development framework. A product of the Google team, Angular has become a favorite front-end tool of many developers around the globe, and has accumulated a huge community of supporters and contributors.

In October 2018, Google rolled out Angular 7, the latest version of the framework, which has some significant improvements. We will briefly touch upon the new opportunities that version 7 has and then discuss the pros and cons of Angular for building MVPs.

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Image credit: Angularminds

What is Angular and what is new in version 7?

Angular is a JavaScript framework for front-end development. Initially, the Angular team at Google named their product AngularJS, which was followed by a complete rewrite called Angular X (where X is the version number). Now we are at version 7, which is the latest available on the market.

Angular earned its popularity among front-end developers for its easy out-of-the-box usage and high modularity, allowing fast development and offering great scalability opportunities. It has evolved into a complete ecosystem with multiple plugins and Angular development tools maintained by the large developer community.

Angular 7 is a major release that developers generally rate positively, after about two months of trying it in their projects. Briefly, the latest version of Angular comes with the following improvements:

  • Better performance. Angular 7 is much faster than the previous versions and is focused on making apps as small and efficient as possible. For example, one of the improvements is the default bundle budgets warning the developer about a bundle size reaching the specified limit (2 MB by default).
  • CLI prompts. Now the CLI suggests the correct command format reminding to include the required components. This can greatly save developer time as it allows them to send the correct command on the first try.
  • Virtual scrolling. Angular 7 increases the performance of web pages with long lists that need to be loaded as the user scrolls up or down. The elements to be displayed in the viewport are loaded virtually to the DOM and then unloaded as they scroll out of sight.
  • Drag-and-drop. The Material Design module in the new version of Angular now includes drag-and-drop support for UI creation. Items can be easily dragged, sorted, transferred, and dropped into place to build effective and responsive user interfaces.

These are just the main highlights of Angular 7. If you want to know about the new version in more detail, refer to the Angular blog for a complete description.

Pros and cons of Angular for MVP development

Now that we have an idea of what the new version of Angular has in store for front-end development, let's look at Angular advantages and disadvantages as a framework for MVP creation. The main purpose of an MVP – to build a product showcasing the core features of the app within the shortest time and on the lowest budget possible – sets the following criteria for selecting the right technology:

  • Performance (users will not want to subscribe for the product or service if the MVP is slow, buggy, or poorly designed)
  • Ease of development (we want the MVP to be built as quickly as possible)
  • Availability of reusable components (reusable components can speed up the development considerably, which may be critical for an MVP)
  • Scalability (the MVP should have the potential to evolve into a full product serving a much larger user base)
  • Cost-effectiveness (most MVPs are built on a rather limited budget)

Let's analyze Angular pros and cons in the light of these criteria to see whether it is an effective tool for MVP development.

Performance

Angular is huge, with more than 140k that needs to be downloaded before the app becomes functional. This factor, together with the regular DOM, results in a somewhat sub-standard performance of very large applications built with Angular. However, in small- and medium-sized apps Angular shines, and this makes it a good solution for building an MVP.

Moreover, Angular 7 has built-in mechanisms that improve app performance. In the new release, Angular's creators implemented features allowing developers to build apps in the most efficient way:

  • Bundle size limitation for new apps. Angular 7 warns you when the bundle reaches 2MB and throws an error at 5MB. With this, you will never go over the limit and affect your app performance. At the same time, when necessary, bundle budgets can be easily adjusted to other limits:

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Image credit: Angular

  • Removal of reflect-metadata polyfill. This is another safeguard that Angular 7 uses to improve performance. The reflect-metadata polyfill is needed only for development, while in many cases it remains in production, as well, slowing the performance. The new Angular strips this polyfill, even if you forget to do so, so that the deployed app can work as fast as possible.

Ease of development

Frankly speaking, this point doesn't fit as an Angular advantage, as it has a rather steep learning curve. The problem is that, while belonging to the JavaScript family, Angular, in fact, uses TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript that has quite a number of advantages but is also very different from JS.

TypeScript produces a very clean code and has a built-in compiler that can convert the code to pure JavaScript. Unfortunately, it is also a different programming language, and even if you know JavaScript, this does not automatically mean that you can start coding in TypeScript right away.

This may be a drawback if you are considering Angular to build the front-end of your MVP but have no experts in Angular on your team. Angular programming requires specific learning and, therefore, takes more time.

At the same time, Angular maintains superb documentation that has gotten even better with the latest release, as it now includes the Angular CLI documentation, as well. Moreover, for those who are familiar with TypeScript, Angular is a convenient and comfortable environment. It works right out-of-the-box and can be relied upon to deliver the expected results.

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Image credit: Angular

Availability of reusable components

Angular is open-source, and its global community has accumulated a wealth of reusable components that can be implemented in an MVP project. This practice can shorten the time required for the development of your MVP, as you will not need to write some of the basic components from scratch.

Angular offers dozens of libraries where you can find virtually anything. For example, Angular Material or NGX Bootstrap, with their huge collections of modern UI components, enables developers to build an appealing interface in no time. You don't even need to hire a UI/UX designer – at least, not at the MVP phase.  

However, we recommend that you use third-party components with caution and integrate them in your code only after careful checking. Some of the community-created components can contain errors or security vulnerabilities, while others may be downright malicious.  

Scalability

In terms of scalability, Angular is definitely the winner. Its scalability is supported by its very architecture, which is modular and component-based. The modules are logically separated in accordance with the requirements of business logic and user experience.

Such a modular structure allows for easy and effective testing, as each module can be tested separately. Moreover, with Angular, it is easy to add new modules as the application evolves or grows in size. Angular's modular structure makes it effective for MVP creation.

Cost-effectiveness

Development cost usually translates into developer rates, as the software is mostly open-source. If we are talking about using Angular to build an MVP, the number of hours needed to complete the product is an unknown variable, as all products are different. What we know, though, is the average hourly rate of developers using Angular technologies.

According to public resources, the average rate of Angular developers on a global scale is $61-$80, while in the US this reaches as high as $81-$100. In Eastern Europe, the rates mostly match the global level, and you can even find quality development at $41-$60 per hour.

At the same time, this Stack Overflow survey shows Angular as the second most popular technology in the developer community, therefore, there should be no problem with finding a professional Angular developer at a reasonable rate.

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Image credit: Stack Overflow

Therefore, we can conclude that building the front-end for your project using Angular is not too expensive and, with all the other benefits of Angular, the cost-to-quality ratio may be just right for the purposes of creating a minimum viable product.

Conclusion

Of course, each software product is unique, and so is its MVP. However, the resources of Angular are so vast that they can meet the needs of just about any product, no matter what it is. It can be relied upon to create a perfectly functioning product that can be launched fairly quickly and at a reasonable cost, and that can effectively grow into a full-size application.

However, if you have no Angular experts on your team, this may stop your progress, as getting to know the framework takes time. If this is the case, you can choose to go the outsourcing route and hire JavaScript programmers from a software development company or even assign the entire MVP development to one.

Let's discuss your project and its MVP together to find the most optimal way to launch it. Our skilled development team offers full-stack development, including front-end creation with Angular, so we will definitely find the solution that is right for your project. Contact us for a consultation, and we will suggest the most effective MVP type and the best way to build it.

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