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January 26, 2023

AngularJS Overview: History, Features, Alternatives, and EOL Support


What is AngularJS?

In its heyday, AngularJS was one of the most popular open source frameworks, adopted by many companies for both web and mobile app development. After 11 years, however, AngularJS reached end of life, leaving many teams scrambling for other options.

In this blog, our expert explains the AngularJS development history, the key AngularJS features that led to its success, AngularJS alternatives, and what support is available for those still working with EOL AngularJS. 

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What Is AngularJS?

AngularJS was a front-end web framework which provided functionality for building single-page applications. 

It’s hard to overstate the influence of AngularJS on front-end web development. Below we’ll be looking at a brief overview of what AngularJS is, how it came to be, and where applications are heading now that end of life has been reached.

Essentially, AngularJS empowered developers to build rich, testable, application-like experiences for their users in a way that largely felt intuitive. From providing the tools to quickly build custom element types and simplifying data flow via two-way bindings to its straight-forward testing strategies, AngularJS brought a tremendous amount of value for those who wanted a more dynamic user experience.

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AngularJS Development History

While AngularJS is now known as a Google-backed open source project, its origins are somewhat unexpected. Originally designed as a proprietary tool to help web designers, not developers, AngularJS relied on familiarity with HTML to allow easy creation of simple but dynamic web applications. This first iteration ultimately failed to gain traction and was open-sourced in by its creator, Miško Hevery.

Hevery, who was working for Google at the time, would soon find an opportunity to use his newly open-sourced project. He believed he could rewrite the Google Feedback service — which had taken six months and 17,000 lines of code  in just two weeks' time. While he missed that deadline by a week, the rewrite also took less than one-tenth the lines of code. Impressed by the results, Google’s interest only grew until it eventually took over maintaining the project. The first stable release of AngularJS came out in 2010.

Since its release, AngularJS has seen many changes and improvements throughout. Eventually, as is the case with many pieces of software, its limitations became too much of a hindrance and Angular 2 (known as just “Angular”) was created. This featured many changes, including a complete rewrite to TypeScript, new backend tooling and integration, and more.

In January of 2018, Google announced that AngularJS would be discontinued in favor of Angular. They provided a timeline for the final AngularJS releases and long-term support. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, they ended up extending LTS through December 2021. 

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AngularJS Features

While there are many essential AngularJS features, looking at the original three pillars of the library can offer quite a bit of insight into how it functions.

Data Bindings

Data bindings allow for changes in either the model or the view to be reflected in the other. This simplifies interactions within a system. A text input may be bound to the model with just an HTML attribute, meaning that any update to the field is reflected in the model underneath. This greatly simplifies interactions between controllers (where behavior is defined) and the DOM.


Continuing with the theme of enriching the HTML of the page, directives enable custom elements to be defined. While these may contain a wide range of functionality, the most common variant is referred to as a component, which encapsulates a more complex set of elements.

Dependency Injection

For those familiar with software development, this is likely not a new concept. Its usage in AngularJS is noteworthy, however, in that it supported the goal of testability. With dependency injection, functionality and services may be easily mocked providing a more robust testing solution.

While there are many more features which could be considered essential to AngularJS, these three represent the framework at its core.

What You Need to Know About AngularJS EOL

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Alternatives to AngularJS 

AngularJS reached end of life on December 31, 2021, so those remaining with it should be looking to migrate to viable alternatives as soon as possible. Below is a selection of a few framework technologies that are similar to AngularJS. For most, Angular will be the simplest choice; however, any path forward should be carefully evaluated with the needs of your application.


Angular, while technically the “next version” of AngularJS, is a somewhat large departure from the original. It featured a full rewrite in TypeScript and many fundamental changes to its architecture. However its roots in AngularJS meant that upgrade paths were carefully considered during its development. As such, Angular provides some level of interoperability with AngularJS via the ngUpgrade tool. For those familiar with AngularJS, Angular’s robust tooling, significantly improved performance, native mobile support, and maintainable architecture will be welcome changes.

RelatedAngular vs. AngularJS: Exploring the Key Differences


ReactJS is positioned somewhat uniquely as an upgrade alternative. It focuses heavily on view rendering and lacks many of the features, such as simple data bindings, which are core to AngularJS. Its limited scope means it’s less than ideal for applications which are deeply rooted into AngularJS’s architecture. However, for those applications that do not need this additional functionality, or can find it elsewhere, ReactJS will be refreshingly easy to work with.

RelatedAngularJS vs. ReactJS: Key Differences and Migration Considerations


Though not to the same extent as ReactJS, Vue’s scope is also more focused than that of AngularJS, relying on other libraries to extend functionality where needed. Additionally, as with many of the alternatives listed here, Vue strongly discourages two-way data binding as it tends to create a number of performance and maintainability problems.

While Vue does diverge quite a bit, it also drew much of its inspiration from AngularJS. The result is a framework that feels familiar with modern design principles backing it. If Angular is too heavy, and React too light, Vue can be thought of as a comfortable middle ground.

RelatedAngularJS vs. VueJS: Key Similarities and Differences

Other Alternatives

Since AngularJS, the market of available web frameworks has exploded. The three listed above are some of the most popular, but other alternatives include Aurelia, Backbone.js, Ember.js, Knockout, Lit, Meteor, and Riot.js. As with any migration, the needs of your application should be weighed carefully, both in terms of ease of migration, and ease of maintainability once migrated.

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EOL AngularJS Support

AngularJS is no longer supported, meaning the community is not providing any more updates or patches. If you're still using AngularJS and need to extend your migration runway, consider seeking out long-term support because running end-of-life software poses serious security risks. Web browser upgrades can also cause breaking changes and other critical problems. There are a few vendors who offer LTS for AngularJS, including OpenLogic, which provides patches for AngularJS vulnerabilities (including high severity CVE 2024-21490) and fixes for browser updates so that your apps don't break. 

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Final Thoughts

Without question, AngularJS had a huge impact on web development and was one of the dominant frameworks in use for years. Interestingly, the 2024 State of Open Source Report revealed that 15% of all organizations, and 20% of large organizations (those with more than 5,000 employees), are still using AngularJS a full year after it became EOL. This indicates that many teams are still determining how to move forward in a post-AngularJS world.




Additional Resources

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