It wasn’t until 2009 that the AngularJS framework arrived on the scene, giving developers a powerful methodology for building dynamic single page web applications (SPAs) in accordance with best web practices. Nowadays, both AngularJS and jQuery play a prominent role in the world of modern front-end web development. Read on to learn more about the differences between these technologies, and when you should use jQuery, AngularJS, or both.
What Is jQuery?
Here are some of the key technical features that are available in the jQuery library:
- HTML/DOM manipulation
- CSS manipulation
- Event handling
- Effects and animations
- Cross-browser compatibility
- Lightweight (minified and gzipped)
jQuery makes no assumptions about your web technology stack, and may be used in conjunction with other frameworks, including AngularJS. In fact, AngularJS is built off of an implementation of jQuery called jqLite.
Since jQuery has no real structure, the developer has full freedom to build projects as they see fit. However the lack of structure also means it’s easier to fall into the trap of “spaghetti code,” which can lead to confusion on larger projects with no clear design direction or code maintainability. For these situations, a framework like AngularJS can be a big help.
What Is AngularJS?
Some of the key features AngularJS adds on top of jQuery are:
- Angular directives (extension to HTML)
- Dependency injection
- Two-way data binding
- Support for MVC
- RESTful API
- Form validation
It goes without saying that AngularJS also abstracts the DOM, has a system for managing event handlers, and supports AJAX/JSONP.
You Should Use jQuery If…
Never try to directly call a jQuery plugin from within a controller as you would in a non-Angular app. jQuery shines when you require flexibility or see a particular feature that you wish to include in your app, like a slider. It’s also great for quickly scripting solutions that work to test an idea.
You Should Use AngularJS If…