Angular 2 keeps getting closer (beta2 was just released). This means everyone are getting more anxious and worried about the future of their Angular 1 code.
Yet I keep seeing developers confused ng-forward: Is it the same as ng-upgrade? Is it a formal part of the migration path? When should you use it?
This post will give you the background you need to wrap your head around ng-forward and whether or not you should be using it.
ng-forward is an open source project that aims to let you write Angular 1 code that looks very similar to Angular 2. You don’t actually start to use ng2. Instead, you’re getting familiar with the syntax and a lot of your code will look almost exactly like it would have looked in ng2.
ng-forward isn’t by the Angular core team per se. It is created by the community, but with a blessing of the core team.
Here’s how a simple service would look like when written with ng-forward:
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As you can see, it’s much alike Angular 2, but of course we’re still making use of Angular 1 services like
What’s the difference between it and ng-upgrade
ng-upgrade, which is an official part of the migration path and comes bundled with Angular 2 for now, is a mechanism to run actual Angular 2 code alongside Angular 1.
This means that while with ng-forward you’re writing services that look like Angular 2, with ng-upgrade you write actual Angular 2 services.
When should you use it
First of all, I’ll mention that ng-forward doesn’t support ES5 (yet), so you can only use it if you want to use ES6/TypeScript.
This is a big advantage of ng-upgrade: it works with ES5 (though documentation is still lacking) so you can start using it in ES5 project without making a lot of infrastructure changes.
Now, the decision of whether to use it or not boils down to personal preference. They’ve done a marvelous job of making a lot of the syntax closely resemble ng2’s.
If you don’t expect to actually start learning and migrating to ng2 in the near months after its release, ng-forward is an interesting compromise.
You can start getting used to Angular 2 syntax, and won’t have to relearn a lot of things just yet.
Just as with ng-upgrade, there’s no need to rewrite all your code, you can decide to simply write new code with it or migrate specific services/components as it suits you.
Personally, I think that if you can take the hit of bundling Angular 1 and 2 together (which is a bump in download size), you should lean towards ng-upgrade.
Yes, it will take more time (since you’ll have to learn Angular 2), but whatever code you change/write won’t have to be migrated again later.
Also, I find the almost-exact-same-syntax a bit of a disadvantage. Imagine a big project that’s written with ng-forward and that later starts an ng-upgrade migration.
It could easily become confusing to debug and make changes in a code base where neighboring files look very similar yet use a fundamentally different framework underneath.
That said, you should definitely consider using ng-forward if for some reason you won’t be adding ng-upgrade soon.
The sooner you start adjusting the easier it will be down the migration road (or path).
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