Angular 3: Release Date, Features and Changes
If you’re having trouble finding information about the Angular 3 release date, that’s because you’re searching for the wrong thing. There isn’t going to be an Angular 3 — Google is jumping right to Angular 4. To make everything smooth and simple after a misalignment of the router package’s version, the best option was to just go ahead and skip right over v3. Don’t worry, you’re still going to get all those breaking, brand new features you’ve been looking for, but the process will be a whole lot more streamlined than it was with their last major release. It’s a win-win for developers and Google alike.
What’s Been Happening With Angular?
Igor Minar, the Angular Team Lead at Google, spoke about what’s to come at NG-BE, Belgium’s first Angular conference. He was completely transparent with what’s been happening and the changes they plan to implement within the next year or so.
Since the major, breaking launch of Angular v2.0.0, there have been a number of minor releases with new features.
- V2.1.o included router enhancements and route reloading
- V2.2.0 included Ahead-of-Time compatibility and ngUpgrade
- V2.3.0 improved language service (especially by IDE vendors).
Basically, prior to Angular 4, Google really ramped up their offerings, with v2.3 being the most comprehensive – especially when it comes to errors. The service increased their error handling and created better error messages, so you can actually fix problems rather than scratch your head hoping you’re getting it right.
Part of the reason Angular decided to jump right from Version 2 to Version 4 was because of SEMVER (Semantic Versioning). This makes it a whole lot easier to keep track of your upgrades. Understanding what comes with each versioning release is easy if you know the system.
- Every version has three numbers (V2.1.0, V2.2.0, etc.)
- A change in the first number means a breaking change – they’re released every six months. Two major versions are released a year.
- A change in the second number means there are new features, but not a breaking change. That will be released every month.
- A change in the final number is a patch and bugfix. Those are released every week.
Angular is built on a monorepo, which means there’s one huge repository on GitHub that has all the updates and packages. All Google applications use the most current Angular version based on whatever is on GitHub’s master branch of the Angular repository. This is also where Google’s products like Maps and Adsense live.
This is both good and bad. Projects using Angular internally at Google are extensively tested against the new version. This means the team is confident about new releases because they’ve already been road-tested within Google. Angular should have smoother transitions than ever because of this simple fact.
New Angular Features in Version 4
Angular 4 plans to launch a whole set of new features. The service plans to add the following:
- Typescript compatibility
- Backwards compatibility with Angular v2
- Better Angular compiler errors
- Increased speed
One of the most notable additions is Typescript compatibility. The Typescript team has been working to create smarter compilers that handle errors better and more accurate, helpful error messages. They also plan to implement strictNullChecks to provide more type safety. Ngc will be faster overall because they’re optimizing Typescript.
This is a breaking change because the current version of Typescript isn’t compatible with Angular v2.1. In addition, increased backwards compatibility with Angular 2 will allow developers to successfully use interfaces and data from applications made with Angular v2. This is not a massive, confusing overhaul where you have to rewrite your entire body of work.
There’s also one other change Google is pushing for. The product will also no longer be called Angular JS, Angular 2, Angular 4 and so on. It simply going to be referred to as Angular — the version (i.e. 4) is a secondary detail. You should use Angular when referring to the JS and v4, v2, etc. when referring to specific features within a version.
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This Transition is Nothing to Fear — They’ve Made it Simple
Let’s not even talking about the nightmare of changing from Angular 1 to Angular 2. With all the new APIs and patterns, it was an immense change. Angular 2 was a total rewrite. Don’t fear – changing from version 2 to version 4 will not be anywhere near as difficult, even with all the new features. Google plans to change some core libraries in Angular, but there will be proper depreciation phases so developers have time to adjust their code. You will not have to rewrite everything and scramble to make things compatible.
So When Are We Finally Getting Angular 4?
We were supposed to receive Angular 4.0.0 on March 1, 2017, but we’re still waiting for the non-beta version. The beta phase began in mid-December 2016, and we’ve already gone through six beta versions. Beta.5 was released on January 25, with the sixth beta version including 11 bug fixes and eight features.
We can expect a whole lot happening with Angular in the next year. By October 2017, Angular v5 is supposed to launch. By March 2018, we’re supposed to see v6, and by October 2018, we should have v7.
Don’t stress over the idea of Angular 4 — you should actually be excited if you manage to get the idea of version numbers out of your head. There won’t be that dramatic, awful to deal with change like we saw when Angular 2 launched and was basically a total and complete rewrite of Angular 1. This transition is going to be incremental, easy and impactful. Google’s team couldn’t stress enough that we shouldn’t be worrying about the version numbers. The team has been transparent about their release dates, and we hope to see the community evolve and Angular’s changes really impact the way we use the service for the better.