MVC Patterns and AngularJS: How to Get the Best of Both Worlds

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Geoffrey Lee

A lot has changed since the inception of the World Wide Web. Non-interactive, consumption-oriented pages became more user-friendly and engaging. Websites nowadays have handed the power over to the users who type, click, and swipe their ways through the pages, looking for what interests them.

As web applications got better and faster so did the architecture business owners had to manage. A simple JavaScript solution might not always provide the ideal format to ensure rapid development and testing. Businesses became heavily dependent on acquiring the best software technologies, and even then they had to deal with multiple issues.

That’s when Google created a JavaScript-based open-source framework to help both regular users and businesses address the various challenges encountered in developing web applications.

Enter: AngularJS.

Can AngularJS provide a standard architecture that can bootstrap the development of single-page applications? Can you apply the same software technologies, such as Model-View-Controller (MVC) to JavaScript applications? Or — in simpler words — is it possible to have the best of both worlds?

This article will try to provide an answer to all of these questions and more.

Introducing AngularJS

AngularJS is a JavaScript MVC framework that enables developers to build rich Single-Page Applications (SPAs). Since its launch in 2009, it has managed to enhance development and testing processes, and enabled web applications to deliver exciting new features without compromising on quality. Its scalable architecture has turned the development of large, complex applications into a breeze.

One of the best parts about AngularJS is that everything can be done in JavaScript and HTML. Your coders don’t have to learn a new programming language to be able to use it. However, they need to have a basic understanding of MVC paradigms of developing single-page applications.

What Is MVC?

As mentioned above, MVC architectural patterns are the backbone of the AngularJS framework. The MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern was developed as a way to disengage logical units and concerns when building large applications. An MCV pattern breaks the application into three distinct parts:

  • The Model –  refers to the data behind the application, usually retrieved from the server;
  • The View – refers to the interface that the users see;
  • The Controller – is responsible for deciding which parts of the model to display to view (to users).

Getting the Best of Both Worlds

When it comes to selecting new computer software, most business owners want it all. They want cutting-edge JavaScript technologies on the front end, complex database technologies, effective design patterns, and the latest in C# services technologies.

AngularJS is one of those technologies that everyone wants, but here’s the problem. Although AngularJS is an excellent framework that can meet the needs of rapid application development and testing, it is a Google product and has no dependency on C# services. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, you need to learn how to integrate MVC patterns (namely ASP.NET MVC) with AngularJS.

One of the first things you need to understand is that AngularJS and MVC applications aren’t that different. Sure, they are basically two distinct technologies, but they are built on the same core concepts.

Here’s an example:

In most cases, AngularJS adopts the MVC-like pattern to structure the application. And, as we’ve learned, there are three parts to your applications. First, there’s the data that you want to display to your users (this is the Model in an AngularJS application). Then there’s the user interface that people see and engage with (this is the View in an AngularJS project). Finally, there’s the code that retrieves the data, deciding what it needs to show to the users (this is the Controller in your AngularJS application).

As you can see, the worlds of AngularJS and MVC are not only similar, but they can work together in harmony and benefit from each other’s strengths. If you truly want to get the most of both technologies, help them coexist happily and don’t make them fight in any way.

The Advantages of an MVC-like Pattern Approach to AngularJS

The MVC pattern is an established architecture regardless of the language you are using for the development. The pattern can reduce the complexity of web applications by separating input, processing, and output of any SPA or software.

This pattern-like approach can benefit the implementation of AngularJS in many different ways.

  • You’ll have a clear separation between the challenges affecting each part of your application. Do you need to display data in a different manner? Go to the View. Do you need some business logic? Use the Controller to retrieve relevant data.
  • Your developers or collaborators will have an easier time understanding your application code base because there are clear structures and patterns.
  • If for some reason you need to change the user interface of your application, your developers won’t have to change any part of the JavaScript code. Because your application is broken into distinct parts, they can work on independent sections of the code base without having to interfere with the rest of the structure.
  • Although AngularJS follows the pattern-like approach of MVC, it’s not a pure Model-View-Controller framework. And that’s a good thing. Unlike the MVC model, in an AngularJS project, the Controller is not dependent on the View, meaning that you can easily test the Controller without having to impend a Document Object Model or DOM.
  • Because the MVC architecture and AngularJS framework integrate easily, your applications can be made to work with site-specific browsers, PDF files, or desktop widgets.
  • Since it’s powered by Google, AngularJS supports the development of SEO-friendly applications. Moreover, the ease of integration with MVC platforms can further maximize your SEO efforts.

Getting Started with Angular MVC

The MVC pattern in AngularJS is created in HTML and JavaScript. The model and controller, for instance, are defined in JavaScript while the view is implemented in HTML. You can use different tactics to put these parts together, but if you want to get the best results, you should start with the view.

Here are some basic principles you need to keep in mind when implementing MVC-like patterns to your AngularJS project.

  • The View – Although you can create the entire HTML code for this part of the applications inside a single page, it is recommended to store the fragments of your codebase that make up the view on individual files.
  • Controllers – After your application has a view, you will need controllers and a model to make it look more than a simple HTML markup. The controller will be responsible for ensuring the unity of the model used by the view and for establishing the dependencies you need to display the view or manage input from the consumer of the view. Make sure that your team registers the controller function with the AngularJS application.
  • Models – The model will contain that data to be collected and displayed. Some models might also contain functions that are triggered by user input, such as clicking on a button.

Don’t Forget to Test Everything

By now, you should be well aware of the importance of testing everything before launching it to the world. The same goes for the code that you write an AngularJS application.

The beauty of AngularJS is that it’s designed to be testable. Every part of the framework, from the controllers to the directives and services, can and should be tested regularly.

Streamlining and Efficiency: AngularJS and MVC Integration for Your Business

So there you have it: the worlds of MVC patterns and AngularJS working together, not only in harmony but leveraging each other’s strengths.

If you too want to get the best of both worlds but don’t know how to get started, let us lend you a helping hand.

At PulaTech, we offer AngularJS development services with different server-side technologies, including MVC applications, such as ASP.NET. We can develop single-page applications, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) solutions, and other customer solutions. We can also help you integrate the benefits of AngularJS in your enterprise dashboard, content management system, video service solutions, or any other applications that you would like to bring up to speed.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you want to learn more about our services. Our helpful representatives will be more than happy to explain to you what we can do for you. Or, head to our website and check out our extensive list of services.


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