The digital era always strives for newer and more innovative technology that can make the world a better place. The modifications that we are observing in current technology are not just rapid, but exponential. As someone once said, “Every once in a while new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation.” AngularJS can be defined as one of the revolutions in this technology-driven world and this article will set out to explore the AngularJS framework and and explain how to properly monitor applications for performance.
AngularJS: Advantages and Disadvantages
Below are the advantages of AngularJS, which have rapidly caught the the eye of developers around the world.
- Google supported. This is open-source which is getting maintained by Google developers and by a community of developers and organizations to address many of the challenges encountered in developing single-page applications
- MVC/MVVM Based Framework. AngularJS implements MVC/MVVC architecture. MVC/MVVC Stands for Model View Controller /Model View View Controller. This architecture can make a huge application very easy to develop or simple to understand. There are various advantages of this framework, like a more agile development process, the ability to render multiple views, and the data being distributed. This feature can enhance visual representation and make the complex application very much light to understand. This architecture can be considered ideal when a large application is being developed, as this provides a strong foundation for application performance.
- Two-way Data Binding. One of the most compelling features of AngularJS. Two-way data binding is nothing more than the integration between the view and the model. Data updates or retrievals from the underlying data store happen more or less automatically. When the data store updates, the UI reflects the updated data as well. It allows you to remove the logic from the front end display side. This technique allows for true data encapsulation and decreasing code complexity.
- Single-page applications (SPAs). AngularJS is best known for its feature of building SPAs. SPAs are the web applications that load the entire module in one go and updates dynamically as the user communicates with the applications without continuous reload of the page. By using SPAs, you can decrease the load on the server efficiently and enhance loading speed for better user experience. Being faster than conventional apps, this is a great feature for businesses that want their web applications to work quickly and seamlessly.
- Can be Customized and Extended. Because of some built-in attributes, AngularJS can be extended. One can quickly create customized directives when necessary. Users can append or remove the feature and alter the directives that can satisfy the demand.
- Dependency Injectioj. This is the process of injecting dependent functionality in the module which was given to the component before. This whole process takes place in the runtime. Using dependency injection enhances components by making more compatible, reusable, maintainable and testable.
- Additional Features. The list goes on and on. Other benefits include a simple architecture, easy to test, directives usage, simple HTML templates, rapid prototyping, responsive web pages, code reusability, and parallel development.
- Security issues. This framework can be considered less secure due to no check of authorization and authentication. Authentication is validating user and Authorization is to check if the user has permissions to access the data only after that we can grant permission for the same. AngularJS doesn’t provide any of these features.
- Complicated framework. It has quite a layered and complicated hierarchy when the framework is being concerned. Developers need to dive into to understand what is happening on the front-end and how the whole process is taking shape. Unless the developer is experienced, this framework is quite troublesome to understand.
Measuring the Performance of AngularJS Applications
After considering the pros and cons, now it’s time to understand techniques through which you can better AngularJS performance.
- Loops. First, avoid loops if the logic can be managed with a $map or $filter. If it is required to use loops, then make sure all the calls and initializations are declared outside the loop. This small precaution can decrease the memory space and can boost up the speed of your application
- Remove debug data. You should remove debug data after its use as this can bring your application performance down when DOM elements are being considered.
- Limit the use of ng-show and use ng-if/ng-switch instead. In AngularJS, ng-show directive toggles CSS display property on an element. On the other hand, ng-if removes the element from the DOM if the condition is false and appends only when the condition is true. The directive can also be used as this is alternative for ng-if with the same performance.
- Digest cycle. Is the best measure for the performance of your application. You can consider this as a loop that will review and monitor all the existing variables. The shorter the digest cycle, the quicker your application will be. This should be your aim to have a shorter digest cycle if you are creating an Application.
- Reduce your watchers. When you apply data binding you create new $watchers in the digest cycle. You should also avoid functions and objects getting added to the watcher’s list. This can make your application performance slow to a crawl.
- Console.time usage. For debugging your application, console.time is a great API provided by Chrome.
- $cacheFactory# usage. If there is a requirement to store data that will be needed to recalculate in the future, then use a $cacheFactory directive.
Monitoring AngularJS Applications
In the past, we had tools like YSlow or Google Page Speed which helped us to monitor the page load. It gave us some general insight into why applications were loading slowly. And then if we look into core primitives, there have been APIs that have been built to monitor performance, taking us a little deeper on how the application was performing in real-time. Below are the examples of some of the APIs.
Navigation Timing API
The Navigation Timing API, which most of the traditional RUM (Real User Monitoring) services are using, helps us to get more insight into a performance. By integrating this into our application, we can see when the page request started and how much time it takes. But still, this also focuses on page load.
Resource Timing API
Later, we had the Resource Timing API. By integrating this API, we can see individual time for loading each resource, like for particular stylesheets or an image. Again it’s all about loading assets or page initialization.
But the taboo here is all the tools, or APIs, revolve around the server-side and all focu on initial page load. Once the browser loads the web page, then we don’t have that many tools available to give more insights.
The Web has Changed
What’s happening now is the web is not only a document but also serves as the navigation. So, the way we use a browser has changed quite rapidly. To state an example here, go to Netflix. Now the application performance of the first-page load doesn’t mean anything. Because all the action is continuing after the page load. So now the performance needs to measure what happens after the page load. But the tools nowadays focus more on how to deliver faster the first page, not on the optimizing application when the application is running.
As discussed earlier, monitoring applications is a crucial part of your business. Something as basic as initial page load, as discussed earlier, can become the catalyst for a lost customer and sale. When the competition is just a click away, even small issues can be detrimental to brand reputation.
Synthetic Monitoring: The Answer in Today’s Age
Synthetic monitoring, also known as active or proactive monitoring, provides users the ability to monitor performance of Angular JS applications, websites, and other web services and infrastructure from global network nodes at various time intervals. This data can be used to find areas which require further improvement.
Synthetic Monitoring gives users the ability to examine websites and applications for slow performance and identify issues prior to users being exposed to any problems. Any bugs or errors that affect performance for real users can be detrimental to the business. Synthetic monitoring can emulate and script user transactions, allowing you to trace, examine, and simulate every click and swipe. This can help you optimize your strategy and identify steps within the transaction process that aren’t performing as intended, without negatively impacting actual users. Synthetic Monitoring allows you to set the whole scenarios which are the route or functionality through a scripted transaction of your application to identify the flaws that can be faced by the user during the interaction with your application. These scripts periodically visit the website/application (for example, every 15-20 minutes) and record each transaction.
It is distinct from other monitoring technologies as it doesn’t accumulate the real user data, but it instead simulates real user activity to collect insight that can be analyzed later to improve performance. It requires users to write/script codes and deploy those scripts for monitoring. The analyzed insights are not of a real user, but simulate all the scripted user transactions to ensure all the functionalities that have been implemented are working correctly.
Synthetic monitoring can be run from different devices, from different geographic locations and even through different browsers. In this era when we are striving for high performance, the initial page load speed is not as important as the whole journey of the end user. This allows you to emulate business processes and user activities from diverse geographic.
Synthetic monitoring gives you answers to the below question:
- Is the application up?
- Is the application functioning as expected?
- Are users able to log in, access, and perform necessary steps?
- Are customers able to find what they were looking for?
- Are third-party services/APIs working and not creating any roadblocks for end user visits?
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