When meeting people in DC, the conversation usually turns to “what do you do” within about 5 minutes. Because I’m in a technical field, this usually takes a bit of thought. Depending on whom I’m talking to, I try not to get too technical, but make it sound interesting. The problem is, the technical part is the interesting part.
Often I find myself describing a technology I’m particularly excited about, AngularJS.
AngularJS has taken me back into the open source world for the first time in quite a while. I started out with a simple project template, angular-seed. This provided all of the infrastructure necessary for my first running app, including unit tests. I added Angular UI Bootstrap for appearance, and angulartics to wrap in Google Analytics seamlessly. The need for a quick web service prototype brought me to the simple, self-contained world of node.js, and express server. On the way I’ve increased my git skills, and it seems that I learn a new tool or library every day.
The AngularJS community in DC is very active – perhaps this is typical for up-and-coming technologies, but this one seems to have legs. There’s tons of on-line guidance for noobs. A meetup I attended on the topic was absolutely packed.
My current project has an extremely short fuse – a couple of months from kickoff to production. Not the ideal agile scenario, but as consultants we can’t always control these things. The project is neatly broken up – I’m doing the UI, and another developer is handling the database work. The convenient “collaboration point” is at the web service level. I was able to determine the interface, and my colleague took it from there. AngularJS with node.js provided an excellent way to prototype the application quickly, and take us all the way to production. Because everyone knows what happens to prototypes.
Sure, I left out all the cool stuff about extensible (and extensive) open source frameworks, writing testable code and all that, but as any web guy knows, you don’t want to lose people by deep-diving. Then he reminisced about the days of punch cards and waiting all night for programs to compile. With Angular and node, we’ve now got that compilation time down to zero.