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AngularJS 1.4 Announced, More to Come in 2015

| by David Iffland Follow 4 Followers on Dec 18, 2014. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

Work on AngularJS 1.4 has begun. After announcing their plans for version 2.0, the team has decided to advance version 1.x with new features and continue active development on it throughout 2015.

It's still early in the cycle, so there isn't an exact list of features or changes. In a blog post, Brian Ford described the main "themes" for version 1.4 as:

  • New Router
  • Internationalization
  • Forms
  • $http
  • $parse
  • Documentation

During planning, the team decided to limit the scope of version 1.4 in order to release it by ng-conf, the AngularJS focused conference on March 5, 2015. "I'd rather have a smaller release and get it done by ng-conf," Igor Minar said. When asked about the aggressive timeline, the tech lead for AngularJS 1.x, Pete Bacon Darwin, said getting version 1.4 out quickly was important to allow developers to benefit sooner:

We are aware that more regular big releases are easier for developers to consume. In the past we went for months without a big release, which meant that the migration effort was greater and that developers had to wait longer before they were able to make use of new features.

1.4 will have some breaking changes for some developers. Darwin explains that in the AngularJS numbering system, "Increments in the 'patch' number will not have breaking changes while increments in the 'minor' number can have breaking changes." Since 1.4 bumps the minor version number, breaking changes are expected.

When details of AngularJS 2.0 came out, some developers were unhappy with the new direction and worried how long Google would continue to support version 1.x. The initial wave of criticism has receded and Pluralsight Author Travis Gosselin is encouraged by the news of 1.4:

I think it is fantastic that Angular 1.x is receiving parallel development to Angular 2.0, and really indicates the commitment of the team to the community.

Jeremy Likeness believes there is much to come to the 1.x branch in 2015:

The fact that there is a 1.4 release imminent signals that the 1.x product still has life left and we can imagine if 1.3.x is comparable that there will be plenty of iterations of 1.4. This gives customers a lot of runway in 2015 to continue with their current investment.

Darwin says that, although there are plans for version 1.5, they're not sure how many more versions of 1.x there will be:

It is not possible to say how many more big releases AngularJS 1.x will have before it goes into maintenance mode. There are many factors including how well the increased release frequency works out in practice, how long until Angular 2 is released, how quickly people adopt Angular 2 and whether we can get to a stage where we feel that we can do no more to improve AngularJS 1.x.

The planning and work on version 2.0 is being done in the open and the team wants to bring more of that openness to the 1.x line. In addition to the design documents and meeting notes, with 1.4, the team also broadcast their major planning meeting for all to see. Darwin says this is an attempt to "make our processes more inclusive and transparent." Likeness thinks this openness gives developers plenty of time to plan:

I believe the Angular team is doing the right thing by being as transparent as possible with their approach and plans. Developers have been given plenty of time to form strategy around release schedules and plan how they wish to evolve their apps accordingly.

Developers can review a spreadsheet of the proposed changes for version 1.4 and are encouraged to participate in the project on GitHub. "We really care about the development experience and this means that we welcome feedback from people on the front line using Angular day in day out," says Darwin.

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