Notes on Google I/O 2023: Angular Signals

It was reassuring to learn that Google Chrome team is continuing to invest in debugging tools for web developers, but I need to practicing writing more web apps before I have anything to debug. My final set of Google I/O presentations focus on Angular framework, which I’ve been learning about and intend to use for future projects.

What’s new in Angular

The biggest news for Google I/O 2023 is the release of Angular 16, and the rundown included a mixture of features I understood and features I did not. One of the latter is “Angular Standalone” which I knew was introduced in an early state in Angular 15. I had mentally filed it away as an advanced feature I could postpone to later, but these presenters said it was intended to reduce Angular learning curve. Oh yeah? Maybe I shouldn’t have shelved it. I should take a closer look.

New to Angular 16 is “Angular Signals“. I saw mentions of this when I was learning RxJS, but all I saw at the time were excitement from reactive programming proponents. Listening to its overview in this presentation, I quickly realized this was Angular catching up to what Vue.js had with its reactive data system. For more details, we were pointed to another session…

Rethinking reactivity with Signals

This session covered Angular Signals in more detail. Conceptually, I understood an Angular signal is equivalent to fields in Vue data(). An Angular “computed” is a counterpart to members of Vue’s computed, changing in response to signal changes. And finally, Angular’s “effect” is analogous to Vue’s watch, executing code in response to signal changes.

While concepts may be similar, Angular’s implementation have some significant differences. For example, Angular is all-in on TypeScript and incorporating type information in Angular Signals didn’t feel like a hacked-on afterthought like it did for Vue data. As a fan of TypeScript, I found this very encouraging.

Getting started with Angular Signals

After concepts of Angular Signal were introduced and explained, this presentation follows up the theory with some hands-on practice. This presentation is a companion to the code lab on Angular signals, building a sample cipher game. I want to go through that code lab myself and learn the primary lesson, and I expect I can learn even more from that exercise beyond the main lesson of Angular signals. But first, I’m curious to learn what GPU programming looks like with WebGPU.

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