Specbee: Why the AngularJS and Drupal Combination will make you rethink your web strategy

Why the AngularJS and Drupal Combination will make you rethink your web strategy
Shefali Shetty
22 Sep, 2020

A seasoned web developer would call this a match made in heaven. Drupal and AngularJS together can create rich and dynamic web experiences that might want you to reconsider your web development strategy altogether.

We have already spoken about how Drupal has proven to be one of the best CMS frameworks out there.But what is AngularJS really and how does the combination of Drupal Angular Js work wonders for your website? Read on to also understand headless architecture better with a case study.

Why go the Headless way?

Each man is capable of doing one thing well. If he attempts several, he will fail to achieve distinction in any” – Plato.

This quote is so relevant today when we talk about CMSs and Headless architectures. Content management systems like Drupal are fantastic at managing content and data. However, with the increasing number of channels, API access points, front-end interactions and many more modern user experience demands that it is required to support, traditional CMS structures often seem inadequate. For more ambitious digital experiences, traditional architectures are now often being replaced with headless architectures. Headless or decoupled websites leverage a JavaScript framework for front-end interactions while maintaining a CMS like Drupal to manage the content. 

CASE STUDY: In one of our recent projects for our client, a leading casual dining restaurant chain, we had implemented Angular to enable API-based communication built on top of Drupal 8. The application required to interact with the web, mobile app, POS front end and other restaurant and customer management modules. Combining Drupal 8 with Angular worked out great because not only did it enable us to support their multiple channels and access points, we also saw a huge improvement in the performance of the application. Read more about the case study here.

Headless Drupal or Decoupled Drupal

With headless Drupal, the browser does not directly connect to Drupal. Instead of seeing Drupal’s presentation layer/ theme, the user will see pages that have been created by front-end frameworks such as AngularJS. Data is provided in JSON format to the front-end framework. With JSON:API module now in core and moving Drupal 8’s API-First initiative forward, things are even easier now. The idea of implementing a headless Drupal with AngularJS is to use Drupal’s flexible and powerful back-end capabilities to the fullest while letting a more interactive front-end framework do the talking to the browser. It is believed that client-side front-end frameworks like AngularJS are the future of the web, and if you are looking to build a rich and dynamic website with little to no latency, Drupal Angular JS is the answer.
drupal-angularjs

The Super-heroic AngularJS

To put it simply, AngularJS is a JavaScript framework backed up by our very own glorious Google that can let you do really cool things on your user’s browser without having to fetch data from your server. HTML lets you create static pages and is not designed for dynamic views. JavaScript was created to make those static pages more interactive. Here’s some more good-to-know info about AngularJS –

Why The AngularJS And Drupal Combination Will Make You Rethink Your Web Strategy

•    AngularJS is an extremely lightweight and concise framework that is profoundly extensible and lets you do some seriously fascinating things with your website.
•    Web developers and designers love HTML for its simplicity, clarity and intuitivism in its code structure. AngularJS extends HTML to define user interfaces, hence letting you build interactive web applications that are highly functional and hard to break.
•    You can create reusable components with AngularJS code.
•    Its client-side nature keeps those cyber-attacks at bay as any injected data cannot go close to your server.
•    AngularJS implements the MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework which allows for faster development process, multiple views, asynchronous technique, SEO friendly development and many more valuable features.
•    Unit testing is a breeze with AngularJS as it comes setup with it making it fast and easy for developers to test their code.
•    With a mind-blowing functionality like two-way data binding, user actions can immediately trigger application objects and vice-versa, thereby proving to be an extremely interactive framework.

Drupal Meets AngularJS

When an impressive front-end framework meets a super-powerful backend content management framework, there ought to be fireworks! Drupal is a flexible and scalable enterprise-class CMS which can be used to develop powerful web applications that can be designed for small to large scale businesses. Being an open-source CMS, it is highly customizable and can be tailored to fit any business requirements. You can only imagine the extensibility and customizability the combination of the two open- source frameworks, Drupal and AngularJS, can provide. Two is better than one, they say. When put together, let’s look at the goodness Drupal AngularJS can provide.

Power Packed Performance

Drupal on its own can perform effectively even when dumped with heaps of functionality. However, when you offload some of the business logic to the client-side AngularJS, you are remarkably unburdening your Drupal backend. Using AngularJS for theming or presentation and Drupal as the backend data source can substantially boost the performance of your Drupal website. The powerful combination of headless Drupal with Angular Js will allow you to move display logic to the client-side and streamline your backend, thus resulting in a super speedy site.

Reduced Coding for developers

Creating a basic working Drupal website does not take a lot of coding or development work. AngularJS can make these basic Drupal websites more interactive, rich and dynamic without a lot of complex coding. AngularJS uses directives, HTML to define user interfaces, plain objects for data models, etc. which sums up to writing much lesser code. Since it uses HTML to define user interface codes, it makes it takes lesser efforts by the developers to build interactive pages when compared to writing complete Javascript codes.

Isolation of logic

AngularJS implements the MVC framework which lets you separate business, controller and model logic in your web application. Isolating application logic from user interface will result in a cleaner, clearer and non-redundant code structure. Should your most crucial developer leave you mid-way, with this architecture, it won’t be hard for a new one to catch up. This also helps remove a lot of backend logic from Drupal, thereby making it more light-weight and efficient.

Security – Raise the bar

With Drupal you can be assured of your website’s security if you have followed the security protocols diligently. In the huge Drupal community, it is hard to have a security flaw go un-noticed and un-patched thereafter. Headless Drupal with AngularJS adds that extra layer of security to Drupal websites. Since the browser communicates with AngularJS, there’s no direct server-side interaction. This makes it difficult for hackers to inject malicious code into databases.

Shefali ShettyApr 05, 2017