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What to do when AngularJS Support Runs Out

Joe Eames
Jan 11, 2021

Even though AngularJS is currently still being supported by Google, that support is ending in December. That may seem like a long way away, but it’s really not.

If you’ve got an application running AngularJS, time is running out to put in place a plan to deal with the upcoming end of support.

Why Worry?

There are a lot of problems with just ignoring the end of support.

First, if you have any SLAs with your customers, or compliance requirements, then you could be violating your SLAs. You may even be legally required to stop using AngularJS.

Second, if any security issues affecting AngularJS are discovered after support ends, your app won’t be patched to fix the flaw. Imagine what would happen if your data, or your customer's data is stolen. What would that mean?

Third, the browsers may break your app. Browsers change. They try not to break things, but it’s basically impossible to move forward without occasionally breaking things. What if you woke up tomorrow, and your app wasn't usable in one of the major browsers? What would you do?

Finally, jQuery is a core component of AngularJS. If a new version of jQuery breaks compatibility, and some 3rd party component you use updates to the latest version, your app would break.

How much time do you have?

Technically you have until December 31st, 2021, but honestly, you need to have a plan in place to deal with this. If you’re reading this article, and you don’t have a plan with a high confidence of success, then it’s already too late.

The 3 Viable Strategies

You have essentially three options to keep your app alive, since ignoring the problem almost guarantees failure.

First, rewrite your app. This is the highest risk option unless your app has less than 10,000 lines of code. Rewrites can have high failure rates in the software industry. According to the 2015 CHAOS Report, for medium and larger projects, the percentage of projects that did not fail or see significant challenges was only 6-12%.

Second, migrate your app to a new framework. The cheapest option is Angular, but React, Vue, or another framework are viable options. Just don’t do this if your team is lacking expertise in these frameworks. A big app can easily take 4 months just to start the migration process if your engineers don’t have enough experience. Then you will still have to rewrite everything. This rewrite will take additional resources over whatever you’ve got right now to keep the app running and growing. Take it from a guy who spent almost a year of his life becoming an expert in AngularJS migrations. It’s going to take time and money.

Third, purchase extended long-term support. XLTS for AngularJS is an option to keep your application running and supported. It’s not free, but compared to the cost of a migration or rewrite, it’s an easy decision. XLTS.dev currently plans to provide support for AngularJS through at least 2026. That’s a lot of extra time.

Don’t Procrastinate

The worst thing you can do is ignore a problem that isn’t going to go away. This is one of those problems. Do your business, and your career, a favor. Make sure your team has a plan for the future of your AngularJS apps.

Joe Eames
Jan 11, 2021