Forget Angular 3, Google skips straight to Angular 4

The company will skip over number 3 of its JavaScript framework and offer version 4 in March

Last month, Google surprised everyone when it detailed plans for Angular 3 to be released just six months after Angular 2's arrival. But it turns out there will be no Angular 3 release after all. Instead, Google will go right to offering version 4 of its popular JavaScript framework in March.

Google's Igor Minar said at the recent NG-BE 2016 Angular conference in Belgium that Google will jump from version 2 to version 4 so that the number of the upgrade correlates with the Angular version 4 router planned for usage with the release.

Minar, in fact, laid out a roadmap that has eight beta releases of Angular 4 coming out between December and February, followed by two release candidates in February and the general release on March 1. But Minar cautioned against getting too hung up on numbers and advised that the framework simply be called "Angular" anyway.  "Let's not call it AngularJS, let's not call it Angular 2," he said, "because as we are releasing more and more of these versions, it's going to be super-confusing for everybody."

Angular is on an aggressive schedule that would have Angular 5 arriving in September/October 2017, followed in six months by Angular 6, with Angular 7 coming six months later in September/October 2018.

Google's goals for Angular 4 are to be as backward-compatible with Angular 2 as possible and to improve compiler error messages. In November, Google talked about the next version of Angular, then referred to as version 3, emphasizing improvements in tooling as well as reduced code generation.

Angular's upgrade plan also includes moving to TypeScript 2.1 as a baseline, away from TypeScript 1.8. While this means there are breaking changes, Minar was reassuring. "It's not going to be a big deal. We did these migrations across the whole Google and it was quite trivial, but it does require [some interventions]." Angular 2 was rewritten in TypeScript, Microsoft's typed superset of JavaScript.

Earlier this month, Google earlier this month released Angular 2.3, a minor upgrade featuring Angular Language Service, which is designed to integrate with IDEs and provide type completion and error-checking with Angular Templates. Object inheritance for components is featured as well. Angular 2.2 arrived in November, featuring ahead-of-time compilation compatibility.

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