Feb 012015

As I’ve promised, I will start documenting my experience with Aurelia. If you haven’t read my previous introduction article, click here to get an insight of what Aurelia is.

Since I’m writing this post during Sunday night, I will keep it short and just talk about tooling.

I am not the hacker-notepad-vim kind of guy and the first thing that I need when I work with any technology/framework is a good IDE. I’m a veteran user of Visual Studio + Resharper, so obviously my first choice when starting with Aurelia was to use this.

Unfortunately, VS 2013 + Resharper does not currently have any support for ES6 so it kind of stands in your way. Of course you can still use it as a text editor, but it’s even worse than using any notepad alternative since it always highlights the whole code as having errors and the formatting just messes things up (misaligned curly brackets or parenthesis, wrong spacing etc.).

After searching a bit on the internet and almost loosing all hope to have a nice IDE for this, I found out that JetBrains Webstorm IDE actually has support for ES6, so I will be using this from now on for my experiments.

Just as a hint, if you want to set Webstorm up, check out this short video on how to use Webstorm + Traceur. The default Aurelia template already transpiles ES6 to Javascript, but if you want a more integrated experience, you can configure the IDE to do it for you:



Jan 312015

I will start this post by specifying that I’m a big fan of Durandal. If you don’t know what that is, checkout this website: http://durandaljs.com. Durandal is a single page application (SPA) framework similar to Angular (well, it’s purpose is at least similar). Anyway, I’ve been using it for the last two years for developing enterprise applications and after you get the hang of it it becomes really easy to make clean Javascript apps with a good separation of concerns (the framework is based on the Model – View – Viewmodel pattern).

If you’re into this framework, then you might know that it’s author, Rob Eisenberg has joined the Angular team at the beginning of the last year. As it seems, this collaboration didn’t come out as it was initially expected, so this year Rob has left the Angular team and has returned to developing his OSS projects.

Interestingly, he started a new SPA framework called Aurelia, that takes the best ideas from Durandal and probably his vision of where Angular should have been going to.  Aurelia starts fresh without any legacy and it provides a modern perspective of what Javascript applications should look like. Aurelia is based on a lot of conventions that should make things easy to follow, but it also allows you to override these conventions and provide explicitly the rules for different things.

The first great thing about Aurelia is that it’s very modular, built out of small pieces that can be combined together or that can be replaced with your favorite alternatives. The second great thing is that it leverages the power and clarity that the EcmaScript 6 standard will bring to the Javascript language ( hopefully ) in  the near future.

Although the ES6 is currently just a draft, the Aurelia project template comes with a built-in system that uses transpiling to convert ES6 code to ES5 which is compliant with most browsers by having polyfills for any unsupported feature. This means that if you start writing applications today based on it, it is very likely that when ES6 will become a standard, your app will work natively in the browsers without any change.

Nevertheless, as the minimal documentation states, Aurelia is not bound to the usage of ES6 language constructs and features,  but you can use regular Javascript or if you wish Typescript or Coffeescript.

At the moment I’m just at the beginning of using this framework for a personal project of mine, but I will start a series of posts describing my experience and any hints or guidance that I think it’s relevant to developers that want to use this framework as a foundation for their apps.

Meanwhile, check out the current documentation and getting started tutorial on the products website: http://aurelia.io

Also, if you want to get started with Aurelia,  a good reading is this ES6 overview: https://github.com/lukehoban/es6features

Stay tuned!