Javascript Web Applications: KnockoutJS and the new kid Aurelia

I’ve got involved in building a Javascript WebApp last fall. I evaluated frameworks and libraries and decided to go for Knockout.js that was als the choice of Luca.

My motivation were:

  1. The onboarding on http://learn.knockoutjs.com/ is awesome. Best I remember in 15 years of trying new libraries, frameworks and tools.
  2. In 2 hours I was up and running. In 2 days I had a prototype. And I do NOT write javascript.
  3. I was using Stamplay as BAAS, so really I did not needed a complete framework.
  4. Luca loved it more every day after almost 1 year of coding with it. Plus I could have use him as a teacher.

Now I think it was a great choice. We build both a simple prototype running completely on Stamplay, as well as a more complex app using S3 as CDN with a complete WebApp structure, starting with Steve Sanderson Knockout Generator.

After that I tried to have a second look at Angular and React. All the time I got stuck on reading stuff instead of coding, cause the “Get Started” is really not to the point.

A few days ago, former Angular team member @Rob Eisenberg, who was building a Single Page Application framework in JS based on Knockout called DurandalJS, announced a new project called Aurelia, kind of successor of Durandal. Aurelia also stay far from keeping the monolithic framework approach that Angular has.

Aurelia looks very interesting. A few quick thought about it

  1. It is a complete solution to build a WebApp in javascript but is not monolithic and allows to be integrated with third-party binding libraries, like KnockoutJS for example.
  2. Uses a built-in client-side router. Maybe good maybe not, I need to try.
  3. Leaves bower back and go for JSPM. I have no experience here, it seem that is what’s going to be good for ES6
  4. Ready for what’s coming, being written in ES6. I hope there are not issues with “stuff to be compiled” here. I really liked developing without worrying about those stuff…

I think that this will worth a try. It was good to built a Javascript web-app structure out of a simple generator a more complete out-of-the-box solution, if well built and non invasive, would be better.

In conclusion, I am very happy we went with KnockoutJ and the “trend” of MV* architectures as well as light and modular Webapps structure is the one I like. Aurelia can easily become a reference in the field and provide a full environment where Knockout developer can easily plug-in. I’ll dig more into this area as I am a novice here, but things are quickly revealing pretty clear.

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