Is Aurelia difficult to use and how can Monterey help?

While Aurelia (as a JavaScript framework) is completely unobtrusive, to the point that experienced Aurelia developers feel like just writing JavaScript with few light touches of Aurelia API, it is relatively difficult to create the development environment with all needed tooling to make the applications run in today’s browsers that do not (yet) support es6 and esn7 versions of JavaScript.

In its first release, Monterey addresses some of the tooling issues, trying to balance the usefulness with “time to market” (Aurelia Tools team is very small and needs to chose the features set for each subsequent release very carefully in order to create a steady stream of useful innovations). So it should not be a surprise that Monterey’s primary focus is on creating new applications – with special accent on using Aurelia-CLI tool. This decision was not made easy particularly because Aurelia-CLI is very new and because it supports only RequireJS module loader, at the time when most existing Aurelia applications are SystemJS module loader based. However, we are very committed to sharing Aurelia core team’s vision so providing full scaffolding based on Aurelia CLI was a good start.

Aurelia-CLI is not frozen in time (it is really just in Alpha stage) so we can all expect support for other module loaders and many features we do not know about – which is another reason why Monterey application scaffolding feature could be viewed as a visual shell on top of Aurelia-CLI.

In order to help developers with existing applications, Monterey offers graphical views of configuration data (NPM Package Manager, JSPM Package Manager), collection of plugins (aka features) that help with the integration of tools that developers use in their daily workflows and the support for creating new applications from the Aurelia application skeletons. In this context, Monterey reaches wider than supporting just the RequireJS module loader, following the same steps Aurelia introduced so far.

The important fact to remember is that Monterey is in its infancy and that we plan to make it as powerful / useful as our resources allow us and in order that our initial users will suggest to us. This is why it is important that you fill in the survey (at the end of the Introducing Monterey blog article) or share your opinions with us as either comments to this blog article or in this Gitter chat room.

Some interesting early comments on Monterey

Just a few days ago, Rob Eisenberg,  Aurelia team leader and architect introduced Monterey to all Aurelia developers in his blog Introducing Monterey. Here are a few comments provided by users who took their time to answer the Monterey survey question “Any other thought you would like to share with us“, starting with critical and ending with very encouraging..

  • This GUI tool is absolutely no use to me in some development contexts, such as Unix/screen/SSH on remote servers.

We are really not sure how to address this user’s view 🙂

  • Skeleton’s seem to be difficult to get working at times. They need to be polished and rock solid.

We would very much like to fix this issue and if would be very helpful to know more about your experience

  • It’s handy, but I would prefer other features.

Such as …?

  • I’m a bit afraid that from outside aurelia community, this tool could prevent some people start using aurelia – “wow – do I need an application to manage my application development – aurelia must be really difficult to use”. I think it’s important to state the purpose of this tool.

A very good advice that we are trying to address immediately – see this article.

  • I would like to run a sequence of commands. E.g. build my project (au run –watch), open chrome, open visual studio for the front-end, open visual studio to my back-end project all with the click of one button.

Thank you for this suggestion which is completely in line with our plans.

  • Love NPM update module! Keep up the good work.

Configuration of existing applications is high on our list of Monterey features

  • Could this be a Lightswitch replacement?

Very interesting observation, given that providing Lightswitch-like tool was one of the ideas that made us thinking to create Monterey 🙂

  • Awesome framework, awesome tooling, its a joy being a developer.

Thank you, your opinion is a great reward for our work.