OdeToCode IC Logo

Aurelia Hello World with ASP.NET 5

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The purpose of this post isn’t to give an exhaustive tour of Aurelia features, but to show a simple Aurelia application running in ASP.NET 5 and demystify some of the tools you’ll commonly see used with Aurelia. This post makes use of jspm and the SystemJS module loader. These tools and libraries aren’t required to use Aurelia, but they sure can make life easier.

1. Create a new, empty ASP.NET 5 web application with Visual Studio 2015.

2. Install and initialize jspm. In a previous post we looked at using jspm with the latest pre-release of ASP.NET. You’ll want to follow all those same steps, particularly the initialize step telling jspm to use ./wwwroot as the public folder path. We want Aurelia installed and served from a jspm_packages folder inside this wwwroot folder, since ASP.NET 5 serves static assets from wwwroot by default.

3. Use jspm to install some of the core Aurelia pieces. From the command line:

jspm install aurelia-framework
jspm install aurelia-bootstrapper

jspm will download all the required files and place them in the jspm_packages folder of wwwroot.

4. We are now ready to create an index.html file in wwwroot. There are 4 significant instructions in the following markup.

    <title>Hello from Aurelia</title>
<body aurelia-app>
    <script src="jspm_packages/system.js"></script>
    <script src="config.js"></script>

The aurelia-app attribute tells Aurelia where it will take control of the DOM and inject our applications’ first view and viewmodel.

The script tag to load system.js brings glorious magic to the page. SystemJS is a module loader, much like  Require JS, but SystemJS knows how to load different types of modules – AMD, CommonJS, and ES6 modules. SystemJS also contains the ability to dynamically compile ES6 code into ES5 code on the fly. We’ll take advantage of the dynamic compilation features to use Aurelia without setting up any build task for our script code. jspm installs SystemJS by default.

The script tag to load config.js brings in configuration data to tell the module loader where to find script files, like scripts for Aurelia as well as our own application. The configuration also tells the loader how to behave. Fortunately for us, jspm creates and maintains the config.js file, so the only work we have to do is include the file on the page. 

Finally, we will use the module loader’s API to import the aurelia-bootstrapper. The module loader will find and load the bootstrapper and the bootstrapper’s dependencies into the browser.  Once the bootstrapper has control, it will begin to spin up Aurelia using some default configuration options, and go looking for our application, which we will build in the next two steps.

5. By default, Aurelia will go looking for an app.js script in the same folder as our index.html file. Let’s fill app.js with the following code:

export class App {
    constructor() {
        this.message = "";

    activate() {
        this.message = "Hello, World!";

    changeMessage() {
        this.message = "Goodbye!";


View models in Aurelia are plain, vanilla JavaScript.  There is no magic or registration code required. The framework will automatically invoke the activate method, which can return a promise if long running work needs done.

6. Once Aurelia finds and activates app.js, the framework will try to load an app.html file to function as the view for the model. We’ll create app.html in the wwwroot folder, too.

        <button click.trigger="changeMessage()">Say Goodbye</button>

Binding model content into the DOM is as easy as using the string interpolation ${ } syntax, while events are directed to model methods using trigger, delegate, and call expressions.  


And that’s it! Once you learn just a few simple conventions, Aurelia makes applications easy. We haven’t touched on routing, dependency injection, custom elements, or any of the other features that make Aurelia great. Those are all topics for the future…