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An open source JavaScript library for creating apps with elegant, clean code. Releases, tooling, training, NextGen tech and more.

Durandal is an awesome OSS JavaScript framework built by Blue Spire to empower developers in building web, desktop and mobile apps. Its features and capabilities exceed or are on par with those of frameworks made by the world's largest technology companies. Our community is rapidly growing and we're very excited about what the future holds. With your support we want to expand our current offering by doing more releases, building slick tools, publishing comprehensive video training and planning for the next generation.

Scroll down to see more videos showing one of the training app demos and a sneak peek of the NextGen!

There are all sorts of things we could do with the Durandal project in 2014. Here's what we think will benefit you the most and what will help ensure a bright future for the project.

Releases

In 2013 the Durandal project had several successful and well-received releases. In 2014 we expect there to be a similar set of releases. We plan to release 2.1.0 in February of 2014 with other releases distributed throughout the year. These releases will bring needed bug fixes, performance improvements and usability enhancements throughout. By backing this Kickstarter you help ensure the timely delivery of high quality releases that will allow Durandal 2.x, its community and its ecosystem to continue to thrive.

The Durandal StarterKit and Samples will be updated to Bootstrap 3, Knockout 3 and Font Awesome 4 for the February release of Durandal 2.1.0.
The Durandal StarterKit and Samples will be updated to Bootstrap 3, Knockout 3 and Font Awesome 4 for the February release of Durandal 2.1.0.

NOTE: This Kickstarter guarantees at least 2.1.0 and 2.1.1 releases during the 2014 year. Further releases are likely to happen as well, but those are TBD based on the needs of the project as it and the community develop over the course of the year.

Tooling

With your support we believe we can round out our standard set of tools and also add some nice innovations that will greatly improve your development workflow. Here are our three goals:

Weyland - As part of our Durandal 2.0 release, we announced a simple build tool called Weyland. The first version of this tool was designed to help in building optimized Durandal apps for a certain set of scenarios. We'd like to do another release of this tool in 2014 with a number of bug fixes as well as a few new features geared towards building more complex applications and covering other deployment scenarios.

Grunt - With Grunt being such a popular tool in the web programming world, we'd like to have our own custom tasks designed to simplify building Durandal apps. Some of the behavior would be based on shared code with the Weyland tool. In addition to this we want to have an official Grunt-based Starter Kit.

Live Views and Live Reload - Durandal understands the relationship between your JavaScript modules and your HTML views. This knowledge along with the capabilities of the composition system can be used to greatly improve the development experience. We'd like to create a dev-time tool that monitors your views and modules for changes while you work. When a view changes, it will update the html "in place" inside your app without needing to restart it or refresh the browser. If your code changes, it will automatically refresh the browser for you. We'll start by building this into Weyland and then look at the feasibility of porting it to Grunt watch and Mimosa watch as well.

The tooling will be released throughout the 2014 year with everything being delivered by December, but most of it should be finished by July.

Training

One of Durandal's deficiencies is the small amount of comprehensive training materials. This project aims to remedy that problem by creating three application building tutorial series. Each of these three series will take you from ground zero all the way to a working application.* Each will demonstrate recommended Durandal usage as well as various UI architecture techniques.

Customers & Orders - The first and simplest series will walk you through creating a basic order management system. The app will demonstrate searching for customers, opening a customer to view their order history and creating orders with multiple line-items. After you finish this series you'll know how to create modules and views, manage object lifetime, setup the router, work with observables and more. It's a great start for anyone who wants to build apps with Durandal.

Help Desk - The second series will show you how to build a modern Help Desk UI. It's designed for a more intermediate audience and will be a natural follow up to the "Customers and Orders" series. This set of videos will demonstrate additional routing techniques, use of pub/sub, working with plain JS objects in modern browsers, creating custom widgets and integrating 3rd party controls. Once you finish making your way through these videos, you'll be ready to build just about anything you can imagine.

 Pop Quiz - The final series will demonstrate a project which consists of two SPAs. The first will be an admin tool for creating multiple choice tests. The second will be geared towards students who take the tests authored by the admin tool. In this series you'll learn how to enable apps to share common code and how to use various build and optimization tools. Naturally, you'll cover just about every aspect of Durandal itself. After you've finished this course, you will truly be a master.

The source code for the first series will become available in February 2014 with the videos releasing one-by-one over the following weeks. Each series will follow in succession through the 2014 year with all three being completed by the end of the year. By backing this project you not only ensure that several comprehensive educational resource are created but you gain access to them at a highly discounted rate and you get them before they are made available to the general public for purchase.

*NOTE: The samples will usually contain a "fake" backend which simulates the server. The point of these series is to teach Durandal usage and UI architecture, not server technologies/techniques.

NextGen Preview

Durandal is a great framework for building JavaScript apps today. But in order for it to remain viable long-term, we need to spend time thinking about the future of the web. The final deliverable of this Kickstarter is a NextGen Preview. This preview will be designed with future web technologies in mind. Here's some of what you'll see in the demo video below:

  • Modules - Use AMD, CommonJS or ES6 modules to build apps. (Built on the ES6 native script loader API). 
  • Data-binding - Bind to plain JavaScript objects. (Built on the native Object.observe API). 
  • View Templates - Use simplified {{}} binding expressions. (Built on native HTML Templates and WebComponents). 
  • Custom Elements - Create your own templatable and bindable elements. (Built on native WebComponents, HTML Templates and Object.observe).  
  • Performance - It's fast! The composition system is up to 2x faster than Durandal 2.x. The data-binding system is marginally faster than AngularJS. With native Object.observe enabled in Chrome, it is 2-3x faster than AngularJS. 
  • Isolation - There is nothing in global scope. You can run multiple isolated Durandal apps on the same page, even multiple instances of the same app. 
  • External Dependencies - None. 
  • Browser Support - Built on future browser technologies, pollyfilled for today's browsers. Works on >= IE10 and all other modern browsers. (There are some glitches on IE9, but I'm hopeful about getting it working if the Kickstarter is backed.)

Besides re-imagining Durandal with future web technologies, this NextGen preview will likely result in several improvements that can be brought into the current Durandal 2.x implementation. We are calling this a "preview" because it will be more than a prototype, but may not quite be ready for production. We'll deliver the Preview no later than December of 2014.

The Apprentice, Journeyman and Master levels each give you increasing access to more training materials. We recommend the Master level if you are interested mostly in training. If you can't wait for the videos, choose the Champion level to gain access to the app source for each series before the training is produced.

As an Enthusiast you not only get all the training and early access app source, but you get to be part of an exclusive monthly web cast where we will be showing our progress on the various goals of this project. You will also be invited to a private developer blog which will be updated weekly. If you can't wait to try things out, you'll definitely want to choose Insider to gain access to the private Github repo where the tooling and NextGen work will be happening.

Do you want everything I've described above, and want to show the world how much you love Durandal? Choose the MVP level. We'll send you a limited edition backer t-shirt that your friends and coworkers will be jealous of.

At the Show Off level, your app will be listed in the Durandal gallery. Back as a Consultant and you'll be added to the official Durandal Consultants registry. Have a web product or tool that Durandal developers would want to use? Back as a Partner. Each of these options comes with all the rewards listed above plus a quantity of t-shirts.

Does your company produce a relevant product and offer consulting services? You probably want to check out the Polymath reward level.

Are you a large company, user group or community organizer interested in providing training for a group of developers? Are they distributed geographically or do they work from home? We've got a special backer level just for you: Virtual Conference. We'll let you invite up to 300 people to a private web cast where we'll provide up to 8 hours of Durandal training. We can schedule the conference any time after the first quarter of 2014 at a day and time that is appropriate for you. If you wish to sell tickets to recuperate your costs, that is permissible and we'll help you to get the word out. If needed, you may split the training up into two, four-hour sessions delivered on separate days.

Does your company want maximum exposure as a supporter of Durandal? Please consider the Benefactor reward level. You'll get all the benefits of the Polymath, plus some major marketing bonuses. Your logo will be displayed on the home page of durandaljs.com as a 2014 sponsor. Your company will be mentioned in all public presentations at user groups, code camps and conferences. We will work with you to publish a dedicated blog post to our 20,000 readers talking about your company and your generious support of the project.

Finally, do you want Durandal training live in your city? Back as a Conference Host and I'll come to any city in the Continental USA to deliver a full day of Durandal training. You provide the location and invite as many people as you want. I'll show up and deliver the learning experience. We can schedule the conference any time after the first quarter of 2014 at a day and time that is appropriate for you. If you wish to sell tickets to recuperate your costs, that is permissible and we'll help you to get the word out.

The official Durandal t-shirt design (front).
The official Durandal t-shirt design (front).

Durandal traces its roots back to 2010. After presenting "Build Your Own MVVM Framework" at Mix that year, we had the idea to try the same ideas out in JavaScript. The results looked promising so we continued work by creating three internal prototypes. During 2011 and 2012, Blue Spire dedicated time and financial resources to building out what eventually became Durandal 1.0. In 2013 we continued this effort with an even greater dedication as Durandal rapidly grew in popularity. In 2013 we released Durandal 2.0 and the community exploded again.

As we reach the end of 2013 and look forward to 2014, we've had to carefully assess the amount of time and money being invested into Durandal by Blue Spire. It's an important project with a large community and we want to do things right. So, we decided to launch this Kickstarter. If it succeeds we'll be able to dedicate tons of time to the project in 2014 and build some amazing things. Please join us in this effort and become a part of our history.

There's a long list of things we can do in this project to go beyond these minimum requirements. We will announce these goals as we get closer to the target numbers. Stay tuned!

Check us out on CrowdFundFusion!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

There aren't very many real obstacles to this project. Blue Spire has taken Durandal through two major versions and several point releases already. We've put together tooling and project templates, spoken and trained other developers and have already started researching (and doing some implementation) of the NextGen preview. The only real challenge is in editing the video training materials. But, that's a relatively minor issue.

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    APPRENTICE - You will gain access to the "Customers & Orders" training series. You will also be listed on durandaljs.com as a supporter of this project.

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    JOURNEYMAN - You get all the rewards of the APPRENTICE plus you gain access to the the second training series: "Help Desk".

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    MASTER - You get all the rewards of the JOURNEYMAN, plus you gain access to the third training series: "Pop Quiz". That's access to all three training series produced by this Kickstarter!

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    CHAMPION - You get all the rewards of the MASTER. Additionally, you will have early access to the source code for each sample application before the videos are produced.

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    ENTHUSIAST - You get all the rewards of the CHAMPION. You will also be invited to a monthly web cast showing the NextGen Preview as well as demonstrating and discussing work being done on tooling, upcoming releases and training. Finally, you will gain access to a private developer's blog that will be updated weekly.

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    INSIDER - You get all the rewards of the ENTHUSIAST plus you will be given read access to the private GitHub repository in which the NextGen Preview and any non-public tooling are being developed.

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    MVP - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus a limited edition Durandal Backer t-shirt.

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    SHOW OFF - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus two limited edition Durandal Backer t-shirts. Finally, you may select one of your own Durandal applications to be listed in the official durandaljs.com gallery along with screenshots and links to the product.

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    CONSULTANT - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus five limited edition Durandal Backer t-shirts. Your company logo, name, links and a brief profile will also be listed in the official durandaljs.com consultants directory.

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    PARTNER - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus ten limited edition Durandal Backer t-shirts. Your company's web product or tool will have it's own dedicated page in the durandaljs.com documentation detailing its features and how to configure it for use with Durandal.

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    POLYMATH - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus ten limited edition Durandal Backer t-shirts. Your company's web product or tool will have it's own dedicated page in the durandaljs.com documentation. Your company logo, name, links and a brief profile will also be listed in the official durandaljs.com consultants directory.

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    VIRTUAL CONFERENCE - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus I'll host a full day virtual conference for up to 300 attendees. That's eight hours of live Durandal training for whatever lucky 300 people you want to invite. See the Rewards section for more details.

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    BENEFACTOR - You get all the rewards of the POLYMATH plus your logo will be displayed on the home page of durandaljs.com as a 2014 sponsor. Your company will be mentioned in all public presentations at user groups, code camps and conferences. We will work with you to publish a dedicated blog post to our 20,000 readers talking about your company and your generous support of the project.

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    CONFERENCE HOST (Continental USA) - You get all the rewards of the INSIDER plus I'll host a full day conference in your city. That's eight hours of live Durandal training for as many people as you have room for. See the Rewards section for more details.

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