We are in the middle of a major shift in the web development world, and seeing the greatest change in about 15 years with ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) just released and and 2016 (ES7) on its way. Because of this rapid change, a myriad of tools are popping up every day and it can be hard to keep up with all the fancy acronyms.
A package manager lets you search for and install software packages that your application depends on. So there is usually a web site, like bower.io/search that shows you what kind of packages the manager has available, and you can also use the CLI (command line interface) to search for packages.
When you install a package, you can choose to save what package you installed to a config file, so your app will remember its dependencies.
Bower vs JSPM
So what is the difference between Bower and JSPM? The short answer is that while both managers let you install and update dependencies, JSPM is more future oriented. It automatically downloads SystemJS, which is a universal dynamic module loader that loads both ES6 modules, AMD, CommonJS and global scripts and maintains config.js to help SystemJS know where to find the dependencies. This StackOverflow question has further details.
Watch this recording from the London React Meetup where Jack Franklin talks about SystemJS and demonstrates how it works:
I had the privilege of speaking with Rob at NDC 2015 before his talk on Aurelia, and I got a good impression of Aurelia. Rob also spoke well of his former work place at the Angular team, which speaks of character.
At work we started experimenting with Angular for rebuilding our dinosaur PowerBuilder software for the modern web as a SPA and we recently finished a prototype that uses Angular 1.4 and ASP.Net MVC. We made some conclusions:
Angular has a beautiful logo
Angular 1.4 is not (!==) Angular 2.0. The latter is a complete rewrite
Angular has a steep learning curve
Angular has quite vast and broad support in the community
Start with the following two videos, which I find to be companions as one speaks of ECHMAScript 6 and 7 and the other is an introduction to Aurelia.