Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Ext 2.0 Beta 1 released

Category: Ajax, Sencha

The Ext team continues to move forward on Ext 2.0, announcing the availability of Ext v2.0 Beta 1. This release of the Ext framework features updated portal and desktop examples, documentation updates, and bug fixes.

Big enhancements were done to two sample applications, Web Desktop and Portal, which make extensive use of new functionality in Ext 2.0.

The Web Desktop has been drastically enhanced to include a start menu as well as functional icons on the desktop. It truly looks like you’re working within an operating system like Windows.

Web Desktop:


All of the updated Ext 2.0 Beta 1 samples can be seen at the Ext 2.0 Samples page.

In addition, the documentation continues to be updated to incorporate the new features of Ext 2.0 and a migration guide is soon to be released.

Ext 2.0 Beta 1 is available for download at the Ext website.

Posted by Rey Bango at 10:51 am

4.7 rating from 202 votes


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In the Javascript UI space, Ext JS is like UFC, while the others are still backyard wrestling. :)

Comment by Michael — October 11, 2007

I’m ashamed at how excited this makes me

Comment by Sam — October 11, 2007

I do believe in Sata Claus… I do believe in Santa Claus

Comment by Mike — October 11, 2007

Massive props to the Ext team, way ahead of the crowd.

Comment by Alex — October 11, 2007

Love it but it’s sooo slow! How could you feasibly put something like this into a working environment?

Comment by Dan McCand — October 11, 2007

Ho-ly crap, I am seriously impressed.

Dan, I notice no slowness. In fact it’s as spunky as XP. Perhaps the problem is related to your computer.

Comment by Brian — October 11, 2007

@Michael: More like EXT is a few, well trained fighters. The Open source Frameworks are like thousands of fighters in training – all at different skill levels. Once the thousands learn to fight together – good luck EXT.

Comment by Marc — October 11, 2007

@Dan McCand
If you have FireBug enabled, you may want to disable it. Ext JS triggers a bug in FireBug that causes a CPU spike and can make apps seem slow to load. It is being worked on and hopefully a fix will be included in a proximate FireBug release.

Comment by Jack Slocum — October 11, 2007

I think if anyone votes something else than 5 on this I’ll have to track his ass down and beat the living shit out of him.

Comment by Michael — October 11, 2007

@Marc: That’s ridiculous. Ext is open source (LGPL 3.0) and has a very active community of users and contributors. They accept new features, bug fixes, and patches just like any other project. Jack and his fellow developers have created some of the highest quality JavaScript code I’ve ever seen and I’ll take that over what “thousands of trained fighters” have to offer any day!

Comment by GMFlash — October 11, 2007

s/”thousands of trained fighters”/”thousands of fighters in training”

Comment by GMFlash — October 11, 2007

Gratz on this release Jack. The desktop looks so awesome. 5 stars! :)

@Les: what a random comment is that…

Comment by Tommy Maintz — October 11, 2007

Please remove/ignore the above (long) post.

Comment by Les — October 11, 2007

@Les: I removed it.

Comment by Rey Bango — October 11, 2007

Ext rocks and the documentation could serve as an example for other frameworks. Are there any Ext books being published? I could find nothing by searching Amazon, but there’s a bunch of books available for other libraries, e.g. jQuery or Prototype.

Comment by Les — October 11, 2007

When I use the desktop example in IE 7, anytime I close the accordian window by clicking on the ‘X’, it produces a javascript error: line 99 ‘object doesn’t support this property or method’

Comment by Jacob — October 11, 2007

Quote from Michael:
“Ext is open source (LGPL 3.0)”

@Michael: LGPL means that you may USE their library for non-commercial use. It does not mean that you have the right to contribute to their library. Sure, you may submit bugs – but being able to have your hands on the code is what separates proprietary engineering and open source. Being able to USE a library for open source projects is different than being able to DEVELOP that library.

Please refer to Why you shouldn’t use the Lesser GPL for your next library.

Comment by Marc — October 11, 2007

The Web Desktop is a very impressive demo. Great work!

Comment by Julien Lecomte — October 11, 2007

Thank you so, so much for making the default behavior to open up icons on the “desktop” a doubleclick (instead of a single-click, like so many web desktops get wrong!).

I dont’ know what the earlier poster’s problem was about performance — I’m on an old Pentium IV with integrated video, and those windows are snappy as hell.

Comment by mdmadph — October 11, 2007

Praise the Lord !

Comment by phpeter — October 11, 2007

Quote from Marc: but being able to have your hands on the code is what separates proprietary engineering and open source

I went to and grabbed the latest 2.0 beta zip file, went into the source dir and was presented with the complete unobfuscated source code for the entire framework.

Comment by GMFlash — October 11, 2007

Without anything actually functioning it is difficult to see how this is useful. All this “and then a miracle happens” stuff remains funny. Remember (or perhaps not), several people tried the desktop idea and failed. consider these empty links:

So I wonder how it is that a javascript framework that is about 7 years late (you all do realize much better developers made better frameworks than this years ago — *that actually did something*) is anything other than a basket of (very nice) widgets. Kudos, but let’s keep it real.

There are also several 2.0 web desktops that are equally nice, and equally dead. I’ll let you search around for these often funded and certainly doomed companies.

On the other hand, the *smart* people who want to create aggregations of content in a localized space (creating a desktop is only dealing with sorting lots of content on top of other bunches of content) are those who are doing things like:

Which, you will notice, is more about building innovative apps congruent with the medium in which it operates. And those are just two examples. Not to put too fine a point on it: google maps has done more for developers than Ext could ever do — because it performs a useful function which contains it’s own, smart, interface, and does not simply promote the copying skills of some group or other of scripters.

Here’s an idea: how a “desktop” that aggregates all of a user’s content across all of the sites they have joined, organizes the information smartly (read: NOT IN WINDOWS), intelligently counterpoints data-with-data (read: Tufte. Seriously. Read Tufte.) and leaves the interface to provide useful *meta-functions* which *assist* the user.

That’s the kind of stuff those guys who have been there, done that, are doing, now, while you praise creativity-destroying frameworks. Hope Ext gets as big as google, because all this energy is being wasted…

Comment by jimbob — October 11, 2007

Try actually implementing and understanding the framework before trashing it, ok. Ext is NOT a damn web desktop, it’s a Javascript framework for rapidly implementing the design and UI paradigms that Tufte champions. (Yes, I’ve read Tufte – been to his conferences too – staring at ‘Visual Explanations’ right now) Like any good framework, EXT allows a developer to get his/her head out of the code a bit more and focus on interaction with the machine/data system at a higher level. Ext is mature and well written product with tremendous community support and right now, that’s simply as good as it gets.
Your comment reminds me of an eccentric, genius friend of mine who never produces anything because he’s too busy bashing the ‘dominant paradigm’. Well, hate to say it but that’s where the real people live…like my clients who absolutely love what I’ve been able to give them with EXT. Proof is in the pudding, as I always say. It ain’t genius but it does work.

Comment by Jeff — October 11, 2007


I’m not sure you’re being honest with me. Rather over the top, the “I’m staring at Tufte right now” stuff. And the — I hope I’m wrong here — claim that Tufte ‘champions’ the ‘design and UI paradigms’ that Ext allows a developer to implement — that is, the D+UI paradigms of current ‘Windows’ variants. I’ll encourage you to reconsider that reading of Tufte.

However, Tufte isn’t a web designer. My more subtle point was that information clutter is only continued by using the *bad* information display tools — those widgets Ext makes. And Ext certainly *is* a widget library. With an impressive amount of documentation. This is the complete list of tutorials for using Ext:

Advanced Custom Drag and Drop Part 1
Advanced Custom Drag and Drop Part 2
Application Layout for Beginners
Basics of Paging With the Grid Component
Beginners DataGrid Pt1
Beginners DataGrid Pt2
Beginners DataGrid Pt3
Beginners DataGrid Pt4
Beginners DataGrid Pt5
Beginning Using the Grid Component
Creating JSON Data in PHP
Custom Drag and Drop Part 1
Custom Drag and Drop Part 2
Custom Drag and Drop Part 3
Tutorials:Using Django Poll Tutorial with Ext
DomQuery v1.1 Basics
DomQuery v1.1 Advanced
Ext Menu Widget
Extending Ext Class
Getting Started with Forms
Getting Started with Templates
Jayrock with Ext
Loading Data Into and Submitting a Form
Dynamic Columns in a Grid
Using Ext Grid with Ruby on Rails
Using Ext grid form dialog to achieve paging list, create, edit, delete function
Using Layouts with Ext – Part 1
Utilizing Format Features of Templates
What is that Scope all about

This is a list of demos:

Hello World MessageBox and Progress Layout Dialog
Toolbar and Menus
Basic grid from array data Ajax XML data Paging and Remote Datasets Inline editing Existing Table to Grid
Form and ComboBox
Dynamic Forms XML Form ComboBoxes Live Search
Ajax + Drag and Drop Two Trees Ext Dependency Builder Photo Organizer w/ Tree
Complex Layout Nested Layouts Feed Viewer
Resizable Examples
Basic Tabs Advanced Tabs
Image Chooser
Include a locale bundle
Debug Console

Which is pretty impressive. It is in fact the cleanest, most attractive imitation of existing desktop GUI theory around. When you have a client that wants to see a database dumped onto a desktop in either a form, or a list, or a tree, or an accordion, or a grid, and maybe wants squares on the screen to plug these lists of sortable text into, Ext is for you. No doubt. No argument.

But tell me again how Ext is something a serious developer should pay attention to when, say, the guys at 37Signals make better looking, better functioning applications which serve real customers doing significant tasks, and those dudes have gone and created a system called Rails which, with it’s lovely integration with other widget libraries, allows, well, superior products to be built?

It’s just an opinion, but you sound a lot like someone arguing for visual basic. It works and is easy. Absolutely.

Comment by jimbob — October 12, 2007

Congratulations to Jack, Ext is AMAZING!!!

Comment by Andrés Testi — October 12, 2007

“On the other hand, the *smart* people who want to create aggregations of content in a localized space”

Where in Ext’s documentation does it state that its purpose is to facilitate “aggregating content in a localized space?” That sounds like you trying to project something onto Ext which it doesn’t claim to be, and then tearing it down because you happen to be passionate about that problem space and believe Ext should be solving problems in it. You may as well criticize Microsoft Word because its spell checker doesn’t wash dishes.

Ext is a toolkit that helps developers build applications that look and work like desktop applications that their customers are already familiar with. That’s pretty much what it does. If that was being done 7 years ago, then these gurus of which you speak certainly didn’t share with the rest of the class.

Stifling creative interface development? Not really its goal to promote it (though arguably, the time you free up by not reinventing UI can be spent more creatively on your actual problem domain).

Now, my turn on the soapbox.

If you make a living building applications that you want people to be able to use intuitively, creative interfaces are, well, overrated.

Creative (read: non-standard) interfaces are great … if you’re an interface researcher … or a software company skilled and/or lucky enough to build interfaces that manage to be novel yet usable to your target audience. Not surprisingly, a lot of bleeding edge interface work is being done in photography, video, and design applications because, well, the target audiences are often as right-brained as the team that designs them and thus the learning curve is flatter for them than it would be for your average Microsoft Office user.

But for every Apple or Adobe (or flickr, on the web set), there are hundreds of “creative” people and companies who get novel interfaces pretty wrong – isn’t that why WIMP interfaces and CUA standards overtook one-off efforts almost 20 years ago? I.e. so people who couldn’t design interfaces could have a paradigm and palette of controls to reuse mindlessly? And so uncreative people could write memos, make presentations, and create spreadsheets without learning the DOS menuing system (or the custom control .DLL) of the week?

Comment by Evan — October 12, 2007

Nice work, ive just finished my own web desktop for my company contact management system, it looks and feels very similar to ext JS but uses prototype, jquery (for some inner workings .. table sorting ect ect)… i found this very slow (mine is about 30 times faster @ least – not sure how they are rendering the pages inside it .. this was somehting i had to think about alot wih dragging and dropping and resize — Using iframes was bad with FF as its very laggy!!) …

Nice work as a beta though and i must say its sexy as hell (much better looking than mine)

nice work guys


Comment by Jester — October 12, 2007

As someone who is building a webapp, ExtJS is a godsend, I’ve found myself playing with the desktop demo pretty much every day, pondering (read: dreaming about) where the different parts of my current “flat-app” will go once I start using ExtJS. Wonderful, wonderful stuff, Jack, thanks.
@jimbob, I guess the problem you (and I’m sure many others) will have is that to truly appreciate ExtJS, you have to think of it in context of an application. I completely agree, stand alone, Ext does nothing by itself, but think of how it will serve your app, and you’ll be all smiles.

Comment by Original Sin — October 12, 2007

Always makes me happy to see Ext releases. It’s easily one of the most impressive javascript widget libraries available.

Well architected to boot.

Comment by Adam Sanderson — October 12, 2007

If you’re looking for finished applications…. head on over to Staples and continue your reviews (wasted energy) there. Ext JS is UI library for developers who create those functional applications. It’s not all about aggregating content and I’m not sure if you’ll ever find your Utopian software on Google maps. So stop spouting Tufte, being a hater/troll and go and find a piece of software called ‘Sidekick’ (circa 1984). I think you’ll like it.

One more thing…. Ext JS is the chiznat!! Late….

Comment by Michael — October 12, 2007

It seems rather mindless, this discussion. Please, go ahead and base your future on your ability to use Ext. Strange how people are trying to hurt my feelings by claiming that “I don’t get it”. I would have hoped, as always, I could encourage something less than blind devotion to obsolete interface ideas.

Re: the developers 7 years ago. They were very public. Quite. Open application developement platforms for building real applications, for the web, that loaded into a desktop environment. Word processors. Spreadsheets. Etc. I’m really rather shocked that you, obviously, haven’t studied the field you (claim) to work in, and make such absurd statements about the giants on whose shoulders you (and Ext) stand.

I’ll give you a starting point:,13848-page,1/article.html

They went on to be bought by IBM. And then went off to create OddPost. Which was bought by Yahoo.

How is Yahoo’s new mail doing against Gmail? It’s just like Outlook! I haven’t read any articles about how this “familiar” interface made people leave a *better* interface. Can you point me in the direction of the articles demonstrating how replicating Windows’ UI makes better online sofware possible?

You, and others, make this clearly wrong claim about “what users are used to”. The “web” doesn’t work like desktop apps do, its history is quite different, and therefore, if you are building online apps that you want to be “familiar”, you *don’t* use Windows.

Perhaps what you’re really saying is that “when a company wants to have an online version of the desktop apps they currently use they prefer to see a familiar (in this particular case) interface”. Of course. If that’s what you’re doing. Is that what Ajax is for? Is that an interesting point of view for the emerging market of online apps?

** If I’m a person who is an investor in startups do I think that my best chance of growth is to stake the future of my investors and partners on my ability to make online applications that seek to replicate, and then erode, the market share of Microsoft Office?

Or do I make better software, do I improve the service, do I rethink and advance the field? Buzzword is, for example, a *better* word processor for those using software online. If they had been stupid enough to use Ext, they would not have succeeded, at all. But they sure would have had a prototype up in days, by gum! Unfortunately (um — for you) somebody taught them that working for years and years on making something innovative pays off — if you have the balls.

Clearly there is little faith in this community in the creative ability of developers. Ajaxian is becoming a place to warehouse cheap-and-easy “solutions” that do little to advance the art, and a lot to relegate developers with potential to the wilderness of replication.

Comment by jimbob — October 12, 2007


You should realize that the two examples mentioned in this article (Portal and Web Desktop) are just prototypes–examples of what you can do in ext.

You can use Ext to create some unique interfaces–my favorite being the Django Book’s comment system, which is based directly off of Jack Slocum’s blog comment system. It’s a great way of getting feedback on not just an entire chapter, but single paragraphs.

I’m not sure how this turned into a pissing match, but to judge a library based these super-examples is fairly narrow minded.

Comment by Luke Hatcher — October 12, 2007

I dont know whether ExtJS Developer already know this.
There is a bug in Firefox 3 (bug# 387866) which make ‘Date Control’ and ‘Tool Bar’ Button not render properly.

Comment by Biju — October 13, 2007

“But tell me again how Ext is something a serious developer should pay attention to when, say, the guys at 37Signals make better looking, better functioning applications which serve real customers doing significant tasks, and those dudes have gone and created a system called Rails which, with it’s lovely integration with other widget libraries, allows, well, superior products to be built?”

I don’t get it. I mean, I love 37signals’ work but what does one have to do with the other? Rails is a server side web application framework…saying it integrates with UI widget libraries is meaningless. So does PHP Cake, so does VB.NET, so does Python. Also, not everyone is in love with 37signals. Some folks think they keep a lot of things too simple- as in, not flexible/extensible – it’s a matter of taste and necessity. I think this whole discussion is one guy in a lab coat talking to all the troops in the trenches and telling them how things otta be.

Comment by Jeff — October 13, 2007

@jimbob, have you ever worked in a corporate environment? Sounds like your vision of what the typical developer is capable of is more than slightly utopian. Most developers I’ve worked with are not designers (and BTW, 37Signals has a *team* of designers working on their apps — something most developers in the “real” world do not have). Also, most (non-web-startup) businesses don’t need unique, “designed” UIs, they need standardized, repeatable application models.

“Is that what Ajax is for? Is that an interesting point of view for the emerging market of online apps?”

Dude, everyone is not building “emerging online apps.” In fact, a lot of people aren’t. A lot of people are building internal apps. A lot of people just want to view their database in a nice Ajax-y grid. Corporate and other businesses want to use Ajax for a variety of reasons, and also have a need to build apps productively. And if it looks good too, so much the better. That’s pretty much the goal of Ext. And your point is… ?

Comment by Nobody — October 13, 2007

seems jimbob got burnt at the stake!!

Comment by Jester — October 15, 2007


The LGPL allows you to use the library unaltered in a proprietary product without that product being swallowed by the license. If you alter the library (and you ARE allowed to alter the library and the source for the library MUST be public) then your alterations are covered by the LGPL.

The article doesn’t claim that LGPL means you can’t alter the library. It makes the claim that open source developers that license their libraries under LGPL are traitors to the FOSS movement. It says that people who develop open source libraries *shouldn’t allow* other people to use their libraries unless those people are willing to license their code under the GPL. It only works if you believe that developers shouldn’t have the right to keep their own applications proprietary at all.

Anybody can alter their own copy of Ext and redistribute it. Anybody can become an Ext developer. True, not just anybody can merge new code into the Ext SVN, but most people also can’t just merge code to the Linux kernel or KDE or most other open source projects.

Comment by Billy — October 15, 2007

Jimbob got burnt ’cause he came in here to market a highbrow rant about the current state of AJAX web apps and tell us how we all “get it wrong”, not debate the merits of the Ext framework. Serves him right.

Comment by Jeff — October 15, 2007

Some of the above posts completely miss the point. The M$ behemoth is itself rushing (in their usual “oops we missed the boat” way) to build lots of stuff based on the web interface, plus of course they’re trying to replace ECMA script with one of “their” languages instead. The reason is because they can no longer dominate the desktop as they did, Open Source is hurting their monopoly, and because they have no ideas (nor trust left) they’re merely following the herd (after spending the last few years shooting at it). They’re losing to Open Source for mobile devices – why would manufacturers of mobile products tie themselves into feeding M$ shareholders as well as their own? At some point Ext will run nicely on mostly all modern communication devices (thanks to Mozilla, time to catch up M$ – snigger) and web apps will be the way we’re developing. Jack and the guys are in a good place, and deservedly so. The Ext 2.0 API looks really cool and well thought out – I’m still fairly new to it but I worked on desktop apps before and can see parallels.

If anyone’s worried about longevity, buy a developers licence, I will be …

Comment by Mark — November 4, 2007

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