Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Ext 2.0 Final Released

Category: Announcements, Sencha

We have seen the betas and the release candidates. Now we see the final release of Ext 2.0. Major congratulations to Jack, Rey, and the entire Ext community.

The Ext team is proud to announce that the official release of Ext v2.0 is available for download. This new version of the Ext framework is the culmination of many long hours of work and dedication by the Ext Core team as well as our community of testers and supporters. Ext 2.0 is a dramatic step forward from all previous versions of Ext, providing increased performance, ease of configurations, flexibility and UI capabilities.

We’ve also made learning how to use Ext much easier with a completely revamped document center and expanded & better organized samples. All of this without a significant library size increase in this new version.

New Features

The Ext framework has always been praised for it’s attractive UI components and top-notch foundation. It was important that Ext 2.0 carry on the reputation of providing a great base to build upon while incorporating new features that are unique to the Ext 2.0 framework. These include:

Grouping & Group Summary

Ext 2.0 introduces highly configurable single-level column grouping capabilities as well as summary rollups at the group level. These two additions are critical in decision support (DSS) and report intensive applications. Important to note is that Ext’s grid sorting functionality continues to work as expected, sorting data within each group set as opposed to sorting the whole grid.

Scrolling Tabs

The new Ext 2.0 scrolling tabs are truly amazing and provide for a much more flexible UI then traditional static-based tabs. I think Jack says it best:

Call me crazy, but I can sit, click and play with these tabs all day.

The tab metaphor is synonymous, from a UX perspective, with segmenting unique sections of data with the context of a page. With increased demand for data presentation via tabs, without the reciprocal increase in screen real estate, the team took a step back and decided to rethink the way that tab controls should function. The approach was to allow as many tabs as necessary to be created and display them within a scrolling metaphor. By extending the Ext.TabPanel control with a new “autoScroll” directive, all tabs added to the panel instantly fall into the scrollable behavior of the tab panel:

Anchor Layout

A common theme in desktop applications is the ability for form fields to be anchored to fit the size of their container. Unfortunately, HTML & CSS don’t easily lend themselves to this type of behavior, throwing off form element positions unless carefully crafted styles are created. Even with that, inconsistencies across browsers forces even further hacks to be developed to ensure that form elements remained positioned as expected.

Column Tree

In Ext 2.0, one thing we’ve focused on is providing examples of customizing Ext UI components. The example below demonstrates how easily the Ext tree panel can be customized to add support for columns in the nodes. A prime example of an application the could benefit from this would be a project planner as demonstrated below:

New API Documentation Center

We wanted to make traversing the Ext API as simple as possible and that prompted a substantive revamp of our document center. The new version continues to make use of the intuitive treeview metaphor but great expands on this by taking advantage of the new scrolling tabs feature being introduced in Ext 2.0. By selecting a specific API topic on the tree, a new tab will appear allowing developers to maintain multiple API documents open at one time instead of being limited to only one page at a time. A new search feature has also been added which acts to filter down the treeview based on a keyword entered into the search field.

New 2.0 Documentation

The Ext Team has been hard at work creating documentation for the 2.0 release. We now have several documents for new and existing Ext users that should come in very handy during the transition to 2.0.

Introduction to Ext

If you are brand new to Ext, you should start with our original tutorial, the Introduction to Ext. This tutorial was created for the original 1.0 release, but has been newly updated for 2.0. This is a great place to start if you’ve never written any code in Ext.
Ext 2.0 Overview
Ext Container ModelThe Ext 2.0 Overview is primarily intended for those with some prior experience with Ext, as it dives into some advanced topics. However, it is a great place to start for anyone just getting their feet wet with 2.0. This overview provides an introduction to all of the major new areas within 2.0 including:

Ext 1.x to 2.0 Migration Guide

Grid Upgraded from 1.x to 2.0Existing 1.x users should be happy to see the 1.x to 2.0 Migration Guide. Unfortunately, with changes of the magnitude made in 2.0, it was not possible to maintain complete backwards compatibility to 1.x. However, we have taken great pains to ensure that the upgrade path is as seamless as possible. This guide provides an extremely detailed overview of every breaking change between 1.x and 2.0, including comprehensive explanations of how and why each area changed. It also includes detailed API comparisons between classes when appropriate.

New 2.0 Samples

Prior to this release, the demos for Ext were consolidated into the API viewer making it cumbersome to differentiate what was a demo and what was part of the API document viewer. We have now detached the demos and organized them onto a standalone page. The applications are also grouped into specific subsections to allow Ext developers to drill down into applications that show specific Ext functionality.

Web Desktop

When the Web Desktop sample application was released during the Ext 2.0 beta process, people were astounded by the demo and could instantly see the power to build desktop-like applications using standards-based technologies.

Notice in the screenshot that modeless windows are being used within an MDI (Multiple Document Interface) paradigm to display data to the user. In addition, the Webtop has a taskbar and start menu implementation, again similar to many operating systems, that allow ease in determining with tasks are currently open within the webtop and fast switching between the open tasks.

Portal Samples

Building dashboard-style applications similar to iGoogle or PageFlakes are all the rage so we’ve included a demo application as a foundation for building a portal application. The demo includes functionality for smooth repositioning of the portlets via drag and drop functionality and each portlet has the standard minimize and close functionality found in similar dashboard implementations. In addition, each portlet has a settings icon which is bound to a custom event handler and allows Ext developers to define behaviors that their users can apply to specific portlets.

Training and Consulting

This new release is an evolutionary step for Ext JS, LLC. bringing to market a scalable and enterprise-capable framework on which to built Rich Internet Application. To compliment our support offerings, Ext JS is now offering training and consulting services provided directly by the Ext Core Team. Leveraging the Core Development Team of Ext JS, we can offer unparalleled services for the framework. As the developers of the Ext framework, we’re in the unique position of having the most comprehensive knowledge of Ext and the capability to fully customize it to suit your unique business needs.

Ext 2.0 Final is now Available for Download

Ext 2.0 is immediately available for download and code updates are available to SVN subscribers in the Ext SVN under branches/ext2.0.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:37 am
17 Comments

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4.6 rating from 118 votes

17 Comments »

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That’s just hot. Been using Ext since forever, and Ext 2.0 is just hot hot hot. Yay for Jack!

Comment by threepointone — December 4, 2007

How about the filesize, is EXT even “usefull” on normal webpages, or has EXT moved to a different area (e.g. mainly backend)?

Comment by Gilles — December 4, 2007

Any chance of using excerpt from now on? Hard to read the rest of the news if one article takes up all the viewport and then some.

Comment by Olmo Maldonado — December 4, 2007

@Gilles: I’d say that in some circumstances Ext is certainly useful on normal webpages (whatever normal is anymore) as even the full file with everything in it only weighs in at 135 KB when sent down the wire gzipped. The Ext base adapter is another 13 KB and the CSS for everything a mere 12 KB. Now, in most “normal” webpages you aren’t likely to use but s subset of Ext. So, if you use the “Build your own” functionality, you can build something with only the features you need that’s significantly smaller. Given that, I’d say it’s certainly useful on normal webpages.

Comment by JeffHowden — December 4, 2007

scrolling tabs is one of the things about the Firefox 2.x UI that was/is a bad idea, so it’s now a “feature” to be able to use Ext to hide content in an additional and non-intuitive way? Ack.

Comment by naterkane — December 4, 2007

Ext JS 2.0 is a very good and long waited release as it was for Ext 1.0.
Now, it would be good to have more examples and tutorials (although there are quite good documentation but still missing many important tutorials).

Comment by Nicolas BUI — December 4, 2007

+1 for the Excerpt and a link to “Read more”.

Comment by Steve — December 4, 2007

@naterkane

You know of a better way to display tons of tabs in a limited space without going to multiple rows and destroying a layout? :P

Comment by mdmadph — December 4, 2007

Has Ext been “Ajaxian’ed?” (“WordPress > Error” and “Unable to select database”)

Comment by Andrew Collins — December 4, 2007

Was work ever completed on bringing Ext to Mootools users?

Comment by starkraving — December 4, 2007

@naterkane
The choice is yours. Ext supports both scrolling tabs (FF2) and shrinking tabs (FF 1.x). Regards.

Comment by Jack Slocum — December 4, 2007

Congrats to Jack and the Ext team on the new release.

As for the scrolling tabs, I’d agree with naterkane that I’m not a big fan. That said, they are still the best solution for an annoying problem, and Ext’s implementation is a bit smoother than I’ve seen in Firefox or other desktop apps.

Comment by Andy Kant — December 4, 2007

As a newbie to Ext, I am very, very impressed. It takes a couple of days to get the hang of it, then everything flows like water. It’s been a boon to bring an unruly JS code base under control, with a much more attractive UI/UX to boot! You guys have done an outstanding job.

What I like best is that it fits quite naturally with prototype.js. Just about everything on the old site just works!

Now having said that – we need more tutorials. The first few days getting up to speed are still pretty painful.

Comment by david — December 4, 2007

…this is why I keep telling people not to use WordPress for big projects.

Or small projects.

Or anything.

Comment by mdmadph — December 4, 2007

That is brilliant. I will need to give it a go sometime.

Also +1 for excerpt.

Comment by balupton — December 4, 2007

am very, very impressed. It takes a couple of days to get the hang of it, then everything flows like water

Comment by koreanplywood — December 25, 2007

I WONDER WHICH ONE IS BETTER EXT OR GWT ?

Comment by riteshkapse — March 25, 2008

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