Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Ext 2.0: Scrolling Tabs, Anchor Layout, the Web Desktop, and more

Category: JavaScript, Library, Sencha

Back when it was YUI-EXT the framework was immediately impressive because of the level of detail on the UI and look & feel. You could see that Jack wasn’t just thowing out code willy nilly. He was architecting a good looking overarching framework. It was consistent. It had nice touches. It just looked good!

Now we are moving towards Ext 2.0, and the team has announced new features in a preview that continue the tradition:

A common theme for the Ext framework is building rich web applications that can barely be distinguished from true desktop applications. Everything from the look and feel of a control to smooth transitions in DnD are considered when building out the controls. The Web desktop is a culmination of this effort and demonstrates how the use of standards based technologies such as JavaScript, CSS & DOM can be leveraged to build a desktop like experience within the context of a browser. Notice in the screenshot that modeless windows are being used within an MDI (Multiple Document Interface) paradigm to display data to the user.

Go ahead and play a little with the web desktop experience:

Ext 2.0 Windows

There are a slew of new features too, such as:

  • Grouping & Group Summary: Ext 2.0 will introduce highly configurable single-level column grouping capabilities as well as summary rollups at the group level.
  • Scrolling Tabs: 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: The team extended the FormPanel component to allow form controls to be anchored to a specific position within a specific container.
  • Column Tree: One of the requests that we’ve frequently received, and now implemented, is the ability to define additional display columns with the tree control.

You can see all of this in action. Let the guys know what you think. They are listening!

We also put together a very quick walk through of the features:

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:39 am

4.5 rating from 87 votes


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Now that is pretty slick. Works fine in Safari on Mac OS X too.

Comment by Paul M. Watson — September 6, 2007

These are really impressive additions, ext continues to impress.

Comment by Adam Sanderson — September 6, 2007

It says it is not yet licensed for use. I wonder what the eventual license will be. GPL, BSD or commercial?

Comment by Larry — September 6, 2007

@Larry: I imagine it will be released under the same terms as Ext 1.x.

There are LGPL3 and commercial licenses available.

Comment by Corey — September 6, 2007

Jack and his team are doing a great job. I’ve been a big fan since the early days and I think it’s one of the cleanest frameworks around. However, the more features they add to ext the more resources (read: images, css) we will have to make to take advantage of the framework!

I, for one, doesn’t want a site that looks like every other extjs site around… and neither does my employer. :)

Comment by wayne pan — September 6, 2007

Peculiar if nothing else..

Comment by mikael bergkvist — September 6, 2007

Yea but does it still created huge memory leaks?….. Yep.

Comment by Memory Leaks — September 6, 2007

What memory leaks are you referring to?

Comment by Denny Ferrassoli — September 6, 2007

Mr Memory Leaks,

If you feel you have found a memory leak in Ext JS please come into the Ext JS forums and let us know. We are friendly folks. ;)

Comment by Jack Slocum — September 6, 2007

Hello, does anyone here have any experience using ExtJS with ASP.NET? I wonder if it works well together. For instance, can you use ASP.NET validators for your fields, or use the gridview?

Comment by mike — September 6, 2007

Great work. I can see a lot of potential uses for this, especially on corporate intranets. I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with as this rolls towards production.

Comment by Will Peavy — September 6, 2007

Ext the best framework on frontend script ever?

Comment by Grim — September 6, 2007

I love Ext, it is really well thought out, but it is a no-compromise all-or-nothing JS toolkit – meaning, nearly all of the framework’s components are created at runtime (there is minimal support for so-called “progressive enhancement” of existing HTML), and the framework often introduce many levels of s into your DOM to accomplish its magic (take a look at what an Ext Grid renders to w/ Firebug to see what I mean – it is a far cry from anything resembling a ).

Translation: it can be pretty slow if you’re not careful and/or are not running on a pretty new machine.

Comment by Ray — September 7, 2007

With such a huge amount of high quality components, I’d recommend to write a book about Ext :-)

Great job

Comment by F.o.G. — September 7, 2007

Amazing stuff! Very nice.

Any chance for a declarative widget definition, with custom tags or XML? For example like in Dojo´s Dijit?

Comment by Thomas Holzer — September 7, 2007

@Jack Slocum
I am not so sure I would agree with your “we’re friendly folks” comment. I think you are very friendly, but one of the changes from yui-ext to ext has been the addition of partners and others on the forums who too often answer questions with a RTFM or search the forum when they could have just have easily answered the question.

Comment by dan — September 7, 2007


Scrolling windows / trees / desktop? Why? I feel like the disillusioned sidekick in ron burgundy watching his self inflicted downfall happen like a bad dream. .. ~shrugs~

Oh well, I noticed g reader implemented a new kind of searchable drop down box UI component. At least someone is still innovating. =p

Comment by Jesse Kuhnert — September 7, 2007

Agree,Ray, look at discussion

I thought ext “extend” dom model,providing component services and new component model layered on top of dom as is…

maybe,it simply not possible to achive such level of quality with that level of flexibility.Anyway,I believe Ext is best UI library.
Personally,I really like IE’s behavior(DHTML and element) concept:-)

Comment by Andrey Skvortsov — September 7, 2007

@Jesse, one of Ext’s goals is to provide a complete web _application_ development framework. Part of apps, especially business apps, is trees, windows, etc. Name a major framework that doesn’t have a tree component?! BTW, the desktop itself is not a component of the library, just an example of how components can be combined (fairly easily) to create complex, attractive UIs.

@Ray, Ext provides support for progressive enhancement in the vast majority of its widgets. Not sure what you are basing your statement on. Many of the example pages use JS-generated components out of convenience, but you should not take the examples as the definitive statement on what the library is capable of.

Comment by Brian Moeskau — September 8, 2007

Wow!!! very nice tech…
I feel as if i see the windows application.

Comment by Sihyung Yu — September 8, 2007

Brian,I believe Ray means ability to describe some kind of Ext’s layout in murkup/HTML language not javascript.Something like applyTo(element)/readFromMarkup() but more generic and implicit,hence extension of existent DOM object model generated from markup,not creating new/parallel one in javascript.

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