Monday, April 6th, 2009

Ext Core released as MIT library

Category: Sencha

We all witnessed the full licensing toil wrt ExtJS over the years. Now the team has released Ext Core 3.0 beta with an MIT license.

What is different?

Ext Core is a subset of the upcoming Ext JS 3.0 release optimized for speed & file size. Developers familiar with Ext JS can leverage their existing skillset to provide an enhanced user experience to their web pages.

  • DOM manipulation and traversal
  • CSS management
  • Event handling
  • Dimensions and Sizing
  • AJAX and JSON Support
  • Animations

In addition to providing cross-browser abstractions for the DOM, Ext Core also includes some of the most used and popular utilities from Ext JS.

  • Classical Inheritance Class System
  • Observable Class
  • Markup generation and Templating
  • Timed code execution
  • URL encoding and decoding

It appears that you get the guys of Ext via MIT now, and if you want the component library, styles etc, that is when you go to ExtJS.

What do you think of the move?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:02 am

4.2 rating from 106 votes


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I wonder if they did it as a response to the comments on YCombinator the other day:

Comment by TNO — April 6, 2009

Great! With a rock solid and fast base library like that, ExtJS can only get better. To split the library into core and ui makes a lot of sense to me … and about time, too!

Looking forward to ExtJS 3.0 on april 14th!

Comment by reel — April 6, 2009

EXT JS keeps going from strength to strength. It’s tough to get your head round if you don’t already know a lot of Javascript but the deeper you dig the more you appreciate just how clever these guys are.

Anything that gets more people using Ext has to be a good idea.

Comment by TVIdesign — April 6, 2009

I think this core library is not so much for people that are new to ExtJS as it is for those already using ExtJS in their projects.

Comment by ajaxery — April 6, 2009

Will it under same licenses of EXTJS someday?

Comment by Cloudream — April 6, 2009

And full of UA sniffing… No thanks.

Comment by kangax — April 6, 2009

In my opinion, this just serves to highlight how much of a mistake it was for them to use GPL in the first place when other libraries are more permissive. I think they’ve scared off more developers than they realize.

Comment by Nosredna — April 6, 2009

Just a followup on whether this was done as a response to the conversation on Y-Combinator-it wasn’t. The ExtJS gang has been planning this for a long time. John (Resig) mentions here on Ajaxian that Jack(Slocum) had spoken to him about this last October even:

My guess is that they would have had this out the door sooner, but they’ve been extremely busy with the upcoming 3.0 release.

Comment by coryn1 — April 6, 2009

” I think they’ve scared off more developers than they realize. ”

They just sold out their first conference. I’m sure they are still doing alright.

Comment by VpG — April 6, 2009

I actually think this is a brilliant move on their part.
Let’s face facts: it’s very hard to have a business model around MIT licensing that isn’t just services and consulting.
It’s possible, but it’s tough.

However, because of the GPL restrictions, it’s very easy to tell an enterprise that if they really don’t want GPL they can buy out of it. For most people, GPL isn’t a problem, and for enterprises (who most likely have the cash to pony up) it’s a lot cheaper than many closed source solutions to buy out.

I think it was realized very late for ExtJS and the change left a bad taste in a lot of vocal community members mouths.
But I think the only people it truly “hurts” those who have MIT frameworks/products and wish to use the component library.

But I think this is an incredibly savvy move on their part. Their big value adds are in the component suite arena, and not in the area that every other JS lib is already working (namely events, dom utilities, ajax, etc) and I can see why they want that portion to be free of cost, if not free of the GPL.

They’ve also changed their Class based mechanism to be truly different from YUI’s (whose classical mechanism is pretty darn painful).

Overall, I think this is smart of them, and I think if they can ditch the bad smell that has been left by the GPL change snafu, it will help them.
My suggestion would be for them to take a few of their components and MIT those as well as a sort of community give back.
I would namely do the DataGrid, Menus, and maybe 1 other one that is already commonly done in other libraries.
They have some real unique stuff (for instance, the tabs, the sortable tree, the forms, etc) that they can keep GPL on, but I think they should consider reaching out to a community that feels a little burned and maybe giving back some components as a bit of an olive branch.

Just my opinion though. There will always be people who are never quite satisfied.

Comment by natecavanaugh — April 6, 2009

In a time when most other libraries are still at version 1.x Ext is screaming ahead with at 3.0!!

I fear how library authors might respond with year numbers, angles or roman numerals; jQuery2009? dojo360? MooToolsX? ;P

(Just for the record – I’m a mootooler – that’s my bias)

Comment by rasmusfl0e — April 6, 2009

It seems everybody is going MIT now. EXT JS hasn’t really done anything significant it merely is following the rest of the JavaScript libraries.

Comment by jhuni — April 6, 2009

Wow “The MIT Library”. I like it’s ring.

Comment by Jordan1 — April 6, 2009

This library has a lot of catching up to do if opn-source devs are to take it seriously. It’s badly tainted by its reputation as a proprietary/for-profit library.

Comment by tmallen — April 7, 2009

It doesn’t really seem like Ext needs the open source advocates. The library is doing great with a rapidly growing user base. I don’t mind paying for quality.

/Happy Ext camper

Comment by mankz — April 7, 2009

Awesome news. They have put a lot of hard work into Ext. :D

Comment by jdalton — April 7, 2009

What about ?

How does ExtJS fares against SmartClient ?

Comment by stephaneeybert — April 7, 2009


I’ve been using ExtJS for a few weeks now. Sometimes the docs are lacking but I’m impressed with how much I can do with little energy. I haven’t used SmartClient, but my initial impression from their website is that it is very enterprisey…that is to say…ugly and slow (hrm, maybe they have a Java background). Compare the demos on ExtJS’s website and SmartClient’s website. ExtJS seems faster, smoother and scales (text size) better.

SmartClient seems to have more features. I guess it’s just a matter of “are these extra features the ones we need”.

Also ExtJS is dramatically cheaper!

Comment by tercero12 — April 7, 2009

@tercero12 :

SmartClient is available under LGPL (free!). Also make sure you check out v7.0 of SmartClient. It is much more polished that the previous version. Demo :


Comment by andrewwell — April 7, 2009

I’d not seen SmartClient before. Thanks for the link.

Comment by Nosredna — April 7, 2009

I hope they enjoy their conference, but as for using their software, fool me once, shame on me…

At this point JQuery continues to trail blaze, and while ExtJS enjoyed that opportunity for while thanks to a liberal license, they slapped the community in the face for their help, and they’ve lost that mindshare.


Comment by ilazarte — April 7, 2009

>>They just sold out their first conference. I’m sure they are still doing alright.

They may be doing “alright,” but what percentage of web pages use ExtJS and what percentage use jQuery?

I think they’ve baffled, if not irritated, many JS programmers along the way.

Comment by Nosredna — April 7, 2009

Why do so many people seem to compare ExtJS to jQuery, Mootools, etc? Maybe I’m wrong, but to me it’s obvious that ExtJS serves other purposes. The ‘core’ library is comparable to jQuery and others, but the real added value lies in the gigantuous amount of widgets, layout managers and other GUI components that are simply missing in jQuery (and yes, I know about jQuery UI, but it’s just a collection of simple, and unstructured widgets).

I’ve been using ExtJS for a few months now to develop large web apps and I am very impressed by it’s possibilities. However when a customer wants a simple webpage or just a little animation i use jQuery (UI), because it’s more lightweight and less complex. So to Nosredna I would say that comparing the usage percentage of jQuery to that of ExtJS is just not right.

And about the open source discussion: the GPL is very much an open source license, so you can use ExtJS for free, just as long as you open source your project (which shouldn’t be a problem for developers that seem to want every good project to be open source and use it for free…). And if you don’t want to open source your code, you can always but a license, and I must say that they are not very expensive, regarding the quality of thet ExtJS library.

Comment by daanlib — April 7, 2009

Quality? Do yourself a favor and take a few hours to browse the source and then get back to me with your assessment. There enough browser sniffing to make my head shake in disappointment… there is nothing quality about that.

Comment by RyanMorr — April 7, 2009


While I mostly agree with your reasoning (I have just read your well written article) you seem to forget that not everything can be feature detected reliably and you entirely miss the point that ua detection is not only about testing for features – differences in performance between browsers cannot be feature detected.

There are therefore areas where it is unfortunately still neccessary to detect the browser.

Comment by danh2000 — April 8, 2009

I didn’t so much miss the point as I just neglected to mention it in my article, so perhaps I’ll add it in and I realize not everything can be tested for (document.execCommand(backgroundImageCache)).

But what features or performance related implementations are you eluding to? I think you’ll find many reliable tests here And just look at what jQuery did with version 1.3 – the features they were able to detect. And it isn’t just detecting features but working around them such as with jQuery’s ready function.

It isn’t an elegant solution, but it’s a solution none the less. The fact of the matter is ExtJS doesn’t even try, electing instead for the quick shortcut. In my book that is of far greater concern than performance, all it took was an upgrade to one of their “supported browsers” to learn that lesson.

Comment by RyanMorr — April 8, 2009

Nice to see ExtJS Core is licensed under MIT, but there are no widgets at all. The switching license to GPL is really killing me. Maybe some one can deliver widgets based on it.

I know JQuery is free but there is no official standard of widgets, and it seems for ‘hacker-level’ developers – not me. I just want to use them as building blocks.

Last weekend, I found another framework ZK Light that looks great. Switching framework is painful. Does anyone have experiences of using it?

Comment by benvieux — April 23, 2009

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