Friday, June 12th, 2009

Ext Updates: Ext JS 3.0, Ext GWT 2.0; New apps and sites running

Category: Sencha

There has be some interesting news in Ext land recently, so we wanted to do a quick roundup post to get it out there:

Ext JS 3.0 RC2 Release – Stable, Robust, and Enhanced

Some of the major fixes include:

  • Items are now automatically laid out when they are first shown – rather than trying to calculate dimensions when they are hidden. This will solve a number of layout issues that occur across all components.
  • The toolbar overflow has been improved to support all toolbar items, including CycleButtons and Buttons with toggle enabled (both grouping and otherwise).
  • Issues with some animations in the Fx library have been corrected.

There are new examples that test out new features such as REST support and the DataWriter.

Ext GWT 2.0 Milestone 2 Released

Ext GWT 2.0 works with GWT 1.6. With GWT 1.6, the application deployment design was changed to make it easier to integrate your GWT application into an existing J2EE application. Ext GWT 2.0 has been updated to take advantage of the new GWT design.

Ext GWT 2.0 introduces several new UI Components and enhancements to many existing components.

Implementation Spotlight: Zipwhip and Ext JS

Abraham Elias sits down with the Zipwhip folks and shares a case study:

Zipwhip is a utility for text messaging from the web. Text messaging is the fastest growing communication medium, but is still locked inside the mobile phone. We aim to help bring text messaging everywhere.

To pull off our ambitious goals, we’re using just about every web 2.0 trick in the book—comet to send carrier delivery receipts back to the browser in real-time, Ajax for server communications, download-on-demand Javascript packages (with preloading), Flash for audio notifications, and many others.

Fab’s Boombox

Fab’s Boombox is a javascript library for a music player. It is built on top of Sound Manager 2 by Scott Schiller and the Ext 3.0 Core library.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:59 am

4.3 rating from 86 votes


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Great Job+1

Comment by KKFC — June 12, 2009

The column dropdown control on the grid at isn’t usable in FF3. It’s collapsed too small.

Comment by sos — June 12, 2009

Just wanted to ask what exactly would lead you to choose Ext over others. Is it because of the UI?

Comment by stvnz — June 12, 2009

@stvnz: for me the question would be “Why choose another framework when you are using Ext?”

Comment by Jeria — June 12, 2009

@stvnz It’s pretty much Ext or roll your own UI. I tend to choose the latter for when extreme speed is involved.

Comment by Darkimmortal — June 12, 2009

Wow, it’s still ugly as hell.

Comment by smoofles — June 13, 2009

@stvnz: For me, there’s a couple of reasons.

First, putting aside smoofles’s comment (which I disagree with, but it’s an opinion so it’s cool)… I think Ext provides the best-looking, professional and polished pure HTML/JS/CSS UI available today by default. I think there’s other libraries that *can* look better, but it requires tweaking or adding stuff, both of which you can do with Ext as well. Simply using the default Ext theme and widgets will give you a solid-looking UI automatically, which isn’t true of every toolkit out there.

Second, the way the library is structured and constructed I find to be superior to all the other alternatives, and in many cases by quite a bit. It’s an extremely logical, well thought out object-oriented model that goes along nicely with my Java-centric mental model. It just makes sense (99% of the time at least) and is built in the way you’d kind of expect it to be, which makes using it a lot easier and more intuitive than other libraries.

Third, it provides, out of the box, a collection of extremely powerful, robust and mature UI components, better than most other libraries IMO. It provides all of the basics, and then a lot more… there’s very little that I wish Ext had that it doesn’t, and most of the “missing” stuff is available as extensions (or you can write your own, which leads me to…)

Fourth, Ext is an extremely extensible framework, and more importantly, it is so in a very logical manner. Most good toolkits out there today can be extended, but I find the mechanisms Ext provides to be far more logical. This is directly because of its highly object-oriented design, which sets it apart from most other products in this space.

Fifth, the stuff Ext provides aside from the UI widgets is top-notch, and I think frankly that this gets ignored all too often. In my mind, there’s really only Dojo and Ext when it comes to providing *everything* you need to build modern RIAs. None of the others is as far-reaching as those two (without extensions I mean), and between them I’ve simply had much better experiences with Ext (I don’t mean that as a swipe against Dojo, just expressing how much better I find Ext). There’s all sorts of handy utilities, classes and JS extensions in Ext that just makes life so much better for us code monkeys.

Sixth, the way Ext influences your coding style is, to me, in a very good direction. If you at least roughly do things the “Ext way”, you wind up with an architecture that is clean, simple and robust. What’s better is that the “Ext way” isn’t much different than how you’d write robust applications with other technologies anyway, but that’s something that hasn’t always been the case with JavaScript in general… that Ext sort of pushes you in that direction is, in my experience, a very big positive, particularly when dealing with less experienced developers.

Now, to be fair, there are warts with Ext just like with any other product, but that’s for another time :) I think the positives far outweigh the negatives in any case.

Comment by fzammetti — June 13, 2009

The markup of the grid is still scary as can be. Divs containing tables, containing divs.

Comment by epascarello — June 13, 2009

@epascarello: true, but show me any grid component with that level of capability that uses clean markup. I had a go at it a while back, and was forced into the arms of tag and script hell myself. I’ve never seen a grid component as powerful as ext’s.

Being in the tail end of a big ExtJS development I would have to agree with fzammetti. The amount of custom component code I had to develop was tiny, with the built-in components delivering most of what I needed and the community extensions filling in the rest. I could focus squarely on writing business logic, without having to write boilerplate code and without having to constantly deal with cross-browser bugs (aside from the extra comma in IE issue, which I solved by adding syntax checking to my editor). That’s a really nice change of pace when it comes to client-side programming.

Comment by Joeri — June 17, 2009

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