Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Gaia Widgets 3.0 “Glory”

Category: Toolkit

Thomas Hansen has released Gaia Glory the latest version of the toolkit library.

There are a ton of samples, and Thomas highlights the following:

One big feature is the new skinning:

We are for this release MIT licensing our skins. Not only is the skin files MIT licensed, but our entire DOM structure is now 95% compatible with ExtJS which means that if you can get hold of skins for ExtJS you can also use those skins for your Gaia applications. Or you can create skins yourself commercially using our skins as a basis which will have a market for both Gaia Ajax Widgets and ExtJS. We have tried very hard to be 100% ExtJS DOM and CSS class compatible with ExtJS, unfortunately this was impossible since we were also determined to be 100% XHTML compliant for this release and this meant fixing some XHTML bugs in regards to the DOM structure of ExtJS. This though also means that our previous skins are no longer working with Gaia. Though I think you should be able to find a “gazillion” free ExtJS skins out there if you look which should by far out-weight the backdraft of not being able to use the “old” skins anymore.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:46 am

3.7 rating from 114 votes


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Why do they always have to add annoying slide effects to trees? Also, the Grid widget was dead slow in Firefox 3. Had to wait for seconds for the calendar to appear. All widgets basically worked as they would be in slow motion.

Comment by Jeria — June 2, 2008

Hi Jeria, weird… :(
Might be due to too many hoops over routers or something, her it runs at the speed of light on both FF3, FF2, Safari, Opera and everything except IE to some extent (IE is orders of magnitudes slower than all other browsers)
But thanx for the feedback :)
The “sliding of tree items” might be an option in future releases ;)

Comment by polterguy — June 2, 2008

The widgets don’t run properly in FF When I clicked on the Ajax Samples page, the widgets were rendered all the way down. I had to scroll down to see them.

Didn’t spend much time looking at the widgets, so apologies for commenting without extensive use, but jQuery and others have even more impressive and richer set. There is nothing that is jaw-dropping.

Comment by Rags — June 2, 2008

I find that very surprising, especially since I am looking at the samples myself here in FF2 and we all used FF2 for development. Though it might be some caching issue if you have been there previously. Try to refresh by clicking CTRL+R…
Which sample was this?
Regarding your last point about jQuery and jaw-dropping this is obviously not for me to judge as a stakeholder in Gaia, though I really believe that 99.99999999% of the world would SERIOUSLY disagree with you ;)
We have almost the exact same DOM/HTML/CSS structure as ExtJS, meaning if what you say is true it is also true for jQuery versus ExtJS… ;)
And in fact IF they DO agree with you on the “impressiveness and richness” they could always download one of the free ExtJS skins out there and use out of the box in their Gaia solutions ;)
Though it’s still comparing Apples and Oranges, with Gaia you don’t even have to KNOW what JavaScript is. jQuery is a really great JavaScript library with no server-side bindings at all. To use Gaia feels like developing for the Desktop since the entire concept of JavaScript and also to some extent the lack of state in the HTTP protocol is completely abstracted away…
In fact there is not ONE single line of “custom JavaScript” in our ENTIRE Samples section…
And if jQuery was being released two years earlier we would have considered using that ourselves as the “core” instead of what we do now which is to use prototype.js as the foundation…

Comment by polterguy — June 2, 2008

I’m sorry to say this is one of the worst Ajax widget toolkits/libraries I have used. I tested the samples using IE6, 7, Firefox 2, 3, Opera 9, and Safari 3, and found the widgets to be too slow for production use in any of the browsers. The actual usage of the widgets is slow (takes WAY too long for simply sliding effects) and generally it felt like I was going in slow motion during the examples page.

I like the fact that it is compatible with ExtJS skins (especially after their latest move to GPL), but it’s poor speed, and poor base library will prevent me from every giving this library consideration. Prototype/Mootools simply are too old to be used in most modern sites; the global namespace pollution alone makes it incompatible for my needs.

Valiant effort but with dozens of better made and quicker toolkits available I fail to see Gaia breaking any boundaries.

Comment by matanlurey — June 2, 2008

You were right and I had “old cached” version of CSS in MY browser…!
The problem was “last minute changes” to increase font size of the “Download” and “Buy now” buttons which made the content too wide to fit the surface and the whole thing slipped 2400 pixels down in FF2.x…!! :(
I guess it’s a statement regarding “last minute ‘safe’ changes” and a BIG lesson learned… ;)
Funny you specifically mention our Ajax Effects since ours is just wrappers around ScriptAculous meaning if you think our effects are too slow it also means ScriptAculous are too slow… ;)
Prototype/ScriptAculous the last time I checked is used on almost 50% of all “production ajax websites” in the world (according to survey here at ajaxian)
When that is said, we have an optimalization job in regards to client-side left to do and we are working on it, however “too slow for production” you cannot possibly seriously mean unless you had max bad luck in regards to IP hoops and stuff like that. Or you have a completely different agenda than what you’re willing to publicly admit…
According to FireBug e.g. our TreeView sample loads with an empty cache in less than 1 second. ExtJS takes with an empty cache on my computer more than 5 seconds.
Our GridView loads in less than 1.3 seconds with an empty cache (on my computer @ home) while none of our competitors comes even close to FRACTIONS of that…
Beside, if you tested with all those browsers, how come you failed to mention the REALLY serious design bug we actually DID have just until 5 minutes back ago which made the entire site not render correctly at ALL in FireFox 2.0?
(Yes, it was fixed AFTER you posted here… ;)
(And it was in our samples for more than 10 hours… ;)
And what does MooTools have to do with this…?
And what’s with the funny name…?
Why don’t you post with your real name giving up a link to e.g. your blog or homepage or something…?
The way your post seems now is basically trolling, which I guess I completely fell for by answering it with such a long reply…

Comment by polterguy — June 2, 2008

extJS has commercial and GPLv3 licensing, both of which are less desirable to many web developers. Since Gaia renders with extJS, it also has similar restrictions?

I, like most web developers, am curious to learn what’s happening in the AJAX world. I didn’t intend to create a flame, nor have any interest in pursuing an argument. As developers of a framework, you have the right to defend your work. But since the framework area is very crowded, people have only a few minutes to see what a framework has to offer and make up their mind. For example, we use Dojo and it takes for a framework to offer a lot more than what Dojo had to offer to change our mind. Generally, insulting people who have spent some time looking at what you have created is unfair.

Good luck to you guys.

Comment by Rags — June 2, 2008

Sorry if I sounded insulting, that was not my intention at all, (at least not to your comment) though as you can see from some of the other comments I am pretty used to getting bad feedback from PHP/Pythin/J2EE/GWT(as matanlurey is)/RoR/etc “self proclaimed evangelists” with a horn towards either Mono, .Net or both. Regarding ExtJS and Gaia. We just happen to have a compatible DOM/HTML structure. Also yes we do have the same licensing model as them, we had it before them though since they had the “kind of LGPL” thing before going pure Dual Licensed. Apart from that we have nothing else in common with ExtJS or Ext LLC apart from a major interest in RIA and Web2.0… :)
Dojo is a great toolkit, and if you’re not on ASP.NET it’s hundred times more “match” for you than Gaia, though if you’re on ASP.NET I’d really encourage you to have “another look” at us ;)

Comment by polterguy — June 2, 2008


Funny you specifically mention our Ajax Effects since ours is just wrappers around ScriptAculous meaning if you think our effects are too slow it also means ScriptAculous are too slow… ;)

I can’t comment on the performance of ScriptAculous as I have only used it “here and there” when already existing on client sites, but simply clicking items on a grid/treeview feels “delayed”. I agree with Ext’s loading time, but after the initial load Ext is extremely quick, it feels like a native widget or C or Java widget library (GTK, SWT, etc..)

Loading time’s aren’t really an issue, I understand the network connection might not be optimal. The controls simply do not have the “response” I expect from a widget toolkit. I don’t know whether you have too many layers between your library and prototype (which in turn is a layer to the actual browser DOM).

I have no agenda, I do not work for or commit for any major Javascript library (Python and Java programmer here). Finally Matan Lurey is my name, I’m sorry you don’t approve.

Comment by matanlurey — June 3, 2008

As I said we have a job optimizing the client. I agree on that. Though regarding clicking items in the grid; some of the clicking takes time. Clicking the DateTimePicker button is a little bit slow, about 500 milliseconds on my computer. This is because this is a server-side operation. And also quite an expensive DOM operation too. Clicking the InPlaceEdit though takes less than 5 milliseconds. And it should too since this is a purely client-side operation. RadioButtons and CheckBoxes in our grid is instantaneous…
Regarding the difference in expanding nodes in the TreeView in ExtJS and Gaia;
I just profiled this with the online samples in FireBug at ExtJS and Gaia with an empty browser cache in FireFox 3.0 RC1;
* Gaia 65 milliseconds
* ExtJS 342 milliseconds
Both operations was with empty caches where both would go server-side to populate the TreeView with nodes.
Now as I said there might be IP hoops and stuff like that changing the situation, both for me and for you. And we DO have an optimalization job ahead of us. Mostly not however at the places you pinpoint which made me ask the question about what agenda you have.
Sorry about the name blunder. I just figured it was fake since it points to a “dead end” where nothing exists ( is NOT a website)
It is very normal for most of the posters here that points to a website to point to a “real” website where e.g. their blog is or something similar. While the “lurkers” and “trolls” often have fake links and fake names.

Comment by polterguy — June 3, 2008

@polterguy: I think the treeview slowness comments are caused by the fact that the animation for the treeview is quite slow. I know this is not a performance issue, but it’s still something that creates the impression of laggy behavior, because you can’t interact with the tree during this animation.

Comment by Joeri — June 3, 2008

Yes, you are probably right…
Thank you :)
We’ve had reports of this previously and we will probably end up adding it as an option in the nest release (animation of nodes)

Comment by polterguy — June 3, 2008

I liked the RSS feed idea and it does look nice but I did find it rather slow. Am using Firefox 2 here. If it was faster, perhaps best tested offline, it would be quite impressive.

Comment by mmurph211 — June 6, 2008

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