SenchaCon Day1: ExtJS 4 Overview

Ed Spencer from Sencha gives an exciting overview of ExtJS4 on how it will be faster, more stable and easier to use.

ExtJS4 will be faster.  Layout expends most of the time when rendering the application.  The new release boasts a vast improvement in this area.  They also have 4000+ unit tests to provide for a more stable framework boasting 90% code coverage that is integrated into their CI process so that they know if anything breaks far before it is released.

Visual QA demoed to playback a series of interactions with IE6!  Looks like a great functional testing tool for ExtJS that takes screenshots and compares them to reference screenshots to be sure that the application looks/acts as it should.  This makes for a high quality product.  This is something Selenium can’t do for advanced client-side testing (e.g., drag-n-drop).

Ease-of-use is paramount in the new release.  Here are some highlights:

  • ExtJS 4 will have the best documentation which include a clear explanation and examples on how to use it in their base API docs.
  • They will also have over 200 examples on how to use components and will be integrated right into the API docs!
  • Sample applications will be provided together with guides to show how to use and upgrade the product successfully.

API Improvements:

  • Standardized API with clear naming conventions and published style guide.
  • Simpler configuration will achieve the same thing with less lines of code.

New things in ExtJS4:

  1. Chart package completely rewritten to be completely JS driven rather than Flash driven as they are today.  Very nice animations included as well.
  2. Better support for ARIA and RTL for 508a compliance and right-to-left text read.
  3. New themes, such as Neptune, and uses SASS to make it easily customizable.  One line change to fit your custom color scheme.
  4. Upgraded Components particularly RowEditor.  This grid plugin makes it easy to update any row inline.  TreeGrid will also be easier to use in this release and both will be part of the standard release.
  5. FormLayout is gone!  You can use any layout to create forms.
  6. Huge update is the Data package.  This allows you to define a record with fields/data that you can describe your model.  Associations API will allow you connect objects on the client-side.  Proxy is responsible for loading/saving model data…this is now part of the package (think directly accessing REST/JSONP).  This greatly reduces the complexity.  You can store directly without a store to save into the cache directly off a model object. New Proxies: WebStorageProxy and WebSqlProxy allows you to save data offline.
  7. Addresses the issue of having all your JS in one file or multiple files back into one for production deployment.  ExtJS4 uses the MVC pattern to standardize the application architecture for better separation of concerns.  This will include a common file structure so it can built as 1 one file for rollout.  Unit tests are also going to be baked in. SenchaCommand are simple command line utilities to build out applications with generators (similar to Grails/Roo).

When will it be available:

First Beta in 6 weeks and final release on 2/28/11!!

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