Monday, June 30, 2008


I've been working with ExtJS lately, and I must say I am highly impressed. For those of you not familiar with ExtJS (Ext), Ext is a crossbrowser javascript framework that allows for the creation of RIA (Rich Internet Applications).

Ext uses the latest and greatest web 2.0 methods, such as ajax, which has built in parsers for JSON, XML, text and possibly some other formats. Ext allows for the creation of desktop looking interfaces with just som simple notation(Ext is probably not the first project to do this)...this in my opinion is one of the greatest things Ext has to offer. The simple notation way of creating these interfaces allows for rapid deployment of interfaces, and takes the GUI creation out of the hands of the developer, and allows the developer to focus on getting the data to the front end.

Alot of chatter has been generated in the past couple of months on the decision to change the licensing model. The most current version of Ext uses the GPL 3.0 model in my opinion it may have not been the greatest of choices for a license however it still allows you to create open source applications. And if you want to build an application that you will be selling for $ you can purchase a license which will ultimately help support the project and only make it better.

There is one negative aspect to Ext, the documentation....yes all the information you need is there and they even give some basic code in the documentation however in my opinion the examples of interfaces/widgets are all given in the notation format of creating objects however the examples in the docs all give examples of referencing things or adding eventlisteners via old sytle javascript. This i think determs alot of people, they do have a community support forums but that can also at times be discouraging, as it may take a couple of bumps to get a question answered.

In my opinion the Ext documentation could take a lesson from the PHP documentation and add common examples in this notation style format, for the various things you may want to do with an object/widget/datastore.

In the end Ext is a great product with a bright future and just needs to polish its documentation as well as it has its interface objects.


Anonymous said...

We were in the same spot finding a rather large learning curve, but we got through it and are happy with the results. Ext JS is very impressive and the team does great work. Hope you stick with them.

Donald J Organ IV said...

Yeah I've been working with it for almost a month now, and it gets better and better once you really get a grasp of how things are done, and the correct way to approach them you are good to go.

The Peach said...

I'm not that familiar but from what I read GPLv3 does not mean "you can't use the program on commercial software". It should mean that you can't modify it to work with closed source applications, otherwise you should also provide its code. is it correct? maybe you're more into it.

The Peach said...

ok... forget what I said :P
you should open the code if you use on commercial software.

Jay Garcia said...

Ext is the best enterprise level web 2.0 javascript framework out there. the documentation goes above and beyond any of its competition even if it does not allow comments. The PHP Community documentation can be a PITA to read because of people's comments.

Donald J Organ IV said...

@Jay Garcia: Yes I agree with you 100%, my comments about ExtJS's documenation was not that it was lacking, it just has some consistency issuues.

paulk said...

The license rules it out for me though

Anonymous said...

Comparing those two sets of documentation above, you are comparing apples and bananas.

The PHP documentation you link to is a full user manual.

The Ext documentation is just an API reference manual and doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Try browsing for general hints.

Anonymous said...

And another thing.

PHP is a programming language. The documentation covers how to program in that language.

ExtJS is an API for javascript developer.

It is not the job of the Ext documentation to teach Javascript. A good 50% of the whines on the Ext forums are directly due to being unable to understand or write Javascript.

And another 20% are due to being unwilling or unable to use the freely available javascript debuggers to debug simple code, and attempting to "debug" with alert() calls.

Anonymous said...

We love ExtJS. It's saved us a lot of time, and made our code manageable again. How's your project going?

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the Ext4Yii Project