ExtJS Site – A Good Showing

In the current technology world, new applications and websites are coming out constantly, and if they aren’t designed to really show people how they work, they often don’t get the acclaim they deserve for what they do. It’s all about highlighting what it important to the people who would use it, and often the sites created by new companies miss the mark.

ExtJS is one of the javascript libraries on a growing list emerging of late, but one thing really makes it stand out – the demos. For most web programmers, often the success or failure of a new language or library is directly related to how appealing its online demonstrations are.

As programmers, we’ve been exposed to more old and new languages, interpreters, libraries, standards sets, software, etc… than we can keep track of anymore. After a while, we tend to give anything new a quick ‘once over’ to see if it grabs our attention. Unfortunately, things that don’t really shine fall by the wayside, and things that glitter tend to do well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the things that glitter are better than the others, but when it comes down to the few minutes we are willing to devote to analysis of a new language… it has to capture interest quickly. ExtJS 2.0 has some of that sparkle.

It comes down to site design in the end – we want the demos up front and prominent, and the ExtJS site provides that. Right at the top of the main page we have a nice big area that lets us immediately (and visually) understand what ExtJS is designed to do for us. It definitely makes an impact.

We see full out examples of a feed viewer app made with ExtJS, an offline Gears example, a task system made for AIR, a full image organizer, and a web desktop. Then they show us the components themselves: grids, trees, windows, tabs, layouts, forms, and some of the other things we absolutely expect to see when it comes to a new javascript library that is going to be competitive with what we are using. Best of all – in most of the examples we can quickly click a link that shows us the code behind the component.

Of course, we have seen many times before that all the great code in the world isn’t enough for a programmer if you don’t give them documentation or tutorials. A programmer really has no desire to sit down and comb through thousands of lines of code and try to figure out what the person who made it was doing – particularly not when there are competing languages that come with tutorials and full documentation. ExtJS wins again on this mark, having a nice big link that says ‘Learn’ right at the top of the site.

The Learning Section
has exactly what most programmers are looking for – an overview, an intro tutorial, a migration guide from other libraries, FAQ, and interactive demos … along with all the regular full documentation and a community forum.

Overall, I think the site was designed with great usability and marketing in mind for the programmer who is the target audience. It’s quick and easy to find exactly what you need to help you decide if this is a library you are interested in. Does it necessarily mean it’s the best library out there? Who knows. Everyone has their preference, but the good construction of the information presented about the library gives ExtJS a fighting chance to shine along with some of the other current big players. Personally it has me interested enough to experiment with a bit to see if it’s going to work for me.

~Nicole

9 Replies to “ExtJS Site – A Good Showing”

  1. The loading of the intro-movie is much too slow to see the whole vid.
    Even I’ve no idea how to use it. Right at the top of the main page is only download button, if you mean http://extjs.com/.

    Then it was a big fun to comb not only with the thousands of lines but also dozens of files of wordpress-code, because you’ll catch many solutions besides the target, you can use at another time and I’ve a pretty good search function that opens all affected files at once. So it’s everybody is different in learning.

    I’ve downloaded the kit, but only because you recommend it so much and the file organizer looks cool.
    Let’s have a look, how it works. 🙂

    At least I’ve to write the ajax-framework is not nessecary anymore to call a server and I’m not on the way to learn or to use outdated technics, even if it might be easy to code with this tool.

    Thanks for the link and have a good time.

  2. Very powerful framework, but more suitable for desktop-like apps.
    If you need something not very complex then something like jQuery could be a better choice.
    Also ExtJS is a bit havy (around 500kb for packed scripts), although they have a custom builder now.

  3. @Steve

    It is a heavy framework, and definitely strikes me as something for more rapid development than some frameworks. It has alot of those premade out of the box elements that can speed up development – but at the same time, they can make your online app look a bit generic. Tradeoffs I suppose. Personally, I’m still a fan of jQuery for my JS, but this one still packs a punch.

  4. I think ExtJS is not heavy framework as it looks like.
    After server side gzip it becomes 150 – 200 kb.
    And there are many examples which can be found in extjs samples.
    Also Ext Designer is a big progress I think.
    It was challenging at the beginning. But ExtJS has a strong forum and many members may help you.
    For example with this help I can finish such a project without any knowledge about javascript and ExtJS.

  5. I concur in your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates. Just saying thank you will not just be enough, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing. I will instantly be gratifying work and much success in your business endeavors

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