Open Tooling really sets Sencha ExtJS on the path to keep up with other modern development frameworks. NPM is a great way to manage packages and opens up to open source package integration with ExtJS.
Highlights of Sencha’s announcement on 21 June 2018 were ExtJS npm packages, including standard and premium components, themes, and framework are now hosted npm packages. To quote the announcement,
ExtGen is the new open tool for generating a new ExtJS app using a series of questions and providing a number of new app templates. ExtBuild is the open tooling for building and transpiling your applications. There are now modern components, a new graphite theme, localization support, dynamic styling using material theme, and advanced ExtJS routing and enhanced gauges and components.
I sat in on Sencha’s ExtJS With Open Tooling Deep Dive and frankly quite impressed with speed changes in creating a new app along with feature of open tooling including streamlining creation by using a series of questions to help you decide how your app is going to be created. It simplifies the CMD options to accomplish some simple tasks.
Personally I’ve not had a lot of opportunity to play with the new open tooling though I’ve been around the forums enough to know there is a broad range of emotion on this news. So I wrote this particular post to address the range of emotion.
Currently there are many long time Sencha users feeling Sencha released a product that is not ready to see primetime. These people also feel since they don’t have enough information on Sencha’s roadmap this could be the event leading to the demise of Sencha. Concern from these people point to the current issue open tooling is not backward compatible with apps created using CMD nor are they currently compatible with Architect. Though I can understand the concern and in some cases animosity from a programmer perspective having lived through Flex with the demise Adobe seemed all to willing to lead it to death; I also feel in the case with Sencha it is a complete over reaction based more on emotion than rooted in understanding newer directions Sencha may be going.
Sometimes companies are faced with decisions moving forward to make changes and release products before full integration with existing products is explored to the fullest extent and without complete understanding themselves how things will in the end come together. Companies can make this decision because they are aware of newer technologies taking over web development along with realization they are behind the curve or the direction of the company they recently purchased may of made some decisions that could also lead to the demise of their product. In these cases it is a race between getting existing products integrated with new direction while seeing a need to show current clients they are heading in a new direction to improve experiences these clients are not happy with.
I believe Sencha has released at the right time. I also feel I’ve been able to get answers to my concerns which included how open tooling will be applied to Architect and existing CMD generated apps were put to rest. Sencha is discussing the road to this type of integration. These were concerns I had to put to rest considering I work for a company who has dedicated to Architect. We ourselves needed to know the potential impact on our existing products to help ourselves move forward into the future; even if the decision was to come down to considering a different framework. Without these answers I can’t do my job and give sound advice when we discuss our future development and enhancement to our products that are all built on ExtJS from version 2.x now up to and including ExtJS 6.6. I further need answers for myself and personal development I do. Work is Windows and Architect; my personal preference is universal apps using CMD and hand coding the user interface. So both worlds of my Sencha development needed answers.
Personally I cannot wait to try open tooling and I do have my next project in mind to do this. Within the next few weeks I should be able to get my real first look at an open tooling app and how it will fit into my development cycles, both at work and on the side. I also believe Sencha is moving in the right direction. Not only do I feel open tooling is the future for Sencha and web development; I believe with the roadmap released and some question and answer sessions as they work through open tooling and integration with both universal apps and Architect, users will be pleased and excited with each new update they release.