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Sencha

One of the places I just had to visit while spending time in the United States was Silicon Valley – even though I’ve immersed myself in the technology community in New York there is still something special about visiting the place where a lot of what we do and a lot of what we take for granted was all started.

As part of my visit I got to go & meet the team behind ExtJS, the JavaScript framework that does a lot of the grunt work behind our award winning user experience. I’ve talked about ExtJS & my love of JavaScript before (What does triple equals mean? and Building Help Center) and I must admit I may have become a little bit of an ExtJS fanboy.

Last week ExtJS as a company made some big announcements. Firstly – they changed their name. ExtJS as a name has always had some baggage (this thread on the ExtJS forum has always amused me: How do you pronounce ExtJS?). Now both the company and the brand is called Sencha. You can read more about their new identity on their blog.

You’ll see in that blog post a reference to the amalgamation of two very popular open source JavaScript projects (jQTouch & Raphael) under the umbrella of the Sencha brand. This is something that really impresses me about Sencha and reminds me a lot of what I love most about working at Xero – the people. It’s all about good people and building a great team – and lately they have hired exceptional people (including but certainly not limited to David Kaneda and Dmitry Baranovskiy).

And if that wasn’t enough for one week they’ve also released an entirely new product! Sencha Touch, an HTML5 based framework optimized for mobile web development has been in stealth mode for a while and has just been released to public beta. I’ve been playing with Sencha Touch for a while (I was lucky enough be on their private beta) and the feature set, ease of use and attention to detail is simply outstanding. Designing for mobile, especially for touch devices, is completely different to developing for desktop, irrespective of whether a web application might “work” on a mobile device without changes, the device sizes and the advent of touch interfaces changes the game – and Sencha Touch is all about developing applications specifically for mobile devices.

Steve Jobs, in his recent keynote at WWDC, said that “HTML5 is a completely open, uncontrolled platform and we fully support it”. Sencha Touch is one of the best ways to develop for that platform and create beautiful mobile applications quickly & easily (you can read more about Sencha’s quest for mobile web domination here: http://www.endofnative.com/).

Sorry for the long post but as you can see Sencha has been very busy of late so there has been a lot to share! Over the next few days I’ll be continuing my Silicon Valley adventure at the Velocity Web Performance and Operations Conference learning all about how we can make Xero as fast as possible – so expect a few geeky posts over the next few days.

 

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3 comments

Michael Buisson
23 June 2010 #

I am an ExtJS fanboy too. It is a fantastic library – they seem to have pretty much thought of everything. Compared to other libraries it is very consistent to work with once you get the hang of how things work, and is really ideal for producing web applications.

Some pretty exciting times ahead with Sencha Touch and Raphael – can’t wait to see what we can do with those.

One thing that seems a bit funny with Sencha, is that the founder of ExtJS, Jack Slocum seems to have vanished from the picture. From what I can see from the early days is he was the real brains behind it all….so wonder what happened..

Brad
23 June 2010 #

ExtJS is a fantastic library, the widgety stuff is great fro building control panels and the likes, have been a huge help, especially when building backend/admin parts of websites that don’t need the polish of the frontend (but as can be seen with products like Xero, it’s great for that aswell).

Hope they can build a nice WYSIWYG soon!

Craig Walker
2 July 2010 #

@Brad Actually they do have a WYSIWYG designer (works on Mac, Linux & Windows): http://www.sencha.com/products/designer/

It’s supposed to be pretty good but to be honest I haven’t really used it in anger.

Craig

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