Ext GWT Spotlight: SambaStream
SambaStream is an online software company that specializes in building innovative web applications for businesses. Our customers range from personal, community and business users. SambaJAM provides innovative web-based tools that ultimately save our customers time and improve their ability to respond and share information with colleagues and clients.
All of our features are built using Ext GWT components. Key features include:
“To build SambaJAM, we made extensive use of the Sencha Ext GWT library.”
- Secure workspaces
- Management dashboards
- Rich documents and media library
- Agile task management
- Rich user profiles and micro-blogging
- Centralized search with full text search indexing
Rich Document and Media Library
We built our platform with a focus on documents since they are still the major deliverable on most projects. We decided to build on top of Alfresco ECM to guarantee a robust and enterprise-quality product. The key features are: drag and drop document management, document/image thumbnails (videos coming soon), preview of documents/media online, and ability to create new and edit existing office documents online.
Agile Task Management
We needed a way to stay on top of the tasks we had to do. The best solution we devised was swim lanes on a door with a bunch of post-it notes. It worked. It worked very well, in fact. So well, we decided to build it. We split our solution into three areas: Create (use this to rapidly add new tasks), Manage (assign tasks to team members using our swim lane/post-it design), and Action (see a list of tasks and take action).
Rich User profiles and micro-blogging
Taking documents out of people’s inbox is a natural step towards collaboration. Unfortunately, most documents are in people’s inboxes because they’re part of a conversation, question or task. We decided to minimize the dependency on email by allowing users to have these conversations directly in SambaJAM. This has the advantage of allowing agreements, conversations and knowledge to be captured even if team members change or projects come to an end.
We’re excited about some new features that are coming soon including an iPhone application, Microsoft Office integration, and desktop syncing.
Why We Chose Ext GWT
When we set out to design SambaJAM, the client framework was one of our top three priorities. With a global user base, it was important to choose a technology that would provide an enterprise-oriented architecture. In addition, we wanted a framework that would help to reduce the development complexity of delivering the latest web standards and cross browser compatibility, so we could spend more time building a product with an innovative user experience.
We had found the technology, and our focus changed to a new dilemma, the interface. The existing widgets in GWT were underdeveloped and not sustainable for use with our demanding, web savvy customers. So, our quest for a GWT library started and happily concluded when we discovered Sencha Ext GWT.
Business Value of Using Ext GWT
By using Ext GWT, we were able to invest more time in building our product with an innovative user experience and focus on making our customers happy. The core advantage of using Ext GWT was development time savings — we knew we had a library of trusted components. The business value has been tremendous because we focused our development time on high-value features and spent less time building, maintaining and validating boilerplate code and components. Ext GWT has made it easier for us to rapidly respond and update our product interface based on customer feedback.
“The core advantage of using Ext GWT was development time savings — we knew we had a library of trusted components.”
Also, we had the flexibility to extend components, which gave us confidence that we could switch standard Ext GWT components for our own modified interface components and plug them into the client framework without any issues.
Our Advice to New Developers
Most important, new developers should supplement the documentation by reading through the Ext GWT example page, which gives a basic understanding of what’s going on. Everything else can be understood by reading the source code and making use of the active community forums.
We recommend using Ext GWT if you want to quickly develop a product without worrying about creating the building blocks. We see Ext GWT continuing to evolve, and as it does, it will become even more powerful.