Announcing Sencha Designer 2 Beta
Sencha Designer 2 Now Supports Sencha Touch
We’re thrilled to announce that Sencha Designer 2 Beta is available for download! Designer 2 makes it easier than ever to build desktop and mobile applications using Ext JS and Sencha Touch.
We’ve been working hard to bring you the next generation of Designer that will help you quickly build Ext JS and Sencha Touch applications. Experienced users will enjoy the productivity gains of the visual development environment, while folks new to Sencha will have a much easier time learning how to work with our frameworks and quickly build a complete application.
Ext JS and Sencha Touch are incredibly rich: they provide UI components, charting, controllers, models and data stores. In Designer 2, we make all of these features easily accessible and neatly organized to make it easier to discover all their capabilities.
From Ext Designer 1 to Sencha Designer 2
Designer 1.0 was the first step in tooling for Sencha frameworks. Designer 1 was a visual UI builder that made it easy to scaffold and design the UIs for your applications. You used it in conjunction with another code editing tool in order to build Ext JS 3 apps.
In Designer 1.2, we adding the ability to target multiple frameworks and also added support for Ext JS 4. You could continue to build views and stores utilizing all of the new widgets available in the new framework, like charts, enhanced stores, and more.
While you told us that you loved the features of Designer 1.x, we kept hearing that you wanted Designer to do more to help you build fully functional applications in a collaborative way.
Designer 2: Easier, Faster, Stronger
When started planning Designer 2, we wanted to improve every aspect of the tool. To achieve this goal, we adopted the mantra “Easier, Faster, Stronger.”
Easier because we believed that the learning curve of building Sencha apps could be shortened. In Designer 2, all components come with handy in-line documentation, and there are quick links to go deep into the API reference. More fundamentally, developers can try things quickly and get instant feedback. The Designer canvas is a live view giving you immediate feedback. Learning the dozens of components in Touch or Ext JS is now a breeze.
Faster because traditionally, web based development proceeded like this: write some code, refresh the browser, check the changes. Over and over again. While better web debugging tools have come a long way, debugging and error checking is still a tedious and sometimes unpredictable process.
Designer 2 is different: all code generated by the tool is guaranteed to work out of the box. You can’t arrange components in a way that will break the frameworks’ conventions. Every property or event of every component is available in Designer, removing guesswork and eliminating digging through the API docs.
Moreover, the Project Inspector has been greatly enhanced. It’s the heart of your project, and it shows your views, controllers, models, and stores all in one place, along with information about the project’s structure. All components and their relationships are there where you can see and analyze them.
If you need to jump into a project somebody else started, the Designer Project Inspector makes it easy. At one glance, you can see the entire project and understand how the application is built without thumbing through pages of code.
Stronger because Designer 2 helps you create well-structured applications from day one, and ensures that generated code follows best practices. Most (if not all) of the boilerplate code is generated for you, so you can focus on the code that really matters: the controller logic that’s at the core of your unique application.
What’s new in Designer 2?
Designer 2 represents a significant leap ahead in functionality, and here is a brief list of what’s new and what changed since the previous version:
Support for Sencha Touch 2
This feature has consistently been the top request from our community, and now it’s here! Sencha Touch 2 is now a first-class citizen of Designer. Visual development of mobile web applications is now a reality. This beta includes the PR4 release of Sencha Touch 2.
The component Toolbox has been expanded and improved: it now includes all the components you need to create a fully functional application like Controllers, Models and even a brand new store that connects to Sencha.io. We also worked to make the vast array of components more manageable by adding base categories. This allows you to narrow down the selection quickly, and create your own to fit your personal workflow.
New Project Inspector
The Project Inspector shows the entire application at a glance. The root Application node contains your launch function, while the Controller, View, Store and Model nodes help you keep things organized as you’re building an MVC application.
There’s a new panel that displays all the Event Bindings available for a component, and you can use this to bring your UI to life. And when your application grows in scope, you can stay organized by moving your event bindings into a controller.
Source control friendly file format
Developers share code using source control, but developers using Designer 1 had a hard time doing that because of the monolithic nature of our project files. Designer 2 projects are better: gone is the single file archive (you still can package them that way for easy sharing via email). Now, each view, model, store is its own file. Designer 2 makes it easier to work in a project team.
In Designer 2 every component, property and configuration comes with handy in-line documentation, and if you need more there are quick links to go deep in to the API reference.
Caveats for the Beta Release!
We’re excited to share with you our first beta of Designer 2. While we’re excited to see our community give it a whirl, it is still a beta, and there’s still some work left to do. In the following weeks the team will concentrate on two things:
- Further quality improvements of the existing feature set
- Improvements in the user experience and the UI design
Certain features that were not quite ready for the beta have been disabled – don’t worry they’ll be back soon. As of today’s beta, the most notable absence is packaging for mobile devices.
The coming weeks are going to be fundamental to make Designer 2 the application you’ve been waiting for, so we need your feedback. We will be running usability tests to make sure we catch bugs on our own before the official release, but if you find something that doesn’t work as you expected, or think you have an idea that would make the application better, go ahead and let us know. All feedback will be evaluated carefully.
If you’re local to the San Francisco Bay Area, and are interested in participating in the usability testing that we’re doing, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to apply for the usability test.
Since the application is going to improve and change significantly before release, the Designer documentation for beta is very basic. We are releasing an introductory article to get you started, and more material will become available as Designer takes its final shape.
We don’t recommend that you adopt the beta of Designer 2 yet in your production environment. Designer 2 has an auto-update feature, so as we make updates, we’ll be pushing changes directly to the application, and you can choose to accept or decline the updates.
To share your ideas, comments and critiques with us, please use the Sencha Designer 2 forum.
To report bugs, please use the Designer 2 Bug Forum.
Promotions, pricing and availability
We are updating pricing for the product at the launch date: individual copies of Designer will be $399, with discounts for 5 and 20 packs.
Special offer: buy an Ext Designer 1.x License today and take advantage of promotional pricing of $279. Plus, you’ll receive a free upgrade to Designer 2.x License when released. Hurry, this offer ends on March 31, 2012.
Upgrading: if you bought Ext Designer 1.0 after January 1st, 2012, you’re entitled to a free upgrade to Sencha Designer when it ships! In order to get your upgrade license please contact the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take care of everything for you.
If you purchased an Ext Designer 1.x license prior to January 1st, 2012, you can upgrade to Designer 2 for $199 from now until March 31, 2012. To take advantage of this offer please email us at email@example.com. Note that after March 31, 2012, the upgrade price increases to $279.
Please note that Sencha Complete which will include Designer 2, will remain priced at $999.