Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Sencha Premium Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    418
    Vote Rating
    136
    brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold

      3  

    Default A Proposal: More Interaction Between Sencha and the Community

    A Proposal: More Interaction Between Sencha and the Community


    I've been using ExtJS and Touch for about 10 months now. In that time, I've noticed what I feel is a missed opportunity for Sencha to interact at a deeper level with the community.

    For folks who don't want to read all of this, the TL/DR summary is:
    • Set up a real feature and issue tracker
    • Create a Community Leader and/or Customer Advisory Group
    • Start regular technical presentations from the developer team
    To be clear, I don't just mean "participate on these forums more", since the Sencha folks seem to keep up with the forums very well. And I don't mean the blog, which is updated fairly regularly. I mean something at a deeper level. To be honest, from the outside, Sencha is something of a black box.

    First, even Premium members don't have access to any true issue tracking or feature voting system (such as Jira or Youtrack). We really don't have much of an idea what Sencha is working on or what is coming. I have no doubt that the developers are working on things, I just have absolutely no idea what they are. I'd love to see more transparency here, and the use of a proper public issue tracker.

    Second, I am (or have been) a member of various "advisory boards" or "community leader" groups for other companies/platforms (Adobe, for example). As far as I know, there's nothing like this at Sencha. I have no idea who might be best suited for membership in this sort of group. But just knowing such a group exists, "has Sencha's ear", and can provide feedback to them from the viewpoint of real people using their platform on real projects would be nice to know. A lot of good ideas can come from groups like this, and it can provide a sanity check on features or changes. Sencha wouldn't be obligated to *obey* such a group, but at least they'd get the feedback.

    And finally, I'd really love to see Sencha occasionally get the internal developers in front of the community. This could be done with blog entries, but I think videos or (even better) live meetings (which would be recorded and published) would be a huge boon. Get one of the grid or tree gurus to take an hour and give a "deep dive" into how they work. Get a layout guru to talk about those. Get a class expert to go into the guts of the class system, preprocessors, etc.. Have someone explain the do's and don't of bypassing the components and leveraging the underlying HTML elements. Cover the differences between Touch and ExtJS and the best ways to allow code reuse across them. The list of things that could be discussed is endless. It could even be open for non-Sencha folks to present, if they have a topic they understand well.

    There are a few books out on ExtJS and Touch. I've read them all. And as someone who has actually written a book, I know how hard it is. But that said, the books can barely scratch the surface of something as deep and complex as ExtJS and Touch. Presentations like this would not have to take up a lot of the dev team's time, would really engage the community, and could greatly raise the level of knowledge about the depths of the platform. As it sits right now, if I have a complex feature to build (lockable, buffered TreeGrid, anyone?), my only real options are to ask for bits of help on the forums, or spend dozens of hours in trial-and-error. Technical meetups could cut away a big chunk of the individual trial-and-error that I suspect many folks currently undertake alone.

    Thoughts? Comments? Ridicule?

    Brian

  2. #2
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    36,811
    Vote Rating
    834
    mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute

      0  

    Default


    The one thing I can touch a little, as I escalate this thread, is about the community part. I often send links to threads to people internal to Sencha or just emails about things fromt eh community on this forum. If you have an idea I am more than excited to hear it either as a thread or a PM. We can discuss it and will send it to someone who is related to whatever the idea concerns.
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
    Sencha Inc, Senior Forum Manager
    ________________
    Check out my GitHub, lots of nice things for Ext JS 4 and Sencha Touch 2
    https://github.com/mitchellsimoens

    Think my support is good? Get more personalized support via a support subscription. https://www.sencha.com/store/

    Need more help with your app? Hire Sencha Services services@sencha.com

    Want to learn Sencha Touch 2? Check out Sencha Touch in Action that is in print!

    When posting code, please use BBCode's CODE tags.

  3. #3
    Sencha Premium Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    418
    Vote Rating
    136
    brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold

      0  

    Default


    Thanks, Mitchell. I *think* the ideas I laid out above are pretty straightforward, but if you (or anyone else at Sencha) have questions I'd be happy to try and expand on them. I'm up for talking here, via PM, email, IM, or phone. Just let me know.

    Brian

  4. #4
    Sencha Premium Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    418
    Vote Rating
    136
    brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold

      0  

    Default


    Hmm I was really hoping some others from the community would chime in here. Does no one else have an opinion to voice? Was I so eloquent that no one feels the need to add anything? Or is it just that these ideas don't interest anyone else?

  5. #5
    Sencha - Services Team arthurakay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Antioch, IL
    Posts
    1,353
    Vote Rating
    33
    arthurakay is a jewel in the rough arthurakay is a jewel in the rough arthurakay is a jewel in the rough

      0  

    Default


    I can't comment about plans for a public bug/feature tracker - it's been brought up before, and the idea has been tossed around but I don't know where that stands.

    Some of the Sencha engineers do speak at community events on a regular basis - though it's not like a formal thing. The problem you run into is that the more the engineering team does that, the less time they can spend on fixing bugs or delivering features - which everyone complains about. It's a hard line to walk.

    We also have a number of official user groups around the country. I for one run the Chicago group - and we meet once every month. Other groups are just as (if not more) active.

    Outside of the engineering team, Sencha does have a Developer Relations team. They create content for try.sencha.com as well as a number of other resources. We have had "evangelists" whose job it would be to go out into the community (as you describe), and I know that's a position we're actively trying to fill.

    You have excellent points, Brian, and don't take the lack of response as "Sencha isn't listening". More often than not we're taking your ideas and trying to put them in place... it just takes longer than you might think.

    Keep the ideas and the dialogue coming!
    Arthur Kay
    Developer Relations Manager, Sencha Inc.

    Twitter | Sencha Chicago User Group

  6. #6
    Sencha Premium Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    418
    Vote Rating
    136
    brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold

      0  

    Default


    Thanks, Arthur. To be clear, when I said I expected more of a response, I wasn't talking about Sencha, I was talking about the user community.

    I wouldn't want the dev team to lose a lot of time due to presenting or talking about features to the community. I really think that even just having a biweekly presentation would be great. Which would mean every two weeks, one of the devs would be asked to use an hour to do the talk, and maybe an hour or two prepping for the talk. These wouldn't need to be heavily rehearsed and polished at all. Heck, I'd be happy even if it was basically a one hour brain-dump on whatever that particular person knows well and wants to talk about. Regardless, the point is that I don't think this would need to be a time hog at all.

    The goal to me would be to start getting people past the "basic" usage of the platform and start having a deeper understanding of things. We've got some books and Sencha has the "Fast Track" classes, but we all know those cover pretty common, basic use cases. There's actually very little out there for people who are already at (or past) that point and want to learn more. Any other thoughts on how we might allow people to keep progressing beyond the end of the Fast Track training, other than the obvious (lots of trial and error)?

    Regards,

    Brian

  7. #7
    Sencha User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    168
    Vote Rating
    4
    SeaSharp2 is on a distinguished road

      0  

    Default


    Quote Originally Posted by brian428 View Post
    Thoughts? Comments? Ridicule?
    Since you ask, I am not that supportive of your ideas.
    1. I am suspicious of those who want to form committees and sit as representatives of the people. Good technitions want to create and not talk.
    2. Many of the education items you suggest are covered in the learn section here, I wonder if you have fully explored this?
    3. Pulling core product developers away from their main job is disruptive. They might not be regular presenters hence they will have to devote a disproportionate amount of time preparing to present. This is why the Microsoft's of this world have full time evangelists.
    In summary Sencha is on a productive roll so why rock the boat?

  8. #8
    jay@moduscreate.com's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Frederick MD, NYC, DC
    Posts
    16,353
    Vote Rating
    79
    jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all jay@moduscreate.com is a name known to all

      0  

    Default


    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSharp2 View Post
    Since you ask, I am not that supportive of your ideas.
    1. Pulling core product developers away from their main job is disruptive. They might not be regular presenters hence they will have to devote a disproportionate amount of time preparing to present. This is why the Microsoft's of this world have full time evangelists.
    In summary Sencha is on a productive roll so why rock the boat?
    I'm a nobody here, but I agree with the two bullet items listed above.

  9. #9
    Sencha Premium Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    418
    Vote Rating
    136
    brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold brian428 is a splendid one to behold

      0  

    Default


    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSharp2 View Post
    I am suspicious of those who want to form committees and sit as representatives of the people. Good technitions want to create and not talk.
    OK, but that doesn't address at all the idea of having some sort of higher-level collaboration between the community and Sencha. I'm not just proposing this out of the blue. I have actually been on these sorts of committees and have seen the beneficial results of such collaboration.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSharp2 View Post
    Many of the education items you suggest are covered in the learn section here, I wonder if you have fully explored this?
    I've read everything in the docs Guides section and the various Learn areas of the site. Much of that content is old or out of date (and has prominent notes at the tops of the articles stating this). But even beyond that, the topics that I mentioned (advanced class system details, pre/post processor creation, plugins, advanced XTemplates, inner working of trees and grids, etc. etc.) are definitely not covered in the Learn section. Or anywhere else for that matter. Which part of the problem I'd like to see solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSharp2 View Post
    Pulling core product developers away from their main job is disruptive. They might not be regular presenters hence they will have to devote a disproportionate amount of time preparing to present. This is why the Microsoft's of this world have full time evangelists.
    I was very clear in saying that I would want these presentations to NOT be disruptive. These would not have to be "conference-level-of-refinement" presentations. Like I said, I'd be fine if it was just a "brain dump" by someone who knows what they are talking about.

    Microsoft has full-time evangelists because they are a $225 Billion company. I'd love to see more Sencha evangelists but I doubt they can financially support something like that yet. Which comes right back around to the need to leverage the community to help in this area through community evangelists and/or a community advisory board.

  10. #10
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    36,811
    Vote Rating
    834
    mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute mitchellsimoens has a reputation beyond repute

      0  

    Default


    Will speak of a couple things here, some of which are 100% public yet.

    I personally have been burning the midnight oil on building a knowledge base. You may ask yourself, "Great, just another place to try and find things." While that is true we are looking at it differently. This knowledge base will be searchable and more people (at this time Sencha internal) will have access to create/edit/delete articles. There is a primitive administration of these for quality control and fact checking but the thought is the more people that has access the more articles that can be created and the more articles can be updated. Plus this is an Ext JS 4 MVC app using Sencha Cmd so it's directly Sencha stuff building this.

    About the interactions between Sencha and the community. Couldn't agree more. People who used to be very active in these forums aren't as active as they used to be, this is because the demand for the "experts" in Sencha products has gone through the roof. My direct impact is with the knowledge base to help elevate knowledge and to help people where I can with these articles. I was going to just pursue my blog but I've let it slip in favor of the internal projects I have helped.

    I know you don't mind presentations to have "conference-level-of-refinement" but as a company we would have to find a happy medium. I wouldn't want to start releases sub-par quality videos out there but would like to get some out there. There is always a quality vs quantity question and in my book quality should always win. I can't speak for company plans in this but I personally would love to do many knowledge base articles and some even having video to back it up.

    Hmmm... may think of other things but this is it for now.
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
    Sencha Inc, Senior Forum Manager
    ________________
    Check out my GitHub, lots of nice things for Ext JS 4 and Sencha Touch 2
    https://github.com/mitchellsimoens

    Think my support is good? Get more personalized support via a support subscription. https://www.sencha.com/store/

    Need more help with your app? Hire Sencha Services services@sencha.com

    Want to learn Sencha Touch 2? Check out Sencha Touch in Action that is in print!

    When posting code, please use BBCode's CODE tags.