1. #1
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    Default Should we use ExtJs? Help needed.

    Should we use ExtJs? Help needed.


    We're starting a new project and are considering using ExtJS. Our developers have come up with a list of questions that we're hoping to answer before making a decision.

    1) Can/Should we embed ASP.NET controls within ExtJS layouts?

    2) Will ExtJS controls be sufficient for all our needs? (This is of course impossible for anyone to answer, but general comments on the limitations of ExtJS may be helpful)

    3) Can ExtJS be used effectively within Visual Studio?

    4) In ExtJS model, application will be contained in a small set of large files, heavily JS coded

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    Sencha - Community Support Team mystix's Avatar
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    Default


    this should help:
    http://www.coolite.com/

    also, try giving the forums a search (via the google custom search at the top-right corner of every page).

  3. #3
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    Default


    Thanks for the reference to www.coolite.com. I did use the search feature and found answers to all but the following questions:

    1) Can/should we embed asp.net controls within ExtJS layouts?

    2) What's the best way in .NET to bypass the ASP.NET page post-through?

    Our development team is used to doing things the standard way with ASP.NET. Their fear is that ExtJs will have a steep learning curve, development inside VS 2008 will be cumbersome, and that their productivity will plummet.

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    Talking A funny thing happens when you use ASP.NET and ExtJs

    A funny thing happens when you use ASP.NET and ExtJs


    After visiting 100+ sites about javascript frameworks, I ended up playing with ExtJs despite of the licensing issues, but still better than paying top dollars for ,say, Infragistics and many other ASP.NET + AJAX components out there..

    Anyhow, the funny thing about ASP.NET and ExtJs is that the more you use ExtJs the less you will use ASP.NET controls and sooner or later your ASP.NET applications will be nothing but PageMethods and JSON calls

    So to answer your questions based on my 1 month experience with ExtJS.

    1.- If you want a wrapper around a wrapper .. aka double Facade pattern perhaps, then yes. Then see coolite.. sooner or later you will stop using it though I started using Coolite and I felt that it was on my way.. I want to learn ExtJs after all, not coolite..

    2.- So far so good, once you embrace Javascript as your canvas, you'll be limited only by your imagination. Granted, do read this ....
    http://blog.extjs.eu/know-how/writin...cation-in-ext/

    3.- Define "effectively".. The intellisense is not there yet..
    you can add this to your JS files to get some intellisene
    /// <reference path="vswd-ext_2.0.1.js" />
    but it will only help you a bit..
    Some blog about integration


    4.- Same as #3?

    5.- Read about PageMethods. If you are using VS 2008 you can return JSON directly from ASP.NET.

    6.- I haven't had any issues yet...all software has bugs .. so far this community has been great..

    The main point here is if you are embracing the browser as your "canvas" and ASP.NET as your server control, then you will be really doing n-tiers. Otherwise, keep using
    object.Attributes["onclick"] = "javascriptomething();"

    ps: I used to wonder why M$ was doing the MVC framework, I wonder no more. Javascript owns the browser.. not flash, not silverlight, .. but that's just my opinion..






    [quote=Iron;186330]We're starting a new project and are considering using ExtJS. Our developers have come up with a list of questions that we're hoping to answer before making a decision.

    1) Can/Should we embed ASP.NET controls within ExtJS layouts?

    2) Will ExtJS controls be sufficient for all our needs? (This is of course impossible for anyone to answer, but general comments on the limitations of ExtJS may be helpful)

    3) Can ExtJS be used effectively within Visual Studio?

    4) In ExtJS model, application will be contained in a small set of large files, heavily JS coded

  5. #5
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    I've been developing ASP.Net applications with ExtJS for a while now.

    There are certainly some things that need to be taken into consideration when making this step.

    There is not a steep, but massive learning curve for a pure ASP.Net developer. ASP.Net provides controls, these controls, while using javascript to achieve most of their nice functionality, effectively encapsulate all this and the developer never really has to deal with it, they just set up behavior in the form of properties and listening to events server side.

    Therefore the first of your developers to experiment with ExtJS and ASP.Net should be fairly savvy in javascript already. Your not really ever going to achieve flued and responsive web UIs unless you start delving into javascript.

    Now to start answering some of your questions:

    1. This isn't really possible as ASP.Net controls need to be added to your page in the markup or from your server side code. Ext JS' layouts are generated client side, so there will be no element available for you to add your control in.

    You can however create your layout normally with typical markup in your aspx file, possibly using some of the Ext JS CSS styles to mimic the look of the layout, add all your ASP.Net controls etc. and also have Ext JS render its widgets etc. to existing elements in your markup.

    2. Heh, difficult to answer, but once you get to know how to use it, your imagination is really the limit with Ext JS.

    3. By effectively, do you mean with intellisense? If so, there are some tricks you can do to get some decent intellisense working with Ext JS, just search for "intellisense" on these forums.

    It doesn't take long to move away from the intellisense though, as there is great consistency across the framework. You learn a couple things and they can be used throughout in the same way.

    The Ext JS API documentation is probaby some of the best documentation out there aswell .

    If you meant in the visual designer. The answer is no, and probably never. It is a VERY important step to move away from the visual designer in visual studio as it generates pretty much only IE compatible markup. It doesn't even work well with nested masterpages.

    There are many many reasons why not to use the visual designer and why the source view will be much more beneficial, but that is really for another forum entirely.

    4. Answered already.

    5. There are Ext JS proxy classes on this forum that can integrate directly with web services, AJAX.Net page methods, Ajax Pro etc. If you can't find one, I have developed one myself that I have used in many projects and your welcome to it, just ask =).

    This is really not tricky at all and probably take 2 or 3 minutes to pick up.

    6. ExtJS is very solid, and works flawless 90% of the time. Ofcourse there will always be the odd issue that crops up due to the odd nature of web browsers, but a little experience with javascript in general makes these easy to resolve.

    Finally, ComponentArt is a great control set, in a decent sized development company the controls will easily pay for themselves in a few hours. They provide some very robust controls that look good and obviously work like regular controls so they are very noob friendly. But as with all asp.net control sets, you will never likely achieve the full amount "freedom" that you can by just knowing/learning javascript or even building your own controls.

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    Default HTML as canvas for ...HTML?

    HTML as canvas for ...HTML?


    ...once you embrace Javascript as your canvas
    Is it at least possible to mix in html. I struggle with the concept of using javascript to create html. It's a lot easier to forget this little hang up I have when I look at ext as just the method of configuring html widgets. But when I just want to include perfectly functional html inside of one of those widgets AND I don't want to make another ajax call to do so, what built in options do I have? Do I have any? Or do I either make another ajax call to return straight up html, or create the html via ext?

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    Well, at least that I know of, or use every day, are two common methods of using Ext.

    The first way, as alexandern said, let Ext manage your canvas and use Ext's pretty extensive UI API to create to your layout. You can still bring in your own HTML and CSS etc., but I find doing that is mostly needed for content, or very situational.

    You do not have to bring in your own markup via ajax, although that is an option for dynamically generated markup.

    The second way, is to create your own canvas, pretty much the same way your used to using everyday HTML and CSS, but creating elements where you would like Ext widgets to go. When you create the widgets, just tell them which element they should render to.

    The Ext examples actually cover this, they don't explicitly say it, but taking a look at the Desktop sample and any other sample (view the page source and the javascript source) will show you the difference between rendering widgets to elements and using the Ext Viewport.

  8. #8
    Sencha - Ext JS Dev Team Animal's Avatar
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    Yes, you can easily use hardcoded HTML elements as page layout Components.

    If your page comes down with a DIV that is to be the header, create your Viewport with

    Code:
    {
        layout: 'border',
        items: [{
            xtype: 'box',
            el: 'the-id-of-the-header-div',
            region: 'north'
        }, {
            region: 'west'
    ... etc

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    Animal, I think el is just what I'm looking for. At the risk of asking to be spoon fed, I'll go ahead and ask...

    Inside the desktop there is a basic window - Window 6, and I want to change not only the content (obviously) but the method of inserting/specifying the content. Currently desktop is using the html parameter to directly insert the content into the window's content area and that is just not practical in all instances. So using el to specify the ready made html is perfect... but it doesn't show quite like html does.

    I'm trying to insert content:
    <h2>This is useful</h2>

    where I currently see:
    Something useful would be in here.

    But when i simply add the el parameter it breaks the window Component, and inserts my content between the title and the body section. I'm delighted that it picks up my code, but I don't know how to specify where to put it. I would have guessed that in the main content area would have been the default, but I'd be wrong.

    So while it would be nice to just have you tell me what I need to do or what I've done wrong (extracted one line from your example, inserted it someplace else completely different, and hoped for the best); perhaps you could tell me where to find that information. I'm looking at the documentation for Ext.Window now and I don't see el - but it sort of almost works....

    *** as I try more search terms I have found contentEl which works like a champ.

    Is there a good overview document? Or is it really just going to be read the API's till I know what's available and then just try it and see what it does? I'm ok with that, but if there is a way that doesn't involve as much flailing, I'd be ok with that too .

    For example, using contentEl, the actual html code is not visible on the page/desktop, but does show up inside the window. This is exactly what I want. But how do I know that is the intended behaviour? Where is that documented?

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    The documentation is pretty much the API and samples.

    contentEl : String The id of an existing HTML node to use as the panel's body content (defaults to '').
    That looks relatively clear and describes the behavior quite well I think =).

    The API documentation I thought overall is very good, and while some of it does require some existing knowledge of Ext to fully understand the behavior, between the APIs and examples, it took me about a month to feel completely confident in doing whatever I wanted with Ext.

    It certainly did not feel like a month wasted, as it has helped increase my productivity and quality of my work significantly. I WAS primarily a backend guy, and its still a great strength of mine, but I feel much more confident doing very responsive and user friendly front ends to interact with that backend now. I spend about 50% of my time doing backend stuff and the other 50% doing extensions and widgets for projects.

    Another thing that could probably swamp you, is the sheer flexibility of Ext. There are so many options, and so many combinations of options to achieve whatever you want, that it can seem overwhelming when your just starting. The best advice for this is, study the examples, read the API, play with it and ask on the forums, you won't regret it.

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