On April 12, 2022, we held the third Virtual SenchaCon, featuring a number of discussions on a wide array of topics, ranging from Sencha’s latest product GRUI to Serverless for JS Devs.The company has been organizing the conference virtually since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Although last year’s con was held on two subsequent days, this year, the con was wrapped up in one day. A lot of things were discussed in these conferences, but one of the most vital sessions was conducted by Jason Cline, CTO of Celestial System. He defined in detail every aspect of Sencha’s latest product GRUI. The SenchaCon kicked off with an opening keynote from Kegan Blumenthal, General Manager of Sencha, himself. Let’s see what he said.
Table of Contents
Kegan Blumenthal, General Manager of Sencha, along with Sarina Dupont, and Eric Romoff, led the first session of SenchaCon 2022. In this session, Kegan shared the keynote and themes of the SenchaCon. Then, Sarina, Director, Product Management described the future road map, and Eric, Chief of Staff at Sencha, introduced us to the latest product of Sencha, which is GRUI. So let’s discuss the conference in more detail.
Sencha Ext JS Explained by Kegan
Kegan started the conference by describing the growth of Sencha over the past year. The company has expanded its community in that time and has also been recognized as a leader of G2 in the Across Community and User Ratings categories.
According to Kegan, one of the key themes for Sencha in the year 2022 is to aim for low codes and high performance using low-code tooling. Kegan said, “Low code enables enterprises to create better experiences for the users with a low-code approach.” He also stated that the low-code approach would enable enterprises to create and deliver apps in record time. Low code also has the Architect feature, which is customizable and gives users drag-and-drop features. And using this, users can develop applications 20 times faster.
The other key theme for Sencha 2022 was to focus more on the React community. The new grid component of Sencha, which is GRUI, is based on the XJS component and built from React. Kegan also shared the other solutions that support React, such as Froala, which is a rich-text editor; FusionCharts, a charting library; and Filestack, a file upload API.
Other important news Kegan shared during the conference was that Ext JS OEM License is now rebranded as Ext JS Hub License. And at the end of his part of the conference, Kegan briefed attendees about the diversity of industries in which Sencha is growing, some Sencha case studies from the last year, a few white papers that Sencha published in that year, and a modern guide to FinTech app development and the MVP community. And thus, Kegan passed the baton to Sarina, who further described the future road map of Sencha.
Tap here to watch the video.
Sencha’s Product Road Map
Sarina, Director of Product management, shared the safe-harbor statement with the audience, which states that the plans and road maps she was sharing represent Sencha’s extensions as of this date, but their development plans and priorities are subject to change. She also described the upcoming releases, the improved onboarding experience, and easy upgrades to Sencha products:
- Sencha released its 7.4 version on May 7, 2021. It consists of four novel rich-grid features and quality enhancement for both the classic and the modern tool kit. The novel features of the release were multilevel grouping, grouping panel, summaries for groups and total, and filter.
- Sencha also released its 7.5 version on December 7, 2021, acknowledging the users’ request regarding Ext JS for the classic and modern tool kits, along with other improvements. All in all, 7.5 was a quality enhancement release.
- Sencha will also soon launch the Ext JS 7.6 version, which will focus on more quality enhancement for the users.
- Sencha will provide frequent updates for Sencha Architect in 2022. This platform is very handy in building cross-platform HTML5 apps for mobiles and desktops. Along with providing updates for Architect with each new Sencha Ext JS release, they’ll also be introducing a Visual Studio Code GUI extension for it this year. One of the best features of this extension will be that it won’t have any metadata boundary, which will enable the user to edit a project in any IDE.
- There will also be a Sencha GXT 4.2 release. It is a comprehensive Java framework by Sencha that enables users to build web applications with the GXT compiler.
- Another important Sencha 2022 release will be the Sencha Test 2.5 quality release. It is the most comprehensive unit and end-to-end testing solution for Ext JS. Along with this, there will also be an updated WebTestIt.
Now, let’s move on to Eric Romoff’s session, in which he discussed Sencha’s star product release of 2021, GRUI.
A Brief on GRUI by Sencha
Eric Romoff, the Chief of Staff for Sencha, advanced the conference by describing some additional initiatives of the company:
- The first initiative that he discussed was the upgrade advisor. Eric said, “This is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to evaluate, identify, and properly estimate not only time but the level of efforts that would be involved in upgrading to the latest version of Ext JS.”
- Another new development at Sencha is the rollout of the Sencha Ext JS Unlimited license. It will give Ext JS access to the whole organization, including an unlimited number of developers.
- And the last area of interest, according to Eric, is Sencha’s newest product, the native React grid, also referred to as GRUI. Using this, users can use the React grid on their native React projects.
GRUI: An outstanding platform for Enterprise React applications
A detailed review of the GRUI was given in the third session of virtual SenchaCon 2022. The speaker was Jason Cline, the CTO of Celestial Systems and former director of engineering at Sencha. He defined the GRUI’s working and features in detail, including demos.
In 2021, the first version of Sencha Grid for React was released. It contained all the capabilities of Sencha’s Ext Grid. Sencha considered customers’ feedback regarding the Ext Grid and made the necessary changes in its just-released GRUI release 1.1. This version has several critical features for the earliest Sencha customers. According to Jason, the most vital feature of Sencha’s newly released GRUI is the tree grid.
GRUI release 1.1
Spreadsheet style selection
Advanced Filter Bar
Dark Theme for GRUI
Tree grid was missing in the earlier GRUI 1.0 version. But now, it is the most vital part of the feature list for the GRUI 1.1 version. This feature enables users to build fairly complex hierarchical data sheets pretty quickly.
Standout Sessions from SenchaCon 2022!
Some of the sessions at the con were solely dedicated to the development talks and are a must-watch for the developers. These sessions centered on Sencha Ext JS, modern tooling by Thorsten Suckow-Homberg, Sencha’s grid for enterprise React applications by Jason Cline, component and life cycle given by Joshua Hernandez, spatial data collection from field to customer portal by Dominik Mikiewicz, and micro front end by Oussama AKIR. In addition to these, all the other sessions are also worth watching.
Top Questions Answered by SenchaCon
One of the most important parts of each session was the Q&A session at the end. And here are some of the most important questions that were addressed efficiently by the speakers.
What is the difference between Sencha Architect and VSCode Extension? Are they both available on the market?
If we compare Sencha Architect with the VSCode extension, we see that they target different personas. VSCode extension is better suited for low-code editors, such as beginners and intermediates.
On the other hand, Sencha Architect is an advanced and longtime product. Nondevelopers can use this platform to provide drag-and-drop components. They can also use it and ship it as it is. Thus, they don’t need to depend on any other IDs than Sencha Architect.
The major difference between open-source components and Sencha components is that the open-source components are touched by a number of hands.
In Sencha Ext JS, we know exactly who did what. They are all on the payroll in the assigned task and in a necessary legal order to work on the products related to Sencha Ext JS. Sencha even knows who touched the IP. Thus, from the conceptual point of view, Sencha can take care of all the security concerns.
When do you plan to update a release for Sencha Architect?
As time goes on, we are growing and coming up with the latest SDKs and newer versions. The Sencha Architect is becoming really heavy. We have plans to make it lighter and support multiple versions. We are working on it day and night. With the latest version of 7.6, we have plans to release at least most of the support for the latest versions and make sure that all the back support is handled.
What about a free version of Ext JS?
We have a free version of Ext JS supported under our GPR license. We call it Community Addition.
Why should a team go with Sencha over creating their web applications with competitors?
There are a number of reasons for choosing Sencha over any other platform for creating web applications.
Security is, oddly, one of the prominent reasons. For a lot of financial organizations, insurance companies, and any highly regulated industry, the major concern is security. This makes it quite difficult to not only get the licensing, agreement, and place in order to build with them but also to keep the dependency check or the run over and over again and make sure that everyone has and is using the correct license.
In a lot of different ways, Sencha simplifies that. Sencha is a proprietary framework. This is a company that supports every single component, stands by the software, and has a number to call-in teams for support. If the app goes down for any reason, you’ll have some as a maintainer from React, Angular, or whoever supports you. You get a direct line to Sencha, to the Architect, and get real advice on how to get back to best practices in general. This is a true differentiator when it comes to Sencha versus open sources. Sencha is the leading framework when it comes to proprietary frameworks or paid or supportive frameworks.
Sencha offers security, support, and performance in terms of the actual components that we build and stands by them, as well as all the prebuilt components that come out of the box.
What would you recommend for the new desktop business financial app (Data intense UI): Classic or Modern?
I would suggest that, if it is a desktop with a financial application, pointing or targeting the audience of the desktop, you should use the classic one. We are still maintaining the classic and modern versions for the long run, and we are going to enhance the features for both.
Modern has a new look and feel with the latest trends It will be data-rich, relying on the classic version and utilizing all the rich features that will be most beneficial. That is why I recommend the classic version; it stays for the long run.
What is the most popular (recommended) IDE for Sencha Ext JS development—VSCode, IntelliJ, etc.?
VSCode is the most used ID, although Eclipse attracts users who come from a Java background. Lately, I have been doing webinars in which most of the participants are around VS. So VSCode is the stable and most popular one.
Will we be able to open and edit a non-architect application with the new Architect?
Absolutely, that’s our target. The new Architect will be metadata free, and users can open any application, with any ID even. Consider Notepad—you can open it, edit it, drag and drop items, and then go back and make modifications in any ID, and it still works. That’s metadata free. For right now, our target for delivering this is the 7.0 version. We are not giving that much attention to supporting the older version, but we might be in the long run.
Is it possible to run multiple versions of Sencha using NPM?
Yes, kind of. You can, of course, edit the package of your project to make sure that the required version of Sencha is fetched from the NPM registry. So that it would be something you can adjust in your project directly, you would not necessarily pollute your environment with a global installation of one version of the Sencha tools.
What is the difference between the NPM and Sencha Command?
The difference is that NPM is a package manager, and Sencha Command is the underlying boot tool of Sencha. So while NPM provides the ecosystem for accessing various tools and libraries from third parties in your projects, Sencha Command is designed to bundle the quote from the Ext JS class system and run employable applications. So NPM is just here to trigger various installations, processors or mid processors, and various occupancies before it delegates the heavy lifting to Sencha Command.
There are Q&As at the end of each session; click here to get access to all the sessions of SenchaCon 2022.
The Virtual SenchaCon 2022 was attended by 1,000+ developers globally. The aim of this con was to provide them information regarding Sencha’s upcoming updates and releases, product demos, plus information on Sencha’s most vital product, Sencha GRUI.
Conclusion: See you next year!
Just like all the previous SenchaCons, the Virtual SenchaCon 2022 was also a great hit. All of Sencha’s top MVPs and developers were part of the sessions as well as the Q&As at the end of each session. Plus, developers from other companies with a wide variety of experiences also spoke at SenchaCon. Sencha hinted in the conference regarding possible talking points of the next conference, and they sound exciting.
Click here to get the updates for SenchaCon 2023!