Answered: Transition plan & alternatives now that Desktop Packager is discontinued?
It looks like Sencha quietly discontinued the Desktop Packager sometime within the past couple days (https://www.sencha.com/products/sdp). Are there any community recommendations on a Desktop Packager alternative? Does Sencha have a plan for transitioning customers to something that's still supported?
There are a couple native desktop apps I was hoping to build, and I was looking forward to reusing my Sencha development skills for building them. I've been investigating Xamarin (C# and .NET for native Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android development), but I'd prefer not to have to migrate to a completely different language, platform, and framework. I'm already pretty productive with TypeScript, Deft JS, and Sencha Touch and Ext JS.
Thanks for pointing to the Tide SDK, it seems it has more functionality than SDP. (In addition: the online documentation is in the same format, which leads me to the assumption that SDP is a spin-off of TideSDK).
I have to say I'm disappointed with this situation and how it's been handled. The Sencha ecosystem purportedly provided a stable suite of tools to work with, a big consideration for businesses selecting their next development platform. Surprises like this shouldn't happen and make companies very nervous. No pre-warning, no approved alternative and little explanation or consultation. For the enterprise space, packaging is going to be an important consideration and to drop the in-house tool with so little information is a mistake.
So, having said that, can someone explain why the decision's been made? Are the alternatives really suitable? TideSDK looks like it's struggling under the workload and to get more community backing, node-webkit seems a one man band Github repository. Google seem to
have some guidance on building ExtJS chromium apps which seems promising: http://developer.chrome.com/apps/sencha_framework.html
If it's the case that the packager was falling behind other solutions then Sencha should
come out and say so and provide information to help the transition. However having attended the SDP talk at Senchacon 13 it looked like it was in good health. I'm confused.
@stuarta - I'm not an employee of Sencha, but I suspect the market landscape was too fast for Sencha, given their expertise is in web/mobile frameworks and not desktop apps.
Most of the market is controlled by the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) project, therefore Google leads the pack. With Chrome Packaged Apps breaking free from the browser, you can expect forward momentum with them. The tech behind SDP was based on CEF. Other projects are moving at a fast pace, and they're primarily free. It's hard to justify Sencha's $700 price tag. It becomes a question of when the market will undercut them, not if. Hopefully Sencha will consider open sourcing ION so it can be merged into one of these other tools.
Node-webkit is based on CEF. It may look like a one-man shop because there is one core developer. However; the project is part of Intel and there is a strong community. I've written one simple app with it (Fenix) and working with it wasn't bad. It left me longing for some features, but much of that is dependent on CEF, not node-webkit.
Adobe sponsors brackets-shell, which is also based on CEF but now has node.js in it too. Seeing as the Brackets editor is the main motivator behind this project, it stands to be a project with momentum and strong support. This is Adobe's second shot at desktop apps... the first was Adobe AIR. By taking the OSS approach and building on a Google project, Adobe has backed away from the proprietary tech that killed AIR and become a team player in enterprise software. I have started exploring this project and so far I have been pretty impressed. I could see this being a contender for building enterprise apps.
Thanks for taking the time to reply - your post makes things a lot clearer for me.
The landscape in this area is changing rapidly and I guess Sencha didn't really
have the will to keep up when it's not their core expertise. Still would have been nice
to have a bit more communication and support. Although I'd heard of the Brackets project I hadn't realised it had a packager part which seems a good candidate - and there are plenty of others out there. It will be interesting to follow how people get on with the various solutions. There is some good survey information here: http://clintberry.com/2013/html5-apps-desktop-2013/ that confirms Sencha were falling behind, and some Brackets specific stuff here: http://clintberry.com/2013/html5-des...rackets-shell/
Why not give the source / product to the community to let them take over the development ?This was an interesting product for ExtJS developpers ... I'd like to give it a try and I'm disappointed I cannot at least download the latest unsupported version ...