Now the dust has settled and the casino chips have been cashed, we can take some time to reflect on the huge announcements made at SenchaCon 2016. The conference focused around a single core message “winning the modern web“. This message was emphasised throughout the conference sessions and the Keynote which unveiled the future of the platform.
During the Keynote, Sencha reported that they had surveyed more than 1,300 technologists around the globe and found some very interesting stats. 93% of those surveyed said that web tech was critical to their success. The research also showed that the desktop is far from dead, with 80% stating that desktop applications are absolutely essential to their enterprise. Everyone surveyed plans to use data visualisation or analytics capabilities in their applications.
With these figures in mind Sencha made a number of announcements which they believe will help their developers, designers and users to “win the modern web” while addressing the needs of both desktop and mobile. This post will provide a high-level overview of each of the key announcements and provide some good sources to find out more on each of the topics.
Director of Engineering at Sencha, Don Griffin, gave us a breakdown of what changes and new features to expect as Ext JS embraces ES2015/6/7. During Don’s session “Modernizing the Ext JS Class System” he gave us a technical insight into how the changes will be implemented and how our code will change. Don has written a great blog post to accompany his session which goes into the changes in more detail.
New Open Tool Chain
As well as new modern class system, Sencha announced that they will be launching a new open tool chain with Node JS at its core. As the new toolchain will be based on Node JS, that means NPM will be part of the Sencha stack. The ability to include NPM packages within Ext JS applications will add great additional flexibility and will make the future of the platform open and extendable.
As part of the move to an open toolchain Sencha have designed their stack in such a way that teams can swap out the application bundler to suit their preference or as bundlers move in and out of fashion. The first bundler to be officially supported in the new open toolchain will be Webpack.
React JS and Angular 2 Integration
Ext JS compatibility with React JS and Angular 2 were two of most interesting and unexpected announcements made at SenchaCon 2016. Both “bridges” allow ExtJS components to be used within React JS or Angular 2 applications. This provides developers, on these platforms, access to the wealth of Ext JS components in a single library that is mature and comprehensively tested and supported.
In Ext JS 6.2 Sencha launched the D3 Adapter which integrates with the D3.js library. The availability of D3 was emphasised heavily throughout SenchaCon. During the Keynote presentation we were provided with an impressive demo of the D3 integration with Pivot Grid. It is clear that Sencha are pushing D3 as the new visualisation solution for Ext JS and we can expect further enhancements to this integration in the future.
As part of the mission to continuing “winning the modern web” Sencha announced a host of new tools that are aimed at making the lives of developers, testers and designers easier. Each of these tools are available in early access now for everyone to try.
- Sencha Themer 1.1
Sencha Themer 1.1 improves on the current Sencha Themer by adding the ability to directly theme Ext JS 6 apps using inspect mode.
- Sencha Cmd 6.5
Cmd 6.5 is Sencha’s first step in providing support for ES2015. Cmd 6.5 has its own minifier to replace the current YUI minifier. It is currently the only minifiier that does not require you to transpile down to ES5 first. This means you can opt-out of transpiling for production and leave your ES6 code “as is” when it suits your target environment.
- Sencha Test 2.0
Sencha Test 2.0 brings a whole host of new features but the most significant of these is multi-page application testing. In addition, Sencha have added Selenium integration as well as general speed improvements which mean faster test creation and automation.
- Ext-Electron Package
Also announced was a new Ext-Electron Package which contains components and functionality that enables developers to more easily build desktop apps when using Ext JS with Electron. Ext-Electron is now available on GitHub to try.
- Visual Studio Code Plugin
The final tool that Sencha announced with their new Visual Studio Code Plugin. This plugin works much like the existing Intellij plugin with code completion, integration with the documentation and Sencha app watch integration.
As a Sencha Select Partner, SenchaCon 2016 provided Swarm with great insight into where the platform is heading. It looks like 2017 is going to be an exciting year for Ext JS developers, designers and testers. We’re certainly looking forward to doing some new mobile and web app development in Scotland.