I was recently approached by an internal co-worker within Accenture about our teams experience with Extjs. Out of 150,000+ employees in Accenture he was able to find us through Yammer, a free private twitter-like service for companies. Originally I was just going to respond to him via email after our phone conversation, but that would only benefit him. Instead I thought it might be a good idea to share that experience on this blog.
My current team has been using Extjs for about 2 years. I don't consider myself an expert nor do I actually like developing in a language that needs to work in multiple browsers. We started out with version 2.x and late last year converted our projects to version 3, which was no easy task.
- Examples - Extjs comes with a nice library of great examples on all kinds of things you can do with Extjs. All the examples also come with the download. One of the neatest examples is the Advanced Grid Filtering. One of the main reasons we upgraded to version 3 was for this feature.
- API Documentation - The javadoc for extjs. This is the most important and most referenced documentation for any extjs developer. Keep in mind this only shows the most recent version. If you want the API documentation for previous versions, you'll need to download that version of Extjs. The download includes the same API documentation. For local installation or offline reference, there is also a very nice Adobe Air app (see download page).
- Community Plugins - It's not huge but between the examples noted above and the community plugins we have been able to reuse a lot and create some neat stuff pretty fast.
- Blogs - I'd recommend subscribing to the official Extjs blog as well as this search related feed from DZone. And, just because I think it is cool, here is Google Reader bundle I created that captures everything I tag with extjs. Finally, here is a search on my blog about articles I have written about Extjs.
- Books - According to Amazon there are multiple books out right now about developing with Extjs. I have "Learning Ex JS" by Shea Frederick.
- Development Environment - No web developer would be complete without Firefox and Firebug. But for those occansional nasty IE issues I haven't found the perfect solution. In the past I have had some luck with jsdt. Currently I am using IE8 in virutalbox in IE7 mode with it's built in Developer Tools. Although not firebug, it's the closest I have come to find. For those really bad IE6 issues I have used the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar which beats scattered alerts in your code and is better than nothing.
- Extjs version 2.x or 3.x - There has been a lot of history surrounding the licensing strategy so I won't go into all of that. Just know that version 2.x is LGPL and can be used or embedded into your applications for free. Version 3.x is GPL which means if your project isn't some internal IT app or also GPL you need to purchase developer licenses.
- Public Uses - Here are just a few well known sites I have noticed using Extjs: Quicken Online and Dow Jones Industrial Index.