Sencha has announced an upgrade to Ext JS, its development platform for building cross-browser applications. Ext JS 5 promises to allow developers to build and/or move desktop apps to mobile devices with little to no modification to the existing code base within the same development tools.
"The promise of web application development is that developers can easily build applications that run in the widest range of devices and deliver to their users' applications that are always up-to-date. Mobile devices and mobile apps arguably disrupted this model as the industry moved to native apps that require independent development for iOS, Android, Windows, and any other platform, or even just porting a Mac OS app to an iPad," said the company.
The company also points to the implications thrown up by the migration from traditional, point-and-click, desktop computer applications onto touch-based tablets and laptops — saying that this is a transition marked by significant software engineering work to resolve display and UX issues.
New features in the compay's new release include Touch Support: Ext JS 5 adds support for touch-based gestures and now allows desktop Ext JS apps to run on touch-screen devices such as tablets and touchscreen laptops. Ext JS 5 also includes touch-centric, customizable themes.
This touch-screen support is argued to enable organizations to target a wide range of applications with one code base and allow adaptation of exiting apps for operation on touch devices, thereby extending the deployment footprint and useful life of these applications.
Architectural improvements here include: with a Model View ViewModel (MVVM) architecture and two-way data binding. MVVM also fosters more modular development and enhances application scalability. Built-in client-side data session management helps minimize round-trips to the server, and the introduction of routing allows deep linking within applications.
Sencha continues to enhance its component library. With Ext JS 5, developers can now add widgets inside of a grid cell for data visualization and big data analytics. Ext JS 5 also adds an upgraded touch-optimized charting package with financial charting capabilities.
"IT departments and developers are challenged with giving users access to their business apps on all of the devices they use. This becomes harder with every new mobile platform and device launch and our research shows that they must support five different types of device/OS combination, and it's only growing," said Jeff Hartley, Sencha vice president of products and services. "Ext JS 5 eliminates a lot of work from this exercise by providing one platform for bridging desktop apps to tablets and other touch devices like laptops, kiosks and large-format touch screens. This is a big breakthrough for our customers and the entire mobile app market."