Rich Web Apps, ExtJS, JavaScript, …

Crafting Cool Code

Journey to RIA – First ExtJS 4 plugin

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Back in 2008:
My SAP colleagues tease me because simple features in their ABAP applications take much more time and effort in my web apps.
To add insult to injury many web GUIs are rudimentary compared to the SAP fat client.
A particular paint point are grids: A fully functional ABAP List Viewer (ALV) with CRUD operations takes little effort at all. Ok, so the looks are antique (a mixture of Windows 3.1 and Atari GEM), but features are plentiful.

Our users are either frequent SAP users (who demand the same features “in the web”) or else they demand the same features they see in Google Mail, Facebook, …
Oh my!

2009:
I discover ExtJS.
Its GridPanel has lots of features that bring our web apps closer to the infamous ALV component (column resizin, reordering, grouping, …) – with a much more modern look.
In addition it seems to be easier to extend than the previous gui frameworks that we used (mostly Java Server Faces).
Things start to look better.

2010:
Yay! Three apps using ExtJS in production. Users are happy.
We had to invest some work to extend and customize ExtJS (Corporate Identity, anybody?) but it’s starting to pay off.
Developers experienced both fun and anger learning JavaScript in addition to Java.
There are a couple of plugins for ExtJS 3 that we have either written ourselves or had written for us – thanks Saki for the grid filter 😉

2011:
Ext JS 4 is imminent with lots of new features (and massive internal improvements).
We take the opportunity to re-write plugins for the new version and to free them from usage restrictions imposed by the original projects’ clients.
Lots of plugins in the queue, mostly grid-related. I started with a simple one to get used to the new Ext version.
It’s inspired by a feature of ABAP’s ALV, that a client wanted in their web app, too.
Set different text on a column header, depending on current column width:

Plugin Demo and Download

— Stephen Friedrich

Stephen Friedrich creates smart business solutions using modern IT technology.
His passions are agile software development and project management, user interface design, usability and rich web applications.
He is part of a great team at Fortis IT-Services GmbH, based in Hamburg, Germany.
He is not usually writing about himself using third person singular.

Written by eekboom

April 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Posted in ExtJS