I guess I have never written about my experiences with ExtJS, so it is about time I shared some useful information and experiences.
1. ExtJS is Hard! In fact Ed Spencer (lead architect with Sencha) refers it to ExtJS and its “legendary learning curve” in one of his videos. My advice, buy a book (Jay Garica’s – ExtJS in Action is the obivious choice). This is the book I started with, read cover to cover before starting on my application. The massive API provided by ExtJS came be very intimidating. Start small, and start hacking! If I might suggest get the E-Book version as well as the hard cover version, as it allows you to easil copy and paste code to try things out.
2. ExtJS is the same thing over and over and over again. There are essentially two patterns that you have to learn in order to master/understand ExtJS.
- First is the creation pattern, learn and understand how to create and configure components. Once you can create a new Panel blind folded (setting title, html, border, etc…) then you you’re half way there!
- The second one is the inheritance pattern and dot notation. If you have ever done Java or C#, this will feel very familiar. Pretty much everything in ExtJS 4 extends from the base class called (surprisingly enough) Ext.Base In ExtJS 3 it was Observable. Everything that extends Ext.Base or any of its sub-classes gets all of the methods of Ext.Base and any other classes it extends. This provides awesome code reuse, as you don’t have to recreate the same method over and over again.
Once you have an understanding of the basic usage patterns behind ExtJS, create a small application, something with a Grid or List view, a Data view, a form and a Store. Once you can do that much you will be well on your way to being an ExtJS master!