Hitting the Suite Spot
The Sencha Platform consists of two frameworks: Ext JS and GXT; tools including Architect, Themer, Cmd, IDE Plugins, and Inspector; and Sencha Test. The various products can be purchased separately or together as part of varying package offers. The platform supports all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari. Supported OSes include Linux 32 and 64-bit, Mac OS X, and Windows.
The Calendar component facilitates management of schedules and events within finished apps, or addition of a calendar function to an app without building one from scratch. The Sencha Pivot Grid lets users gather, summarize, and analyze multidimensional data. A regular grid function enables manipulation of millions of database records as well as offering services such as sorting, grouping, column locking, and summary rows. In addition, a Data Exporter plugin lets users export data from either the Pivot Grid or regular grids to standard XLSX, XML, CSV, TSV, and HTML formats, as well as designate data to be either visible or hidden.
The D3 Adapter lets developers add D3 visualizations such as heatmaps (data represented as colors), treemaps (data represented as nested rectangles), and sunbursts (data represented in multi-level pie charts). The Ext JS Charting feature enables representations of data in a wide range of chart types that automatically adjust to any browser. Other Ext JS features include components available in out-of-the-box themes (e.g., Material, Classic, Crisp, Material, Neptune, Triton) and an Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) capability that helps create apps accessible by people needing assistive technologies to operate mobile devices. Finally, an Ext JS Stencils feature streamlines mocking up, styling, prototyping, and evaluating interface designs.
An optional adjunct is Sencha Inspector, a debugging tool for apps built using Sencha frameworks. It lets developers analyze app code for issues, as well as remotely debug Sencha apps already running on mobile devices.
A Drag-and-Drop App Developer
Sencha Architect offers several keystroke-avoidance mechanisms, such as a Visual Application Builder that lets developers drag and drop app components, automatic code generation, and the ability to alter properties and configurations of any Ext JS UI component in a WYSIWYG window. Architect also accommodates addition of custom components and framework extensions and enables importation of themes from the Themer tool. Themer lets developers create custom themes, customize out-of-the-box themes, and apply various color combinations of different component states, all without writing any Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (SASS) code.
Lifecycle Management for Mobile Apps
Integrated development environment (IDE) plugins for Sencha improve productivity via web application tool plugins such as Eclipse (Mars and Luna versions), JetBrains (IntelliJ, PhpStorm, PyCharm, RubyMine, and WebStorm), and Microsoft Visual Studio. Designers can develop and debug web apps a single time for use on multiple platforms and devices, as well as tie Sencha tools in with their favorite third-party IDEs. These tools help developers use code completion, generate code snippets, and refactor code, as well as navigate through the Sencha framework codebase and personal custom classes as overrides.
End-to-End Functional Testing for Mobile Apps
No application-building platform would be complete without a means of testing developed apps, and Sencha Test fills that niche. This platform component helps developers and QA testers create unit and end-to-end functional tests rapidly and execute them simultaneously on multiple browsers. Sencha Test's functions include Sencha Test Studio, Test Runner, Sencha Test CLI, and Test Archiver.
Test Runner is a feature that lets users run selected tests on all browsers from a local machine, a connected mobile device, or on a browser farm. In addition, test personnel can schedule automated test runs overnight, or at any convenient time, with minimal configuration.
Sencha Test Command Line Interface (CLI) lets testers launch automated test runs from the command line once individual tests are checked into the source-control repository. The system can sense changes to app code or test files in the repository and respond appropriately.
The Test Archiver feature enables tracking of historical testing trends, and provides visual analysis tools to help identify problems such as incorrect screen rendering.
IBM i users can modernize their existing web applications using Ext JS and CNX Valence. The latter includes a set of IBM i-based tools that interface Ext JS with RPG code to produce cross-platform web apps with good performance and an enhanced user experience.
According to Sencha, in addition to supporting enterprises with multiple apps for which mobile access is needed, the Sencha platform is also well-suited for small companies with a single application, provided the application is expected to be used for more than six months.