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ExtJS Ecosystem Continues to Expand

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New server-side tools are sprouting up around the ExtJS client-side Javascript framework. Community developed server-side support now exists for Java Enterprise Edition, Cold Fusion 8.0, Google Web Toolkit, and Ruby on Rails 2.0. The goal of all of these tools is to normalize the interface between their respective platforms and ExtJS.

ExtTLD is a JEE tag library for ExtJS. It enables content assist documentation and integration with Java based frameworks. Developers can describe their interfaces declaratively using XML. ExtTLD will translate the markup into ExtJS interface objects. ExtTLD validates field properties of the XML interface description.

Two promising solutions in the ColdFusion space are in early development: cfExt by Dan Vega and ColdExt from Justin Carter. Cold Fusion 8.0 shipped with Ext JS 1.0 but since then the library has gone to 2.0, a dramatic improvement. These tools allow Cold Fusion developers to interface with the latest Ext JS while staying in Cold Fusion's tag library.

MyGWT is an open source Java library for the Google Web Toolkit. Google Web Toolkit allows developers to write client side applications in Java which are then compiled into Javascript. MyGWT is a plugin to GWT which wraps its native UI components with a ExtJS skin. GWT applications can acquire the polished ExtJS look and feel using this tool.

A plugin also exists for Ruby on Rails. The Ext Scaffold Generator Plugin provides a jump start for developing CRUD based applications with Ext JS and Ruby on Rails. According to GL Networks' website:

The Ext Scaffold Generator Plugin can be viewed as a drop-in replacement for Rails’ standard Resource Generator. Accepting the very same options, it will generate views using data grid and form components from the Ext JS Javascript GUI framework as well as a controller acting as an Ext-compatible JSON web service. The generated code can be used as a starting point for further implementation and outlines solutions on how to integrate the Ext JS library with Rails as a backend.

Ext JS already provides impressive facilities for developing Rich Internet Applications. It has one of the best implementations of a Javascript data grid. It seamlessly interoperates with all of the major core Javascript libraries (Prototype, YUI, jQuery). Coupled with these new tools to speed adoption and reduce learning curve, Ext JS is a RIA development platform worthy of consideration.

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