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All guns blazing on Ext JS 2.0

The day has finally arrived: Ext JS 2.0 received its final public release today. Judging by the timeouts I’ve been getting all morning when trying to connect to the Ext site and blog, I’m not the only one who’s been waiting anxiously. Originally tied to the YUI framework but now a standalone library, Ext provides the best example I’ve yet seen of a completely client-side framework for desktop-style RIAs.

As Ajax libraries multiply, they need to differentiate themselves to get my attention. Ext does just that, providing a top-to-tails solution for GUI components: tabs, trees, grids, you name it. Prototype, jQuery, Mootools and Dojo provide powerful general-purpose tools for Ajax development. Ext, on the other hand, uses a component model whose baseline configuration gets you 90% of the way there and whose extensibility gets you the rest of the way. It’s a huge achievement that Ext does so while embracing Web standards and user experience design. You don’t use Ext to sprinkle a little Ajax on your Web 1.0 application; you use it to build powerful, data-centric applications from the ground up without relying on GWT or .Net to write your JavaScript for you.

For the example application I’m building to show off Really Simple History, I’m constructing parallel versions with Prototype, jQuery and Ext. Frankly, it’s the Ext version that I’m most excited to show off. I’ve been waiting patiently for a couple of months to find a hole in the schedule of busy Ext creator Jack Slocum. Now that Ext 2.0 is out there, I hope to publish an interview with him in this space soon.

With the Ext servers struggling to meet demand, you may have trouble trying to download the library, read the announcement or peruse the completely overhauled documentation. In the meantime, you can read this exhaustive Ajaxian post about all of the changes and new capabilities.

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