What is ExtAppBuilder?

Perhaps it would be nice to tell you all something about the project I have started. In my last post I was telling you that I have started a project at code.google.com. But I didn’t tell you anything about what it was. So that is what I will do in this post.

About a year ago I came across one hell of a JavaScript framework, called ExtJS. It is a very powerful framework which allows you to write Rich Internet Applications really fast and with a fantastic look and feel. It has very powerful widgets and also the core is of an outstanding quality. Until this moment I was using prototype for writing browser compatible javascript and script.aculo.us for the UI development. These are very powerful frameworks as well. ExtJS just blew them away…

More then a year has gone by since my first encounter with ExtJS and in this year I am using it on a regular basis. My knowledge about the framework has increased significantly. I have found out some perks about the framework but still I am as enthusiastic about it as on the first day we met. Therefore I want my colleagues to create applications with it as well. But here is the catch. They are no javascript programmers but C# programmers and therefore the learning curve is quite big. I want them to be able to write an application in C# with as little changes to their normal way of coding. I want them to use IntelliSense and let the compiler complain when they make coding errors.

This is where I start. This is where ExtAppBuilder comes in to play. I want to write a project who takes care of all the converting and javascript creation. Think of a way to create handlers automatically so the communication to the backend can be done with AJAX. But I am no fool… Well at least not a complete idiot… I am aware that there are more projects like this one. Let’s start with ExtSharp. This is an opensource project as well which creates the skeletons for the ExtJS framework and make it work with Script#. This is almost what I want, but then again, it is completely different from my intentions. It will require a different way of coding then C# coding and still it does not take care for the client-server communications.
Then there are the Ext Extender Controls. A nice project which has created server-controls which will create the ExtJS widgets for you.  But here again the client-server communications aren’t all that good. It works with the updatepanel. Which isn’t good enough for me. I want to call handlers…

So now I am on a mission. To create one hell of a project to make it as easy as a HelloWorld page to write an application in ExtJS in C#. I am currently not sure what to do exactly and many things will change during the development phase. But I am willing to give it my best shot…

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  1. July 15th, 2009