25
Tue, Jun
3 New Articles

The Sencha Platform Offers MADP with Life Cycle Coverage

Development Tools / Utilities
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

 

The Eclipse-compatible Sencha Platform helps developers build web and mobile apps using Java and JavaScript frameworks that employ HTML5.

If your programming expertise is in Java or JavaScript frameworks that use HTML5, a natural fit for a web or mobile application development platform (MADP) at your enterprise may be the Sencha Web Application Lifecycle Management Platform, which lets users build, test, and deploy web applications for desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

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.

Ext JS is an extensive library of pre-tested and integrated JavaScript user interface (UI) components that leverages HTML5 features on modern browsers to help developers build data-intensive, cross-platform web apps with a Model-View-Controller (MVC) or Model-View-Viewmodel (MVVM) architecture. Premium components include an HTML5 calendar, the Sencha Pivot Grid, a Data-Driven Documents (D3) adapter, and Exporter, as well as standard components such as grids, trees, lists, forms, menus, toolbars, panels, charts, and windows. The tools help developers with application design, development, theming, debugging, build optimization, and application deployment. In addition, there are hundreds of user extensions available from Sencha's user community.

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.

Sencha GXT is a Java framework for building web apps on desktops and tablets via the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) compiler. This lets programmers write apps in Java and compile them as HTML5 code. GXT also includes customizable components similar to those available with Ext JS. The GXT framework encapsulates support for remote procedure calls, RequestFactory, and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), enabling finished apps to take data input from any source. A layout manager helps designers manage data displays across multiple browsers, devices, and screen sizes, as well as make app components conform to landscape or portrait device orientation and available browser window size. GXT also includes an advanced charting package that uses surface representations of objects and sprites (two-dimensional bitmaps) developed with a drawing package supplemented with Canvas, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and Vector Markup Language (VML).

Lifecycle Management for Mobile Apps

Sencha Cmd branches out into the application lifecycle management (ALM) aspect of web and mobile software. Not only is it a productivity and performance optimization tool, it offers ALM automation tools such as scaffolding (a technique that enables construction of a basic application that can create, retrieve, update, and delete objects), code minification (removing all unneeded characters from JavaScript or other source code), and production build generation, among others. The scaffolding capability can build entire apps with new MVC or Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) components, as well as lets developers put code-generation hooks that are either specific to a web page or shared across multiple pages in a workspace. Cmd embodies a lightweight web server that can serve files from a local host and a logging feature that aids in troubleshooting. Cmd also furnishes a set of command line syntax and integrates with Apache Ant. Finally, Cmd includes a JavaScript compiler that understands and reduces Sencha frameworks semantics to reduce the loading time of apps, and it manages the dependencies and packages them for developers.

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.

Sencha Test Studio is a GUI that lets users write tests in JavaScript (Jasmine) or a preferred IDE, store them anywhere, and execute them immediately. This facilitates testing code as it is built. Test Studio also includes an event recorder that automatically captures events rather than forcing traces through code interactions, select or find stable properties for specific components, and reuse code generated by the event recorder to minimize test-creation time.

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.

Test results from both manual and automated test runs are presented in summary-level reports and detailed reports of failed tests. A visual screen comparison feature lets testers compare images from multiple test runs and minimize time comparing screen images manually. Developers can identify and fix code problems via integration with Istanbul, a JavaScript code tool that tracks statements, branch, and function coverage.

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.

Upcoming Enhancements

The latest upgrades to the Sencha platform, announced in early November, include plans to enhance the Ext JS framework to include new features of JavaScript ES2015, a Sencha Visual Studio Code Plugin that will let developers write Ext JS apps using Microsoft's new code editor, and a Sencha Electron package that facilitates building of desktop apps in Ext JS by using the open-source application packager Electron. In addition, Sencha Test now integrates WebDriver to further enhance test creation and automation for web apps. Finally, Sencha plans to open-source Fashion, a Java-based theme compiler.

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.

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: