Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ext Js (vs. JQuery)

Posted by Xun at 6:57 PM
For the past two and half years, I have been using Ext Js incessantly; Before that, I never even heard of that. Like everyone (who has done anything with JavaScript), I was captured head to toe by jQuery. Of course I watched that little kid John Resig, with his chubby face, side-swept overly long hair, lectured us on his JQuery in Google Tech Talk, feeling pang of shock and awe.

That was when I was the de-facto one and only web developer in the company, answering Yes to every humble request my non-programming co-workers asked for. They always asked: can we add a slider to the page? Yes. Can we break the auto-generated PDF exactly into 3 pages? Yes!

Then I moved on and to a tech company, where IT professionals is nothing but the norm,  and where jQuery is nothing more than some hodge-podge with a small core of code for DOM traversal and manipulation and event handling.

Oops.

My journey with Ext Js began, and my relationship with jQuery ended abruptly.

Fast forward to Now.

Now I am using Ext Js 4 (after using Ext Js 3), the newest and boldest library upgrade. It is really more a rewrite than upgrade, because it introduces a new class system, a new data package, a new charting and graphing package ... the list can simply go on and on.

Technology is a curious thing. How fast we move on, upgrade and update our knowledge, how fast we "delete" memories of old technology. Now that I am using Ext Js 4, I had to think hard to remember what Ext Js 3 was like. As for jQuery, I feel that the only thing that has firmly being implanted in my brain is that $ sign.

Still, still! jQuery is as booming as Ext Js is regarded divine in my professional circle. How do they compare if we have to compare?


The most obvious difference is that jQuery uses GPL and MIT license, meaning you can use the library for free without much worries; On the other hand, Ext Js is developed by Sencha and is commercially licensed and it is not cheap.

jQuery, at its core (which is small and condense) is a library for DOM manipulation, outside of that, jQuery has a vast repertoire of plug-ins, all free yet with varying qualities; Ext Js provides a comprehensive framework that includes a rigorous class system, a set of utilities that deals with string, date, array etc.,., a complete set of UI controls, most impressive of them being Grid. With Ext JS 4, it also provides dynamic loading and MVC architecture.

jQuery is small; Sencha is heavy-set.

Ext Js has comprehensive, detailed documentation and maintained for every version; with jQuery we cannot say that. Yet, jQuery, because of its vast user base and community support, you would normally turn up with a lot of references across the web; in comparison, for Ext Js questions, your best hope is your more experienced colleagues;

Ext Js, for its rigorous class system and enormous size, entails a very steep learning curve; jQuery, for all of its user-friendliness, simplicity and light-weightedness, is much easier to learn.

Both unit testing has become a norm in web development, both Ext Js and jQuery have excellent unit testing support. The default choice for Ext Js is Jasmine, and qUnit for jQuery.

Both jQuery and Ext Js have been keen on providing mobile development platform and have been successful in doing so, with Ext Js/ Sencha, there is sencha touch; for jQuery there is jQuery mobile.

Both jQuery and Ext Js have been going strong, I would say, most people lean toward jQuery.

So it still remains to see who will have the last laugh if there is indeed some competition.

References: jQuery Ext Js

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