Sencha recently announced the availability of the beta version of their Sencha Architect 3. For those who already know and for those who wants to know, the goals of Sencha Architect are very clearly stated by Sencha that it endeavors to achieve:
With this in mind, I am going to highlight the 13 features that have made to the Sencha Archiect 3, so far, that are worth understanding and see how they are going to boost the overall productivity of your team.
1) Quick way to get started with Sencha Architect 3
When you launch the Sencha Architect 3, it has a Getting Started section with the links to a detailed document describing the steps to create your first ExtJS/Touch application using Sencha Architect.
Though the links, currently, point to the Sencha Architect 2 documentation, once the product moves towards GA release, it shall point to the documents related to version 3. Having said that, the steps are still valid, mostly, for Sencha Architect 3 as the basic process of creating the application has not changed much from version 2 to 3.
It’s a great way for a newcomer to find their starting point and learn the tool on their own.
2) Choose from existing templates to create your project
This is one of the greatest features and would save time and effort (hence time..some cases frustration). Sencha Architect 3 provides a list of pre-defined templates that one can choose from to create the basic layout of their application.
The Basic category has some basic application templates where the which is very useful in case you are planning to create a very simple application and not concerned with layouts on your main page.
3) Save your project as a template and use it
Besides allowing you to select a template to create a new project, the Architect also allows you to save your project as a template and use the same for subsequent project creation.
4) Choose the framework license (GPL/Commercial) to create new project
Previously, it was not so straight forward to select the framework based on your license – GPL or Commercial. Now, the Sencha Architect prompts you to select the license at the time of creating a new project and uses the information to use the appropriate ExtJS/Touch libraries
5) Sencha Cmd based project creation
Sencha Architect 3 is now integrated with Sencha Cmd for the project creation as well as build. The following screenshot shows that Sencha Cmd is launched to create the new project:
With Sencha Cmd integrated it opens up the opportunity in the area of build, packaging, and testing the application without leaving the Sencha Architect, which I expect to come in the near future.
6) Choose from available themes
Sencha ExtJS offers three themes – classic, gray, neptune. However, it was not so straight forward to use a theme, other than classic, in the project (we had to work with Resources). In version 3, themes are now available for us to apply to our application with no effort
Same applies to the Sencha Touch projects, where you can apply the blackberry, windows theme to your application with tremendous ease.
7) Import Custom extensions
In Architect 3, it is straight forward to import a custom user extension into your project and use it. And user extension could contains one or more components, plugins, proxy, etc. Integrating User Extension in Architect shows how to do it. In case you want to know how to create user extensions for Sencha Architect 3, read Creating User Extension.
This is one feature that we were looking for in the Sencha Architect as there are many extensions you might have seen on the internet or your team may have written and you had a tough time using them in the Architect. I know the enterprise developers are going to love this.
8) Code completion in the code editor
Now when you write a handler code, or a custom method, etc. the code editor offers automatic code completion and it also shows the suggestions when you click Ctrl-Space bar. On mouseover, it also shows the documentation of the property/method
While I would liked to see the suggestion coming out when I hit the dot (.), but I think we can live with the Ctrl-Space option.
9) Keyboard Shortcut to toggle between Code/Design views
May not realize it as a great feature but if you are a developer you would know what I am talking about.
10) Manage storage effectively
Projects, extensions, components, templates, and themes have separate storage locations settings that can be used to store them in separate place that makes the sharing and usage of theses entities easier. In case, you need to share them across multiple machines (users), you may mount a shared drive and use that as the storage location.
11) Console with Log and Output
Helps you to look at the Sencha Architect log messages as well as application logs
12) Specify application name at the time of saving a project
Specify application name and project name, separately, at the time of saving the project. Previously, we had to go to modify the config – name – on the application class. But, now it is part of the Project settings, which means it is the metadata of the project and can be used in the build/test/etc.
13) Create, test, and use new custom theme
With the integration with Sencha Cmd and Compass, you can modify the theme variables, define new ones and create a new theme instantaneously. For Sencha Touch themes, the pictos images are also available that you can use in your theme.
Well, above was the list of 13 features that I wanted to emphasize. There are many more features that would be coming as part of the version 3 roadmap (e.g. Appurify based Touch application testing, creating multi-profile touch applications, etc.), which are highly desirable and looking at the Sencha Architect 3 Goals, I must say it should be a matter of time. I hope you found this article helpful!
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