The UX EXT 2.0

Although it was a rocky beginning, (see resolution) I have really fallen in love with EXT, specifically the 2.0 release (currently in beta.)  The quality of the interaction design is top-notch.  Jack Slocum has the extremely rare combination of talents including programming, visual design, interaction design and CSS.  He is able to take the modern JavaScript Library movement and couple that with cutting edge CSS techniques to create a solid framework.  On top of all that, he has a wonderful design instinct that makes all of his work look like they were developed by a large team including crack visual artists.   Although his work has strong Microsoft/Vista influences, it also has a distinct Slocum look that is recognizable.

His samples page is stunning. His API Browser is one of the best I have seen.  The attention to detail is just marvelous.

Add to all this a significant intangible.  Underneath all of the gloss and bazillion options for each components there is an undercurrent that is noticeable.  Jack and the EXT team are having fun.  These components are more than just usable.  They are fun to use.  I keep noticing these little touches that have nothing to do with usability.  They are just flair.  And they make it fun to use and fun to build.

I think EXT is a significant competitor for Flex in the application space.  I can easily see a company scooping EXT up for millions.  Adobe makes sense, but so does Microsoft or Apple.  It could be anyone.

I hate to give such a “sweetheart” review.  Isn’t there SOMETHING that I would change?  Well, for starters, I appreciate it as a toolkit for me as a UX Designer, but in reality, I can’t program a single line in it.  Not one.  In terms of actually using it, it’s for application developers.  Not for the feint of heart.  I imagine there will be IDEs and programs built to generate EXT applications.  This may help.  I’ll have to noodle on other stuff I would change.

I strongly suggest any application developer to check it out.

One Reply to “The UX EXT 2.0”

  1. Thanks for the positive review Glen. I’m glad you had a change of heart. I think your original blog post was one of the turning points for Ext, as since then much more detail has went into the docs.

    Everyone working on Ext really has a love for it, and I, like you, think 2.0 shows that. 🙂

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