SenchaCon 2011: The Best Bits
October 26, 2011 5 Comments
SenchaCon 2011 is drawing to a close and it’s been another awesome ride. We were joined by 600 of the best and brightest of the Sencha community and I think it’s pretty safe to say we had an awesome time. Day 3 is just drawing to a close so here’s a few highlights from the week.
Ext JS 4.1 Performance Preview Released
There were a number of big announcements on day 1. Probably the most exciting one for me was the release of Ext JS 4.1 Performance Preview. We’ve been working like fiends to improve Ext JS’s performance profile on older browsers (IE6, IE7 and IE8 in particular) and on Monday we were able to share some of what we’ve achieved.
Page load, render and layout times are all enormously improved and have been the focus of our optimizations so far. Since 4.0 we’ve been building up a performance benchmarking rig that tests all of our 100+ examples (and a number of real-world customer apps) on consumer grade hardware with a range of browsers. We’ve seen massive improvements in loading time on these older browsers – for example the Themes Viewer example with its 300 Components all rendered at load time now starts up twice as fast as it did in 4.0.7.
To give a flavor for the breadth of the improvement we ran the tests on every example and summed up the loading time for each browser. As you can see below, 4.1 is able to speed through all of the examples significantly faster than 4.0.7, giving a massive performance boost across the board. It got so much faster that IE8 is now able to load all 100+ examples in a little under 20 seconds, compared with almost 60 in 4.0.7:
See the full announcement on the sencha.com blog, but like we said there, this is a pre-beta release with a number of known issues. We’d love for you to verify the speed improvements with your own apps but please don’t take it anywhere near production yet! We’ll have more content on what’s in 4.1 in later blog posts.
While Ext JS is closest to my heart, there were a number of other announcements made over the last few days. First up is Sencha.IO, our new cloud service and now launching in beta. This is a set of 4 services – data, messages, login and app deployment – that make creating and deploying web apps a snap, especially when you integrate the social aspects of Sencha.IO data and messages.
We also announced that we’ve just closed a second round of funding, raising another $15 million to further advance the state of the art in HTML5 technologies. This is going to enable us to push forward even faster and bring you some exciting new technologies. It was great that Sequoia Capital and Radar Partners were so happy with their first round with us that they decided to invest again. The future is definitely very exciting at Sencha right now.
There were over 50 sessions this year and with several tracks going on simultaneously it was impossible to go to them all. Jacky Nguyen definitely stole the show with his talk on the Sencha Class System. He has a ridiculously over the top presentation style and totally brought the house down. We’ll be sure to get him on stage more often!
Jamie and Nicolas’ talk on charting was very cool and generated lots of spontaneous applause (that happened a lot during the conference, which must be a good thing), and Rob and Dave’s demonstration of styling using the new beta Neptune theme was equally awesome.
Don lit the place up with his talk detailing the work that went into making Ext JS 4.1 so much faster, along with all the other new features in the release. Another mind blowing talk was given by John Willander, who demo’d a series of client-side attacks along with the BeEF Project, which happens to be writen in Ext JS. Based on what John presented we’ll definitely be looking at what we can do to help you secure your apps with Ext JS.
Of course, I had a couple of sessions myself, though a few technical problems early on made them rather more challenging than expected (it’s hard to talk to people when your microphone cuts out after every second word!). The Intro to MVC talk was a blast and the sacrifice to the gods of live demos seemed to pay off as the 20 minute live coding session went without a hitch. Anyone who wants the code I put together during that session can find it up on github.
Although there were 600 people here this time it felt like I was able to meet almost everyone. Your intense enthusiasm for what we do really came through and to everyone who came up and gave us such great feedback it really drives us forward to keep improving your framework so thank you!
I saw more awesome Ext JS and Sencha Touch apps than I could count, and was pleasantly surprised to see how many people had been able to construct full applications using Sencha Touch 2 despite it only being in Developer Preview right now. It was also great getting to spend time hanging out with people and seeing them get excited when they start to see what’s possible with these products. Spending time in the flesh with developers is probably the most important part of the whole conference so it was great to meet so many of you.
Finally, Grgur announced that the second SourceCon Europe will be taking place in London around April of next year. The first SourceCon was an awesome experience in beautiful Split, Croatia, and next year we’ll be heading to London, England for this community-organized, Sencha-centric conference. They’ll be launching the conference website in a couple of weeks and given how good it was last year you’ll probably have to rush to get your tickets. Hope to see you there!