My company is reevaluating what kind of web framework we want to use. We are currently using the Ext 4.0 framework but there are questions being raised that it may not be the right framework to use. I like what Ext has to offer (rich GUIs, data package and class system) are there other frameworks out there that are similar? Are there frameworks out there tailored to medium/large software companies?

Info: Potentially 100's of developers converting thick client screens to the web. Data modeling is important and well as rich GUI support. Maintainability and uniformity across multiple products important as well.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

  • What alternatives are you considering? – kevin cline Oct 13 '11 at 3:40
  • @kevin cline To be honest the only framework that I am familiar with is Ext and I don't know where to start looking. – pllee Oct 13 '11 at 22:35

In a large team like that the focus will have to be on separation of concerns and clear API's between the various application segments. While ext is pretty much as good as it gets in the pure client-side solutions, it's still based on javascript, a language that makes it essentially impossible to encapsulate logic behind strict interfaces. You'll also need a team with solid javascript skills, which may not be as easy to find as desktop developers.

You may want to consider GWT instead, possibly using ExtGWT if you like the ext components. It will be much easier to bring in desktop developers into a pure-java platform, and you'll be able to define stricter interfaces between application modules that can be verified at compile time.


Javascript frameworks generally cover stuff that happens within the page rather than the app as a whole, so it doesn't matter too much which one you use.

To keep the overall app manageable you will need to set up your own framework on top of that. this could be as simple as a set of standards on how a page should be structured or as complex having a defined page template and your own set of customized controls.

It also makes a big difference how much happens on a page - for example jQuery Mobile loads multiple pages into a single DOM - great for performance, but losing the complete separation between scripts on different pages means that a bug on one page could stop script execution on any other page - not so good for a large app with a large team.

  • -1: There is a huge difference between jQuery and ExtJS. – kevin cline Oct 13 '11 at 3:37
  • @kevincline Of course there is, but the question was about frameworks in general, with ExtJS as an example. There is also a big difference between jQuery and jQuery mobile, which I used as an example of a framework which makes development very easy for an individual but would be much harder to use across a large app or team. – Tom Clarkson Oct 13 '11 at 4:28

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