In the current technology world, new applications and websites are coming out constantly, and if they aren’t designed to really show people how they work, they often don’t get the acclaim they deserve for what they do. It’s all about highlighting what it important to the people who would use it, and often the sites created by new companies miss the mark.
As programmers, we’ve been exposed to more old and new languages, interpreters, libraries, standards sets, software, etc… than we can keep track of anymore. After a while, we tend to give anything new a quick ‘once over’ to see if it grabs our attention. Unfortunately, things that don’t really shine fall by the wayside, and things that glitter tend to do well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the things that glitter are better than the others, but when it comes down to the few minutes we are willing to devote to analysis of a new language… it has to capture interest quickly. ExtJS 2.0 has some of that sparkle.
It comes down to site design in the end – we want the demos up front and prominent, and the ExtJS site provides that. Right at the top of the main page we have a nice big area that lets us immediately (and visually) understand what ExtJS is designed to do for us. It definitely makes an impact.
Of course, we have seen many times before that all the great code in the world isn’t enough for a programmer if you don’t give them documentation or tutorials. A programmer really has no desire to sit down and comb through thousands of lines of code and try to figure out what the person who made it was doing – particularly not when there are competing languages that come with tutorials and full documentation. ExtJS wins again on this mark, having a nice big link that says ‘Learn’ right at the top of the site.
The Learning Section has exactly what most programmers are looking for – an overview, an intro tutorial, a migration guide from other libraries, FAQ, and interactive demos … along with all the regular full documentation and a community forum.
Overall, I think the site was designed with great usability and marketing in mind for the programmer who is the target audience. It’s quick and easy to find exactly what you need to help you decide if this is a library you are interested in. Does it necessarily mean it’s the best library out there? Who knows. Everyone has their preference, but the good construction of the information presented about the library gives ExtJS a fighting chance to shine along with some of the other current big players. Personally it has me interested enough to experiment with a bit to see if it’s going to work for me.