The last few months have flown by faster than almost any before them. The first Sencha Touch 2 release went out in October as a Developer Preview, coinciding with SenchaCon 2011, sparking a huge wave of interest from all over the HTML5 community. Today marks the GA release of Sencha Touch 2.0.0, and we couldn’t be happier with how far we’ve come.
It was only 18 months ago that we released the first version of Sencha Touch 1. It ushered in a brave new world, bringing tried and true approaches from the desktop together with the exciting new capabilities of the mobile web. But it was, to many of us, very much a version 1 product. ST2 is as big a step up from ST1 as ST1 was from everything that went before it.
Similar themes, great execution
For me, there are three core themes that go into any game-changing software release: Performance, Stability and Ease of Use. These themes come up again and again, especially for products at the bleeding edge of what’s possible. With the mobile web, each year can bring game changing developments – that’s one of the reasons developing Sencha Touch is so exciting.
Touch 2 really nails all of those themes. Performance was definitely the top priority of the three, and I think we’ve been able to permanently alter expectations of what web apps can do with the improvements we’ve made. Not only do apps feel much faster when you use them, today’s announcement on the incredible new fast startup performance is game changing in itself. It’s amazing how fast ST2 apps start up now, it really changes how they’re used when they consistently boot in a couple of seconds.
Stability is not sexy. It’s not a particularly great marketing ploy but it’s really important. Having a weekly release cycle and a huge developer community has really helped enable a fast turnaround on finding, fixing and verifying bugs. Lately new bug reports have been trickling in so slowly we almost wish there were more of them. Almost.
Oddly, documentation is something that’s really close to my heart. Back when I joined Sencha, improving the Ext JS docs was a prime concern and I think we took it up several notches between Ext JS 3 and 4. But that’s nothing compared to what we’ve done between Sencha Touch 1 and 2. As well as using the awesome new documentation app from Ext JS, we’ve added a ludicrous amount of new content including 35 brand new guides (up from zero) and way more examples than ever before.
We’ve also been creating new screencasts, augmenting the awesome material Drew Neil creates. For the Touch 2 GA release I created this 30 minute getting started video that covers everything from generating an app all the way through to packaging it for native app stores. This is the sort of material I always wished I had when I was first learning Ext JS:
These take a lot of time to produce so if you like this sort of thing make sure you drop a comment here or on the sencha.com blog so I know to create more. I try to record them in a single take so you know there’s no magic going on behind the scenes – I think it shows it’s all real but it involves a lot of takes
All of the hard work to date has been to ship 2.0.0 – the first stable 2.x release. 2.0 itself is a step change over what went before it but there are already some incredible things lined up for the next few releases. Over the next couple of months we’ll continue to polish, optimize and act on the wonderful feedback you guys are providing, but first I think we’ve earned a break