I thoroughly enjoyed SenchaCon this week in Austin, TX, where I presented Building Modern Web Apps with HTML5 and DART. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of the developers at SenchaCon. It was a special treat to meet Darrell Meyer and Sven Brunken, lead developers for Ext GWT. In the last year, Ext GWT has undergone a huge refactoring to do things more consistently with vanilla GWT (including Cell widgets and the Appearance pattern), and now makes advanced use of these as well as the new AutoBeans framework. I regret not meeting Darrell, Sven, Colin, and team sooner, as they are clearly sophisticated GWT developers who understand the innards of GWT quite well and have taken pains in the last year to make Ext GWT more interoperable with mainline GWT, including throwing away some of their previous work when GWT rolled out with the same functionality unanticipated. I frequently get asked about GWT consulting and am delighted to learn that Sencha has a growing professional services team knowledgeable about GWT as well as all things browser. This is not an official endorsement, but Sencha certainly appears to be one of the few companies capable of handling large GWT projects.
I had lots of fun watching developers interact with the Chromebooks on display in the Chrome booth. Many folks mentioned getting one for their kids or grandmas this Christmas (“and give yourself the gift of no tech support”). I am personally more attracted to the Chromebook than tablets, but that’s mostly because I’m so keyboard-focused (the trackpad on the Samsung Chrombook, by the way, is one of the better I’ve used apart from a Mac–I haven’t tried the Acer Chromebook yet). One place where a tablet would excel is crammed in the back of an airplane, where there’s not really enough room to open my 15″ MacBook Pro. Speaking of which, flights are much more bearable with a laptop and wi-fi. I think I’m addicted to work.