Category Archives: Sencha Touch 2

Simple Android Back Buttons in Sencha Architect 2 & Phonegap

15 Oct 2013

As you may know Android has a back button – present as a software back button or in older devices as a capacitive button on the device itself. The question is how to hook into it and get your views to change in Sencha Touch. Sure, Sencha walks you through Routes and such, but all I want is something simple, and this technique is just that, simple and easy to understand.

This approach uses the browser’s history object and updates it with a hash comprised of the current panel’s id. As you navigate about your app the hash is updated as desired. When the user taps Android’s back button the history object’s back() method is fired. Hash changes don’t cause a page reload so your app doesn’t reload either. After firing the back() method we wait a few milliseconds and then fire our own function to update the view based on the current hash.

This works great for an app that is comprised of a single container whose children are the panels that you want to view. More complex structures would require that you get into Sencha Touch’s Routing mechanism (and to be honest, you *should* be using routes).

One Level of Navigation within a single container

Lets review a scenario that is conducive to implementing simple back button functionality – an app built with the following structure:

back_history_structure_1

As you can see this is a very simple app – a single container with one level of children.

To begin lets add 2 custom methods to our application. Start Architect, and click on the “launch” node within the Project inspector and paste the following into the code view:

Ext.define('MyApp.appHistory', {
    statics: {
        goBack: function(){
            if (location.hash.length != 0){
                var hash = location.hash.substring(1);
	            Ext.getCmp('initialView').setActiveItem(Ext.getCmp(hash));
            } else {
                MyApp.Utilities.addHashToUrl();                                      
            }
        },
        addHashToUrl: function(){
            var id = Ext.getCmp('initialView').getActiveItem().id;
            var loc = location.href;
            var hash = location.hash.substring(1);
            var root = null;

            if (loc.indexOf('#') != -1){
                root = loc.split('#');
                location.href = root[0] + '#' + id;
            } else if (id != hash){
                location.href = loc + '#' + id;
            }
        }
    }
});


Ext.define('MyApp.MyView', {
    extends: 'Ext.panel.Panel',
    requires: ['MyApp.appHistory'],
    initComponent: function() {
        MyApp.appHistory.goBack();
    }
});

Ext.define('MyApp.MyView', {
    extends: 'Ext.panel.Panel',
    requires: ['MyApp.appHistory'],
    initComponent: function() {
        MyApp.appHistory.addHashToUrl();
    }
});

What we’ve done here is add an “appHistory” object to our “MyApp” app (“MyApp” is the default namespace that Architect gives your app) and exposed two methods:

  • MyApp.appHistory.goBack() – this handles the back functionality for the app.
  • MyApp.appHistory.addHashToUrl() – this updates the location hash.

Finally we need to hook into PhoneGap’s “backbutton” event. We do so by adding an event listener within our index.html. You’ll notice the typical “deviceready” event listener wrapped by the document’s “load” listener which ensures that our code runs only when the DOM has been loaded and the device is ready:

window.addEventListener('load',function(){
	document.addEventListener('deviceready',function(e){
		// setup the back button
		document.addEventListener('backbutton', function(e){
			history.back() // go back in the browser's history
			setTimeout(function(){
				MyApp.appHistory.goBack(); // update the view against the current hash
			},100);
			return false;
		}, false);
	});
});

Looking at the above we can see that when the “backbutton” event fires we go back in the browser history then we wait a short bit of time to ensure that the location has been updated before following with the call to navigate back within the app.

The last thing to do is to update the hash from within your Sencha application. I’ve placed the ” MyApp.Utilities.addHashToUrl();” method call within my controller’s onButtonTap event which is sufficient for this example.

This is a good starting point – you’ll of course need to modify per your specific needs, have fun!

Sencha Architect 3 – Beta Available Today

19 Sep 2013

Sencha held a webinar today on Architect 3 – the next version of its gui-based mobile app development tool. Many exciting new features which points to Architect being the go-to for mobile app development.

Below are the highlights from the webinar:

Templates

Architect 3 introduces Templates such as Master/Detail views, Maps, Search, etc., to help get a jump start on common tasks.

a3b_templates

While choosing your Template you have the opportunity to select your theme (another new feature).

a3b_template_choose_theme

Extension Support

Some Architect users may have noticed that adding an extension/plugin resulted in Architect’s canvas (Architect’s WYSIWYG view) disappearing – with official Extension support that is no longer the case for extensions that adhere to the new Architect User Extensions format (.aux). You will now see your extension within your layout.

This new addition includes the ability to install extensions via Architect’s GUI as well as see the Extensions in the Toolbox and be able to drag/drop them onto the canvas.

a3b_extensions

Code Completion

This is a welcomed addition – the previous version’s code editor was functional but lacked many features found in mature IDE’s – today they announced Code Completion. You can see the methods that apply to a given object with in-line help:

a3b_code_complete

And, as you enter your code you will also get argument hints:

a3b_code_param_hint

For code coloring there are two options – “light” and “dark” themes. Customization beyond these two are not on their radar at the moment.

Theming

Theming now exposes the SASS-based themes within the Architect GUI.

a3b_theme_1a

a3b_theme_2

Edit a theme by, for example, changing a color:

a3b_theme_3

…and the SASS compiles behind the scenes.

a3b_theme_4

Two new themes add native look and feel to your apps: “Mountain View” and “Cupertino” – Android and iOS themes respectively. Oddly during the preview of the beta these two themes were absent which the presenter recognized as an issue to be resolved by the product’s release. However, you can catch a glimpse of them in this Sencha blog post (which also mentions Sencha Touch 2.3’s closer integration with PhoneGap which apparently is already present to some extent according to Sencha forum posts).

Testing

Sencha has partnered with an outfit called appurify – Architect will hook into appurify’s system to show developers how their apps will look on specific mobile oprating systems and devices, including OS revisions. Remote inspection will also be provided. Appurify integration is not yet available for the beta but should be up and running within a couple of weeks.

Sencha CMD Support

Sencha says that Architect 3 has tighter integration with Sencha CMD with additional work to be done before the public release.

Availability

Architect 3 is in public beta starting today. Release is slated for the end of October.

http://jo.my/sa3

Architect 2 and 3 can run side by side, just install to a different directory.

Pricing

Sencha Architect 3 – $399, For Architect 2 users that drops down to $259 or for Touch Bundle owners its free – the discounts will be for a limited time.

Video Training

Not part of the announcement but a reminder of this great resource: www.vimeo.com/sencha

Configuring Layout Animation in Sencha Architect

18 Sep 2013

If you’ve ever trolled through Sencha Touch’s documentation you know how frustrating it can be – they assume that the reader is as proficient with Ext as the Sencha writer who created the doc. There are little to no code samples and what there is is usually provided by the community via the in-documentation commenting system. My assumption here is that the docs are generated from the commented source where one wouldn’t go into such detail thus what we have to work with.

One thing that you’ll likely have to research is configuring layout animations. The “showAnimation” and “hideAnimation” card properties each take a configuration object which the docs on those two properties shed no light on, among others.

Searching for “animation” within the docs reveals few clues among them a list of the animation types but again without further detail. The following is the list though you’ll soon see that some are yet to be implemented while others are iOS-only and one has its config properties completely commented out/disabled in the source:

  • cover
  • cube
  • fade
  • flip
  • pop
  • reveal
  • scroll
  • slide
  • wipe

Default Configs

Its nice to have a list but with no code samples readily available you’re forced to dig deeper into the docs and even into the source to see how to use the animations. I’ve gone ahead and done the digging and have compiled my own documentation on the topic and provided it all below.

There are a handful of config options (as can be seen here) but you’ll largely ignore them and use their default values. The defaults are:

from: {}

The default is empty object, otherwise an object containing CSS values that the animation begins with. If you define a CSS property here, you must also define it in the “to” config. For example:

from:{opacity:'0.5'}

to: {}

The default is an empty object, otherwise an object of CSS values that the animation begins with. If you define a CSS property here, you must also define it in the “from” config. For example:

to:{opacity:'1'}

duration: 250

The duration (number) of the animation in milliseconds. The default value is 250ms.

delay: 0

Delay (number) prior to starting the animation in milliseconds. The default is 0ms.

easing: ‘ease-in-out’

A string defaulting to “ease-in-out”. Valid values are “ease”, “linear”, “ease-in”, “ease-out”, “ease-in-out” or a cubic-bezier curve as defined by CSS.

autoClear: true

A boolean defaulting to “true” where it will remove all custom CSS defined in the {@link #to} config when the animation is over.

out: true

Boolean, true if you want the animation to slide out of the screen.

direction: null

A string indicating the direction of the animation. Valid values are “left”, “right”, “up”, “down” and null. The default is null.

reverse: false

Boolean, “true” to reverse the animation direction. For example, if the animation direction was set to ‘left’, it would then use ‘right’. The default is false.

A quick reference chart

Below is a table showing the animation type support available in Sencha Touch 2 across iOS and Android

Animation Type Platform Support
Animation Type N/A iOS Android
cover X
cube X
fade X X
flip X
pop X X
reveal X
scroll X
slide X X
wipe X

Example Configs

And here are some sample configs for each animation type – note the inclusion of only those configs that are commonly used.

Cover

Not yet implemented.

Cube

Note that this does not work in Android.

Many of the config properties are commented out in the source. As a result below is all you can currently do to achieve a “cube” animation unless you edit the source itself and even then your mileage may vary (this is currently not a “cube” animation at all in Win Chrome 28 but some sort of cross wipe):

{
    type:cube
}

And with the duration configured:

{
    type:cube,
    duration: 250 // 250ms is the default,
}

Fade

A “fade” animation configuration object at minimum appears like so:

{
    type:'fade' // duration will default to 250ms
}

Here is a config object with other useful properties added

{
    type:'fade',
    duration:250, // in milliseconds, this is optional, the default value is 250
    out: false // boolean - determines if a "fade out" animation should occur this is hard to distinguish from "fade in"
}

Flip

Does not work in Android.

The minimun, as in the others, is just a config object with the “type” property set to “Flip”.

{
    type:'flip'
}

Additional settings – note that the “right” direction property value behaves the same as “left”.

{
    type:'flip',
    duration: 250, // 250ms is the default
    direction: 'left' // left (default), right (behaves as "left"), up, down
}

Pop

The minimum config object to get a “pop” animation:

{
    type:'pop'
}

Among the other config properties is the “scaleOnExit” property which is optional and defaults to true – the settings used for true/false of this property imply the following within the framework:

  • if true then:
    • toScale = 0.01
    • toOpacity = 0
  • if false then:
    • toOpacity = 0.8

A sample config with other properties:

{
    type:'pop',// "pop", for show animations, "popOut"for hide animations
    duration:250, // 250ms is the default
    out: false, // default is false
    scaleOnExit: true // default is true
}

Reveal

Not yet implemented.

Scroll

Not yet implemented.

Slide

The minimum “slide” config:

{
    type:'slide'
}

With additional config properties:

{
    type: 'slide',
    duration:250, // 250ms is the default
    direction: 'up', // left, right, up, down, null
    cover:true, // boolean
    out:true, // boolean
    reveal:true // boolean
}

Wipe

Does not work in Android. Apparently this is resource intensive as Sencha says it is best used on small displays (not tablets). This has no config options. The duration is 500ms.

(Doesn’t appear to be functional in Windows, Chrome 28)

{
    type:'wipe'
}

Creating Global Variables / Objects in Sencha Architect

14 Aug 2013

There will be many instances where you don’t want to use the Sencha data model just to store some variables – there are a couple of ways to do so within Sencha Architect that are easy to do.

The first one is simply to add an external javascript file to the project’s Resources. Anything in your JS will be available to the entire app. While this works it has the potential to get messy so you’ll want to namespace everything in your custom.js document to prevent cluttering up the global namespace.

Sure that works in a pinch but lets try to add the desired global variable to the app’s namespace instead. This is essentially just like adding a custom property to any component but in this case you’re going to add it to the application itself. The app is represented by the “Application” root node in the Project Inspector. Once added the only issue then is to discover how to reference the “variable” (in quotes because what we’re really doing is adding a custom property to our Ext.application config object). Its not really an issue since as you’ll see its quite simple to determine.

To demonstrate, I have a simple app that will display a single button. When that button is pressed it will display our new property and then increment it. So then, our app looks like this:

architect_global_variables_01

To begin lets create a new Ext.application property that we’ll call “myNumber”. Locate the Application node in the Project Inspector and select it. The config panel updates to reveal the application’s config options. Enter the text “myNumber” in the filter field as illustrated below:

architect_global_variables_02

Next, click the “Add” button to the right of the filter text field. You will see this:

architect_global_variables_03

You’ve just created a custom property called “myNumber”. Now lets give it a value, in its default state the type of the property is a string as indicated by the icon to the left of the property (a circle with three horizontal dots). We want to change this to a number. Click the icon and select the “number” data type. The type icon should now contain a hash (#).

architect_global_variables_04

Next, set the value of the “myNumber” property to 0 (zero).

You may have noticed the other data types that were available for you to choose from – you can set the value to be an array of strings or objects or whatever may be necessary to meet your particular needs. For now, we just want our “myNumber” property to hold the number 0.

Ok, lets start wiring things up. Lets add a simple event to our button. Select the button from the Project Inspector. Its config will appear – click the “plus icon” found to the right of “Event Bindings”.

architect_global_variables_05

Select “Basic Event Binding” from the options that appear. You will be asked to “Choose an event by name” – type the word “tap”, then click the finish button. You now have this:

architect_global_variables_06

You have bound a tap event to the button. The next step is to add the logic which includes referencing our myNumber “Global variable”. Double-click the tap event beneath the button in the Project Inspector. The code view for the event appears.

architect_global_variables_07

Add this code (note the comments):

// this is the reference to your global variable:
var myGlobal = MyApp.app.myNumber;

// next lets populate the text field with the value of myNumber:
Ext.getCmp('myvalue').setValue(myGlobal);

// finally, we increment our global variable:
MyApp.app.myNumber++;

You should have the following:

architect_global_variables_08

Ok, so this is how we figure out how to reference our custom property – the name of your app can be found in the Application config – click the Application node in the Project Inspector panel and then scroll through the Application Configs until you find the “Name” property – in this case it’s value is “MyApp”. So then, any properties that you add in this fashion can be access via this syntax [ApplicationName].app.[variableName]. In this case it is MyApp.app.myNumber.

Note that the new property won’t actually be added unless you give it a default value so be sure to do so to save yourself some frustration.

All done, each time the button is tapped we update the text field with the current myNumber value as well as increment the myNumber property’s value.

Using the SliderFill Sencha Touch Plugin in Sencha Architect

08 Aug 2013

Sliders are pretty cool in Sencha Touch – what makes them cooler is the SliderFill plugin by Thomas Alexander. The plugin can be downloaded here: https://market.sencha.com/extensions/sliderfill.

Before SliderFill the sliders are minimalist – functional yet a tad bland:

sliderfill_before

After SliderFill – one small addition makes them much more appealing:

sliderfill_after

Adding the plugin to your Sencha Architect project is simple – there was one caveat that I encountered – an error within the plugin but it was easy to sort out. Lets walk through the various steps needed to add and use the plugin within Sencha Touch via Sencha Architect.

Create a Sample Architect Project

First thing is first – open Sencha Architect, create a new project and add a slider to your default view. I won’t walk you through that part but if you are lazy here’s a link to a sample project before the plugin was added. What we want is something simple so my example looks like this:

sliderfill_01

Download and Install the SliderFill plugin

Next, download the plugin (link is in first para above) and extract the contents. The archive has the following structure:

  • sliderfill
    • img/
    • src/
    • index.html
    • README

Curiously the README is empty – no worries – within the “src” folder are two files, what you want is the plugin itself which is called “SliderFill.js”. Copy that file and place it within the root of your project, or, if you like, create a plugins folder in your project root and place the file there. For this demonstration I’m just placing it in the project root.

Next you need to add the plugin to your project. Within architect look for the Project Inspector panel – in the screen caps provided here it is on the right. Scroll down to the bottom and look for the “Library” node. Once the plugin is added to the project it will appear as a child of that node.

sliderfill_02

To add the plugin, click the “plus” (+) icon as shown below and choose Resource > JS Resource:

sliderfill_03

You now have a new JS resource added to your project’s library. You can see a red exclamation indicator nexct to it indicating that it needs to be configured.

sliderfill_04

Select the JS library resource and its config will appear. All you need to do is to enter the path to the SliderFill.js file. As I just placed it in the project root all I need to do here is to add the file name.

sliderfill_05

Add SliderFill to a Slider

Now that the plugin is installed lets add the plugin to a slider. Select your slider from the Project Inspector. Its config options will appear.

sliderfill_06

The plugin property doesn’t exist in the config but we can add and configure it by typing the word “plugins” into the config search field and then clicking the “Add” button to create it.

sliderfill_07

We now have a new custom property within the slider’s config.

sliderfill_08

Lets set the property’s type by clicking the “type” button (to the left of the property identified by a circle icon with three dots) and choosing “Array”:

sliderfill_09

We now need to configure the plugin. The plugin will accept a configuration object which is comprised of two things: 1)The xclass that specifies the plugin, and 2) an array of class names to apply to each SliderFill background. I have a single slider handle so I’m only going to have a single class.

To add the config object click the “Edit” button that appeared to the right of the plugins property when you selected “Array” as the property type.

sliderfill_10

The editor appears:

sliderfill_11

I’ll add this object wrapped in an array literal:

[
  {
    xclass : 'Ext.plugin.SliderFill',
    fillCls : ['my_custom_slider_bg']
  }
]

sliderfill_12

Done!

…but one last thing – SliderFill Ver 1 currently generates an error:

sliderfill_13

Ok then, lets go fix it – look in your Project Inspector under the Library node where you added SliderFill.js. Double-click it to open the file as we’ve got a single line to add to fix the error:

sliderfill_14

As the error indicated lets go down to line 46. We want to go back up a couple of lines and add the following line *after* line 44 – but first we need to unlock the file – click the “Unlock” button:

sliderfill_15

Again, create new line after line 44, we will add the following code:

slider = Ext.getCmp('slider.id');

The code should look like this:

sliderfill_16

Save your project.

Style the SliderFill background

Almost done – we just need to setup some defaults and we need to specify a color for the SliderFill background. An easy way to do this is to attach a new style sheet to the project via the Library. So create a new css file, save it in the root fo your project as we did with SliderFill.js (or create a new folder for it if you like) and populate it with the following:

.x-slider-fill{
    margin:0.925em;
    position:absolute;
    height:0.8em;
    -webkit-border-radius:0.4em;
    border-radius:0.4em;
    margin-top:0.75em !important;
    background-image:-webkit-gradient(linear, left top ,left bottom, from(#0A3A86), color-stop(.5, #4C8DE7), color-stop(.95, #6BABF5), to(#0A3A86));
    z-index:1 ;
}

.x-draggable {
    z-index:2;
}

.my_custom_slider_bg{
    background-image:-webkit-gradient(linear, left top ,left bottom, from(#8b1a05), color-stop(.5, #e35e4f), color-stop(.95, #e18080), to(#6f2c22));
}

Note that last style – my_custom_slider_bg thats the class name we specified in SliderFill’s configuration object.

All that is left is to attach the style sheet. The process is the same as what we did to add SliderFill.js, except this time we will add a Style Sheet instead (note that this is a quick and dirty way of doing things – perfectly functional though if you’re familiar with SASS then you’d likely prefer to do it that way).

sliderfill_17

Select the CSS node underneath the Library and enter the path to your CSS – in my case my CSS file is called SliderFill.css.

Save your project and preview – you should see this:

sliderfill_after

Has your design view in Architect gone blank?

Sencha Architect V2.2.2 has a bug where if you add the plugin attribute to the view config the WYSIWG Design View will become completely blank as you can see in one of the above screen captures.

There are a couple of ways around this – the one I think I prefer is to create an onSliderfieldInitialize event in the controller which will apply the plugin to every slider that is initialized within your app.

To do this follow these steps:

  1. Click on your Controller node within the Project Inspector
  2. Next, Locate “Actions” and click the “Plus” button to the right
  3. Select “Controller Action” from the pop-up
  4. Next choose “Ext.field.Slider” as the target type
  5. Then select “initialize” as the event name

Architect will create the new event and display the editor for it – paste in the following code:

component.setPlugins({
    xclass : 'Ext.plugin.SliderFill',
    fillCls : ['my_custom_slider_bg']
});

That’s it, now **every** slider that you add will have SliderFill applied to it and Architect’s 2’s Design View won’t go completely blank on you.