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camus92
Mar 07, 2009, 2:48 AM
 Hi all,

I should preface this by first stating that I am quite impressed with what Coolite has managed to accomplish in wrapping up extjs with ASP .Net components. They have truly done a remarkable job in wrestling javascript functionality into drag-and-drop controls for us .Net developers.


With that being said, I do have some comments:


Coolite's product is quite simply not worth any commerical licensing fees yet. 


Now, before anyone rushes in to disown such a statement, let me remind you that the use of Coolite comonents in any commercial capacity is restricted by a commerical license, which you have to pay for. This is the true misconception of using open source code and licensing structure, as many people feel as though because something is open source, you do not have the right to criticize the persons responsible for the code, as by nature, the community can contribute towards it.


This only begs the question:  if Coolite is relying on the open source community to debug, test, and document their own product, how can they expect to charge others to PAY for that product?


That's simply lazy thinking. By that right, any early adopter should be granted a free commercial license, since they are contributing to the evolution of the company's own product.


I say this not because I have a bur against open source products, but because I turned to Coolite as a RAD solution for adopting extjs functionality in ASP .Net--which I can only believe is the very premise of their product--only to find that I'd most likely be better off implementing extjs myself. Why do I say this?


Documentation. I cannot stress this enough. In fact, the lack of documentation is truly a measure by which you can judge the immaturity of a company and/or product. At least any company that wants to be taken seriously by anything other than script kiddies. 


I'll give you an example:


I wanted to implement a simple aspx page that utilized the borderlayout control. On the left ("west") side, I wanted a list of task links which, when clicked, dynamically loaded the content of the "center" panel.


Apparently this could be accomplished by utilizing the autoload component, even though the forums have explicitly stated over and over again that dynamic control generation is not supported by Coolite (which is in itself its own topic). So I followed the examples to the letter trying to autoload a child page, only to run into problems every single step of the way.


So what's the problem? This is not RAD. This is not a simple control library which you can drop onto your page. You cannot rely on the documentation to help you in developing, because the documentation is nothing short of tagging classes with base xml attributes and shooting that off to an "API library". Most of the classes in the Coolite namespace have absolutely no summary attached to them, not to mention the relevant methods you may call on them.


And again, why is this a problem? Because it's not true abstraction from extjs. I cannot count the number of times I've had to pick through source code, only to cross reference extjs documentation, in order to get apparently simple things to work. Isn't that what the point of Coolite is? Isn't it to offer a layer of abstraction between extjs and ASP .Net? 


For those of you who will argue that this is open source, you're utterly missing the point, so I kindly ask that you simply bow out of this argument. I'm not approaching this from any perspective of helping the open source community, I'm approaching it as a potential commercial client who expects commercial quality product from a commercial company.


To the Coolite folks:  you've done an excellent job code wise. You're almost there. But what you're sorely lacking is the very backbone of why you've gone into business in the first place:  developing a RAD solution that abstracts extjs from ASP .Net. This presumably is your very reason for being in existence, so please, for the love of God, do not lose sight of that. Your product may be the coolest thing in the world, but without proper implementation and communication, it will never prove to be fruitful in a commercial way. 


Document, document, document. You should suspend any further development and instead dedicate the time to reviewing your classes and buffing up your xml documentation. Tell us what is truly different between a borderlayout and a formlayout. Document each function, and give us meaningful examples of how to use them. Do not rely on your live examples as adequate documentation of how to use things, because commercial customers won't have the time, nor the patience, to piece together functionality from an API, live examples, and forum posts. 

geoffrey.mcgill
Mar 07, 2009, 5:21 AM
Hi camus92,

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts.

I have a few questions and points of clarification.


"Now, before anyone rushes in to disown such a statement, let me remind you that the use of Coolite comonents in any commercial capacity is restricted by a commerical license, which you have to pay for."

Maybe I'm missing something, but where does it say you can't use the Coolite Toolkit in "any commercial capacity"?


"This only begs the question: if Coolite is relying on the open source community to debug, test, and document their own product, how can they expect to charge others to PAY for that product?"

If a developer finds a defect, and reports the defect to us, we will do our best to fix the defect. That seems like a pretty standard relationship between software library provider and end-user developer. In general I think we have a pretty good turn-around when it comes to fixing defects. Many reported defects are fixed immediately. Others obviously may require more time, discussion and research. If the defect/bug is logged in the Bugs Forum (http://forums.ext.net/forumdisplay.php?forumid=5-1.aspx), it's on our TODO list.

I can't say I really expected anyone (other than us) to "debug, test, and document" our product.

Of course, most defects are found with our own internal testing, building examples for the explorer and building sample apps, but we can't think of everything.


Documentation. I cannot stress this enough.

Yes, I agree. This topic is being discussed at the following location, see
http://forums.ext.net/showthread.php?threadid=9558-7-1.aspx


I wanted to implement a simple aspx page that utilized the borderlayout control. On the left ("west") side, I wanted a list of task links which, when clicked, dynamically loaded the content of the "center" panel.

This technical issue is related to the following thread, see http://forums.ext.net/showthread.php?threadid=9743-4-1.aspx

Thanks again for the feedback. Regarding your suggestions for improvements... we're working on them. Your continued support of the Toolkit and the community is appreciated.

camus92
Mar 07, 2009, 2:50 PM
Geoffrey, 


I feel I owe you something of an apology--I had a particularly bad night of developing and was venting. I'll quit beating the dead horse about documentation. And again, I don't mean to discount the work you folks have done. I should say that without even being at release 1.0 yet you have a great product.