New York City Code Camp

This is coming a bit late I realize, the Code Camp happened on March 6, I had planned to have this entry up by March 7, but due to a variety of circumstances, it just didn’t happen.

Ironically, this was my first big speaking engagement and I choose to be on business in New York for seven months and present at a camp in a city known for its high end talent.  Frankly, I was nervous about being blown out of the water by how smart people were there.  But you know, despite what people tell you, New Yorkers are some of the nicest people I have ever met, so long as they are not driving a car.

My presentation was on Coolite which is a set of ASP .NET web controls that encapsulates ExtJS.  You are seeing this trend with a lot of vendors.  They are adopting popular JavaScript frameworks and using them as the core of their web control libraries.  In my presentation I did the obligatory History of RIA slides that you will see with any presentation that mentions RIAs and I talked about how to setup and configure Coolite for operation.  Then I gave some examples.

The big thing I wanted to communicate with the examples was the ease with which Coolite gave you access to rich components that enabled you to create very consistent and clean websites without the aid of a designer.  Consistency is so vital in professional rich internet applications where the user experience will likely determine whether or not they come back; you simply cant expect the user to look around and figure out your page.  The trick is to design the pages similar so the user templates the pattern when he/she enters the site and begins interacting.

I also discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses of Coolite.  I talked about how it gives you great modular consistency (you can download new themes) while having a lower learning curve for existing ASP .NET developers.  However, its total lack of documentation (aside from an Examples site) is very disconcerting.  There are also a number of small bugs that do tend to show themselves when you get into really using it.

The weaknesses aside, the Coolite framework is a great tool for small to medium projects, throw in the fact that its free and it is something that could really help you.  However, if you are on a larger project I would recommend looking at something like Telerik due to the increased maturity of their components and the level of documentation they provide which can be a huge timesaver in a larger project.

One other note, the samples did use Coolite and I didn’t feel like putting a 20MB zip here, so you’ll be able to download the PPT, but you’ll have to get the source from SVN.  Here are the links


To get the source code, please execute the following command in an SVN client:

svn checkout cooliteexamples-read-only

Thanks again for checking it out


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