DHTMLX 3.0 Preview: Visual Designer and Global Data Storage

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While most of our latest updates have focused on the DHTMLX Touch mobile framework, we want to assure you that our JavaScript Ajax library also gets lots of our attention. We are preparing a major upgrade that will be released this spring and will introduce two significant improvements: a visual designer tool and global data storage.

Both additions will take the DHTMLX library to the next level and will make development with DHTMLX even easier and faster. This update will change the approach to the development process and the data storage routine used in DHTMLX. We can say that the library is reaching version 3.0.

Visual Designer Tool

DHTMLX 3.0 will introduce a visual designer tool that will enable you to initialize the DHTMLX components on a web page, configure their parameters, and build an application user interface without writing the code manually.

You’ll be able to define the layout of your application and compose the interface elements via a simple and intuitive visual designer. The tool will then generate the JavaScript code for the basis of your web application. You may further modify the generated code to enhance the application functionality.

Global Data Storage

In addition to the existing UI-centric model of data storage, which will be fully supported in DHTMLX 3.0, you will also be able to build web applications with data-centric architecture. The new approach will allow you to keep all your application data in one place and then use this data to populate any DHTMLX component, be it a datagrid, or tree, or combo, etc.

Instead of different data sources for each UI component, you will have a common client-side data source and will be able to choose what DHTMLX component to use to present your data to the end-user. Let’s look at some schemes to better illustrate.

The current UI-centric data model works like this:

Current UI-Centric Model

Current UI-Centric Model

  • On the server side, each user interface component has its own code (connector).
  • Each component loads data separately.
  • The common logic of interaction between components needs to be coded manually.
  • Adding or replacing UI elements requires serious changes in application logic.

 
The new global data storage changes the situation:

New Data-Centric Model

New Data-Centric Model

As you can see, managing the data for your web application will become much easier:

  • A single server-side connector for all UI components.
  • A single data loading operation.
  • Common operations are executed automatically.
  • When data shared by UI components is changed in one component, it is updated for all UI components.
  • Adding or replacing UI elements requires little or no changes at all.

 
The new global data storage model will greatly reduce the amount of code and simplify the creation of complex business applications. When the data is changed by a user on the client-side, this change will be available for all DHTMLX components which are automatically synchronized with updates in the data storage.

Other Improvements

In addition, DHTMLX 3.0 will include the new version of dhtmlxForm which allows the creation of web forms with complex structures (multi-column, filed sets, absolute positioning of form elements, etc.). DHTMLX 3.0 also incorporates a large number of fixes and improvements for all the components. We will also release version 1.0 of dhtmlxConnector for Java and .NET, so all the connectors will reach the same level of maturity.

In general, the 3.0 release aims to simplify life for the developer and make the building of desktop-class web applications with DHTMLX much easier.