Recap of Tyler Keating’s SproutCore Meetup Talk – Intro To SproutCore, Past, Present and Future.

written by Tim Welsch

Link to view recorded version of the meetup on Vimeo

Speaker: Tyler Keating – was working as a contractor at Strobe, which got bought by Facebook. He inherited the framework and is currently the Administer of SproutCore. Tyler holds the keys to all the SproutCore assets. Today, Tyler has taken on a leadership role with SproutCore as its Project Lead.

Background on libraries and frameworks: Currently, there are lots of JavaScript libraries and frameworks out there right now. A library can be considered a bunch of code that can be dropped in at any point in the development process and can work with what you have already. It can work with your processes and format structure. A good example of a library would be JQuery. Frameworks, on the other hand, expect a developer to follow its guidelines, process and file structure (structure of its code). Under this definition, SproutCore is definitely defined as a framework.

With a framework like SproutCore, a developer would want to be starting from scratch building a brand new application. SproutCore comes with directories and file structures and expects those who use it for development to put things in certain places, use its bindings, use its build tools, etc.

SproutCore on the “Spectrum” of JavaScript libraries and frameworks, on the far left, you would have a library like JQuery and on the far right, a framework like SproutCore. Very few JavaScript frameworks can be found on the far right, most them fall somewhere in the middle between being a library and a framework. Usually, these middle of the road type frameworks want to provide the M or C of MVC. Many of these frameworks found in the middle and most libraries out there do not have the tight integrations found in frameworks like SproutCore. They also just provide a bit and not a “full picture” so to speak. What you see are that libraries start to group together to more tightly integrate and slowly become more of a full picture.  This happens all the time, but with SproutCore that was the end goal from the start, so the integration is more advanced.

On another spectrum, a spectrum of web applications, on the far left you would have an application like Wikipedia which is basically a page of documents and links while on the far right you would have an application like iCloud, that has animations, very ambitious user experience, loads of data, multiple browsers, etc.  When developers want to design an application, provide localization in multiple languages, SproutCore has this directly built in as well as things like infinite scrolling lists. One could try coupling a bunch of libraries together, but this would become a very laborious effort from the standpoint that you would have to write a bunch of code to do it.

SproutCore: When thinking of using SproutCore to build an app you would want to be starting from scratch. The goal of the app that you are building with Sproutcore should be native-like performance and native-like feel. You want to be able to take advantage of the multiple pieces and build tools that SproutCore offers developers. With SproutCore you can:

  • Combine all your JavaScript
  • Compress your files in a single file
  • Use auto-spriting for images
  • Properly cache so the app can be installed one time and live for a really long time
  • Take advantage of localization that has been built directly in the framework

SproutCore provides:

  • build tools
  • auto spriting
  • file structure
  • localization strategy
  • highly integrated collection views
  • MVC components
  • statecharts
  • client-side data store that can be queried

SproutCore gives you a lot more pieces than other frameworks or libraries while at the same time tons more  in terms of performance.

Where SproutCore is going? Today the framework is a very full suite with lots of features, components and tools to use. There is no plan to “dumb down” the framework and try to compete with some of the newer frameworks on the market. SproutCore has been around longer with many engineering hours already spent building it out to be better and beyond what is coming out today. The Core Team of SproutCore wants to leverage what they have and continue to build on it. The Core Team wants developers to use SproutCore for building apps that are large scale, long lived and will continue to grow.  Another advantage that SproutCore has is that it has been thoroughly tested and carries lots of support across browsers.

Apple and others involvement:  Apple created SproutCore 1.0 and has been the largest contributor thus far. You can tell Apple spends many many hours on the code making it cross browser compatible, localizable.  I think iCloud is available in over 100 different languages. Apple helps make the framework very professional and has been a really great resource from a testing standpoint. Facebook, as far as anyone can tell, does not have any interest in SproutCore. Eloqua is also one of the major contributors to SproutCore, in particular the excellent client side data store components.

What has happened to SproutCore since the end of Strobe? SproutCore was completely worked on by Apple and its creator, Charles Jolley. Charles was very adamant that it be open source and have a community of support behind it. When SproutCore was under Apple, very few people who were contributing back to the framework. Charles then left Apple and created Strobe which spent a lot of energy building and marketing SproutCore. Strobe was unable to keep going and was eventually purchased by Facebook. As far as anyone can tell, Facebook is just interested in the people behind the framework, not SproutCore itself. So SproutCore was left untended for a couple months. I, who had been working as a contractor at Strobe, then spent the time to keep SproutCore going by collecting the assets, passwords, etc.  Appnovation also stepped in to provide community support. Today, engineering work continues and the framework continues to be built out. Currently in 1.8, with 1.9 out very soon and 2.0 already having some work done on it. With Strobe gone, the marketing and promotion side of things sputtered at which point companies like Appnovation have stepped up and filled that gap.

SproutCore 1.9:  1.9 is essentially just about done. In the past, SproutCore has had versioning problems, so it was hard to know when to upgrade an application built with it. SproutCore 1.9 is backwards compatible with new features releases with a number of bug fixes. It is not meant to introduce any new problems in existing apps. SproutCore 1.9 has a number of styling fixes to the ACE theme so that is works in a lot more scenarios properly, it also provides the introduction of SC.Color which is object for the manipulation of colors and adds XHR2 events.

SproutCore 2.0: The next major release will be SproutCore 2.0 which means its not going to be completely backwards compatible. Strobe’s 2.0 that was in the works is not related to SproutCore. The project got spun off and became EmberJS.  SproutCore 2.0 is going to move to node based build tools because right now the build tools are written in Ruby. This makes it harder for the Core Team to work on the build tools because they have to know Ruby. Additionally, anyone using SproutCore has to have Ruby installed to use the framework when building an application. Thus the move to Node is happening for several reasons most notably because the Node installers are better maintained and Node makes it easier for people to contribute back to the code since they are based in JavaScript as well. The release of SproutCore 2.0 is going to bring about the clean up of the numerous of sub-frameworks (libraries), because several were not maintained well. SproutCore 2.0 is also going to place a major focus on expanding the desktop framework because right now there are number of tablet and phone specific views to be added and we want to add more layout helpers. We are expecting to re-label the desktop framework a UI framework and raise it to higher level standard.  The Core team wants to make it easier and faster and with 2.0, people will be made more aware of all the features and tools that are out there on the 2.0 release through an emphasis on better documentation, guides and tutorials that will be made available online.

To summarize: SproutCore will continue to grow and get easier to use. We also expect it to have a lot less of a learning curve for developers wanting to create really fast and robust applications.

Link to view recorded version of the meetup on Vimeo

SproutCore Online Meet Up – August 14th

written by Tim Welsch

Hey SproutCore enthusiasts!

We’re moving our SproutCore meet ups online! It’s been a bit since the last Vancouver meet up and, in an effort to make these sessions more accessible to people, we’ve decided to host our next event strictly online. Our next meet up is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14th at 4pm PST. Our scheduled panelists for this session are Dave Porter and are Tyler Keating.

Dave will be presenting on “Tips and Tricks for Blazing-Fast List Views”, best practices for optimizing your collection views to create the smoothest possible experience in a variety of circumstances, and Tyler will be leading a discussion on SproutCore 1.9 and 2.0.

Register for the online event here

We’ve also repurposed the Vancouver SproutCore Meet Up page for these events, so to keep in the loop with upcoming online meet ups join the group page on

There have also been new projects developed and launched using SproutCore like Kobo’s new Instant Reader app and the Wheelz mobile Admin Console. Check out all the latest projects using SproutCore here.

Hope you can make it to our session on August 14th!

Welcome to Dave Porter, SproutCore Committer

written by SproutCore

It’s our pleasure to announce that Dave Porter will be the newest SproutCore Committer.  He has shown a strong interest in supporting SproutCore and its community and we look forward to working more closely with him in the future.

As a SproutCore Committer, Dave will have his own branches in the repo and have better access to SproutCore’s Reviewers and Project Owners to help drive SproutCore forward.

As has been mentioned in previous announcements, contributing to the project can be a thankless and demanding task, so please take a moment to catch Dave (dcporter) on #sproutcore and and pass on your support.

As well, if you yourself are interested in the evolution of SproutCore, there’s really only one requirement;  contribute!

Introducing the SproutCore Showcase

written by SproutCore

As you may have noticed above, there is a new section to the website, Showcase.  This page is meant to act as your one-stop reference for all of SproutCore’s Views and Controls.

Previously, you would have had to install SproutCore and run it locally to view the Test Controls app and would have had to search the source code of that app to figure out how the Controls were configured.  Now you can visit at any time and copy code snippets directly from within the page.  Even better, we’ve expanded the examples significantly to include all of the available Views and Controls with many more configuration examples.

On a technical note, the Showcase page is actually a SproutCore app itself deployed on Github pages.  The app is open-source and you can browse its source and contribute to it on Github.

In the coming weeks, we will work to consolidate the various SproutCore demos and deploy them on this page as well, ensuring easy access to up-to-date demos.

SproutCore 1.8.2 Released

written by SproutCore

[edit] Due to a mistake in the included files of the published 1.8.2 gem, the gem needed to be re-built.  Therefore the current working version of the gem for SproutCore 1.8.2 is sproutcore-  Sorry for any confusion.

We are pleased to announce the release of SproutCore 1.8.2. This release contains minor fixes to the 1.8 code-base and will likely be the last patch of 1.8 prior to the 1.9.0 release. To upgrade to the latest version, simply run:

gem update sproutcore

This is a patch release and contains the following bug fixes:

  • Fixed syntax error in Datastore unit test.
  • SC.SplitView can now mixin SC.SplitChild.
  • Thinned picker pane border divs so that they don’t overlap the content view.
  • Prevents target property conflict when configuring button targets with SC.AlertPane.
  • Changed the aria-orientation of horizontal SC.ScrollView to ‘horizontal’ from ‘vertical’.
  • Allows SC.CollectionFastPath to work with sparse content by always returning an item view even when content isn’t yet available.
  • Prevents SC.GridView from iterating over its content array in order to work with sparse content.
  • The ‘mobile-safari’ body class name is no longer being added in all browsers.
  • Enables pasting in SC.TextFieldView to notify that the value changed.
  • Prevents default touch behavior being intercepted on <textarea> and <select> elements.

Announcing SproutCore 1.8.1!

written by SproutCore

We’re pleased to announce the release of SproutCore 1.8.1.  To upgrade to the latest version, simply run:

gem update sproutcore

If you installed SproutCore using the installer, please note that due to the strain that maintaining the installers puts on the release process, we will not be updating the installer for each patch level release.   Therefore, to get the very latest stable version, it is recommended that you install the SproutCore gem.

Installing the gem is actually quite easy and there are detailed instructions for each platform at  Simply find your platform and go to the Advanced Install tab, which helps you get Ruby properly installed.  If you’ve already got Ruby 1.9 installed, it is as simple as gem install sproutcore.

Continue reading

Wesley Workman & Tim Evans are now SproutCore Reviewers

written by Tyler Keating

Please join us in congratulating Tim and Wesley on achieving SproutCore Reviewer status.  They are two of the most active contributors and have shown that they share our ideal of making SproutCore the most feature rich and highest quality application development framework.

More importantly, please join us in thanking Tim and Wesley and all the Committers and Reviewers for the work they’ve done to get us here.  We ask a lot of our burgeoning team and we are fortunate to have such people.

Sprint Towards 1.8 Release

written by Tyler Keating

SproutCore is about to get a new release on February 29, 2012 and we want to kick it off with an important sprint over the last weekend of the month.  As an open-source project, the success of SproutCore depends on you and others like you, so please consider setting aside some time to get involved.  Thanks!


Aside:  We’ve decided that the next release of SproutCore will be titled 1.8.  It’s simply an indication that the code base has changed enough since the 1.7 beta, which should have been finalized some time ago but was missed during the rocky period when SproutCore 2.0 was determined no longer to present the future of SproutCore.

Welcome to Maurits Lamers and Mitch Oliver

written by Tyler Keating

Hot on the heels of last week’s introduction of five new team members, I’m pleased to announce that Maurits Lamers and Mitch Oliver have also signed on as SproutCore Committers. As with the people from my previous post, these names should be of no surprise to anyone who has been with SproutCore for some time.

For those that aren’t sure of the difference between Committers and Reviewers, Committers are actually required to work in their own branches in the repo and submit every change as a pull request to be accepted by a Reviewer. The Reviewers are allowed to make direct fixes, but will most likely submit anything at all substantial as a pull request too in order to get another Reviewer’s feedback and acceptance. Both roles also include the responsibility to try to move the outstanding issues and pull requests towards a resolution.

As you can tell from the above description, both roles are a lot of work and it takes people with a real dedication to the project to accept what can be a thankless and demanding task, so please take a moment to catch all of these people on #sproutcore and and show them your support.