Learning DHTMLX Suite UI

By Eli Geske
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About this book

JavaScript applications provide an excellent user experience for small to large scale enterprise applications. The amazing growth of JavaScript has opened the door for many great libraries such as DHTMLX.

"Learning DHTMLX Suite UI" will teach you how to use these libraries effectively so you can make presentations that will take your employer’s/ client’s breath away!

"Learning DHTMLX Suite UI" is a step-by-step guide that will teach you the basics of DHTMLX library components and how to apply them in a real-world scenario. This book will start with the installation of DHTMLX before moving on to explore the features of DHTMLX and helping you to create your first user management application.

"Learning DHTMLX Suite UI" will guide you through the installation of DHTMLX as a single-page application. As you progress from one chapter to the next, you will gradually build a simple user management application. You will also learn how to create forums with validation and how to use grids to add and edit users. The book will also suggest the best practices for using toolbars and refreshing data. With "Learning DHTMLX Suite UI Guide", you will be inspired to come up with your own great ideas for your future application development projects.

Publication date:
October 2013


Chapter 1. User Management Web App

In this chapter, we will go over what DHTMLX is and the different ways in which we can use it. It is good to know that there are other options available and why DHTMLX stands out as a great choice for small-sized to full-sized web applications compared to others. We will also explain the application we will build, components that will be used, and what is needed to achieve this.



DHTMLX is a robust set of JavaScript components used for client-side, desktop-like web applications or websites. It also has server-side connection scripts to better help format the data structure to and from chosen types of server-side storage. Each of the DHTMLX's components can be used as individual features to your website or combined to create a full scale web application. All of these components work nicely together.

If you have been searching the Web for different components like grids or modal windows, you probably have seen some of the large variety of other options out there. There are jQuery-driven grids, custom JavaScript modal windows, and full scale libraries of components similar to DHTMLX.

DHTMLX and other component libraries

The major difference in the available JavaScript components is that most are small and contain only one or two different components. If you plan on just using a grid for a project, there are many good choices out there. Some of the better known smaller JavaScript component libraries for grids are jqGrid and SlickGrid.

Surprisingly, I have found that DHTMLX's grid has more options than even the single libraries specializing in grids. Also, one must be careful of choosing a standalone library, as the documentation and maturity can sometimes be an issue.

What about the more robust component libraries?

One of DHTMLX's comparable libraries is Sencha Ext JS . They both aim to give the developer the tools needed to build rich desktop-like applications in a web environment. They also provide both a free version as well as a paid version which includes support.

The major difference between these two component libraries is their documentation and coding structure. Sencha Ext JS has a very granular documentation that, when learned, is very beneficial. DHTMLX has a straight to the point list of available methods and events which are available for each component.

Today, more and more web designers want to make applications. These designers have a better understanding of a customer's needs and how to create a more user-friendly application. These designers may not have an in-depth understanding of programming and documentation. DHTMLX caters toward this very well.

The components

Let's get familiar with some of the components that DHTMLX has to offer and go over exactly what a component is.

A component in DHTMLX is a JavaScript object that is used to present and allow interaction of data to the end user in a clean and efficient manner. DHTMLX does all of the heavy lifting by creating the HTML in a presentable layout that is cross-browser friendly.

What is also important about a component is that they can be used together in a combination of components or separately in a block-level DOM element.

DHTMLX offers the following components:

  • Grid

  • Tree

  • Tree Grid

  • Layout

  • Windows

  • Toolbar

  • DataView

  • ColorPicker

  • Editor

  • Chart

  • Menu

  • Form

  • Combo

  • TabBar

  • Calendar


    The DHTMLX team is hard at work adding new components frequently, so it is beneficial to check their website for a list of currently available components.

DHTMLX also provides an online skin builder and a Visual Designer tool. The skin builder allows for editing the CSS of a current skin or downloading one of the many existing skins. For our application, we will use the default "Blue Sky" skin.

The Visual Designer tool is a graphical user interface that allows a user to create code without having to actually write it. This is free, and is available on the DHTMLX website.


What will we be building?

Trumpets, please! We will be building a simple user management web application without a server-side database. Instead, we will be using HTML5's local storage. This will allow us to get going with DHTMLX quickly without being bound to a specific server-side language.

For the application, we will be using the Layout, Grid, Toolbar, Form, Chart, and Window components from the DHTMLX library. The app will provide the ability to add, delete, edit a user, and see charted data of those users in the system.

The following screenshot is what our final application will look like:

When you are finished with this book, you will have a good understanding of how to get the DHTMLX components to work together in a web application.



In this chapter, we covered what DHTMLX provides, which components are going to be utilized, and what our application will look like when completed. This brief introduction is enough to get us going.

In the next chapter, we will start the installation process by downloading and attaching the scripts in a local web server, then test that the library is installed correctly.

About the Author

  • Eli Geske

    Eli Geske is an entrepreneurial graphics designer turned programmer. He has been involved in web applications from creating and enhancing online gaming communities, to building applications that improve company's efficiency. He has also invented products, put in for patents, and pushed them to market. His programming skills range from JavaScript, PHP, and C# which he uses in the medical industry, payment processing industry, and on custom order management sites. He also has a degree in computer science, focusing on networking and web server administration. His knowledge of DHTMLX springs from his daily engagements in a current large scale medical application. Some other of Eli's writings and public offerings can be viewed on his blog www.eligeske.com or on eligeske.github.com.

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Learning DHTMLX Suite UI
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