Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Google Web Toolkit 1.2 Released

Category: Google, GWT, Toolkit

GWT 1.2 has been officially released.

The last important bugs have been squashed from the RC that was out there recently.


  • Create a Widget by compositing other Widgets. Lay out Widgets automatically in Panels. Send your Widget to other developers in a JAR file.
  • To communicate from your web application to your web server, you just need to define serializable Java classes for your request and response. In production, GWT automatically serializes the request and deserializes the response from the server. GWT’s RPC mechanism can even handle polymorphic class hierarchies, and you can throw exceptions across the wire.
  • No, AJAX applications don’t need to break the browser’s back button. GWT lets you make your site more usable by easily adding state to the browser’s back button history.
  • In production, your code is compiled to JavaScript, but at development time it runs in the Java virtual machine. That means when your code performs an action like handling a mouse event, you get full-featured Java debugging, with exceptions and the advanced debugging features of IDEs like Eclipse.
  • Your GWT applications automatically support IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, and Opera with no browser detection or special-casing within your code in most cases.
  • GWT’s direct integration with JUnit lets you unit test both in a debugger and in a browser…and you can even unit test asynchronous RPCs.
  • Easily create efficient internationalized applications and libraries.
  • If GWT’s class library doesn’t meet your needs, you can mix handwritten JavaScript in your Java source code using our JavaScript Native Interface (JSNI).

As we mentioned when we released the 1.2 Release Candidate, you can now develop and debug with GWT on Mac OS X in addition to Linux and Windows. We are pretty proud of this particular feature because GWT is now about as “platform independent” as you can get: develop on Windows, Linux or Mac OS X and deploy to IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera on any platform, without any special cases in your code. (If you want a bit more detail about our implementation of Mac OS X support, our release nomenclature and other tidbits, this recent InfoQ interview may interest you.)

We also have already talked about how much faster the 1.2 hosted mode debugging environment is. And it is. If you’ve ever found yourself dropping to the command line using only the GWT compiler because hosted mode was too slow, you really should check out 1.2. Refreshes in hosted mode are almost instantaneous, and hosted mode lets you actually debug your code.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:39 pm

4.2 rating from 25 votes


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ive never used JAVA. but this sounds pretty good.

Comment by carmen — November 16, 2006

Is there actually someone found GWT is useful in their’s daily job? I’ve asked the same question on GWT Google Group to a GWT development manager. He just run away.

For me, it looks like every company is open source something, something useless mostly.

They just pretend to be a good company.

Comment by Cheng Guangnan — November 16, 2006

Most of links from your article, like should be completed with “webtoolkit”, like this:
Otherwise they are dead.

Comment by Krzysztof — November 17, 2006

There are passengers for every train. Some train cars are more crowded than others. The GWT car seems to attract those well read and informed folks, who also tend to be Java centric and browser agnostic. The open/close source issue has little or no impact on the quality of most toolkits (just on the pocket holes of some venture capitalists). GWT’s new release shows a continued commitment to enhanced widgets and interoperability.

Comment by Les Papier — November 17, 2006

Why are people excited by this Google toolkit that offers no source code for the interesting parts of the technology – like the Java to Javascript compiler? Who knows what kind of code it is generating – is it calling home? We don’t know. This is not truly free software. It can change at Google’s whim, or even be revoked without notice. Why would anyone base a large software project on this with this many unknowns?

Comment by No Source — November 17, 2006

The main problem I have with GWT is, last time I checked, you really couldn’t mix/match and drop it into projects–i.e. you either build your whole view tier with GWT, or you can’t use it. I’ll admit to being fuzzy on specifics, but my sense was that the Java->JS compiler had to chomp through the whole page, which has a special extension, and render it; rather than being able to handle things piecemeal, such that you could use GWT in conjunction with, say, JSF.

If I could drop a couple GWT jars into my project and start using bits and pieces where I wanted, it might be worth it for me. Otherwise, I can’t imagine porting over whole-hog, or even undertaking a new project using GWT–as the combination of all other frameworks (both server-side and client-side) that interop is always going to be superior to what GWT offers.

I’m happy to be corrected, though. :)

Comment by Rogers — November 17, 2006

In response to Rogers concern about not being able to mix/match GWT code into existing apps, I really do want to set the record straight here. The exact scenario that Rogers described (“just drop in some GWT jars”) is one of our primary use cases. GWT apps definitely do not need to own the whole page. We’d be nuts to expect people to start from scratch just to use GWT. In fact, we’ve worked very hard to make sure that Java/JavaScript integration works very smoothly. (GWT’s JavaScript Native Interface is another example of how seriously we take integration.) For more detail on this question and several related topics, check out our recent Ajax Experience presentation on GWT.

Comment by Bruce Johnson — November 17, 2006

I really don’t understand why do people so much dislike GWT.
Some claim it is unusable for big projects – what do you use for completely AJAX projects? Prototype? Scriptaculous? If those .js files are suitable for big projects, them maybe I’m in the wrong field.

Second, concerning the “hidden Java2JS compiler” – I don’t understand why people need everything to be open-source. Is .NET OpenSource? :-/

I’d trust Google…maybe 6th sense.

Comment by Bozhidar — November 17, 2006

Just to be clear, GWT is _free_, not open source, correct?

Comment by Rob Sanheim — November 17, 2006

That’s correct. GWT is free as in free beer. Much of the (interesting) source code is not provided. If there’s a bug you’d like to fix or a feature you’d like to add you are out of luck.

Comment by Free as in Beer — November 17, 2006

That is what I said – it is not OpenSource, and there is not problem with it.

Comment by Bozhidar — November 18, 2006

“Free as in Beer” said If there’s a bug you’d like to fix or a feature you’d like to add you are out of luck.

That’s not correct. All of the GWT user libraries (i.e. the ones you actually code against) are licensed under Apache 2.0, and all the source is in gwt-user.jar. You’re free to tweak, extend, fix, and mess with it all you want. Users in the GWT community do this all the time.

Comment by Bruce Johnson — November 18, 2006

Why do so many people dislike GWT? It’s simple, most ajax developers don’t know Java nor have much of an engineering background. They simply fear what they don’t understand and think that if GWT becomes popular they will be out of a job.

Comment by Calculator — November 28, 2006

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