Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Google Web Toolkit 1.3: Open Source

Category: Google, GWT

Google has open sourced the Google Web Toolkit (GWT).

Version 1.3 RC is an open source version of 1.2.

Not all open source is equal. What does this mean to us?

Google Web
Toolkit 1.3 RC is open through and through, including the debugging
browser and the powerful Java-to-JavaScript compiler. Now everyone
from enterprise developers to weekend programmers can study the
toolkit, tweak it and build on top of it.

What’s more, we’re making the Google Web Toolkit development process
completely transparent. Design discussions, feature prioritization,
bug fixing and roadmap planning will take place in an open Google
Group. We’ll even post the notes from Google’s internal Google Web
Toolkit meetings. (Yes, you heard that right.) And if you want to,
say, include the documentation in a course reader or publish it in a
podcast, go right ahead: it’s covered by a Creative Commons license.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:04 am

4.1 rating from 43 votes


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Does that forecast an almost global adoption of GWT as THE web toolkit?
All the arguments for handcoded web language (JS, HTML, CSS..) might sound more and more counter-productive, geeky and not aligned in the engineering point of view

Comment by jpjoyal — December 12, 2006

This is great news. On the other hand, as a newcomer to ajax, I feel like the donkey in a room full of toolkit haystacks. Each time I move towards one, another one gets more attractive :-)

Comment by Paradise Pete — December 12, 2006

the stop using frameworks and do what you wanna do with some simple lines of code. i do it this way and i am happy about it.
for a newcomer it’s always better to code some (or later all)
self … just to know what frameworks do and to know what a framework
can do for you and what you don’t need … just my 2 cents..thx

Comment by handcoder — December 12, 2006

Yeah, I’ve looked at all sorts of toolkits, and the thing is, they were all WAY above my head. So I took a step back, and started learning from the very basics … like how to even make an xmlHTTPRequest call and display it on a page. Yes, these toolkits make it really easy to make really cool looking things happen, but if you don’t understand what the heck they’re doing, you’re not really learning anything. Plus some of these toolkits can ad 30 or 40KB of download to your pages … which aren’t always needed.

Still cool stuff that the Goog is open sourcing all this. Good to see them handing some code back to the community.

Comment by DigitaLink — December 12, 2006

To use or not to use toolkits that’s the question.
The toolkit that will be more used is the one that has the better job offers.

Comment by rodrigo — December 12, 2006

Handcoder, I’m not new to programming. I’ve been at it since the ’70s. I’m not currently using any frameworks or toolkits, simply because I know from experience that choosing the ‘wrong’ one is worse than not using one at all.
But I also know how much help the right one can be. So I’ve been waiting for one to break out of the pack and become the clear choice, but I’ve never seen a situation like this, where there is such a large number of viable candidates. Usually it’s two or three, and it doesn’t take long before the way to go becomes clear. I keep expecting some to pack it in and say “look, my stuff is good, but really x is getting so good that I think it’s better to just use that.” But so far that’s just not happening.
Say, where’d the preview go on this thing?

Comment by Paradise Pete — December 12, 2006

that’s very interesting, I’m glad google did this. it will definitely help with penetration of GWT, at least in the Java space. I wonder if Java Open Sourcing had anything to do with it?

Comment by Andre Charland — December 12, 2006

I agree that choosing the wrong framework can be “bad”, but not chosing one just to write code is not “good” either. There are several good ones that do somethings better than others. I personally mixnmatch myself. I also like to write code since it is what I get paid to do. I think the best thing I would recommend is to know what the framework your using is doing. You can write some simple code that you think will do nothing dojo.require(“”) and end up with a reeeaaalllyyy slow page. Look under the hood.

Comment by studly — December 12, 2006

Paradise Pete, studly ,

Comment by handcoder — December 12, 2006

And if you want to understand what is going on “under the hood” and have a good understanding of your framework, GWT has to be the worse since it totally rewrites your code. From what I have seen of GWT Java to JS compiled code is completely unreadable. I believe it is important that we DO understand our web applications, and writing in language is so vastly different than JS (Java and JS are foundationally extremely different) leads to applications that are bloated and not well understood. Sorry, I am not a fan of GWT.

Comment by Kris Zyp — December 12, 2006

lots of toolkits are available today. They are cool but what we need is not necessarly cool effects (although some could help) but a framework that allows us to create our own widgets. So the question is not which toolkit to use but more which kind of design patterns or standard in writing a widget. There are a few basic issues that are solved in these toolkits (like how to load libraries, how to link a html element and a JS class, what format to use for a class etc.) and the community should focus first on these points instead of trying to offer toolkits thaht have been writing for a specific context (i can’t see any that I can apply in my applications). We need design patterns and widget coding guidelines, not toolkits.. In the meantime, the only library I find useful – as a standard – is prototype.js …:-)

Comment by Franck Yvetot — December 13, 2006

Evloluion of the programmer sapius:

C sucks. My hand coded assembler rules.

Java sucks. My hand coded C rules.

GWT sucks. My hand coded javascript rules.

Comment by Calculator — December 14, 2006

@ Kris Zyp:
And now you want me to believe that using c++/c … is not usefull because you dont understand the resulting assembler code?
Anyway, nowadays there is no alternative to compilers in most development areas.

Im not a JS, HTML, Browser-compatibility expert, therefore, GWT is the best way to be productive …

Comment by Martin — December 15, 2006

@ Kris Zyp

GWT does not rewrite your AJAX code anymore than gcc rewrites your favorite c++ code. You write code in java, using whatever java tools make you productive, and GWT produces the appropriate javascript to publish.

GWT doesn’t aim to produce readable javascript by default. It aims to produce efficient, small javascript. And there is a compiler option to produce “pretty” javascript output. However, GWT users generally only fall back on it to satisfy a curiosity since debugging can actually be done in a standard java debugger. But aside from that, obfuscated (compressed) javascript is quite common in a lot of places and in all cases it is a generated product … not the source.

it is true, java and javascript are very different. javascript is very dynamic and expressive. Java seems to require a tap dance to even get started. But there are two things that still tip the scale in favor of java for AJAX development: tool support is extremely good and static typing allows compiler optimizations that really do prevent bloated apps (like the removal of unused code).

Comment by kellegous — December 15, 2006

Google Web Toolkit! Oh! so nice to Google,I love the same..so cute.

Don Lapre Lenny

Comment by Don Lapre Lenny — January 8, 2007

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