Monday, December 10th, 2007

GWT and Volta

Category: GWT, Microsoft

With Microsoft Volta there has been a lot of comparison to GWT, especially as Eric M said that it will “blow GWT out of the water”. There are some features that I am very interested in wrt Volta, namely:

  • Any CLR language (e.g. IronRuby :)
  • The ability to run on the client or the server:

    As an example, let’s say you have a function like ValidateAddress(). Whether this logic lives on the client (i.e. Javascript in the browser) or runs on the server is really a function of how complicated that function actually ends up being. Now imagine if when the time comes to refactor the function and move the validation logic from the Web client to the server or vice versa, instead of rewriting Javascript code in C#/IronPython/VB.NET/IronRuby/etc or vice versa you just add or remove a [RunAtOrigin] attribute on the function.

That being said, the Chronoscope (GWT project) author wrote about his experience playing with Volta, where he shares some of his frustrations (NOTE: Volta is obviously very much a preview release):

Microsoft’s test application certainly blows away my browser: http://labs.live.com/volta/samples/WordWorm.html.

It made over 171 HTTP requests to load up all of its generated Javascript, over 2 megabytes of code, it took 20 seconds to startup, ran slow once it did, threw exceptions and sent me into the debugger, and when I looked at the code, I noticed that it had compatibility code for other browsers in my download, code chewing up space and network bandwidth that are useless to my Firefox instance.

I realize that this is a prototype, but come on. Microsoft should not be talking smack about GWT until they’ve got something to show that doesn’t have so many easy to criticize flaws.

I am biased. I work for Google. Ray writes a GWT application

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:05 am
6 Comments

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3 rating from 20 votes

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Is Microsoft going to release a Linux version, or will they claim it’s open and accessible by off-loading a cross-platform implementation onto Miguel de Icaza?

Comment by AndyB — December 10, 2007

hmm this reminds me of joel spolsky’s post from a while ago: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/09/18.html

Comment by jauco — December 10, 2007

Before stating “blow GWT out of the water” you should at least have a good demo and you should let the community decide on that. This is just marketing and another futile attempt to be web 2.0. Shouldn’t they be making a better os instead.

Sorry for the frustration

Comment by eli — December 10, 2007

In another interview, it was claimed that Volta features Javascript interopability that GWT doesn’t, which just isn’t the case as I detail here: http://timepedia.blogspot.com/2007/12/is-voltas-javascript-interop-better.html

As for Joel’s comment, the fundamental issue isn’t just memory or CPU, it’s also network latency, and that isn’t being reduced as fast as everyone likes, nor is a fancy Javascript JIT in the browser going to fix it.

I don’t think Gmail has any need to worry, since at the current rate, by the time an uber-JS browser can replace a significant number of IE6/7/Firefox users, no one is going to develop a site that relies on uber-high performance JS VMs. Remember, most of the performance problems between Java 1.0 and Java 1.6 went away, Java VMs now are awesomely fast compared to the first days of the Applet, and the Consumer JRE/new Java plugin will supposedly solve the startup time issue, but somehow, I don’t think Applets are going to be making a come back.

The NewSDK already arrived: It was called Flash/Flex, and it did not take over the world as Joel might suggest. Instead, it merely added another option to the heterogeneous toolkit that web developers have at their disposal for creating rich applications. Flash ain’t killing DHTML+Javascript anytime soon, and if a faster Javascript VM arrives, you can bet that Google will be one of the first to take advantage of it.

Comment by Ray Cromwell — December 10, 2007

Well said “The NewSDK already arrived: It was called Flash/Flex, and it did not take over the world as Joel might suggest. Instead, it merely added another option to the heterogeneous toolkit that web developers have at their disposal for creating rich applications.”. Some companies always want to proclaim the end of something. But that’s not the way the web works. It evolves, trying many combinations and solutions. There is never one clear winner. If applet startup is good it might get used for some specific stuff like image resizing before uploading to a server. But one never knows.

Comment by eli — December 10, 2007

OMG! This really sucks! I haven’t seen a center-tag either for some while…

Comment by mg — December 11, 2007

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