Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

IT Mill Toolkit 5 out of Beta

Category: Framework, GWT, Java

<p>With the release of IT Mill Toolkit 5.3.0, the server-side RIA framework is now ready for production. I announced the initial release of 5.0 back in December of 2007. Since that time, IT Mill 5 has gone through several revisions and the release of GWT 1.5 (which means you can use Java 5 now on both the client and the server). As a reminder, server-side RIA frameworks let you write your app completely in the server and uses a client-side Ajax engine to render the interface. The nice wrinkle with IT Mill is that both the server side and the client side are written in Java, so if you want to add a component, you don’t have to break out the JavaScript (see the extensive and high quality reference manual for details on how to develop your own custom components in GWT). If you’re a Java shop, that’s got to be a good thing.

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Posted by Dietrich Kappe at 5:24 pm
10 Comments

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JavaScript on both sides sounds much more interesting to me

Comment by frenchStudent — March 10, 2009

I’d like to hear from the Java guys and gals out there about this. Seems to me like just another framework similar to Air, Ext, etc.

Comment by dimitryz — March 10, 2009

The major drawback I see, looking at the sampler, is that the generated code is in JavaScript, making any graceful degradation completely impossible.

Aside from that, writing simple widget became nearly as cumbersome as in Swing. Not sure we are winning a battle here…

Comment by gizmogwai — March 11, 2009

Do you like Java? What about Eclipse, NetBeans or IntelliJ?

I do, so I feel it’s good move to toss all code into the best toolchain that I know. With big projects I see beautiful design that I can re-factor and actually maintenance even when there’s larger team involved. IDEs do offer wonderful tools for us. For developers, it’s for the Zen, for CEOs it’s for the ROI.

You do have complex and dynamic views, layouts, components and widgets. You also have to couple your backend with these somehow (data binding). For me, this would be a pain to develop with other kind of toolchain such as browser specific javascript, template engines and perhaps declarative XML (uhh).

But, for smaller projects Toolkit can be a total overkill :-)

Comment by JaniLaakso — March 11, 2009

@gizmogwai – IT Mill Toolkit is made for applications, not for pages. Thus “graceful degradation” would not work even in the case we could be generating plain HTML. Actually, you can check the previous version – IT Mill Toolkit 4 – it is able to generate static HTML and is useable (in theory) even with text only browsers. As this weren’t used too much, the feature was dropped from version 5.

The primary target for the toolkit are developers who are using widgets in the library – no writing new ones. But if you want to write new ones, it is also fairly straightforward – just see the tutorial.

@JaniLaakso Please define small. I have seen quite a few nice 1-2 person months long projects done with IT Mill Toolkit. But I fully agree that if you are going to build a simple fairly static web-site (in few days), then IT Mill Toolkit is not for you.

Comment by jole — March 11, 2009

@dimitryz actually not. IT Mill Toolkit is really Java-centric (or should I say Java only) framework that runs on server-side. This is quite far away from JavaScript oriented frameworks, like Ext and Tibco GI, that are run on browser.

Comment by jole — March 11, 2009

For jole: with smaller I meant you are not doing an rich application and your project is more of page oriented. Yes, “non application styled” is better word than “small”.

Comment by JaniLaakso — March 11, 2009

@jole > Sorry, but I have to disagree. Unless you decide to constrain your users to a specific browser, by providing a AIR widget for example, you cannot simply drop the graceful degradation, at least not for all the major browsers that currently exists.
I would perceive it as a lack of respect for my chosen tool it it was not mentioned prior to using you RIA. As good as it could be.

Comment by gizmogwai — March 11, 2009

@gizmogwai IT Mill Toolkit supports Firefox 2, and 3; Internet Explorer releases 6, 7, and 8; Safari 3 and Opera 9.6. In addition to those, it works reasonably well on Safari 2, and 4 beta; Firefox 1.5; Google Chrome 1.0.x; iPhone (firmware 2.2); Midori (0.1.2); Epiphany (2.22.3); Galeon; Epiphany; Konqueror and Nokia Internet Tablet N800 and N810. So, while it does not support “all” browsers, it supports quite many of them.

Comment by jole — March 11, 2009

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Comment by 111111111111 — March 14, 2009

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