Thursday, December 13th, 2007
I’ve long been a proponent of server-side Ajax frameworks — frameworks that store state on the server and use an Ajax engine in the browser to drive the display. The advantages: state and control logic stay on the server, so security compromises that exploit client-side state and logic are more difficult to pull off; developers can work in one language and, for the most part, ignore the fact they are writing a web application. The disadvantages: the server retains a large amount of state, so scaling your application can be problematic.
Back when GWT was introduced, it struck me that this would be the perfect way to write the client-side engine, to let the other 99 Java developers join in. I had the good fortune of being seated next to Joonas Lehtinen, IT Mill’s CEO, at the GWT Conference in SF this past week and was blown away when he demo’d IT Mill Toolkit 5, his server-side Ajax framework (dual Apache 2.0 and commercial licenses) that, yep you guessed it, uses GWT for its client-side engine.
One important thing to consider is that IT Mill has extended the default GWT widgets so that they can be fully "rebranded" with CSS. They do provide an extensive reference manual that will guide you through developing your own custom components and integrating them with the server side.
I’d like to see the other server-side frameworks follow IT Mill’s lead in using GWT for the client side, but given the amount of effort that they have put into building their client-side engines, that may be a ways off.
Posted by Dietrich Kappe at 12:50 pm