December 12, 2006

Google web toolkit now completely open source

Google announced that as of today its GWT (Google web toolkit) is available under Apache 2.0 license. GWT, incase you didnt know is a java to javascript compiler which can churn out intelligent cross-browser compatible javascript code from pure java code. Switching from javascript to GWT has a bit of learning curve, but its completely possible that it will overtake most if not all the other Javascript toolkits out there.

My biggest pain point while working with other javascript based toolkits was detecting compile-time errors and debugging runtime errors. And in long run, I expect browser compatibility issues taking up significant development time to keep up with the various browsers out there. GWT like most other toolkits keeps its core code seperate from users javascript, and thus can take away some of the long term maintainance issues. But since GWT is supported by google, there is a bigger chance that this one will stay in the market much longer than others out there.

While most other toolkits expect you to write a little bit of javascript, GWT doesn't expect you to write any. Infact GWT can even help you generate a complete HTML interface with buttons and input boxes using standard GWT widgets. And if you write your backend code in java, you will love the fact that GWT code can get compiled along with rest of your code, in background, in your favourite java editor, and will ensure that its as structured as rest of your java code base.

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