Google Delivers GWT 2.0

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-12-09

Google Delivers GWT 2.0

Google has introduced GWT 2.0, the latest version of Google Web Toolkit, the search giant's "open-source development tool kit used by thousands of developers ... for building and optimizing complex browser-based applications," it said in a news release Dec. 9.

Recent "improvements in browser speed and capabilities" enable the creation of "ever larger and richer Web applications," Google said. The company announced the release of GWT 2.0 at a Google Campfire One event held Dec. 8 at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

In a blog post about the release, Andrew Bowers, GWT product manager, said the GWT 2.0 release was designed "to do two main things for developers: make it easier to build faster apps [and] speed up the overall development cycle."

Added Bowers:

"This is a very exciting release because it's the [culmination] of a year and a half working with teams like Google Wave, AdWords, and Orkut (among many others inside and outside of Google) to evolve GWT to meet the needs of today's web applications. There are many features and improvements, but let me call out three which we're especially excited about."

The three new features Bowers drew attention to were Speed Tracer, Code Splitting and UiBinder. The Google news release described them as follows:

"-   Performance Profiling with Speed Tracer: Speed Tracer is a new tool built using modern HTML5 technologies that allows developers to diagnose performance problems in the browser, providing insight that hasn't been available before about low-level operations deep within the browser.

-   Incremental Downloading with Code Splitting: As applications grow larger, developers want to ensure that their applications start as quickly as possible, without requiring application "boot up" time as the code downloads. Code Splitting enables developers to safely and easily slice and dice their application code so that key functionality can load immediately and other features can be loaded later as needed.

-   Declarative UI with UiBinder: Team projects benefit from a workflow that allows smooth collaboration between designers and developers. UiBinder is a new declarative UI framework in Google Web Toolkit which enables rapid design iteration and a clean separation between presentation layer and application logic."

"The Web is getting more powerful as an application platform and ever-improving developer tools are playing a key role in this growth," the release quoted Bowers as saying. "Google Web Toolkit's performance and productivity enhancements have been tried and tested over the past year with Google teams that are pushing the boundaries of Web apps-products like Google Wave and AdWords 3.0."

"We use Google Web Toolkit for all our Java-based internal apps," said Google CIO Ben Fried. "It's a great tool for Enterprise-class Java GUI development, and we build our most sensitive and critical corporate systems with it. In addition to the big benefits in developer productivity GWT offers, the future-proofing and browser independence you get out of the box mean that we're protected from the problems caused by browser-specific bugs and exploits."

Praise for GWT


The news release continued:

"Because GWT is developed as an open source project, many companies have already started taking advantage of the new features we're premiering today. Google has worked in coordination with MediaBeacon, DotSpots, Red Hat, InterContinental Hotel Group, and many more."

"It is great to see a tool kit that provides developers with a way [of] creating rich Internet applications without a lot of the traditional overhead," said Keith Credendino, director of Distribution & Guest Technology at InterContinental Hotels Group. "GWT provides nicely greased rails for us to develop interactive sites, which translates to an enhanced guest experience."

"DotSpots saw major code size improvements after the release of GWT 2.0," DotSpots CTO Matt Mastracci said in a statement. "We shaved 20 percent off the code size by recompiling and even more once we started using Code Splitting. The new development mode available in GWT 2.0 has revolutionized the way we work with GWT. In previous versions, our development environments were limited to a single browser on our machine. We can now debug any browser running on the current machine, as well as browsers running on other platforms in virtual machines."

And Rich Sharples, director of product management at Red Hat, said in a statement, "As part of the upstream for JBoss Enterprise BRMS we have included a project called Drools Guvnor, which uses GWT-based GUIs, editors and tools to aid in the management of large numbers of rules and provides a centralized repository for Drools Knowledge Bases. Guvnor has been based on GWT since GWT first came out." 

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