The future of GWT and web development

Vaadin is actually hosting a purely GWT focussed, not the first one, but it is a long time since we had a GWT conference, and Joonas (from Vaadin) shared some stats: we have 600+ attendees in San Francisco and in Frankfurt together, Frankfurt being sold out.

Ray Cromwell just held the keynote on the gwt.create conference in San Francisco and shared some quite interesting insights on where GWT has come from and how it is moving forward.

While GWT has it’s roots in a time where JavaScript VMs where slow and incompatible, the current state of the browsers and their JVMs is quite different.

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So the main challenge in web development changed, and GWT being used so widely at Google, will move forward as well. While speed is going to improve further (Google is still working very hard on the compiler, improving split point generation, fully integration of the closure compiler and much more), the main magic (from my personal view) is happening in the JS inter-operation.

There are really many powerful JS libraries, and modern web development uses them all. The GWT team is working on seamless integration of JS libraries, from lightweight wrappers (say goodbye to JSNI and overlay types) to zero effort JS interop, where the required Java interfaces get generated auto-magically for the JS libraries you drop into your project. And best of all – those libraries should be used un-minified in development and will be parsed by the GWT compiler and get all the optimizations the GWt complier is great at. This means that you can drop the complete jQuery library into you project, but only the JS you use will find its way into your application.

The next major GWT release is expected to come mid 2014 with full Java 8 support and hopefully a bunch of the new magic demoed today.

4 thoughts on “The future of GWT and web development”

  1. Is it possible to deploy GWT application on free web hosting sites starting from a free site and continuing with premium features? If so what are the best alternatives?

  2. Well, the answer ist (as often) – it depends.
    Sometimes you have privacy issues, like in Germany, personal data must not leave Europe.

    Than you might run into technical issues. While the GWT application itself ist static content that runs in the browser and must only be delivered, the backend could prove a little bit trickier.

    I have a GWT application up and running at google app-engine. Works quite well for my requirements. I have another one running on Amazon AWS: I had some requirements where AWS proved to be the best (and only?) solution.

  3. There is an alternative tool similar to GWT called Dragome. But this one is about compiling bytecode to js, and it also has UI components support. Things like Incremental compiling, Java 8, HTML template are already supported.
    And there is no need to wait to ECMAScript 6 to be standardized because it already allows use of dynamic proxies continuation (js yield), classes, lambda (arrow functions).

    Project URL: http://www.dragome.com

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