Beyond DevMode – the future of GWT debugging

The days of the GWT DevMode are counted. Why? Because DevMode relies on a native browser-plugin to work (that approach was introduced with 2.0 and was called  OOPHM, out of process hosted mode). Those browser plugins rely on the C++ NPAPI, which will be deprecated on chrome by the end of 2014. Safari has already disabled NPAPI support (and thus broken DevMode on the Mac + Safari setup). To make things worst, mobile devices never offered such an native API.

Having its days counted, a future solution must be found. The new solution is not new and have been around for while: the SuperDevmode. And interestingly, this solution will work with mobile devices too. So while not new (and there are a few good blog posts documenting how to set it up), there are a few things that me must know.

First, we switch over to Javascript debugging. To keep things readable, GWT provides source maps, but Chrome is the only browser where you can use them. Firefox and Safari are meant to support source maps someday, but it is not working as of today as stated by Erik Kuefler.

Secondly, IntelliJ is already working on a remote debugger solution that will probably be released soon. So if you are looking for a tighter IDE integration for future GWT development, it seems like IntelliJ is the IDE of choice.

While the new approach is promising when it comes down to JavaScript to Java end to end debugging, it feels like a huge step backwards when you are used to  debugging tools in Java development.

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