Major new features in GWT 1.5 include:
- Java 5 language support - Support for Java 5 features such as generics, enumerated types, annotations, auto-boxing, and variable parameter lists has been added
- Compiler optimizations - Performance of compiled applications has improved once again, and existing apps will notice a speed improvement after recompiling their unchanged GWT code with 1.5
- Default visual themes - Several CSS-based UI themes are now available to provide a starting point for application look-and-feel
Johnson described a couple of the changes which are present in 1.5:
Johnson also went into detail about the compiler changes which were required to support 1.5:
Johnson described GWT's major web development competitors as falling into three categories, and described how GWT differentiates itself from those competitors:
- Non-DOM UI models, e.g. Flex - GWT embraces the browser's DOM model rather than trying to replace it, and Johnson pointed out that some very compelling Flash and DOM UI integrations have been orchestrated using GWT
- Server-side HTML generators, e.g. JSF - GWT is complementary to this as it is purely a client-side technology (apart from RPC) and it integrates well with server-side components, however Johnson has found that the richer, more stateful GWT client code encourages building more responsive and fluid UIs with less requirement for server-side click-and-wait code
When askeed how GWT integrated with other Google codebases, Johnson said:
Johnson also said that numerous integrations for GWT exist including integrations into Spring, Flash and numerous Google Code projects.
When asked about plans for the future of GWT, Johnson said:
We are going to continue to focus on dramatically improving performance as well as graduating several new widgets out of the GWT Incubator, including a date picker and some fancy new table widgets. We also have other totally new things in the works, such as a declarative XHTML-based UI templating mechanism. Not everything has been scheduled yet, though, but I'd expect those in the next release or two. Which, by the way, I would expect to be a much shorter cycle than GWT 1.5 was.
Johnson also expressed support for the inclusion of GWT as a development environment for Google App Engine, calling it "a cool idea".
Todd Montgomery Dec 19, 2014