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GWT Roundup: A Roadmap and Related Projects

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Some of the GWT projects currently under development are: data-backed widgets, collapsible panels, logging, form validation, sounds and graphics. Some of the GWT related projects that have been updated lately are: Smart GWT, GWT Designer, Gilead, and Raphael GWT.

GWT’s latest version is 2.0.3 and it was released in February this year. It was a bug-fixing package adding no new features over GWT 2.0 released in December 2009 and overviewed by InfoQ at that time. GWT/Wiki contains the projects Google is currently working on, some of the main features to come in the future being summarized by John LaBanca on GWT Contributors list:

GWT 2.1

PagingScrollTable and FastTree - We are working on a new set of data backed widgets for GWT 2.1 that will include APIs for trees and tables. We will build upon the lessons learned with these incubator widgets, but the API for the new data backed widgets will evolve significantly from the current APIs. When the data backed widgets are added to GWT trunk, we will stop development on the PagingScrollTable and FastTree.

Locale Selection - Selecting the locale on the server requires one less round trip to the server on startup and is needed for effective use of runtime locales selection.  This library will be included in GWT 2.1.

GWT 2.2

CollapsiblePanel -This widget will probably become a subclass of DockingLayoutPanel, similar to SplitLayoutPanel.

SliderBar and ProgressBar- Both of these widgets currently require the use of a global timer, which has performance implications. If we can implement these without a resize timer, we will include them in GWT 2.2. If we cannot, we will discontinue development on them.

Logging - The logging API may make it into GWT 2.1 if time permits.

Form Validation - We will take a closer look at the form validation API in GWT 2.2.

Projects in incubation:

SoundResource - SoundResource is a promising API for including sound in an application, but it makes sense to wait for HTML 5 features to become widely adopted before including it. We would like to move SoundResource into the gwt-voices project:

Graphics - The graphics library provides a single, platform independent API that works on top of Canvas and VML. The library is not ready for GWT trunk, but this project is worth pursuing.

HtmlDecorators - We will continue to work on this project to arbitrarily add decorations to widgets.

Other open source or commercial projects developed in the GWT ecosystem are:

Smart GWT

The Smart GWT framework has enhanced widgets running on the client but backed by server-side data, and it is build on SmartClient. Some of the main features are:

  • Support for Flash, ActiveX, Applets and SVG running as smart GWT widgets
  • Support for embedding widgets in ListGrid cells
  • Support for tri-state Checkbox TreeGrid
  • Works with GWT 2.0.3

GWT Designer

GWT Designer is a visual builder generating Java code that is later compiled with GWT into JavaScript. The latest version, 7.3, works with GWT 2.x, supporting the Development Mode, Layout Panel and newest widgets, HTML, Label and Hyperlink. 


Gilead makes it possible to persist GWT objects via Hibernate:

Persistent entity can be cloned to be sent outside the JVM without pain and exceptions. They can also be merged when back on the server, so the merged instance can be reused as a classical detached entity.

Raphael GWT

Raphael GWT is an adapter for Raphael, a JavaScript library which does vector graphics in the browser without relying on HTML5’s canvas element. Raphael works with Firefox 3.0+, Safari 3.0+, Opera 9.5+ and Internet Explorer 6.0+.

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