Those who work with Java and develop for Ajax are likely to already be in the know about the Google Web Toolkit. Those outside this sphere of violent and vigorous activity may not be savvy yet ... and that's why I want to draw this item to your attention. As part of its purported pathway to global hegemony, Google introduced its free tool set earlier this year (May, 2006) using an open source model like that for Apache. Also known as...
- Developers can use their development tools of choice (JUnit, JProfiler, IntelliJ, Eclipse and so forth) for Ajax development.
- Type checking in Java helps eliminate coding errors.
- Automated Java refactoring tools can improve code quality and efficiency prior to translation.
The biggest of these benefits has to be familiarity for those already working with Ajax and code rigor for those used to working with object-oriented design and modeling tools.
GWT offers a set of UI components known as Widgets to construct UI elements for an Ajax application. Widgets combine in Panels that manage the layout for the Widgets they contain. The Google Web Toolkit Product Overview includes a simple example of a complete application that shows a button with an associated click handler. The notation is succinct, simple and surprisingly readable. Available widgets include modal dialog boxes, tab bars, menu bars and even hierarchical trees. A complete list of features provides all the gory details.
Those interested in rapid development of Web-based applications, like Google's own recent spreadsheets offering, are bound to find what GWT has to offer both interesting and compelling. It's certainly worth a look and perhaps even some experimentation, for those interested in building Web-based apps.
About the author
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools for review.