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Vaadin welcomes in Google Web Toolkit

Emerging Java web framework, Vaadin has revealed details of a tighter link-up with Google's Web ToolKit - becoming the first web framework to offer commercial level GWT support - and that they will be part of GWT's steering group.

At Google I/O last week, Joonas Lehtinen announced the fully Vaadin-maintained version of Google Web Toolkit would be present in the upcoming Vaadin 7, meaning direct support of a client-side UI development model.

In a blogpost, Lehtinen said that a “5 year ‘engagement period’ with GWT is turning into something more serious”, with GWT being included as a core component. Rather than making it too intrusive, Lehtinen added that there would be “an option to create a Vaadin client module when it is needed by your application (for example, offline mode).” This means that Vaadin will allow user interface development both on the server-side and on the client-side. When Vaadin spot a GWT bug or want a new feature, not only will they create it for their framework, but push it back upstream to benefit the wider GWT community.

The move appears to be instigated by Google’s decision to yield some control of GWT over to some of the biggest companies using it as a steering committee to oversee future development. Alongside Vaadin sit Sencha, and Red Hat, who will decide the future direction of the Java APIs and widget toolkit for writing AJAX applications. They’ve already made an initial stamp on the project, instigating a repository move from Subversion to Git.

Vaadin 7 is scheduled to appear fully in October, so full GWT commercial support will appear soon after that.

Google’s relinquishing of GWT bears a resemblance to IBM’s decision to hand over the Eclipse open source tools project to the Eclipse Foundation - and look where that ended up!

It is hoped that with Vaadin, in part, at the helm (at least in part), the community in GWT will pick up akin to Eclipse’s transfer of power. With Vaadin holding a major stake in GWT, it should benefit both parties, hopefully create a seamless link from server to browser, with Vaadin overseeing the transition of Java to JavaScript and create some superb looking UI components.

More information on Vaadin’s plans with GWT can be found here, whilst details of the most recent alpha release can be found here.

Chris Mayer

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