Matt Raible has been building web applications for most of his adult life. He started tinkering with the web before Netscape 1.0 was even released. For the last 16 years, Matt has helped companies adopt open source technologies (Spring, Hibernate, Apache, Struts, Tapestry, Grails) and use them effectively. Matt has been a speaker at many conferences worldwide, including Devoxx, Jfokus, ÜberConf, No Fluff Just Stuff, and a host of others. Matt is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 144 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Integrating GWT into AppFuse

03.16.2013
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I've been interested in integrating GWT into AppFuse ever since I blogged about it 4 years ago. A few months after that post, I wrote about Enhancing Evite.com with GWT and Grails. After Evite, I had a gig near Boston where I developed with GXT for the remainder of the year. When all was said and done, I ended up spending a year with GWT and really enjoyed my experience. I haven't used it much since.

GWT is scheduled to be integrated into AppFuse in version 4.0. That's quite a ways off. The good news is you might not have to wait that long, thanks to Iván García Sainz-Aja. Iván let us know about his work a couple weeks ago in an email to the appfuse-dev mailing list.

It's still work in progress but it has already most of AppFuse functionality..

If you want to give it a try

https://github.com/ivangsa/appfuse.git

the quickest way to have a go would be

web/gwt$ mvn -P gwtDebug -Dgwt.inplace=true gwt:compile jetty:run

at the moment it still requires this fork of gwt-bootstrap to be compiled first

https://github.com/ivangsa/gwt-bootstrap.git

It needs a lot of testing yet but it's getting quite there

As you can imagine, I was very excited to hear about Iván's work. So I cloned his repo, built gwt-bootstrap locally and checked it out. Functionality wise, it was great! However, when I dug into the source code, I found a whole lotta code.

To see how the GWT flavor compared to the other implementations in AppFuse, I created a cloc report on the various web frameworks in AppFuse. I'm sure these reports could be adjusted to be more accurate, but I believe they give a good general overview. I posted some graphs that displays my findings in visual form.

When I sent this to the mailing list, Ivan responded that it was a lot of code and estimated 12 new files would be needed to CRUD an entity. This sure seems like a lot to me, but he defended this yesterday and noted that his implementation follows many of GWT's latest best practices: MVP pattern, Activities and Places, EventBus, Gin and Guice. He also shared a wiki page with explanations and diagrams of how things work.

The reason I'm writing this post is to get more feedback on this implementation. First of all, does GWT really require this much code? Secondly, are there other GWT implementations that reduce a lot of the boilerplate? SmartGWT, Vaadin* and Errai come to mind.

If you were starting a new GWT project and using AppFuse, how would you want it implemented?

* Vaadin 7 claims it can be used as a drop-in replacement for GWT. I tried replacing the gwt-servlet and gwt-user dependencies with Vaadin's, but it didn't work.

Published at DZone with permission of Matt Raible, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Erron Austin replied on Sun, 2013/03/17 - 7:27pm

Personally, I think that the verbosity of GWT has prevented it from becoming adopted by the mainstream which probably led to the start of Dart by much of the former GWT team.  The current GWT team should really look at simplifying the framework. It already produces excellent code.  

I've looked into Vaadin, but it is a totally different development paradigm (don't know if it's better or worse).  SmartGWT is just a wrapper around a javascript library and really defeats the purpose of GWT to me.  I would like to investigate Errai but my company has pretty much abandoned GWT for ExtJS (which I can not recommend), and I'm really liking what Dart is maturing into.

Ivan Garcia Sai... replied on Tue, 2013/03/26 - 7:49am

if anyone is interested I've just published an AppFuse based GWT archetype http://sweatingonswingstreet.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/gwt-archetype-for-appfuse

cheers all!

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