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26 October 2012, 15:42

Google Web Toolkit 2.5 with leaner code

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GWT logo According to its developers, version 2.5 of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), a Java-based open source web framework for Ajax applications, offers significant performance improvements. Apparently, the overall code base has been reduced by 20 per cent, and the download size of the sample application dropped 39 per cent.

GWT is built around a Java-to-JavaScript compiler that allows developers to almost exclusively use Java when writing an application's client and server code. The user interface code is translated into JavaScript and deployed to the browser when required. The technology recently became a discussion topic when Google introduced its Dart alternative to JavaScript; however, Google has assured the GWT community that it will continue to develop GWT for the foreseeable future.

Two of the top new features in the new version are still classified as experimental: Super Dev Mode, and the Elemental library. Compared to the classic Dev Mode, which it is set to replace, Super Dev Mode requires no browser plugins, making it easier to support additional browsers including those on mobile devices. Developers can also use a debugger to inspect the running GWT application. The Elemental library is designed to provide "fast, lightweight and 'to the metal' web programming". It is a new library for developers who are familiar with browsers' JavaScript APIs.

To generate improved JavaScript code, Google's Closure compiler is now available as an optional GWT compiler backend. Another component, the ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) library, has been updated to support the W3C's Semantic HTML extension. Further additions include UiBinder extensions and even more comprehensive support of the Bean Validation Java standard (JSR 303) that defines an Annotations-based metadata model and JavaBeans validation API.

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