Evolution in Web Application Development
Even though the browser side of the application is written in Java, it doesn’t need to talk to a Java application server. In fact, you don’t need to talk to a server at all; you can create offline/detached applications. A GWT app can talk to RESTful or other HTTP-based services, and use JSON, XML, or other message serialization. Developers can also use the GWT-RPC mechanism for browser-to-server communication which requires a Java app server.
Impact at the Church
GWT is provisionally approved for use at the Church and it complements technologies already on the menu. It is currently being used for one project and the engineering teams are considering it for several others. It can be easily adopted because our many Java developers can learn it quickly. Production/support teams don’t have to retool as GWT-based apps are rolled out. For those concerned about support when adopting GWT, Google appears very committed to it. In fact, at Google I/O 2009, their main tech conference, GWT was proclaimed strategic to Google’s offerings.
GWT is certainly not the be-all and end-all of tools that will help create rich Web apps. On the other hand, Google has done something very compelling that will help developers be more efficient today.
Aaron LuBean is a senior software engineer for the Church.