December 15, 2009

Faster Web Apps, with Google Web Toolkit 2.0

Key to Google’s Web apps development effort is its Google Web Tools applications. GWT (Google Web Toolkit) is an open source set of tools that allows Web developers to create and maintain complex JavaScript front-end applications in Java. This week, Google released the second version of GWT, Google Web Toolkit 2.0.

Developers are impatient because their users are impatient,” says Dave Glazer, Google’s director of engineering. “We all—when using and building software—just want to get things done. The theme of GWT 2.0 is building faster apps and running them faster.”

This version comes with various improvements and features (including a Speed Tracer tool), plus a new way of creating UIs. Using GWT, developers can quickly develop and debug AJAX applications in Java using the Java development tools of their choice. Essentially, Google’s GWT 2.0 is now the only serious competitor to Adobe Flex.

An overview video highlighting some of the new features in GWT 2.0:

This is a significant update to the Google Web Toolkit, providing features designed to help speed up load times and performance. Google uses GWT in the development of its own Web applications like Google Wave and the newly rebuilt AdWords advertiser interface. Google Web Toolkit turns Java code into JavaScript, which can then be run natively in Web browsers. GWT has been designed to help developers bridge the differences between the various browsers.

A prominent feature in the latest GWT release is the Speed Tracer, a performance profiler that works with the Google Chrome Web browser. Speed Tracer is not tied to GWT applications; it can be used to profile and analyze the performance of any Web apps.

Here’s a quick introductory video to see the Speed Tracer in action:

Web apps are at the core of Google’s online strategy. Consequently, it’s not surprising that Google is focusing on helping both itself and also the wider developer community to build better Web applications.

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