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Juan Lanus <[log in to unmask]>
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Juan Lanus <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 7 Dec 2007 12:42:47 -0300
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There is also the GWT, the Google Web Toolkit. As this one is pushed by
Google, and because it's really good, it might be the one.

The GWT lets IT developers, Java programmers, to develop an application
using pure Java.
But hold on! Yes I know that most Java applications are horrible, but
refrain and keep reading, it's solved.

The Java developers are not supposed to design nothing, just code an already
designed interaction in the form of flow of screens.
After the application works the graphics designers can apply format to the
resulting screens by means of CSS. In fact, they have to write pure HTML
pages and set placeholders for the input forms and data output structures.

The GWT developers code and test in Java. This is an advantage because Java
is a well known, scalable, standarized, freely available, widely accepted
language. And there are Java developers averywhere, now and in the future.
Albeit GWT easily integrates with backends written in PHP or any other

The developers are required to separate the client part of the code from the
server part, in different "packages."
The server part is the server part. The client part, instead, gets a special
In the design of the interaction one can include that desktop-like features
like for instance making the rest of the form react and adapt to the values
of the data already entered by the user.
The simplest example would be an intelligent "state" entry control filled on
the fly according to the country (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil or disabled
if the country is not divided in states.)

Thus, one designs as if it were a desktop application and the developers
implement such interaction in Java. Enter GWT: the client part (remember it
is in a special package) is translated to JavaScript and sent to the browser
as AJAX applications do, because the outcome is an AJAX application.

GWT produces HTML and JavaScript files, the JS  implements the desired input
forms and data outputs in the HTML pages where directed to by the

One nice feature of GWT is its multibrowser support. The system builds many
js biles, one for each browser type (one specifies the list of supported
browsers) and a sniffer in the pages downloads the single file that fits the
detected user agent.

GWT is free and open source. It can be reached Itīs featured in or and the site is
horrible, too geeky, suited for techies not for humans.

Anyway, the product has it all to be a winner. My contacts tell me that
Google is fostering the usage of this tool internally. This means that an
important part of the web will run on GWT soon.

The designers book on GWT is still to be written, a book less centered in
the technological aspects and more on the interaction design possibilities,
for designers that understand the HTML "click and refresh" interaction model
but have no experience in building desktop applications.

As Frank said, this tool is not going to make hight usability applications
by itself but IMO it lowered the threshold for real AJAX as in Gmail and the
like, for talented designers & developers teams.
Juan Lanus
"Focus on the user and all else will follow"

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