I presented on the Google Web Toolkit at the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup tonight (presentation and useful links). It was a rush, as presentations always are. However, the adrenaline was compounded by two factors: the length of the presentation and the composition of the audience.
To present something as large in scope as GWT in 5 minutes was difficult. Though I’d been to 3 previous meetups, I didn’t have a good feel for the technical knowledge of the audience, so I aimed to keep the presentation high level. (The audience, on this particular night, was about 50/50 split between coders and non coders, as determined by a show of hands. However, almost everyone knew the acronym AJAX and what it meant.) This lack of knowledge compounded the difficulty, but I still feel I got across some of the benefits of GWT.
I’ll be writing more about what I learned about GWT in preparing for this, but I wanted to answer 3 questions posed to me that I didn’t have off the cuff answers for tonight.
1. Who is using GWT?
I looked and couldn’t find a good list. This list is the best I could do, along with this GWT Groups post. I find it rather astonishing that there’s not a better list out there, as the above list was missing some big ones (Timepedia’s Chronoscope, the Lombardi Blueprint system) as well as my own client: Colorado HomeFinder.
2. How much time does the compilation process add?
I guessed on this tonight but guessed too high. I said it was on the order of 30 seconds to a minute. On my laptop (2 cpu/2 ghz/2 gb of ram box) GWT compilation takes ~7 seconds to build incrementally (from ant, which appears to add ~2 seconds to all of these numbers) and ~21 seconds to build after all classes and artifacts have been deleted. This is for 7400 lines of code.
3. How does GWT compare to other frameworks like Dojo and YUI?
I punted on this one when perhaps I should not have. From what I can tell, GWT attacks adding dynamic behavior to web pages in a fundamentally different way. Dojo and YUI (from what I know of them) are about adding behavior to existing widgets on a page. GWT is about adding objects to a page, which may or may not be attached to existing widgets. I’ll not say more, as I don’t have the experience with other toolkits to speak authoritatively.
Also, here’s an AJAX toolkit comparison that I found.