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.
[tags]gwt presentations, unanswered questions[/tags]
Oh yes, and if the folks at the new tech meetup are any indication, there’s a tight job market in technology in the area. 6 folks stood up looking for people (developers, designers, etc) but no one stood up looking for a job.
The compilation time (2.4ghz core 2, 2 gigs ram, 7200rpm hd)
can vary quite alot, seen it sometimes at 30 seconds, sometimes as high as 8 minutes
Yeah, and GWT 1.5 makes compilation time worse. A lot worse. (It also increased the size of my GWT js downloads.)
But, as they say, they aren’t optimizing for developers, rather, they “want to make the web better for users”: http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/makinggwtbetter.html#introduction