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For all RIA fans out there who are deciding whether to go with GWT or Flex for your next project, I highly recommend to consider the following initiative. It is called
Ext GWT. It packages a well known
Ext JS Javascript library into GWT accessible Java classes. Gxt team just released a new demo suite, that contains a combination of GWT and embedded Flex components.
Ext GWT Explorer Demo Both technologies have something to offer. GWT is great because it leverages the power of Java and takes away cross-browser development pains, but is still plain old HTML/CSS. Flex is great because it packs tons of eye-candy functionality rendered in a Flash Player plug-in that is still pretty light weight. GXT combines both technologies together by wrapping selected Flex components into Java/GWT libraries, creating somewhat like a hybrid between two technologies. As an active GWT developer, I would say that this combination is very attractive. I can still write all my layouts, forms, validations, AJAX interactions in GWT/Java, which it does pretty well, and have selected Flex components handle the rest of RIA functionality. As of now, GXT supports Flex components for Charting. It would be great to see that expanded into Sound, Video, Maps, etc.. support in the near future. If this happens, GWT/Flex combination would be a very productive tool in developing RIA websites quickly and effectively. Another piece of the puzzle is increasingly popular Rails/Grails streamline development. I have not yet tried GWT/Flex/Rails integration, but imagine it is possible. If anyone has successfully engaged it, any input is highly appreciated. Thank you and Aloha!
Ikayzo - Design • Build • Localize | Web • Desktop • Mobile

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Comment by Konstantin A Lukin on July 9, 2009 at 7:54pm
Yes, it would. There is also another initiative out there to create GWT wrapper for browser-distributed Java Apps. Even though Java Apps are not as hot as Flash/Flex Apps at the moment, I can see more demand for this technology as browser apps mature into 'desktop application replacements'. The problem is that Java VM is still pretty heavy-weight, Swing possibly needs to be wrapped in an easy-to-use and feature reach toolkit, and JavaFX often crashes when I try running a sample demo. However, Java's 2D API is pretty robust, and could be used for rendering very nice animations.

Now, with Chrome OS taking the stage, I wonder how it will effect current RIA technologies. It will give Google direct access to browser and underlying operating system.. from which point, I'd say the sky is the limit :-)
Comment by Daniel Leuck on July 8, 2009 at 10:35am
Very nice! Last year I was toying with the idea of creating a GWT component that wraps a Flex canvas to enable arbitrary 2D drawing from GWT. The component would essentially export a subset of Flash's drawing API and make it available to Java via JSNI. This would open GWT to a whole new world of possibilities.


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