Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rich Internet Application & GWT : Angel of Java Programmers

We all are hearing the buzz about Rich Internet Applications (RIA) about a year or so. But, what the heck is that beast? You may ask. For the user's perspective, it's the desktop like experience delivered over web. Yes, you feel like you are using a real desktop application (well, at least sort of). The richness of desktop controls is transferred to web.

How RIA is build? Arise another question. These all started with that amazing kid called AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML). Then more and more tools become available, like Java FX, Adobe Air, Adobe Flex (and Adobe Flash), Microsoft Silverlight. But these tools, though it gives rapid and organized web application development, required some kind of plug-ins to be installed on your browser. There is the importance of AJAX based RIAs, because JavaScript is enabled in almost all browsers in use today.

However, It's not a fool proof solution, because there are people who switch off JavaScript for some reason, like me ;-).  But it's still far more effective. To develop a RIA with JavaScript we can use jQuery, Moo-tools, YUI, ExtJS etc., frameworks, if you are a JavaScript ninja . Only because I'm not, but still eager to try my hand on RIA, I looked for another solution. There is GWT.

What is GWT? It's Google Web Toolkit. Another amazing product from Google Inc. It let us write RIA in Java (Yes, Java, Sun's Oracle's) Let GWT compiler do the translation of your beautiful Java code into JavaScript, CSS and bootstrap HTML. That said, a little experience in JavaScript, CSS & HTML will not hurt at all.

Where we are heading to? Great question. I'm glad you asked this. As you see this far this isn't a tutorial or intro (it's too late..) of RIA. I'm here to show you some snaps of my GWT based project done at January 2010. Due to some reason, I forget to post about it.

Why I choose GWT? Sites I love, use GWT, Google Wave, Gmail, new Orkut

Here it's, It uses, GWT, Hibernate JPA, Ext GWT etc.,

Update: Later, I thought I haven't given anything useful. So here it's.
Even though project look(and is) simple, it's a considerable learning experience for me. I learned many things, not to mention GWT and related libraries, I learned bits of web programming in Java. Till then I only coded for desktop, through this project I'm introduced to Java Servelets, bits of JSP, concepts like ORM, Hibernate, JPA, RIA, GAE and ExtJS library. All this within 2-3 months.

Working Demo

URL: http://safelymanage.appspot.com/
User Name: demo
Password: demo

It's a RIA application, so make sure JavaScript is enabled in your browser.
I managed to change code to work partially on GAE. You can see the UI. However, you can't do anything useful. Because, I haven't got time to change Control Layer to work on GAE. (Model and View are functional.
Also,It's a different theme and less aesthetically pleasing than one in above slide show (actual project.)

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