I recently spent some time porting a SWT application to GWT, and it’s been a real pleasure. Ever since I heard about GWT, I have been very eager to put my hands on it and try it for real. Pity it took so long.

First of all, why all this interest on my part? It’s simple really, and I can summarize it in one sentence: I love the idea behind AJAX and dynamic web pages but I don’t like Javascript.

Don’t get me wrong: I know it’s a great language and I’ve always had good success and rewarding results whenever I have taken the time to write a few lines of code to solve a few minor problems on my web sites, but the perspective of writing entire applications in this language has been a very big turn off for me, so I’ve been avoiding it. Anyway, I’m not going to go into details since it’s not the topic of this post. Let’s get back to GWT.

Ever since AJAX became popular, I have waited for the second generation to emerge. By “second generation”, I mean whatever tools or languages that would save me the trouble of having to 1) program in Javascript and 2) deal with browser compatibility hell. In other words, to me, Javascript and XmlHttpRequest is assembly language, and I draw a lot more satisfaction writing code at a higher level.

Enters GWT, which promises to let me use my favorite development tools (Java and Eclipse) to the fullest (well, almost) while leveraging AJAX without any restrictions. Sign me up!

In the coming days, I’m planning on posting in more details about my experience with GWT, both philosophically and technically. GWT has been out for quite a while now, and there are plenty of tutorials, books and articles describing all its features, so in an attempt not to repeat all of this material, I’ll try to stick to a few original details and tidbits that I came across.