First GWT Experience

Well, I guess you could also call this an update on WSM Calendar.  I’d gotten so frustrated at trying to wrangle all that javascript myself, even with jQuery by my side, that I started looking for a better way.  A while ago, my friend Brandon Tilley introduced me to GWT (Google Web Toolkit).  It’s a really great web-app development platform that has a very unique feature.  You actually write your app in Java, and it “compiles” it to javascript.  Not only that, but it creates customized instances of that compiled javascript that are tweaked to work properly on each of the major browsers.

What this means is that, during development, you get the firmness and structure of Java.  I’ve never really liked coding in “web” languages like Javascript (or even PHP to some extent) because of their willy-nilly anything-goes approach to things.  Is that a string?  Or an int?  Object?  Who cares?  The thing is, I make a lot of mistakes; the more mistakes the compiler can catch for me, the better off I am.  I like languages like Java that aren’t quite as rigid as c++, but are firmer than Javascript or PHP.

So anyway, the calendar is working just enough to be semi-useful while I redo it with GWT.  I’m also trying to follow some advice I read concerning small development teams (does a team of one count as small?).  It said to start with the GUI, and then you’ll know exactly what the back-end does and does not need to do.  That allows you to really focus on what matters, which is critical for a small team.  Microsoft can afford to pay somebody to putz around with a feature that may never even be used, but those of us with very few man-hours at our disposal have to trim what we can.

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