I deplore the job of developing graphical user interfaces. You always know when a database query works or not, but when it comes to developing a front end, you have to cater to the needs of irrational people, and people always manage to find something on the UI that needs 'improving.'
However, despite how much I deplore the job of doing GUI development, I love GWT. And even more to the point, I love Smart GWT, which superseded gwt-ext. Just look at the Smart GWT showcase, and tell me you're not impressed.
Look at all of the neat little widgets and gadgets they have for plugging into your Java based, web-applications. The Drag and Drop functionality has always been a big favorite of mine, but everything from the Calendar widgets to the Data Integration tools can really help you fight that battle against the endlessly unsatisfied end user.
One question I have often wondered though was whether I should be coding with Smart GWT, or just sticking with the standard Google Web Toolkit components, and only shoot over to Smart GWT when I need a feature that's missing from the standard GWT implementation? It does seem that GWT has narrowed the gap between themselves and Smart GWT. Still, when you compare the GWT and Smart GWT showcases side by side, you can see that Smart GWT still has a leg up on the competition.
And why all the talk about Smart GWT? Well, they just released their 2.2 version, with the following features sprinkled into the mix:
- Selenium Support with intelligent fallback locator strategies
- Support for the prototype pattern to set global defaults without creating a separate hierarchy of subclasses. This is explained in more detail in the release announcement
- DateRangeItem, MiniDateRangeItem and Relative Date support for DynamicForm
- Dropdown multi-selects
- Javadoc enhancements : Over 200 API's have an overview and relevant Showcase sample in the @see link of the API docs
- Numerous other fixes and enhancements. The complete release notes can be found here http://www.smartclient.com/smartgwt/release_notes.html#2_2
By the way, of that whole list, the thing I like the best is the Selenium support. I really like the way Smart GWT has integrated with that product.
If you really want to turbo-charge your client experience, regardless of whether you're coding in JSPs, Servlets, JSF or Wicket, you should think about throwing some Smart GWT widgets into the mix.
GWT in Practice??~ Charlie Collins
GWT in Action: Easy Ajax with the Google Web Toolkit?~ Adam Tacy
Google Web Toolkit Applications??~ Ryan Dewsbury