Eclipse-Based GUI Builder Supports New GWT Designer Features

Eclipse-based commercial software tools and services provider Instantiations has upgraded its popular Ajax/Java GUI builder with new widget-kit support for Smart GWT, as well as enhanced support for the Ext GWT (GXT) Rich Internet Application Java library.

Announced at last week's Google I/O conference, GWT Designer 7.5 comes with new features designed to allow developers to take advantage of enhancements in the latest version of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT 2.0). The 7.5 version now supports GWT 2.0's new development mode, layout panels and widgets.

The GWT is Google's free, open-source development framework aimed at Web application builders who want to use the Asynchronous JavaScript and XML technique (Ajax) without having to learn JavaScript. Developers use the toolkit to write their applications using Java, and then the GWT compiles that code into optimized JavaScript.

There are currently about 150 Ajax toolkits available to Web developers. Gartner analyst Ray Valdes ranks the Google offering among the top toolkits, along with Dojo, Prototype, jQuery, Mootools and Ext JS.

GWT Designer is built on Instantiations' WindowBuilder Pro, an Eclipse-based tool for creating Java GUI applications. The product supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, as well as the popular Ext GWT (GXT) library. This release of the Portland, OR-based company's product adds support for Smart GWT, which is a GWT-based framework with a comprehensive widget library for building application UIs that link the widgets the server-side for data management. Smart GWT is based on the SmartClient library and is compatible with GWT 1.5.3 and above.

An enterprise edition of SmartGWT was released in 2009. That version of the product includes Java Server side functionality, additional tools and a classic commercial license in lieu of the LGPL.

According to Eric Clayberg, Instantiations' senior vice president of product development, support for the Smart GWT library has been one of the most requested feature upgrades. Clayberg is also the author of Eclipse Plug-ins (Addison-Wesley Professional; 3 edition, December 2008).

The list of new features in GWT Designer 7.5 also includes support for GXT 2.1 Data Binding, including basic binding between a model and a form, and grid binding of a model to a form based on the selection of a grid.

A two-week trial version of GWT Designer 7.5 is available at

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].