Milestone Release of GWT 2.2 Now Available

The first milestone release of the 2.2 version of Google Plugin for Eclipse (GPE) is now available for download. This release of the plug-in allows developers to create, test and upload Google App Engine applications from within the Eclipse development environment supports development with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), and it's compatible with Eclipse 3.6.

The biggest change in this version of the GPE is the full "formal" integration of GWT Designer, the development framework Google acquired when it bought Instantiations last year. GWT Designer is an Ajax/Java GUI builder that leverages the GWT for Web application builders who want to use Ajax, but don't want to learn JavaScript. Developers use the toolkit to write their applications using Java, and then the GWT compiles that code into highly optimized JavaScript.

Google relaunched GWT Designer after the Instantiations acquisition last September. Since then, says Google software engineering manager Eric Clayberg (former SVP of product development at Instantiations), the company has been working to integrate the dev framework directly into the GPE.

"Our goal is to provide a unified installation and simplified developer experience," Clayberg wrote in the announcement of this release, "and we think that we’ve done a very good job with this. Our focus has been to remove redundant functionality, merge build stories between GWT Designer and the GPE, and to add support for the newest features of GWT itself."

Clayberg is the author of Eclipse Plug-ins (Addison-Wesley Professional, December 2008).

This milestone release also comes with a GWT SDK support for some HTML5-specific features, including the Canvas element, which allows for dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2D shapes and bitmap images, and the new HTML5 functions for embedding audio and video tags. Clayberg cautions that these APIs are still experimental and may change slightly over upcoming releases. "[B]ut we feel that they're solid and deserving of some real mileage," he said.

Clayberg also pointed to two new features in the CellTable: The first allows developers to add default column sorting functionality; the second supports the setting of column widths.

"As always, milestone builds like this are use-at-your-own-risk," Clayberg warned. "There are known bugs, and it isn't quite ready for production use yet. We would also advise installing this into a new, clean Eclipse environment or, at minimum, uninstalling any older version of GWT Designer that you have installed."

GWT 2.2 M1 can be downloaded now from Google's GWT download page.

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].