Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GWT.create conference aftermath

I finally found some time to write on my impression of the first GWT.create conference in San Francisco and Frankfurt. I have been involved very early with the conference and helped in some aspects to make this a success, but it turned out even better than all the people behind GWT.create hoped.

Before I go into any more detail let me quickly thank Vaadin, who not only invested a big amount of money and time to make this conference a success, but also made sure that this conference was not biased towards Vaadin and was a good platform for all people of the GWT community (such as Sencha, Readhat and others). 

In both locations we had 646 attendees, which is huge for a first time conference, but what I liked even more is the fact that we had very good GWT content:  All the talks got an average rating of 4 out of 5.
We had very exciting talks from many GWT team members that showed where we want GWT to be in one or two years time. 
All the slides are already published on gwtcreate and talks will be published on youtube over the coming weeks, so if you could not make it, you still get a chance to watch the talks.

One of the most valuable session was the panel discussion, in which we could listen to the communities input. I think the discussion around super dev mode and IE8 were very valuable and we will take our conclusions from that.
I personally spoke to so many GWT developers that were building amazing things using GWT. I was completely amazed. One of the most notable things to me was a camera which uses GWT for its UI.

Some thoughts on talks

Ray's keynote was designed to give people an overview on some of the cool stuff we are working, such as:
  • JsInterop & zero effort JsInterop
  • Performance boosts
  • New Google products covering several platforms using GWT, such as  Google Spreadsheets
  • GWT 3.0
  • Java8 support
GWT has been designed in 2006 to leverage the Java ecosystem for building client side web applications. At this time there was no JavaScript ecosystem (debugging was done with alert statements), but in 2014 there is a large JavaScript ecosystem and GWT developers should be able to benefit from this without any major efforts. This is why we are going to introduce a new way of consuming well written JavaScript libraries (JsInterop) without any extra work from developers. This is very exciting to watch in the keynote.
Goktug's web components talk showed off how to use this for a new widget system in GWT. I think this was one of the most impressive talks on the conference, since it showed how easily GWT can sit on top of the JavaScript ecosystem.
The new Java8 syntax with closures actually allows us to be more concise than JavaScript. We can finally get rid of all those nasty inline interfaces for callbacks.
Ray also introduced one new Google product which is leading the way with writing once in Java and running your code everywhere: Google Sheets.
Brian showed off his work on super dev mode and what we are going to do to make it as good or even better as dev mode. If you combine this with John's and Roberto's work to make the GWT compiler work incrementally, we have a very good story for developer productivity in 2014.
Matthew presented on the status of the GWT open source project. We are seeing strong contributions from outside of Google. There was one we specifically wanted to highlight. Julien Dramaix presented with me on CSS3 and GSS support in GWT, which he did as a complete open source contribution. Erik presented on testing with GWT and his great open source project gwt-mockito and Rob on an architecture that we use inside of Google for really large applications called Turducken.
There is so much more great content I want to talk about, but I guess I should leave this to separate blog posts.

Combine all this work and we have a very good story for GWT in 2014.

Since GWT.create 2013 was such a huge success, we are already planing on setting up something bigger for 2014. There is still time to get your ideas into the 2014 google moderator.
I am very happy to see that so many people got involved with this conference and joined us in the contributor workshop. I felt so much appreciation for our work that I am really happy to be working on GWT and with this great community.


  1. You deserve just as many thanks. It was great hearing you talk about GWT and have us confidence in the framework that was missing for years. Thank you!

    1. You guys should have visited Frankfurt, it was so much bigger than the SF event.

  2. Thanks a lot. Looking forward to the slides and the videos. Also special thanks for dispelling the myth that the steering committee was made to phase out GWT.

  3. When the Google Spreadsheets who use gwt will be out?

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