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Chapter 1. First Steps with the Google W... > Speeding Development Using Java Tool...

Speeding Development Using Java Tools

Perhaps GWT’s best trick is its ability to bring real software engineering to Ajax application development without requiring any new plugin or JRE to be deployed to the clients. You can use all of the development tools for building Java applications to also create Ajax applications with GWT. These tools include IDEs like Eclipse, which lets you write your code and get immediate feedback about errors, compile your code to catch bugs before running the application, and debug your code by stepping through your application and inspecting variables as it runs. You can leverage JUnit to perform test-first development, where you write your test before you write the code to fulfill the test, and Ant to automate compilation and deployment.

The compile step also allows further enhancements to your application and its development process. For example, during the compilation step new code can be generated, reducing the amount of code you need to write manually. You can use this technique to generate code to automatically handle serialization of Java objects for GWT-RPC and to bundle several images into one image, thereby reducing HTTP round trips and decreasing application load time with the ImageBundle feature. The compilation process also provides a translation step where your code can be optimized by removing functions that aren’t used, which reduces the size of the download. These types of optimizations would be much more difficult with regular Ajax applications built directly with JavaScript. The GWT team is also actively working on improving the compiler. You can easily add performance improvements available in new versions of the compiler to your application by simply upgrading to a new GWT version. For example, with GWT release 1.4 a simple recompile resulted in compiled JavaScript code that was 20 percent smaller than the same application compiled with GWT release 1.3. A smaller application size means the application loads faster in the client’s browser.


  

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