Hot skills: Ajax-based framework simplifies Java development
What is it?
Google says, "GWT is for developers who don't speak browser quirks as a second language," and GWT applications do not necessarily "break the back button" - one of the big objections to Ajax.
GWT is downloadable free, with open source licensed source code for the libraries.
When Google previewed GWT at the JavaOne 2006 event, it was with a lack of fanfare typical of the take-it-or-leave-it attitude the company adopts to its applications. Less easy to understand is the lack of media attention the preview received, since Google is the originator of the most widely used Ajax-developed applications - Google Mail, Google Groups, Google Suggest and Google Maps.
What's it for?
At least one plug-in has been released, allowing GWT projects to be set up within the Eclipse IDE.
What makes it special?
How difficult is it to master?
GWT is supposed to take care of all the complexities of developing Ajax applications, allowing developers to work with familiar Java tools. They simply confirm that the application works with each additional browser, which usually takes no additional work.
What systems does it run on?
GWT automatically supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Safari and Opera. Google's download site offers only Windows and Linux, but according to bloggers, the Linux version can be run on the Macintosh, with some limitations.
What's coming up?
GWT is currently in beta and Google warns, "You should expect the APIs to change in upcoming versions," and outdated versions will not be supported.
Rates of pay
Java developers earn an average of £46,430, although financial services firms often pay higher rates.
Dowloads, the getting Started Guide, and other resources are on Google. Several unofficial GWT sites exist, offering user guides, alternative libraries and news.
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