News from the GWT development front

There have been some quiet updates in the last days on the GWT development front.

First and most important is that the GWT development team has released a milestone towards GWT 2.0. The milestone release can’t be found on the main page, and it was not mentioned in the official GWT blog.

This milestone provides early access (read: known to still be unfinished and buggy) to the various bits of core functionality that will be coming in GWT 2.0

One of the known issues on the group posting states that the actual Google Eclipse Plugin does not work with this release, because it won’t accept this build as a GWT distro. This comes from the fact that GWT 2.0 is missing the platform dependent jars. This comes from the fact that GWT 2.0 is introducing OOPHM, replacing the old „hosted modus“ by the new „developer modus“ where we can use a set of browsers with a plugin instead of the one bundled with the GWT release:

We’re going to start using the term „development mode“ rather than the old term „hosted mode.“ The term „hosted mode“ was sometimes confusing to people, so we’ll be using the more descriptive term from now on. For similar reasons, we’ll be using  the term „production mode“ rather than „web mode“ when referring to  compiled script.

Specially interesting for the Mac users, there has also been a quiet update for the Google Eclipse Plugin solving the issue,  where we could start the new OOPHM developer modus from eclipse to start „watching the beachball“.

The point is: from now on, we can start using GWT 2.0 and explore the new features. We have both: an official milestone release and a working Eclipse plugin. Development infrastructure problems resolved, stays the question: should we use a milestone build? This question is not so easy to answer.

First, if we believe what speakers told in the Google IO 2009 sessions, the Google teams using GWT (ok, let’s name them: AdWords development team, Google Wave development team) are using GWT build from trunk.

How can that be? How can anyone use something build from trunk that is undergoing such changes?

Well, this is called a „solid development process“ and „discipline“. If you have a look at the GWT sources and at the commit statements, you will notice that:

  • commit statements have the name of the reviewer.
    Take a moment to think about it.
  • many developers have their own branches where they to their stuff. Only reviewed changes are commited (integrated) to the trunk build. So, the trunk moves from one consistent (reviewed) state to the next one.
    Take two moments to think about this…

Second, GWT is more a compiler than a runtime library, and it would not be the first time we use beta compilers during development.

Back to the question: can we use a milestone or even a trunk build?

Yes – I think yes, we can. As long as the GWT team continues working they way they have been for the last months, trunk, milestone and beta builds have an unmatched quality status. Just my 2 cents…

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