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    May 16th, 2012

    For the development of business web applications GWT is a tool of choice.
    Since most business applications are based on a Java Stack, GWT empowers Java-Developers to write business ready, robust cross-browser applications in their favorite language.
    Certainly there are powerful JavaScript frameworks around to achieve such, but you need a lot of experience to tackle all the quirks and oddities the ambient browser language comes with.

    Now these days more and more businesses are seeking for mobile channels of their applications.
    Flexibilizing their businesses, supporting new business cases and increasing efficiency are the main reasons driving that process.
    When it comes down to the technical realization of these channels most companies are facing significant difficulties.

    Developing and maintaining native applications is normally not a choice. Costs are simply too high to acquire and maintain expertise on all different mobile plattforms.
    Cross-plattform technologies are seeking to solve this problem for most business cases. But what framework to choose?
    Web technology based applications are a common sense, best supported among all devices and most future-proof. Sencha Touch, JQuery Mobile and others are leading this area and good results can be achieved deploying them.

    But how great would it be if you could – with moderate effort – turn your existing web GWT app into a mobile app?

    A mobile app written mostly in Java, simply testable, with all the power of the GWT framework and last but not least supreme performance on the mobile device.

    Well, look no further: m-gwt.com is coming to rescue!

    mgwt is a ligthweight extension to GWT basically providing mobile widgets and mobile plattform integration.
    mgwt has been developed over the last 3 years and went open source in 2011. According to creator Daniel Kurka many commercial products have been developed using the framework.

    Canoo was lucky to have Daniel Kurka himself in for a workshop recently.

    Whats mgwt all about?

    There have been a few attempts to mobilize GWT in the past. They were all focusing on different aspects, like HTML5 storage. Non of them really succeeded.

    Now, mgwt has a few very important design goals which makes it a promising candidate to become THE standard mobile GWT extension:

    • integrates well with GWT MVP
    • keeps the DOM lean
    • leverages the powerful optimizing JavaScript cross-compiler
    • does as much as it can in CSS3 (hardware supported)
    • native support for touchevent the GWT Way
    • animations built in with GWT MVP
    • integrates well with PhoneGap

    Compared with JS based cross-plattform frameworks mgwt advances in:

    • generation of isolated mobile plattform permutations makes client-side if/else statements obsolete
    • different plattform interaction patterns can be supported (i.e. Android back button)
    • integrates naturely with PhoneGap
    • integrates smartphone, tablet and web app development!

    Curious?
    Check out the kitchen sink app and give it a try.

    Btw. Daniel Kurka can be contacted for consulting, workshops and advice @dankurka

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