GwtMaterialDesign vs gwt-polymer-elements

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Nov 17, 2016, 6:45:26 PM11/17/16
to GWT Users
Hi all,

I've got a 3 year old enterprise GWT app which also has a mobile app based on GWT. Our current design style is based on Bootstrap. As things change, I'd like to freshen the UX by using Material Design. I've seen 2 libraries: GwtMaterialDesign and gwt-polymer-elements. 

From what I can see:
- Both showcases look great, esp both seem to have an "enterprise" class table/grid control.
- GwtMaterialDesign: Read quite positive things in terms of community.
- gwt-polymer-elements: By Vaadin which are quite active in the GWT world now, based on "real" Polymer elements and the new GWT 2.8 elemental (?)

Would be great if anyone could comment on using either of them as I think once we've decided for one of the libraries, it will be hard to switch.

Any feedback would be great!


Rodolfo Raya

Nov 18, 2016, 6:50:46 AM11/18/16

You can mix gwt-material and Vaadin's polymer elements in the same project.

After working for years with Sencha's GXT I decided to try gwt-material, which looks a lot better and does not have the high cost of GXT. Migration was easy and painless. When I found a bug in gwt-material uploader (the bug has now been fixed), I tried the polymer uploader from Vaadin in the project and it worked very well. Both libraries can coexist peacefully.   

When the uploader was fixed, I decided to complete the project using gwt-material only. Vaadin's polymer elements are nice but I like gwt-material appearance more.

Rodolfo M. Raya

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Rogelio Flores

Nov 18, 2016, 12:29:59 PM11/18/16
to GWT Users
The major differences I see between them are that gwt-polymer-elements wrap polymer, which uses web components, which might be more future-proof if/when web components become the preferred/standard way to build UI widgets. Also, it not only supports paper elements (think material design), but Iron, Vaadin, and other elements out of the box, in addition to giving you a framework to include any other web components that you might want to create or include (externally available).

GwtMaterialDesign, wraps materializecss (js/css) which doesn't use web components to create the material design L&F (correct me if I'm wrong), but does have an edge right now as far as L&F, theming, and charts.

So I would pick gwt-polymer-elements if I'm into web components (or have some that I want to integrate--be it my own or third-party), or even if I'm concerned about future-proofing my app a little more (assuming web components are the future), but GwtMaterialDesign gives you more and better widgets right now, although *only* with the Material Design L&F.

zakaria amine

Nov 18, 2016, 4:25:15 PM11/18/16
to GWT Users
gwt-polymer-elements and Polymer in general is about extending the web, it does provide a set of useful elements but it also allows you  to create your own customizable components with behavior, style...

GwtMaterialDesign is the look and feel of material design brought to GWT widgets, with some nice additions.  

Amit Munwes

Nov 23, 2016, 5:40:45 PM11/23/16
to GWT Users
I decided to go with Polymer:
1. Very active framework and not specific to GWT developers - so you can find answers/examples etc. easily as well as a growing set of web components that can be used within your app
2. High-end material design components, in browsers as well as mobile devices
3. Great documentation
4. Future-proofing regarding GWT 3.0, using only JS-Interop with no widgets
5. I use Vaadin's generator directly (not the packaged JAR) so we can upgrade Polymer version any time a new version is available

Kirill Prazdnikov

Nov 24, 2016, 9:07:01 AM11/24/16
to GWT Users

4. Future-proofing regarding GWT 3.0, using only JS-Interop with no widgets

And no JSNI ? 


Nov 29, 2016, 10:34:20 AM11/29/16
to GWT Users
Hi there, GWT Material contributor here.

It is frequently said that one of the "cons" of using GWT Material is that it is based on Widgets and it is not "future-proof". Well, about that, what I can say is: we support the current, stable version of GWT. So you can use GWT Widgets alongside GWT Material Widgets, and/or port your old GWT app to Material piece by piece, instead of having to port everything right away.

That said, when GWT 3.0 will be released, GWT Material will support it. If that means dropping support of Widgets, we will do, while not breaking existing code whenever possible.

If you want to stay away from UiBinder and use a more designer-friendly framework, GWT Material also works with Errai,

It's nice to know that some of your are mixing Polymer and GWT Material. That can really empower your apps in nice ways. Keep the feedback coming =)


Slava Pankov

Nov 29, 2016, 10:45:14 PM11/29/16
to GWT Users
I just don't get this trend with "burying" widgets and UiBinder. Even with Errai I don't see any meaningful replacement for composite UI, i.e. design simple blocks as <FlowPanel>...</FlowPanel> and then reuse them with <MyBlock1>...</MyBlock1>.
Though with Polymer it looks like it's possible by defining web component for each logical block.

Thomas Buckel

Nov 30, 2016, 9:03:45 AM11/30/16
Thanks for all the feedback. 

Didn't know that GWT Material was wraps materializecss. 

I think polymer is the future. However the more seamless integration of GWT Material with GWT Widgets as well as a more gradual migration might give it a bit of an edge for my use case. Also probably easier bringing the team up to scratch with it as they know GWT.

Tough one.


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