I've seen in the past many comments and different opinions about
Vaadin, GXT, SmartGWT and "GWT-only" apps. I think the fundamental
thing to remember here is resources.
If you work for a company where you can afford to have the designer/s,
a CSS savy person/s and the time to build and enhance more than
anything pure GWT widgets then by all means go with the GWT only
approach. Do that also if you know the app is being built and will be
there to stay for a loooooonnnng time.
However, in many cases we all seem to think that those frameworks
only provide cosmetic things and they really don't. They actually
provide a whole lot more than just style. Not all "GWT-only" widgets,
but many actually need a lot of work in both how they look as well as
how they are used programmatically.
Not too long ago I set out to build a pure GWT app (one man app only
and being built by someone, me in this case that have been building
GWT for quite some time) and I was the one that almost jumped off the
building in this case. I found myself, styling things, some of the
widgets needed a lot of extra boiler plate (take Cell Table for
instance), just to do basic stuff that using some of the other
frameworks mentioned would just be one or a few lines of code.
So if you have to make a decision, think about one thing and one thing
only. Do you truly have the resources/time, both design and coding
wise to enhance the existing GWT widgets? The answer to that will
likely tell you what to use and it's likely the reason why those
companies are such "value-add" to the existing GWT code base.
As far as performance goes, unless you are building an App for
something extremely, and I emphasize extremely demanding, there is
little to none chance that using GXT, Vaadin or SmartGWT will have an
actual impact on your app.
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