10 Principles to Consider When Evolving Your Web Application’s Front End

It’s very easy, espe­cial­ly for an “evolv­ing” web appli­ca­tion, to end up with a user inter­face that is bug­gy and dif­fi­cult to main­tain, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you are incre­men­tal­ly mak­ing changes to an out­dat­ed app, with­out a full redesign. This is a chal­lenge that I’ve faced on many occa­sions, as I have often worked on appli­ca­tions that were built using an out­dat­ed soft­ware par­a­digm or have sub­se­quent­ly failed to keep up with the advances in soft­ware tech­nol­o­gy and method­ol­o­gy. This is not uncom­mon at all, in fact most, if not all, soft­ware engi­neers have had to deal with this on many occa­sions dur­ing their career.

Work­ing through these chal­lenges has taught me a great deal about the evo­lu­tion of soft­ware appli­ca­tions. It’s some­thing that I’ve had to learn, while bal­anc­ing the day-to-day demands for the support/upkeep of an exist­ing code­base. This process can teach a devel­op­er a great deal, as they research best prac­tices and gain expe­ri­ence; but most impor­tant­ly, it can teach devel­op­ers what not to do, as you see how the process unfolds over time. Con­tin­ue read­ing “10 Prin­ci­ples to Con­sid­er When Evolv­ing Your Web Application’s Front End”

Writing Complex Web Apps With Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

The Google Web Toolk­it (GWT) is a rel­a­tive­ly new set of open source tools, devel­oped by Google; which aims to allow devel­op­ers to write much of the client-side code as Java. This Java code is then com­piled into the appro­pri­ate JavaScript code, to run on the user’s web brows­er. Basi­cal­ly, the Google team has come up with a way of allow­ing devel­op­ers to write most of their web appli­ca­tions in Java, instead of hav­ing to switch between Java and JavaScript; thus min­i­miz­ing the amount of cross-brows­er JavaScript development/testing.

The devel­op­ers of GWT have cho­sen to focus their efforts on Eclipse as the pre­ferred IDE; though you are not lim­it­ed to Eclipse. One of the great ben­e­fits of GWT, is that you can now step through most of your appli­ca­tion in the Eclipse debug­ger. This makes devel­op­ing the client-side aspects of your app much eas­i­er and more sta­ble than hav­ing to use JavaScript debug­ging tools like Fire­bug.

Attached is a Google Tech Talk from Google devel­op­er Bruce John­son, in which he explains GWT in great detail. The video is a cou­ple of years old; but it is still a good intro to GWT.

Google Tech TalksJune 24, 2008

YouTube DirectE­clipse Day at the Google­plex: GWT in Eclipse 

Eclipse Day at the Googleplex

Speak­er: Bruce John­son, Google

Build­ing high-per­for­mance Ajax eas­i­ly with Google Web Toolk­it (GWT) in Eclipse has always been pos­si­ble, but soon it will be down­right easy. Bruce will present GWT’s upcom­ing Eclipse plu­g­in that helps novices get start­ed and lets experts fly.