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.