Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GWT vs. Flex

This article would compare Google GWT (Google Web Toolkit) and Adobe Flex 2 and would describe the advantages and disadvantages of each of these technologies.
This two technologies are both Rich Internet Application (RIA) frameworks.

GWT Advantages:

  • Doesn't require plug in installation on the client side
  • GWT doesn't require the user to know JavaScript since the code is written in Java
  • GWT doesn't cost money since it is Open Source.
  • Changes in the Client side are immediately shown on the browser by using refresh, no need to restart the server.
  • GWT can be easily debugged in hosted mode.
  • There is compatible between different web browsers.

GWT Disadvantages:

  • The html and JavaScript code which GWT generates is pretty heavy and not necessary fully optimized.
  • GWT doesn't come out of the box with all the possible widgets, there is a need to use extra components

Flex Advantages:

  • The UI looks nicer then plain HTML/JavaScript code, It contains huge amount of animations, widgets etc'
  • Compatible between different web browsers
  • Flex 2 SDK and Flex Builder 2 for Education are both free
  • Google can index SWF files

Flex Disadvantages:

  • It requires plug in installation on the client side , however this may not be disadvantage since Adobe claims that Flash is installed on more then 99% percent of users.
  • Flex Builder 2 costs some money


Ray Cromwell said...

I'd take issue with comment about GWT code being 'heavy weight' and not fully optimized. In fact, I'd assert that generated GWT code is more optimal in size/speed than what a handcoded ActionScript 3 codebase would contain.

GWT performs whole program optimization, however mxmlc still allows dynamic linking and loading, which means the generated objects contain all public entrypoints (unlike GWT which will obfuscate and eliminate dead code)

Flex excels at two things, which is fast rendering and fast (typed) Javascript. It does so in a cross-browser way, which makes it an excellent target for a future GWT version (GWT -> ActionScript)

Pace said...

I agree with Ray and want to attack the second supposed disadvantage of GWT. GWT does not come with everything out of the box because it is composed of a community of developers who are constantly adding new widgets and libraries. Furthermore, GWT is flexible enough that with some tweaking you can plug in many of the existing web technologies out there like Ext, Dojo, JSF, Spring, Hibernate, whatever.

I have never tried Flex though and clearly I am biased.

John Dowdell said...

Hi, instead of point-by-point comparison, it may be useful to point out the very different natures of the two initiatives:

o Google Web Toolkit is a way to write Java and produce JavaScript.

o Adobe Flex is a way to write declarative interface markup (MXML) and produce SWF.

JavaScript runs in the various web browser engines, and you're able to do what the browsers commonly do.

SWF runs in Adobe Flash Player, with faster logic processing and better media & communications support than any browser.

(Errata: For runtime prevalence and predictability, apps compiled with Adobe Flex 2 run in Adobe Flash Player 9 or better... while 99% of consumers do see some SWF, only 95% of consumers tested in December could immediately view Flex 2 apps: Google has indexed the text content of SWF for years and years now. For comparable media loads, SWF starts faster than HTML -- the persistent framework caching in Flex 3 reduces framework loading time.)


j2ee said...

John thanks for you comments,
I had fixed the post according to the new information which you provided.

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