Saturday, 13 September 2008

Of Tatami, jMaki and Others...

Tatami 1.2 Beta was released a few days ago.

Both GWT and Dojo are Javascript frameworks for creating Rich Internet Applications (RIA). The GWT team focuses on the foundation of the framework and does not bother with making state-of-the-art cool widgets. While Dojo has a mature and good-looking widgets library. Wouldn't it be good if the two can be seamlessly integrated at the API and runtime levels so that one can leverage on the advantages of both frameworks? That's exactly what Tatami offers.

Tatami is a widget/component library for GWT. What makes it interesting is that it is a GWT wrapper of Dojo components. With Tatami, the Dojo widgets become GWT widgets; the Dojo utilities become GWT helper classes. If you don't have the stomach for editing CSS+XHTML+Javascript directly, but still want to use the Dojo components, then Tatami is good news. The development experience is back to Java and that's it.

Another web framework which provides Dojo wrapper is the jMaki framework. While jMaki has a nifty NetBeans plug-in, the development experience is improved somewhat. However, as a developer, you'd still have to deal with a mixture of JSP, Javascript and Java: the page templates are written in JSP, the glue code is written in Javascript for event handlers (using a pub-sub mechanism), the server side code is written as Java servlets - maybe this hodge-podge is really what they mean by mash-up.

Another wrapper is the GWT-EXT, which is a GWT wrapper for EXT/JS. I have blogged about the EXT/JS, EXT-GWT and GWT-EXT and the licensing issues revolving EXT/JS previously. Well, the licensing of Dojo is very liberal, without the GPL issues introduced by EXT/JS. Thankfully, Tatami is LGPL.


Anonymous said...

GWT Javascript wrappers suck. One of the reasons Ext GWT is so popular. Its written purely in JAVA. If you are using GWT avoid these wrappers, they will cause u to pull your hair out.

Romen said...

Thanks for your comment. I have used GWT-Ext and quite liked the development experience (albeit some different conventions adopted by GWT-Ext compared to GWT).
I have been wanting to try out Ext-GWT for a while now. Guess I have to speed things up a bit :)


Romen said...

on second thought, now that SmartGWT is out, I will give that a try. EXT-GWT does not sound that appealing to me any more.