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By jl70368
via vaadin.com
Published: Mar 24 2010 / 13:18

Popular Java online developer training site founder John Rizzo discusses how they evaluated Java web frameworks for the next generation of their site, finally selected Vaadin Framework and summarizes the experience of learning and developing the new site with Vaadin. Blog post is a good read as the writer is an expert in Java and teaches several Java frameworks. Choice, its pros and cons are explained from a critical independent viewpoint.
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User 388907 avatar

MCII replied ago:

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"Vaadin. Rich end-user experience. No JavaScript, not even a client-side (for the programmer's perspective). No JSP/Html. Based on GWT."

Well, if you want to take that road ...

User 284778 avatar

bhargett replied ago:

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Is there any tool that you do like? Not being snide, just wondering. I think GWT is overrated myself.

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MCII replied ago:

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Wicket and Stripes seem to be interesting Java Web-Frameworks.

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zodix replied ago:

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You shall say the widget development is based on GWT. You can not write your application in GWT with Vaadin.

Personally I doubt the meaning of this approach. If you like GWT and want more widgets, why not Ext GWT? More powerful and mature. If you like server-based application, why not ZK? More powerful and mature.

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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Also I would like to hear some proof of ZK being more mature and powerful. Widget sets are comparable (Vaadin Framework vs commercial ZK Enterprise Edition - ZK:s Open Source version is much more limited), GWT client-side in Vaadin makes easily extensible, Vaadin's Apache 2.0 license is much better than ZK's crippled LGPL version + full commercial (enterprise edition) version.

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zodix replied ago:

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Each time there is a comparison with ZK and Vaadin. Vaadin's member will say ZK CE is limited and blah blah. Ironically, Vaadin is much more limited (disclaimer: I evaluated it for only a week). Hardly to believe, there is an Ajax framework not supporting drag&drop and border layout in 2010. One of simply way to check is the total bytes of JavaScript code that Vaadin has. Even SmartGWT has more function than Vaadin.

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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Vaadin 6.3.0.pre1 with full drag and drop was released today. Download it from http://vaadin.com/download and see the drag and drop demos yourself.

All of the ZK BorderLayout features of zk have been included in Vaadin for a long time (by GridLayout, SplitPanel and Horizontal/VertialLayout).

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david.clement replied ago:

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Actually we evaluated most of the recognised larger frameworks over a period of 1 month and found ZK, SmartGWT, Icefaces to be superior to Vaadin when it came to the number and quality of widgets available.

Unfortunately you are doing no favours to those who would like to evaluate frameworks by writing misinformation as I never found any of the big 3's free offering less than Vaadin. In fact, I find it hard to believe you can make that statement and then follow it by stating Vaadin have just released a pre-release version with "full drag & drop support"? Something which the major frameworks have had for many years!

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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How about being a bit more specific on what is a misinformation?

(The fact that Vaadin did not have built-in drag and drop before is regrettable, but that is now corrected)

User 730193 avatar

jouni.koivuviita.myopenid.com replied ago:

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"--with "full drag & drop support"? Something which the major frameworks have had for many years!"

Probably sounding like a total ignorant prick, I'll just say that the importance of d'n'd is a bit overrated currently (my opinion, or course). Of course it has its use cases, but you still have to provide an alternative way to achieve the same behavior (unless you're an ignorant prick). D'n'd is still an advanced feature, a convenience rather than a necessity. I can't really say I've witnessed my mom or my girlfriend using drag'n'drop more than a handful of times.

That still doesn't explain why it took us this long to get it done. But there it is now. We can all be happy now, right :)

About misinformation: sure, there probably is a good amount of that in the conversation, since none of us here can claim to know each of the mentioned frameworks inside out. We're just speaking on our own behalf, believing in our own thing.

We should stop bashing the other guy's framework ("we have this, they don't"), and just try to clear any misinterpretations people might have about our own products. Keep it friendly :)

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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I would not be that fast to state that ExtGWT is more mature - Vaadin will turn 10 this year. Of course it has gone through several revisions and rewrites, but server-side API:s have been fairly backwards compatible since 2002.

With ExtGWT you have both good and bad sides of client-side RIA: total freedom on client-side, total responsibility over RPC, security, must always do asynchronous callbacks for everything, no possibility of calling server-side libraries directly, limited Java and execution environment, client-side javascript size is relative to you application size (even small application like ExtGWT Explorer loads >300kb of javascript - larger app could load megabytes (Vaadin client-side is 158kb), ExtGWT can offload more computation to client-side and thus is lighter on servers,

With Vaadin you can have the best of both client-side RIA as well as best of server-side RIA. You can do all the coding in full blown Java environment and call any libraries on server-side directly, programming model is more synchronous - which makes is much easier, forget about long GWT compilations - with hotcode replacement and JRebel your development cycle is as fast as in PHP, and when/if you want to you can program as much as you like to in the client - using GWT.

User 338269 avatar

Miloskov replied ago:

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I evaluated ZK 3, Vaadin, Echo 3 and JSF 1.2 and Vaadin was the best serverside RIA framework. GWT is different beast and JSF 2 it is interesting and of course I love Wicket is the best Java framework of all.

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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Did you write/publish any report on the evaluation? That would be _really_ interesting to see. I am sure that there are thousands of others who would be interested in reading such a report.

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Miloskov replied ago:

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Yes I did a report for my employer but right now I don't have with me the report any more, I'll try to get it back and post it.

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Pankajnada replied ago:

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Come on. Please be honest to face the truth!
ExtJS/ExtGWT and Vaadin are on totally different levels, just like heaven and hell. ExtJS/ExtGWT is complete and mature. Vaadin is lack of many basic widgets, such as drag and drop.

Check their demo and figure out by yourself. Even Vaadin tries to demo its limited, same widgets in different shapes.
http://www.extjs.com/deploy/dev/examples/
http://demo.vaadin.com/sampler/

The good thing about ExtGWT is that you can use GWT perfectly. In contrast, you need to drop GWT when using Vaadin.

BTW, I am wondering Vaadin, a 10-year company, has such an immature product.,

User 14280 avatar

Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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Vaadin 6.3.0.pre1 with full drag and drop was released today. Download it from http://vaadin.com/download and see the drag and drop demos yourself.

Vaadin Directory with 95 add-on widgets/components to the framework were released to day. Add-on packages are just jar-files that can be dropped in a project. As add-on packages include both the server- and the client-side and Eclipse plugin compiles GWT-based client-side automatically, the add-on system is really easy to use. See http://vaadin.com/directory

It other words - you might want to include Vaadin Directory to your comparison when testing ExtGWT against Vaadin. Most the add-ons also have live demos.

User 730193 avatar

jouni.koivuviita.myopenid.com replied ago:

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"ExtJS/ExtGWT and Vaadin are on totally different levels, just like heaven and hell"

Correct. The other is a client-side framework and the other is a server-side framework. Now, everyone, choose the one which is heaven and which is hell - I think we can safely assume opinions split 50/50.

"Check their demo and figure out by yourself. Even Vaadin tries to demo its limited, same widgets in different shapes."

A rather superficial opinion, I have to say. But I'm not diving into this conversation any further, everyone should just take a look and see what they see. In the end, it's not really about the features that are there ATM, but about the underlaying framework and platform (if you're in it for the long haul, short-lived projects/apps are another story).

"The good thing about ExtGWT is that you can use GWT perfectly. In contrast, you need to drop GWT when using Vaadin."

That's pretty much the point, you don't need to care about the client-side. I think we're mainly trying to appeal to traditional UI programmers, who aren't used to developing web apps, and who like the Java language and tools. A pretty specific bunch, if you ask me. Which is fine, a well targeted market is easier to hit.

But you don't need to drop using GWT with Vaadin, you could build your whole application with GWT if you wished, and then just kickstart that with the Vaadin server-side, but that's kind of working it backwards, wouldn't you agree ;)

I'm developing the Vaadin core as my job, but I can safely say Vaadin is not suitable for everyone, especially not for experienced web developers, who like to be in control of all details in the client side. I think we're getting more in that direction in the future, but currently better alternatives exist for people who like more control over the client side.

User 731933 avatar

giriraj.c replied ago:

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At Alexa.com, the web traffic of ExtJS is 100+ times higher than Vaadin's. I just figured out I am one of last few knowing this big difference.

Here is my advice to those who is confused by Vaadin's GWT trick.

1. ExtGWT is a perfect match if you use GWT. Whereas, Vaadin is a GWT-based component development tool. But you need to drop GWT to develop your application.

2. ExtGWT is much more powerful, mature, and complete. Vaadin is the contrast.

3. ExtGWT commercial package is much cheaper than Vaadin's. It's $579 for a complete package including license and support. With Vaadin, $747 is only for 3 components. (More addons to come to make Vaadin better which means more costly.)

Moreover, ExtGWT's GPL license grands us the right to use it for closed source internal projects freely and legally.

4. ExtGWT is a well proved solution by lots of big corporates.
Who's using Ext: http://www.extjs.com/company/customers.php?ref=home_companies_section_seemorelink
But, who's using Vaadin in corporate's serious projects?

5. Personally I appreciate ExtGWT's honest in their business model. In contrast, Vaadin guys keep claiming it's a pure open source project while using its Directory to cover up its intended business activities.

BTW, my two comments on Vaadin's post at Dzone was deleted by someone else. (Vaadin Directory Opens Its Doors http://www.dzone.com/links/vaadin_directory_opens_its_doors.html ) When is DZone run by China government?

User 14280 avatar

Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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Wow. That was quite a mouthful. Here are some clarifications to the claims you make:

1. You got things confused. Please read vaadin.com/faq or the linked article. In brief: Vaadin is a server-side RIA framework while as ExtGWT is an extension to GWT, which is a client-side RIA framework.

2. I would say that this opinion is very subjective. How about letting people to try judge themselves? The busy people can just search for independent reviews on the both frameworks with Google to get more objective opinion. Here is one of my favorite reviews: http://designbygravity.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/for-the-love-of-vaadin-rias-done-right/

3. Vaadin costs exactly $0 and is released under (really free) Apache license. None of the add-ons you refer to are essential or required for Vaadin development. In fact these three add-ons didn't even exist couple of days ago and still people have been happy with Vaadin before. It is quite absurd to claim that availability of additional related products somehow would make a free framework non-free.

4. This is a good question and valid point. I am sure that ExtJS (and maybe even ExtGWT) is used more widely than Vaadin. There is no "who is using Vaadin" page on vaadin.com at the moment, but it will be added shortly. Before that you can search the vaadin.com forums for quite a few users.

5. Quite rude claim and not true. Please read http://vaadin.com/forum/-/message_boards/message/123245 for complete answers. Also - google for ExtJS and GPL for independent opinions about ExtJS licensing.

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Joonas Lehtinen replied ago:

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(moved)

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cxover replied ago:

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