Vaadin, a Different Way to Promote a Great GWT Toolkit

Until Devoxx, I had never heard of Vaadin. Vaadin is a Java framework built on top of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) to further simplify the creation of modern and user friendly web applications. While GWT already abstracts away many of the JavaScript details, Vaadin further hides most of the client/server communication.

The way I got in touch with Vaading was when I got handed the “Book of Vaadin” by one of the representatives. It’s a nicely produced, 400+ page, almost pocket-able book. And it was a great way to get my attention. I’ve never been handed Spring or Apache books or books for any open source project for that matter.

After a little talk, it became clear that Vaadin is a framework build on GWT. But to get the hang of a new framework you really need to use it. So for the last few weeks I’ve been working my way through the initial chapters of the book and I’m very pleasantly surprised.

If you’re using vanilla Vaadin, it’ll feel like you’re programming a Swing application while you are in fact creating a very rich web application. There’s no need to bother with client/server Ajax communication. No need to worry about validating your forms both in the browser and on the server. Vaadin takes all that work out of your hands and deals with it.

Unless you want to create custom components, the only web technology you’ll deal with is CSS. Or more precisely, your designer will deal with it, you no longer need to know and remember differences between Java, JavaScript, JSP, Tiles, Taglibs or whatever your usual stack of technologies might be.

I haven’t really touched the subject of customizing Vaadin, so I’ll probably do another post when I reach that part. I’m currently trying to create a little hobby project with Vaadin, so you can be sure some more in depth analysis is coming (for instance, how about network traffic?)