The technology was the subject of the GWT.create conference in Silicon Valley late last week, where Google senior engineer Ray Cromwell talked about its direction. With GWT 3.0 due around the fourth quarter of this year, plans call for breaking compatibility with previous releases so that developers can deprecate older technologies. Previously, compatibility was rigorously maintained.
“Now, because IE6, IE7, and IE8 are dead and there’s certain legacy things that we don’t want to support anymore because we need to target newer browsers and this new world of mobile, we want to deprecate these things,” Cromwell said. Developers who recompile apps to GWT 3.0 might find them failing and will need to edit code to get them to work. But GWT builders will continue developing the 2.x line. “We’re not going to leave those people out to rot,” said Cromwell.
GWT 3.0 also covers Elemental 2.0 for browser API bindings. “Elemental 2.0 is basically a library that you can run yourself at any time, and it will actually go out and fetch the browser specifications from the WC3 consortium, download the latest copies, and it will generate all of the Java interfaces for the APIs,” Cromwell said.
The ServiceWorker API, which handles network requests in the browser, will be supported. It allows the use of applications offline. “If you’re on an airplane, you can have an application that launches while you don’t have Wi-Fi,” said Cromwell. Firefox and Chrome already support ServiceWorker, said Cromwell.
GWT has 130,000 active developers monthly and debuted in 2006.