From the Community: My Journey With Vaadin

Henry Hagnäs
On Jun 22, 2009 7:56:00 AM

We are today introducing a new "From the Community"-part to the blog where we let our users take the stage and tell their story about Vaadin. If you want to tell us about your Vaadin experiences or how you use it, let us know! First up is Phil to tell us about his experiences: 

I was introduced to Vaadin, then ITMILL Toolkit, perhaps a month or so ago.

I had been invited, at the last minute, to what I had expected to be another lame sales pitch and this was at the end of a week of increasingly pushy and lame pitches. Then we started, not with a huge amount of enthusiasm on my part I must confess, but at least the ITMILL people had ditched the ties and turned up with Macs...

But first, before I digress, some brief background, I work as an IT architect, a title I am still to come to grips with, for a large Nordic company. I have a background in many programming languages and survived, though not entirely intact, the OO Uml period of the late 90s as my shelf of paperweights constantly remind me.

I don’t remember at what point in the meeting I stopped doodling on my notepad, but we went thru the normal procedure of introductions and slides with company overviews. Yack  yack toolkit, yack yack widgets.. and I have been thru a lot of techniques and widgets; GUI with VB, Swing, C#, jsp, jsf, struts, asp, dojo, wicket and so the list goes on, and no doubt some of you will be fans of some of them but they just weren’t for me.  Somewhere between the slides and the demo something caught my attention and I don’t exactly remember what,  but it was probably somewhere between ‘Open Source’ and ‘Server driven UI components in Java’ .  I had miraculously stumbled into a meeting with a non sales sales pitch, about a piece of software, which seemed at this point to be something quite unique. ..

So how, you might ask did I come to be writing here... My world involves writing business software, the sort that’s used by call centre staff and increasingly gets exposed to the web. I want to create applications using one language end to end, not some mishmash of varying languages and markup, I want a GUI like interface in a browser and I really don’t want to have to worry about the vagaries of  IE6, 7, 8, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror and the other tribe of browsers or indeed HTML brackets.

So here I am volunteering, with my best Open Source Advocate hat on, at the doors of ITMILL to write some entries on a journey using Vaadin.

I’ll try to cover it from 3 aspects:

  1. Technical.  And the normal group of questions you end up with; ‘easy to use’ , ‘comprehensive’ , ‘ scalable’,  ‘secure’... ‘Is this going to give me a quick start and not leave me frustrated’, ‘documentation’.
  2.  Business. Is there added business benefit from using Vaadin, cost of usage, support, training, licensing and our normal gamute of managerial questions.
  3. Academic. Related to Open Source and how is an open source, open and transparent company functioning in the wild.

Next time... The ubiquitous ‘Hello World’...