Introducing Vaadin Labs - an outlet for experiments and crazy features
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” - Alan Kay, 1971
That Alan Kay quote became a maxim of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s. It’s a nearly 50 year old idea but I think that it's still true - at least I don’t know any other ways of actively affecting what the future will look like.
A month ago we published a special section of the Vaadin website - Vaadin Labs. Vaadin Labs is a place for us to publish crazy ideas and release experimental features that implement a part of our vision of how web development could be in the future.
With Vaadin Labs, we will release pieces of the vision for early consumption. We hope for you to try the ideas out and to give us feedback on them. We want you to taste our half-baked bread, to try out the ingredients and tell us what you think we should take out and what we should be adding to the recipe.
Flow Project wizard
The first thing we published to Labs was the Flow Project Wizard. It is an experiment to see if it would be a better option to get started with Vaadin. Project wizard is a simple and fast way to configure your app views, add routes to the views, and finally adjust your app styling according to your wishes. We started with five templates that contain mock data that you can simply replace with your actual data sources. With the theme editor you can adjust colors, fonts, style and finetune sizes and spacing, all without touching CSS code. When you’re happy with your configuration, you can simply download a .zip file and import the project to your favorite IDE. It will build and run out of the box so you get to experiment further immediately. Please tell us what you think.
The second thing we published to Vaadin Labs is Vaadin Connect. It is an RPC library that marries Java middleware with application front-end code. It provides secure stateless communication between server and client, and comes with built-in support for end-to-end authentication and authorization. Integrating a Java service is straightforward. You just write your service in Java and Connect automatically generates you the part that you need to have in order to use it in the UI code. We plan to include full type support in the UI code so no type goes unchecked. You also get syntax highlighting and auto-completion in your front-end development environment.
In order to make it easier to experiment with Connect, we made a version of the Project Wizard for it, as well. The current Connect starter wizard allows you to add views from templates (empty, form, CRUD, list), configure routing and customize the theme of your application. Please tell us what you think after you’ve given it a go.
Give us feedback
That’s Vaadin Labs. We’ll keep adding features and experiments there during 2019. We depend on your feedback. Each project page has a commenting section for your feedback. Please also subscribe to updates. Thank you for reading.