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TouchKit is dead, long live TouchKit

Vaadin TouchKit is released today under Apache 2.0 license - the same permissive free software license as the core framework has. At the same time, we stop developing the product and we will not release any new features for it. We continue to support the product through our commercial support service. Continue reading for the reasoning behind the decision, what it means for you and how you can participate in the open source project.

Vaadin 8 is your choice for mobile development

Back in the Vaadin 6 era, we introduced an add-on called Vaadin TouchKit for bringing mobile support to Vaadin apps. The collection of mobile optimised components, the custom theme, and the custom servlet allowed implementing appealing UIs for mobile browsers with the same ease as for the desktop browsers.

Along the years, with each new release, Vaadin has matured for mobile devices in ways that defeat the need for a separate add-on for mobile use cases. Our standing is strong, and we will keep adding new mobile features in the future 8.x versions of Vaadin Framework.

Please keep being active and tell us what you want to see in the future releases regarding new mobile features. Comment on this post or go to our forum and comment on this thread with your ideas and expectations. Of course, the best way to get noticed is by creating an issue in GitHub.

TouchKit for Vaadin Framework 8

Although we stop developing the official Vaadin TouchKit, it doesn’t mean you can’t still use it for your Vaadin 7 projects. If you have an existing license, you can continue using the current official version from Vaadin Directory and Maven repository. For future development, you need to rely on the community.

But there is more. We also ported TouchKit to Vaadin Framework 8. This version is completely free under Apache license, but it is not maintained. We hope that the community will take over the project. We encourage you to go and make your own fork of it and become the lead of the new community version of TouchKit.

EDIT 2017-03-09: There is already a very promising fork with some fixes.

Community Spotlight - February 2017

For this month’s community spotlight, I interviewed Normand Hénault. Normand is the CEO of a company developing an interesting project called Nuuzee, a service that allows users to geographically explore events around them. The web application is available in 93 languages with the translations managed in a MySQL database. It contains a local reverse geolocation feature, also stored in MySQL, with a dataset of 2,3 million cities, 50,000 regions and 240 countries. Normand developed this web application from scratch using Java and Vaadin. The Nuuzee project included numerous Vaadin add ons as well as several Java APIs such as:

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Hello Normand. What can you tell us about yourself? Where do you work? What’s your role and background?

I am from Montreal, Canada and I am the CEO and Technical Founder of a very promising project that is Nuuzee. My background is in computer sciences, I've studied at Montreal university's Computer Sciences department. I've been in the field for close to twenty years.

What is Nuuzee all about?

Nuuzee is about what's happening around you in Real Time Your Space. I started two years ago when I had the idea. I am the main developer and I have a partner who handles the other stuff, such as business and marketing. It is a work in progress. I also have a collaborator for the deeper technical stuff, as well as all the UI and UX which have been accomplished with a very good friend of mine who is specialized in that field, from the McGill University Information Sciences department.

I used the app and it looks like a service to geographically see things such as sales, traffic incidents, and events. Is that right?

Yes, I tried to keep it as narrow as I could for starters, but the concept permits a wide range of uses. It's all about local communities and them wanting to know what's happening around them. But it could also serve people who want to know what's happening locally when they travel to another place. Local communities have needs for this kind of communication. Just look at the telephone poles, phone booths and public cork boards at your library, town hall, shopping center. People post tons of local information! It is also required by small local businesses which don't see the added bonus on buying ads on large platforms. They can use Nuuzee to quickly and easily post information to their surroundings about a special on food, for example, and this on the same day.

I'd use such a service for sure! Jumping into more technical stuff... How did you come across Vaadin?

Vaadin was suggested to me by a best friend of mine who uses it for their Mechanical Engineering software development called Notixia (Witllaken), based in Montreal. Since I didn't have professional programming experience, he told me Vaadin was the obvious direction to take if I wanted to accomplish my goal of programming the Nuuzee web app myself without all the hassle of handling JSON, Javascript and HTML. Only one language: Java.

Do you think Vaadin helped to reduce the time-to-market of your project?

Absolutely! I would even add that Vaadin enables programmers to focus on the user experience which is in my opinion one of the most important features in a public facing technology, by not having to master multiple other technologies. The amount of work required with HTML and JavaScript would not have permitted me to be this far in the Nuuzee project for sure. With a technology such as Vaadin, programmers can focus more on the backend and the underlying datasets (MySQL) as opposed to the front end, in my opinion. And I consider Javascript and HTML languages to be much less interesting than Java.

What would you say to those looking for a front-end technology for their next projects?

Use Vaadin! I might be biased, but as I said before, I did not have professional programming skills and I was able to build Nuuzee! Programmers are usually lazy people so if they can avoid stacking up technologies to accomplish their work, why not? Lazy people are of high intelligence since they are always thinking of ways to ease the workload.

Well noted. Well, thank you Normand for your time and best wishes for your project.

Thank you and thanks for this opportunity. I believe Nuuzee will go very far... You can go check the app out at www.nuuzee.com.

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