Difference between ITMILL and GWT

We’re going to build a web application instead of a website. The ITMILL demos look very impressive! Thanks for your great works.

I’m new to the web frameworks. As far as I know, GWT is also a web framework and has tons of ready to use components, such as tree, table, menu, etc. From your website, ITMILL utilizes GWT as the browser side engine. I’m wondering what benefits itmill adds on top of GWT. Is it something similar to GWT extensions ( http://www.gwt-ext.com ) ? Although I’m not familiar with GWT, I guess your demos could also be built using GWT only.

The other question is some other frameworks (wicket, ZK) seem to attract quite a lot of developers. But itmill, though looking like a great one, does not seem to have a lot of users. So I’m a little concerned with its future.

The largest difference between IT Mill Toolkit and Google Web Toolkit is that in GWT you program everything to be run in browser, while as in our Toolkit everything is done in server. Our server-side programming model is generally simpler to use because you do not have to worry about building both server and the client and design communication between them. Furthermore, client-side programming tends to lead to less secure applications as there are much more things to worry about. On the other hand - when you really want to do something in client - for example to add some third-party widget, you can just use GWT as IT Mill Toolkit is built on top of it.

One further note - all of the more complex widgets in IT Mill Toolkit are written from scratch, not derived from GWT. The reasoning behind this is that our widgets contain a lot more functionality than the widgets in plain GWT. Still the GWT provides solid foundation for the client-side widgetset. While it is really straightforward to port a GWT widget to IT Mill Toolkit, unfortunately it is not always as easy to do in other direction. For an example, see http://dev.itmill.com/wiki/Articles/WidgetCreationHowto

GWT-Ext is not actually “extensions”, but a wrapper for a JavaScript based framework called ExtJS. Ext has been quite popular library as it has nice widgets. Unfortunately the company behind Ext changed their licensing policy in a such manner that GWT-Ext project is stuck with an old ExtJS version.

IT Mill Toolkit has strong corporate users using the framework for building large application and is backed by a strong company since year 2000. The framework has been around since year 2001 and we intend to be around for a long time to come.

Relatively small open source community is explained by the fact that the framework has not been available under Apache license for a long time. While as the framework has been around since 2001, we released first preview release of IT Mill Toolkit under Apache license in the end of 2007.

I hope this answers to your questions. If you have any doubts, please ask :)