Preparing for IT Mill Toolkit 5

This is not an official release announcement, but just a quick status-update on what we are currently working on to get some feedback from you.

Programming model of IT Mill Toolkit 4 has been very successful - it is easy to create great looking, responsive and maintainable applications using Toolkit. And this is exactly what our customers have been doing lately. And what we have been doing, is listening to our customers on what we could do better.

The top three items on the wish list are:

  • Open Source
    license would be great.
  • Server-side programming model is great, but there are situations where you would need to add new client-side widgets to the framework. While this is possible, it requires hard-core Ajax development.
    Please make writing new components easier

  • Better documentation

Open Source

Millstone 1 (2001) and 2 (2002) were commercial, Millstone 3 (2002) was Open Source (LGPL), Ajax Adapter (2005) was a commercial addition to Open Source core, IT Mill Toolkit 4 (2007) is commercial… And
IT Mill Toolkit 5 will be Open Sourced under a liberal license
. Just to make waiting easier, Open Sourcing of IT Mill Toolkit 4 is also planned.

When discussing Open Source, business model must be explained a bit. The core product will be free (no strings attached) and fully useable for commercial purposes. IT Mill sells commercial licenses that include additional tools and services. We also provice wide range of development services to support your product development.

Extending widget set made easy

The rendering model in IT Mill Toolkit 4 was based on painting user interface updates, sent as XML from server, on DOM with rendering methods implemented in JavaScript. From programmers point of view, this is perfect as long as you do not have to extend it. When you do, you must write those rendering methods in JavaScript and to manage all cross-browser problematics by yourself.

In order to make this easier, two problems had to be solved:

  • Modularize client-side implementation
    into user interface widgets with proper lifecycle and provide stable client-side API:s for those components
  • Somehow
    make cross-browser JavaScript development easy

After evaluating a long list of options, we ended up with just two: Either develop new client-side JavaScript-based component framework by ourselves or overcome Not Invented Here syndrome and use Google Web Toolkit (GWT).
We did the hard decision and re-wrote all of our client-side with GWT as well as integrated GWT development tools directly into IT Mill Toolkit.

The implications are interesting:

  • We have
    stable Java API:s for client-side
  • Client-side
    widget set is easy to extend
    in plain Java
  • Google will do lot of hard work for us resolving cross-browser issues and optimizing performance (for free). Thanks Google!
  • All existing
    GWT widgets can be easily ported to IT Mill Toolkit

So in the end,
IT Mill Toolkit 5 will combine the best sides of client- and server-side UI programming models
. We have found this programming model wonderful and hope that you will like it too.


We decided to bite the bullet and write a proper manual. The first version was already shipped with 4.0.3 and we are stedily improving it all the time. So 5.0 will have a really good set of documentation.


The current plan is to ship 5.0 beta in the November 6. Version 4 will be released as Open Source at the same time

Any comments, ideas or questions?

Including GWT to IT Mill Toolkit brings wonderful tool for AJAX application developers. No more javascript spaghetti on your code-base, or at least now you have the killer combination of Java and Eclipse on your toolbox and you actually can refactor (maintain) your client-side code!

Another feature that we have been working with is
IT Mill Toolkit Testing Tools
. It allows you to record and playback any UI events using Firefox, IE or Safari. It has very easy to use GUI for recording and scheduling playbacks on virtual environments such as VMWare Server using Windows or Linux testing hosts. Yes, I know there exists solutions for this but the reason why we re-invented the wheel was that existing solutions were hard to get working in robust and productive way. Setting your testing framework is simple and using it requires no special talents. We have aimed for usability and productiveness.

So, explain it then! No news here about Open Source business model. What was the part that needed explaining?

IT Mill Toolkit Component Library will be available under Apache 2.0 license. Both versions 4 and upcoming version 5.

Upcoming IT Mill Toolkit Team License is a commercial license including above mentioned User Interface Library, IT Mill Toolkit Testing Tools as well as number of support sevices that ensure quick response to any questions your development team might have.

Unfortunately the current internal build still has too many bugs to be released as beta and thus we have decided to postpone the beta release to early December.
My apologies for the delay.

Click here for a brief intro on IT Mill Toolkit 5:

So, this means we should wait for a long time?

Herry, please don’t post advertisement links to forums. I took the liberty to remove them.

BTW Toolkit 5 is no longer beta, stable version has been out for a while :slight_smile: