Vaadin platform evaluation

I have been considering using the Vaadin platform for my next development project. This initiative will require a simple, and fast web based application. I have been very interested in Vaadin for one big reason: it is written in pure Java. This is a big plus for me, as it drastically minimizes our development time. This project is targeted at mobile environments, but certainly not exclusively limited to.

I have taken a look at the mobile touch kit and I have a few hesitancies in purchasing the add-on. First, I have taken a look at some of the touch kit features and the only additions that I can see are buttons, forms, and a few other elements that help the application feel more native. The applications we are developing do not require deep utilization of iPhone/Android API’s, however, I do not want to close my options to incorporating features that are inherent in mobile devices (GPS for example).

I am wondering if it would be more practical to pair the Vaadin application with a native mobile mobile application that wraps the Vaadin web view. This is really an anti pattern when looking at the purpose for using Vaadin, however.

I appreciate any recommendations/experiences/or feedback. Thank you!


TouchKit is not just about iOS inspired UI components although they may be the most visible part in our demo and website. It e.g. allows you to configure “viewport” settings that are essential when you want to build good UIs. And it also do allow you to query the location from the device (aka GPS).

Have you checked the Vornitologist demo and its tutorial. It e.g. discusses that geolocation API that you brought up.

Your idea of wrapping Vaadin app to a web view of a native app to gain more “native access” isn’t actually new. It is been discussed several times, but I don’t know anybody who had actually done this. There is also one masters thesis that is supposed discuss and experiment this area starting early next year in our local university.

PhoneGap would most likely be the best tool to do that. I have reviewed some of the feature this kind of integration would gain, but I gotta say I wasn’t that exited. Notifications and contacts access would be the best features that this solution would make possible. Also camera access on iOS would be a big plus form some apps. On Android one can use standard file upload, but for some reason Apple has not chosen to support file upload with web apps, even for photos only. I’d be surprised if this is not “fixed” soon.


Thanks for the information. PhoneGap also looks interesting. I am a little discouraged from using it because it relies heavily on developing in JScript. I also didn’t realize that I could download TouchKit and evaluate free of charge. This is awesome! Well, thank you for the direction. I am going to dive deaper into Vaadin and see what happens. :).

A final afterthought:
Are there any known barriers that prohibit developers from making creating new addons for the Vaadin interface that interact with other available features from the native device (like contacts, push, camera, etc)?

That might have been missed by some users indeed. We should communicate that 30 days evaluation period bit better. Also note that you can actually use TouchKit for free in open source projects with AGPL license.

Not any that I’d know, but the fact that they are not available for web apps by default. But by integrating with e.g. PhoneGap this should be possible.

BTW. I don’t know what exactly you meant with “push”, but in case you meant “ajax push”, mobile browsers commonly do support e.g. websockets and long polling methods quite nicely. E.g.
this demo app
built by Sami “works” in iOS devices. Works is in parenthesis because you really don’t want to play tetris with small buttons, but technically it works.