Just as Microsoft advanced the state of the art for programming on Windows, Google is trying to do the same with Web-based software. Its latest move: the release of Google Web Toolkit 2.0.
Google Web Toolkit, released Tuesday night at a Google Campfire One developer event, fits in with the company's general push to make the Web a more powerful foundation for applications, not just static Web sites. The financial reasoning the company offers boils down to this: more use of the Web means more searching on Google and more search advertising revenue.
GWT is an open-source tool. Among the newer Web sites Google built with it are Wave, Orkut, and the AdWords interface.
"We've been working with those teams in applied R&D in the last year to evolve to meet their needs," said GWT product manager Andrew Bowers. Specifically, he mentioned three new features in the refurbished GWT:
"Code-splitting" technology to break Web applications up into urgent sections that must be downloaded immediately and the other parts that can be sent at a more leisurely pace.
Bowers likened the incremental application download feature to streaming video, where people can start watching the video before the full movie has been downloaded. The feature was developed with the Google Wave team, he added.
Coming from work with the AdWords team is UiBinder, which lets programmers separate an application's user-interface code from the program logic that actually does the thinking. The result: user interface designers can be given free reign without the logic programmers worrying about everything breaking, Bowers said.
Google also has used GWT to develop Google Health and iPhone Web applications such as Google Latitude and Gmail.
Different strokes for different folks, said Bruce Johnson, GWT's technical lead of the different tools.