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Google Web Toolkit: Taking the pain out of Ajax by Ed Burnette

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<pre>Author/s : Ed Burnette
Publisher : The Pragmatic Programmers
Category : Other
Review by : John Wetherbie
Rating : 7 horseshoes
So you want to learn about the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) but don't have the time? What if there was a book that would have you building, running and understanding GWT projects in an afternoon? If that sounds like a good deal then Google Web Toolkit: Taking the pain out of Ajax by author Ed Burnette is the book for you.

The book starts with a quick discussion of the motivation behind the GWT and goes right into installation of the toolkit and building an example project with the projectCreator and applicationCreator tools. The third chapter introduces you to the Hosted mode that is used during development and deploying your application to a web server (Web mode). There are some nice flow diagrams to explain what is going on under the covers in these two modes.

The subsequent chapters walk you through the components and widgets that make up a GWT interface, what is involved with using GWT's remote procedure call (RPC) protocol, handling history and bookmarks, the JavaScript Native Interface (JSNI) for calling native JavaScript code in your GWT Java code, and the subset of the Java language that GWT translates to JavaScript for execution in the browser.

The chapters on RPC, history, and JSNI all have code examples that may also be downloaded directly from the PDF document. The writing style is very readable with nice, light touches of humor. I like that fact that the book is 68 pages including front and back matter and is meant to be read in a short time. This book will help you to follow the Pragmatic Programmer's tip to "Learn Continuously".

I'd actually like to see the book be a little longer. The installation and setup instructions for eclipse are cursory and if you are unfamiliar with eclipse they could be considered incomplete. The code examples were nice but I would prefer to see all the code in the book and not have to follow the download links to see it all. I hope to see an update or a follow-on book that goes beyond static pages and deals with server side interaction.

Overall this is a good, quick introduction to the Google Web Toolkit. The book is available as a PDF download from the Pragmatic Programmer web site. If you are interested in learning about the GWT I recommend you head there a get a copy for yourself.

Full disclosure: I received a free download of the book for review purposes.

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