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The English part of my blog is mainly technical. If you can read Italian, check the Italian section for articles of other kind.

GWT Is Neither Java Nor JavaScript: It's GWT

I've heard of many people criticizing GWT, some of the most common reasons are that it translates Java into JavaScript, that web sites are not desktop applications, and that GWT uses Java to write code. Well, here's my thoughts on these points.

I've always looked at GWT like a very interesting technology, but I only recently introduced myself to real GWT development to create the admin interface of MeshCMS 4 (my own GPL CMS). I'm really impressed, and I'm writing this post to point out how I think one should look at GWT.

GWT is neither Java nor JavaScript

Let me clarify what I mean. Sure, you use Java syntax and Java tools when developing (I'm a NetBeans fan for what it's worth). But in a certains sense you're not writing real Java code, since you're not targeting the Java VM. But clearly you're not writing JavaScript, and you can't use closures and such. If you write GWT code thinking about JavaScript, you've missed the whole point. Yes, it will become JavaScript…

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ColorBox: My New Favorite JavaScript Popup/Lightbox Plugin

Finally I've found the perfect tool for inline popups: ColorBox by Jack Moore. It's a jQuery plugin that works like a charm without any kind of issue, opens everything from images to galleries to iframes, and needs no configuration at all, unless you want to set some options. I'll use it in MeshCMS 4, but it's so good-looking I held my nose and edited the gallery of MeshCMS 3.5 to support it.

Another big plus is that five themes are available in the dowload, so probably everybody will find one that suit their needs. My favorite is #5: nice and does not require transparent images, so no special tricks on IE6.

Thank you Jack!

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My Thoughts About Java Web Frameworks

During the summer of 2004 I started writing my first web application: MeshCMS. I already had some background in JSP and a good knowledge of Java, but it was the first time for me to get the whole thing done. I decided to use what I already knew since I wanted to complete it in a short time: I was working as a freelance web designer/developer and I saw that many customers needed a CMS that was really easy to use. I tried many open source CMSes, but they were too complicated for end users.

It was a very formative experience: the application is still working and it is based on the original code. It has many of the issues that one could expect from such an application: JSPs contain Java code, the application flow is not clear and so on. This helped me to understand why web frameworks are a good thing, so I began another search: choosing a web framework.

I have a good knowledge of the HTTP request cycle, so an action framework should be OK, but all acition frameworks I tried…

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