Google Opens Ajax Web Toolkit

Heavy open source software user and Internet search giant Google this week unveiled a fully open source version of its Google Web Toolkit, GWT 1.3 Release Candidate, available for free under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

The toolkit, built around Google’s code for Asynchronous Javascript and XML (Ajax) development, comes as both GWT and Ajax are being used increasingly to create rich Internet applications.

“Now that GWT has some serious adoption and a lively user community, open sourcing is the obvious next step to help GWT evolve more quickly,” said Google Tech Lead Bruce Johnson on the project blog.

Applying Ajax

Johnson reiterated Google’s goal of helping users, “as opposed to hoarding proprietary development tools.”

The complete, open source code for GWT is really the only change in version 1.3, which is being called a release candidate because of substantial source code tweaking and work on build scripts, according to Johnson.

He stated Google’s objective with GWT: “To radically improve the Web experience for users by enabling developers to use existing Java tools to build no-compromise Ajax for any modern browser.”

Collaboration and Code

By fully opening GWT, Google gets the benefit of development and input from a base of contributors it would not otherwise reach, Basex CEO and Chief Analyst Jonathan Spira told LinuxInsider.

“They’re making a more collaborative process because they’re inviting people in, as well as sharing [code],” Spira said.

Google is among an increasing number of companies that recognize the value of openness and transparency in software development, he added.

Open Source Brand

Among the most prominent users of open source software that includes Linux and the Apache Web server and related technologies, Google supports open source projects with free project hosting, manpower and financial contributions, and programs such as the Google Summer of Code.

The search software leader also brings a well-known, well-respected brand to open source software, creating a powerful combination, Interarbor Solutions Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

“Google’s in a great position to use its place in the market, its brand awareness and success in search to extend notoriety to open source,” Gardner explained.

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