- I implement some application using the tool because I am pressed for time.
- I get the initial project done very quickly.
- Someone requests a change.
- Because of the WYSIWYG generated code, I essentially have to rewrite the app.
Maybe I just didn't use the WYSIWYG right. Obviously, a lot of people love them. But they were always counter-productive for me. In the end, they cost me more time than they saved. So, you can imagine my feelings when I read about GWT Designer. Here was a Drag and drop visual editor for GWT, complete with integration for SmartGWT and Ext GWT. I was hesitant, to say the least.
But I also firmly believe that as a Software Engineer, you have to keep your mind open and constantly re-evaluate new tools. So, I installed the GWT Designer plugin for Eclipse. I used it for my capstone project, a CRUD application for running a sign installation company. I was pleasantly surprised.
Here are a few observations about the Editor:
- I was able to jump between code and the visual editor easily
- Changing my code by hand didn't break the visual editor
- The code generated by the editor was easily readable and clean
Even though I started with the WYSIWYG, as I got a simple layout produced, I found myself easily translating into the code. It was a good experience. The visual components I created were originally going to be mock ups, but they were so clean, I've transitioned them into the working code. The application is not done yet, but its looking good - I've already been able to easily incorporate changes requested by my client.
Now, here are the drawbacks I encountered:
- My 5 year old PC and laptop run the visual components a little slow.
- The visual rendering isn't yet perfect. While it was mostly reflective of the actual output, there were a few differences.
All in all, though, the drawbacks were more annoyances than restrictions.
If you use GWT, I recommend you try GWT Designer.