Google Web Toolkit, RPC (Remote Procedure Call) and Apache

For the past weeks I was trying to figure out why my web apps won’t display whenever I deploy then on web host. I tried every trick I could but I just couldn't make it happen. It took me 3 days of break before I finally solve them. Phew!

During the process of solving I decided to install Apache (a web server) in order to simulate things using local host before deploying them to the actual site. This will provide me a solid confidence that the problem is not on my web apps since it did run on a simulated web host. And it works!

The form object did appear and all those fancy stuff however, on thing is missing “The RPC” it is one of the most important part on communicating between client and server. As I try to search for alternatives they say accessing thru JSON could be good choice.

I began to wonder…What’s with the RPC? Why won’t it connect to my free web host? As I try to Google things around one answer did appear. And it was clear. RPC is using Java’s servlet to communicate between the client and the server which means you need Java container on your web host in order for it to work.

Now, the big question that I began to ask myself: “Will this be the path that I should take?” After weighing the cost and benefit for a couple of hours I decided to say “Why not?” Google has been standing on the shoulder of the Open Source community for the longest time. It is the developers who created and agreed on the standards of the internet. I think it’s time to give it a shot.

When I started learning eclipse it was not so bad. The only complain that I had was, the lack of richness during the development process (The old drag and drop thing). I decided it was not a factor to abort eclipse. As I try to venture on this new hard code way of doing things I realize that it was so innovative and cool as I discover new things. After weeks on playing with eclipse one thing I was certain. It did capture the needs of most developers.

When it was time for me to hit the dynamic web development there were only three letters that stuck in my head. “Wow” the combination of Javascript and CSS to capture the eyes of every beholder was awesome. The speed, power, debugging and the conversion process of Google Web Toolkit from Java to Javascript was unbelievable.

Google Web Toolkit uses the thick client strategy to present Ajax to its users. As I try to Google around to look for disadvantage speed was indeed the issue. A lot of developers said that using the server side provides the advantage against the client side. I was skeptic about it because Google is known for their simplicity and speed is a factor that they priority. The people works inside Google are smart enough to justify why the client side is way better.

Indeed, the answer was clear during the Google IO ’08 when Vic – Vice President of Engineering for Google discuss the era of Mainframe computers – easy deployment and dumb terminals. His discussion of massive computing cloud, making connectivity pervasive as possible and the enormous power and storage of every client’s pc makes the thick client strategy far better than the server side. During the Google developers conference Myspace vice president *I forgot the name * demonstrated the power of Google Gears in filtering his email inbox as he try to search for something. If you happen to watch the video the result was so fast as if it was a desktop application. It was short and simple but it was so promising.

The next is my apache experience. I used to hate the apache thing. Simply because it was way too geeky just to make it run. I was even so scared to click the install button because I know for a fact that after I install it minutes later it would be straight into the trash can.

Guess what? I was wrong.

When I choose the management tool and click start. It works! As I deploy the .war file for the final evaluation if this baby will stay or kiss her files on the delete mode. Guess what? It just works. I could a test that apache did come a long way to make the user as happy as I am today.

For every release of the open source community things are getting better than ever before. I am impressed.


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