The Isomorphic Blog

SmartClient 8.0 beta

SmartClient 8.0 is officially entering public beta.  To download it, simply download the latest nightly build.

SmartClient Enterprise Eval Nightlies:

SmartClient LGPL Nightlies:

8.0 is another monster release, with spectacularly powerful new features and a gorgeous look & feel refresh.

  • Expandable rows: several built-in modes including showing a nested grid for related records (see below), as well as the ability to create your own component on expansion.  Multi-nesting (grid within grid within grid) supported.


  • Masked text input: specify the mask in a regular-expression like format, and the rest is handled for you.  Works in grids too.


  • New Enterprise skins: The Enterprise skin has been refined and new Enterprise Blue and Graphite skins have been added.


  • New ultralight ‘Simplicity’ skin: the new “Simplicity” skin takes advantage of early CSS3 support in modern browsers like Firefox, Safari and Chrome to deliver look and feel similar to our classic skins (rounded elements, gradients, and other touches) while remaining almost image free.  Appearance degrades gracefully in Internet Explorer to a more square / solid color appearance.
  • (Preliminary) Touch & Mobile support: support for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices and partial support for Android devices.  No code changes required, and the full range of interactions is supported, including drag and drop and flick scrolling with momentum.  SmartClient on mobile is a strong choice for long-session mobile & touch applications (like iWork for the iPad) and especially for offline mobile applications.  The shot below is of a CubeGrid with a preliminary HTML5 Chart (not yet available), running in an iPad.  We also have a separate “ultralight” offering that is already quite far along – stay tuned.


  • Declarative Security:  protect operations by role by simply declaring requiresRole=”manager” on an operationBinding.  Codeless integration with J2EE security and JAAS – if your security solution is causing httpServletRequest.isUserInRole() to return appropriate values, it just works.  If instead you need to provide roles dynamically, you can do so with a single API call (RPCManager.setUserRoles()).
  • Declarative output restriction: declare which fields should be returned by the server on a per-operation or per-request basis  (dsRequest.outputs / operationBinding.outputs).  Use this to cut down on network traffic for combo boxes and other scenarios where only a few fields are needed from a record with dozens of fields.  Or, combine it with Declarative Security to enforce data visibility rules.
  • New server-side validators: “isUnique” makes it trivial to enforce common cases like having a unique user name.  “hasRelatedRecords” can enforce that inter-record references are valid.
  • Validate On Exit: declare that validation for a particular field should be run when focus leaves the field.  This includes automatic trips to the server to run any server-only validators you’ve defined.  Combined with the new isUnique validator, this makes on-the-fly unique username checks entirely declarative.
  • Server-side declarative custom validators: write a Velocity expression right in your .ds.xml file, or declare a Java class to call (like DMI)
$value.getTime() < $record.deadline.getTime()
  • Grid totals / summaries: whole grid and group level summaries.  Several built-in functions (sums, averages, etc) and the ability to add your own.


Selenium Support

  • Selenium support: including Selenium IDE and Selenium Remote Control.  We created a Selenium extension to allow recording abstract “locators” generated by SmartClient which are valid across browsers, across skins, across versions of SmartClient, and have fallback strategies that allow them to work across application changes like adding or reshuffling components.  Support for Selenium RC means you can now write test cases in Java and other languages.  A sample locator:
  • Automatic Transactions (SQL/Hibernate): batches of updates, such as a multi-row drag or  mass editing of grid rows, are now automatically grouped into a transaction when using either  the SQL or Hibernate connectors with Power edition or better.  APIs have been added to be  notified of transaction success or failure, manually initiate transactions and include or exclude specific requests.
  • Deeper SQL customization: customize the SQL used for select, insert and update for an individual field while retaining full support for automatic query generation, efficient data paging, multi-level sort and all other features of the SQLDataSource.  See DataSourceField.customSelect/Insert/UpdateExpression, as well as sqlStorageStrategy.
  • JPA DataSource: similar to the built-in SQL and Hibernate connectors, a connector has been added for JPA-based persistence.  This connector does not yet have a DataSource Wizard, but support is planned.  Supports simple Criteria for now – support for Advanced Criteria will be available for Power edition in the future.
  • Annotation-based configuration in Hibernate: support for Hibernate configuration via annotations rather than explicit mapping files, and support for looking up Hibernate configuration via Spring.   Supported in both the DataSource Wizard and via declarations in .ds.xml files.
  • REST Connector: a new built-in servlet exposes all of the operations defined in your .ds.xml files for access via REST – the same protocol as defined for the RestDataSource.  This allows other client technologies and automated systems to re-use the same services you provide for your SmartClient front-end.
  • Widgets in grid cells: attach any component to any Grid cell.  Includes automatic lifecycle management of components for load-on-demand grids, including a component pooling mode.  Works for trees too.


  • Per-Column AutoFit: you can now enable per-column auto-fitting to data or to the field title, or both, in the ListGrid or TreeGrid with field.autoFitWidth.  This integrates with load on demand and incremental rendering by only auto-fitting to initially visible loaded data, so it scales to very large datasets with only a small performance penalty.
  • Relative date filtering: enables date filters like “last 5 days” or “next week”.  When the user specifies relative dates, saving and restoring criteria preserves the relative date.  This is now also the default filtering interface in grids and the FilterBuilder.


  • Enhanced printing: more control over printed output (eg, number of rows to print in grids); more styling options
  • True Excel (.xls) export: goes beyond CSV (comma-separated-values) export by including hilites, and delivering dates and numbers with type information so Excel can sort and filter properly
  • Client-driven export: an alternative mode for exporting, this export preserves all client-side formatting.  LGPL users note: upgrading to Pro gets you this export mode without having to rework any of your databinding code.
  • Wrapper components for Plugins: the components for managing browser plugins (Java Applets, Flash players, etc) are now part of the free product (formerly ClientBridges Optional Module)
  • Direct editing in Visual Builder: directly drag and drop components into the application and drag to rearrange.  Double click titles to edit them.   In grids, show and hide columns, sort them, resize them, or freeze them and the changes are saved to the generated code.


  • WSDL enhancements: automatic loading of imported XML Schema and WSDL files, and support for services with portType vs binding elements in different files
  • New WSDL Wizard: Visual Builder features a new WSDL wizard suitable for much less technical people.  Import a service and the set of operations and elements within the service is shown in a panel.  Just drag and drop elements into the application pane and they create appropriate user interface elements.  Drag the operation node out to create a button that invokes the service, automatically using data values from UI controls bound to the input message of the service, and automatically using the result to populate UI controls derived from the output message of the service.
  • Tree selection: cascades up/down, with visual indicator for partial selection


  • Multi-level sort: ctrl-click, or use a dialog to configure sort levels.  Client and server support.


  • Portal layout components: the drag and drop, multiple column portal-style layout manager previously shown as a sample is now an officially supported component.
  • 18 language packs: SmartClient and SmartGWT are now single-sourcing language packs.  All common locales are covered.
  • Shared caching: DataSources now have an option to load and cache all data up front (DataSource.cacheAllData), which can cut down on repeated queries for smaller datasets.  This is similar to the existing “clientOnly” mode, except that update/add/remove operations will “write through” to the server.
  • Toolstrip: a comprehensive skinning overhaul, including toolstrip/toolbar-specific button and menu styling


SmartClient 7.0RC2 & 7.1

There has been some confusion over when there would be a “final” 7.0 release.  As we’ve been communicating to customers, 7.0RC2 is a final, supported release, and you can see that several patches have been made available for it.

In retrospect, we realize we should not have simply promoted the release candidate to the final version, as a number of companies have had internal issues with using a build marked “RC” no matter how clear of an assurance they receive that it is a supported product.  We’ll avoid that in the future.

There will also be a 7.1 release that rolls up patches applied to 7.0RC2 and includes a few new samples and smaller features.

SmartGWT EE 1.2 is Now Available!

SmartGWT EE is now available for download.

New in this release:

  • Many new examples, covering custom DataSource implementations, Batch Upload, and various scenarios of adding business logic
  • Eclipse project files for each sample project, for one-step Eclipse setup

Download it today!

SmartClient 7.0 Release Candidate available

[UPDATE: RC2, available on the download page, has been declared an official supported release]

At last, a release candidate of SmartClient 7.0 is available.  Download it here:

What do we mean by release candidate?  We are at zero critical bugs according to internal testing, we are in code freeze and will only be fixing newly reported bugs as well as adding and updating documentation and samples.  We expect the RC period to last roughly two to three weeks.

If you plan to move your application to 7.0 any time in the next 6 months, you should definitely grab this release and starting testing now, and submit any bugs you find.

What’s in 7.0

There’s really no way around it once you see the list of new features: this obviously should have been two or more major releases.  The breadth of new functionality is dizzying.  This list below includes only major new feature areas – see the changelog in the SDK to discover the hundreds of minor features that were also added.  Features shown in italics below are new just since 7.0 Beta.

  • Enterprise, SilverWave and BlackOps skins, three more professionally designed, free (LGPL) skins
  • Calendar component: complete drag and drop, databound event editing similar to Google Calendar
  • TileLayout & TileGrid components: display records as a series of tiles, with databinding,
    load on demand, filter and sort, and drag and drop capability
  • Advanced Filtering: client- and server-side support for field-operator-value filtering of
    data, including arbitrarily nested queries
  • Filter Builder: specialized form for end user construction of advanced filters of arbitrary
  • SQL Templating: customize the SQL generated by SmartClient’s SQL connector right in the
    DataSource file. Clause by clause overrides make it easy to add simple and complex joins,
    grouping and aggregation while retaining full search features and database independence
  • Transaction Chaining: a transaction where some operations depend on the
    results of other operations can be declared with simple XML in your DataSource
  • DataSource Wizards: generate fully functional DataSources from existing Hibernate entities
    or SQL tables with a simple point and click wizard in Visual Builder
  • Batch DataSource Generator: connect SmartClient to your entire object model in one step by
    generating DataSources from SQL tables, Java Beans or other metadata with a customizable process.
  • CSV / Excel Export: just call grid.exportData() to export the current contents of the grid
    to Excel via CSV, including current sort, filter criteria, column order and column visibility
  • Automatic databound dragging behaviors: grids and trees will now inspect data
    relations declared in DataSources and automatically “do the right thing” for a databound drag
  • Batch Uploader: provides an interface to upload a CSV, validate it and allow the user to
    make corrections before committing, all without coding.
  • Advanced Java Reflection: Java <-> JavaScript translation transparently handles JVM 1.5
    features like Generics and Enums, including nested collections of objects.
  • ColumnTree component: ITunes™-like tree navigation (one column per level)
  • Hiliting: declare hiliting rules based on AdvancedCriteria. Completely client-side
    behavior that works automatically with data paging and filtering
  • Printing: comprehensive and customizable support for rendering printable views of
    SmartClient applications
  • Formula and Summary fields: built-in wizards for end users to define formula fields that
    can compute values using other fields, or summary fields that can combine other fields with
    intervening / surrounding text. Available in all DataBoundComponents, easy to persist as
  • ColorPicker component: a full-spectrum color selection component similar to those found in
    graphics packages and other desktop software
  • HeaderSpans: second level headers in grids, for grouping related columns
  • Grid row rollover effects and controls: general purpose ability to attach SmartClient
    components to rows, allowing rounded selection, controls that appear on rollover, and more
  • Grid header rollover: drop-down menus appear on rollover, offering column show/hide,
    freezing and grouping options that previously required right click to discover
  • Data autofitting: horizontal and vertical autofitting to data for ListGrids
  • Grouping modes: built-in and custom grouping modes, such as the ability to group a date
    column by week, day, month or year
  • Visual Builder “toolskin”: edit applications in any skin while Visual Builder itself
    retains consistent look and feel
  • Visual Builder “auto-add”: double-click palette items to intelligently add to last, for
    ludicrously fast screen building
  • AutoFitTextAreaItem: autofits to contained text as the user types
  • Full Tree connectors: TreeGrid connectors support now optionally includes full connector
  • CubeGrid facet auto-derivation: greatly simplified creation of simple cubes

Each of these major new features deserves a blog post of its own, and we hope to in fact post about some of them, although the many new examples and new docs speak for themselves.

Note that this list doesn’t include two “Previews” that are also included in 7.0:

  • Drawing: a cross-platform vector graphics package that provides drawing of arbitrary shapes, zoom and pan, drag and drop and other interactivity.  No plugins required.
  • Portal: a more advanced portal layout engine and related facilities for persisting not just layout, but an extensible set of information exposed by Portlets, a special class of components with lifecycle management and persistence features.

Pro vs Enterprise Licensing details

If you download and compare the different packages above you’ll get a much more detailed picture of the distinction between our Pro and Enterprise packages.  In a nutshell, from a features perspective, Pro comes with everything except:

  • SQL/HQL Templating
  • Transaction Chaining
  • Server-side Advanced Filtering (client-side filtering  is LGPL)
  • Batch DataSource Generator (but DataSource Wizard is included in Pro)
  • Batch Uploader
  • Network Performance Module
  • Real-Time Messaging Module
  • Analytics Module

The revised licensing page being prepared for the official 7.0 launch will break out the LGPL / Pro / Enterprise split in a graphical fashion (the usual table with rows of checkmarks for features), including links to live examples and docs demonstrating the capabilities of the Pro & Enterprise versions.

We’re very excited about this because, to be perfectly forthright, when we switched SmartClient to open source, our marketing efforts continued to emphasize the overall SmartClient solution, and we made a mistake in not explaining the server functionality very well.  Because SmartClient LGPL seems so complete and so broad when compared to other solutions, there’s been a misconception that the SmartClient Server is a minor add-on to SmartClient, whereas the reality is, it’s the other half.  The cornerstone of SmartClient – the powerful databinding architecture that has so many pervasive benefits in creating your UI – extends onto the server side, where it is arguably even more effective at reducing the amount of code you have to write – frequently, to zero.

If you skipped over the SmartClient Server because the benefits weren’t obvious, now is the time to revisit that choice.  Download the release candidate and start with the new “Server Examples” folder in the Feature Explorer.

Roadmap to 8.0 and beyond

As soon as we get 7.0 final out the door we’ll be posting some more roadmap information about 8.0 and beyond.  We will first put forward a list of areas that we’ll definitely be persuing, then soliciting feedback from customers and open source users about what they want most.  This is all part of an effort to provide more transparency and help teams plan around future SmartClient releases.  Stay tuned.



SmartGWT Enterprise Edition available


The first release of SmartGWT Enterprise Edition is now available.

Download it here.  Check out the Showcase here.

SmartGWT EE Showcase

What is it?

SmartGWT Enterprise Edition (SmartGWT EE for short) is to SmartGWT what SmartClient Enterprise Edition is to SmartClient – an enterprise version of the product that includes Java Server side functionality, additional tools, and a classic commercial license in lieu of the LGPL.

For teams with existing Java functionality, SmartGWT EE provides greatly accelerated integration with SmartGWT’s visual components.  In many cases it is possible to take existing Java methods in an application and bind a SmartGWT grid or form to those methods without writing any new code, simply by specifying what method to call in a DataSource XML file.

For those using Hibernate, it’s even simpler.  A Wizard within Visual Builder allows you to simply pick any registered Hibernate entity from a list, and SmartGWT EE will create a SmartGWT DataSource that provides full read-write binding to that Hibernate entity.  Just provide the generated DataSource to a SmartGWT grid or form with no other configuration, and you have a full CRUD UI: create, retrieve, update, and delete Hibernate-managed entities.  It can even execute the complex search criteria that the FilterBuilder allows a user to specify.  There’s no need to create redundant Data Transfer Objects (DTO’s), or worry about Hibernate-managed lazy associations between entities in your domain model. Only those properties mapped in the data source are passed to the client, and during updates only those properties that have been modified (and not the entire bean data) are sent from the client to the server with the changes transparently reflected in your server.

Hibernate Wizard

A corresponding Wizard exists for binding to database tables stored in any popular database, again with full read-write binding.  And in both cases, you can easily add business logic that runs before or after the Hibernate or SQL binding, which can modify the request before it executes, modify the output, or take any other action.

There’s even a “batch” version of the binding tool.  Do you have a large application with 1000+ Java Beans, or 1000+ SQL tables?  Make them all accessible to SmartGWT UI widgets in one step.  The batch version of the tool includes source code, so you can customize how generation is done.  Do you have Java annotations that could be used to drive UI behaviors like required:true or canEdit:false?  There’s sample code for that.  Do you need to show a special input control or add special validators wherever a field with a certain Java type is used?  Easy change.

This is ideal for large scale enterprise development:

  1. you get all the benefits of model-driven development, including rapid prototyping and the ability to make pervasive changes driven by changes in the model
  2. you retain full extensibility: you’re working with a UI platform that allows you to build completely customized interfaces where necessary
  3. your customizations are minimal and easy to maintain; you don’t have to maintain the “code soup” typically output by code generator tools

SmartGWT EE future features

This first release of SmartGWT EE omits certain advanced components and services, including the CubeGrid and the Messaging module.  These are coming soon; we’ll be rolling out enhancements to SmartGWT EE at a rapid clip similar to what we’ve been doing with SmartGWT.

Also in this release, while Visual Builder is fully functional, it currently saves screens as XML files which cannot (yet) be readily converted into Java code for use outside of the tool.  These XML files are in SmartClient’s Component XML format and can be edited and re-loaded by Visual Builder (as with SmartClient).  Future versions of Visual Builder for SmartGWT EE will include tools to generate Java from this format, so any screens you build now are forward compatible.


As part of the final release of SmartGWT Enterprise Edition, we’re introducing a new pricing level that works better for small teams, called SmartGWT / SmartClient Pro.  This product will have all of the client-side functionality of SmartGWT / SmartClient LGPL as well as server-side functionality similar to the 6.5.1 release of SmartClient Enterprise – server connectors, validation, basic Hibernate and SQL connectors, as well as Visual Builder – and will be offered at a price that approaches $600-800 per developer for a team license.  There will no longer be a distinction between an Intranet vs a Small Vendor Edition license.   In a nutshell this very closely matches the existing Enterprise offering, but is now less expensive.

SmartClient and SmartGWT Enterprise Edition will now come with a different license suited to larger deployments which will carry stronger legal guarantees (eg indemnity), and for that reason will also be a “Contact us” licensing level.  A handful of new features in 7.0 will be held back to the Enterprise level license, including two shown in the new SmartGWT EE showcase: a feature we call Transaction Chaining which is demonstrated in the Queued Master/Detail Add example, and the batch mode of the DataSource generator mentioned above.  Hence the need to announce the upcoming pricing changes today – further details on the feature breakdown will be posted soon.

Anyone who has already bought licenses to SmartClient Enterprise will be able to continue to renew at the currently posted pricing, which we will also continue to honor for the next 45 days (including any quotations).  So, now is a great time to purchase Enterprise Edition, as you have an opportunity to purchase the Enterprise feature set at slightly above the price of Pro, if one of our website licenses works for you.

About SmartClient 7.0

Everything discussed for SmartGWT EE above is also included in SmartClient 7.0.  Our apologies to users of the free version for the delay in getting a final release out (most enterprise customers opted to get certified on an interim build).  However, it’s worth the wait.  If we were to take a cue from the Mozilla foundation, who recently renamed Firefox 3.1 to 3.5 to reflect how much is new, we might have to skip a few numbers (kidding – we’ll stick with 7).  Stay tuned.

Open for Service

Isomorphic Software has been providing world class consulting, support and training services to top enterprises since before SmartClient was released 2001.  That may be a surprise to some of you because there has never been a description of these services on our company website.  However, things have changed, and we’ve gone public with our service offerings.   We have created a Services page to describe all of the professional services that Isomorphic provides to help teams take advantage of the power of the SmartClient framework.

Do you need enterprise support from the very engineers that have built SmartClient?  Take a look at our Commercial Support options.

Have you just started working with SmartClient and want to quickly learn the technology?  Check out the Training section.

Would you like to  get the SmartClient gurus involved with your project?  Read about our Consulting services.

Does SmartClient meet every requirement you have but one?  Find out about  Feature Sponsorship options.

SmartGWT 1.0b2 Now Available!

We are pleased to be able to announce SmartGWT 1.0b2 is now available.  [For an overview of SmartGWT see this blog post.]

We’ve been working closely with Sanjiv to improve stability, add features and respond to developer feedback and are very pleased with the progress that’s been made with this release.

Highlights include:

  • GWT 1.6 M1 and M2 support
  • Chrome, Firefox 3.1, and OSX hosted mode support
  • complete support for WebServices (WSDL)
  • A new lightweight Enterprise Gray skin
  • Improved javadocs
  • also, Numerous additional Features, Performance improvements, API enhancements and bug fixes

For full details of the release, including the complete set of release notes, please visit Sanjiv’s blog.

It’s available to download here, or you can test drive it using the online SmartGWT showcase.

This release contains a number of the improvements we’ve made to the SmartClient framework since the public 7.0 beta release.  We’re now getting close to a second public beta (7.0b2) – watch this space for more information on that!



Databound dragging in SmartClient 7.0

One of SmartClient’s most powerful and popular features is built-in support for dragging between grids and trees that you can simply enable with property settings. That’s pretty easily understood and has been a part of SmartClient since 2001. What’s new and more interesting is what should happen when you have a databound grid connected to data from web services, SQL tables or other permanent data stores, and then you perform a drag. Can we ascribe any sensible, user-intuitive meaning to dragging an item from one databound list and dropping it on another?

Forgetting for a moment the rich diversity of things that a SmartClient DataSource might be connected to, let’s just think in terms of SQL. If we have grid A showing SQL table A and grid B showing SQL table B, what does a drag of rows from A to B mean? Does it even have a sensible meaning at all? And if there is a sensible meaning to be inferred, what SQL operations does that imply?

For release 7.0 of SmartClient, we have added a number of automatic databound dragging behaviors to grids; these arose as a result of asking ourselves these questions. It turns out that there often is a sensible meaning to be inferred from a drag of rows from A to B, a meaning that a user might even describe as “obvious”.

Firstly, it turns out that changing a dropped record so that it conforms to the drag target’s search criteria will usually give sensible and intuitive results if the two grids are bound to the same DataSource. For example, imagine we had two lists, both bound to the Products DataSource, where has one search criteria that causes it to show only Products of type “widgets”, and the other has search criteria causing it to show Products of type “gizmos”. If the user drags something out of the gizmo list and drops it on the widget list, the meaning of that gesture might seem obvious to the user – she intends that the item be recategorized as a widget. Similarly, if we were in a part of the application where new products are being created, a clear inference can be drawn from the drag gesture: the user intends that a new product be created that is just like this one, but in a different category.

This is one type of code-free databound dragging behavior that SmartClient 7.0 supports. We add or change properties on the dropped item, so that those properties now match the selection criteria of the grid, and then update the record through the DataSource. The record changes in the SQL database and, as a side-effect of that, moves from one grid to the other – SmartClient’s intelligent cache synchronization ensures that all databound components are automatically updated to reflect any changes in the underlying data. These screenshots show the result of a simple, code-free drag operation.

Dragging a record to automatically recategorize it

The record is recategorized, both visually and persistently - no code required

Another, potentially even more interesting, case where we provide automatic databound dragging behaviors is when two grids are bound to different DataSources, but those DataSources are related via a foreign key relationship. Again, it turns out that mutating the dropped record so that it conforms to the target grid’s search criteria gives sensible and intuitive results. For example, let’s say we have a grid bound to the employees DataSource, and another bound to the TeamMembers DataSource. TeamMembers holds details of which Employees are in which project teams, and thus has a foreign key reference to Employees (declared in the DataSource). So, if our TeamMembers grid is showing members of the “Online Billing” project team, what does it mean if the user drags a record out of the Employees grid and drops it on the TeamMembers grid? It seems clear that they intend that employee to be added as a member of that project team.

In this case, SmartClient will create a new TeamMembers record, automatically setting the foreign key reference from the equivalent field on the dropped employee record, and the project code from the selection criteria of the grid. Again, a couple of screenshots show this (and give me an excuse to show one of the pretty new skins)

Dragging an employee into the 'New Costing System' project

New TeamMember record created and inserted

We also provide an override point in this logic, so data manipulations can be as complex as you need them to be for any given use case. We’re sure people will find uses for this that haven’t even occurred to us, creating applications that make intelligent use of drag and drop to provide natural, intuitive UI’s.

At the top of this article, I asked you to forget about all the things that a DataSource might be connected to; I’ll now ask you to remember again! We’ve looked at these examples using the language of SQL tables here, but of course a DataSource can be connected to anything;. So really, we’re potentially talking about a drag from a WSDL web service to a corporate LDAP server, or from a legacy mainframe app to an EJB stack. DataSources truly are a wonderful thing…

SmartGWT is out


Yes it’s true!  SmartGWT was officially released yesterday with an announcement on Sanjiv’s blog.  The SmartGWT project is hosted on Google Code –  go there for downloads, JavaDocs and an online showcase featuring about 250 samples.

I’d like to thank Sanjiv for all his hard work in getting this release out so much sooner than anyone expected was possible.  As far as I can tell, Sanjiv has not slept since late September. 

Sanjiv’s release announcement for SmartGWT is quite possibly the best single explanation of how SmartClient & SmartGWT differ fundamentally from the many “widget libraries” that have crowded the Ajax space, and is well worth a read.

 For those just joining us, some quick points about SmartGWT:

  • SmartGWT lets you write Ajax RIAs in 100% Java using standard Java tools like Eclipse, with a programming model similar to Java Swing
  • SmartGWT and the underlying SmartClient library are LGPL, free for use inside commercial, closed source applications without payment of any kind
  • Through SmartClient, SmartGWT insulates you from all cross-browser issues, even when building custom components or branding/theming an application
  • SmartGWT exposes the complete SmartClient API to Java, offering dramatically richer and broader functionality than any other GWT-based solution
  • SmartGWT can be used with any type of server (not just Java) via integration with REST and WSDL services

 Look into it :)

SmartGWT Showcase

7.0 Beta is out; SmartGWT right around the corner

At long last, the fabled 7.0 is available for everyone to try out.  Use the download links below. (30 day eval)

Please post any issues with 7.0 in the SmartClient Forums as usual, but please be very sure to mention that you are reporting an issue with 7.0 beta (ideally, put it in the subject line).

The list of new features in 7.0 is just staggering.  Here’s what you’ll find in the release notes, which covers major features only:

What’s New in 7.0

  • SilverWave and BlackOps skins, two more professionally designed, free (LGPL) skins
  • Calendar component: complete drag and drop, databound event editing similar to Google Calendar
  • TileGrid component: display records as a series of tiles, with databinding, load on demand,
    filter and sort capability
  • Advanced Filtering: client- and server-side support for field-operator-value filtering of
    data, including arbitrarily nested queries
  • Filter Builder: specialized form for end user construction of advanced filters of arbitrary
  • Automatic databound dragging behaviors: grids and trees will now inspect data
    relations declared in DataSources and automatically “do the right thing” for a databound drag
  • ColumnTree component: ITunes™-like tree navigation (one column per level)
  • Printing: comprehensive and customizable support for rendering printable views of
    SmartClient applications
  • HeaderSpans: second level headers in grids, for grouping related columns
  • Grid row rollover effects and controls: general purpose ability to attach SmartClient
    components to rows, allowing rounded selection, controls that appear on rollover, and more
  • Grid header rollover: drop-down menus appear on rollover, offering column show/hide,
    freezing and grouping options that previously required right click to discover
  • Data autofitting: horizontal and vertical autofitting to data for ListGrids
  • Grouping modes: built-in and custom grouping modes, such as the ability to group a date
    column by week, day, month or year
  • Visual Builder “toolskin”: edit applications in any skin while Visual Builder itself
    retains consistent look and feel
  • Visual Builder “auto-add”: double-click palette items to intelligently add to last, for
    ludicrously fast screen building
  • AutoFitTextAreaItem: autofits to contained text
  • Full Tree connectors: TreeGrid connectors support now optionally includes full connectors
  • CubeGrid facet auto-derivation: greatly simplified creation of simple cubes
While you wait for your download, take a look at the new skins as they appear in Visual Builder.  This is a real, unmodified screenshot of Visual Builder editing an application using the new SilverWave skin.

Visual Builder

SmartGWT Beta on the verge of release

As if this wasn’t enough excitement for one day, in other news, SmartGWT is right on the verge of final release.  Early adopters (those who emailed us) have already been working with the technology for several weeks, contributing samples and helping with testing (thanks guys!).  Calling this a “First beta release” would give a very false impression of how comprehensive and robust SmartGWT has already become – with over 500 classes and almost 4000 documented APIs, all of SmartClient’s core features are now exposed through Java, and we have an example browser with nearly 250 samples already contributed, covering the same range of use cases as are shown for SmartClient’s set of default examples.

Stay tuned.



Video Tour of Visual Builder

As the first of more to come, we’ve created a video tour of the SmartClient Visual Builder tool.  The video shows you how to use Visual Builder to create a web application without writing any code.  The tool can be used by business analysts and semi-technical folks to create working prototypes or by developers just learning SmartClient to create simple applications.

Watch the video to see the drag and drop screen building and event wiring in action.  You’ll also learn about data binding made simple with the DataSource wizard.

Visual Builder was built using SmartClient, so it’s a web page that doesn’t require installation and is easy to share  within a team.  It’s a great tool for teams collaborating to create working prototypes of SmartClient applications.  The best part is that the code created by Visual Builder is clean and can be used by developers to further enrich using the entire SmartClient framework – that means the end of throwaway prototypes.

Visual Builder is extensible so developers can extend it with connectors to any kind of enterprise data provider and any kind of custom component that can be built in SmartClient – even third party controls.  Custom components can then be used to build your screens with drag and drop – just as easy as the out of the box components.

Learn more about Visual Builder – watch the video here.   We’d love to hear your feedback on the video, as well as, get requests for future video topics.

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