But what does this mean? Why should anyone care?
Rich Sharples, director of Product Management at Red Hat, suggests that GWT was the shortest route to cutting through the clutter of competing RIA solutions like Appcelerator, a startup that employs some JBoss veterans and which just raised $4.1 million in venture capital and wants to displace Adobe AIR and other Rich Internet Application (RIA) platforms...like GWT:
The world doesn't need another Java framework for developing rich AJAX apps. so we've decided to go with what we think is a real leader - Google Web Toolkit.
But Red Hat's work with GWT isn't about competitors, as Sharples told me in a follow-up email. It's about customers and developers, and offers significant insight to Red Hat's development strategy:
If there is a grand plan, it's to deliver what developers and customers actually want. We're a demand-driven business - if we don't give customers that they want then we face the prospect of having to compete with some much larger and much more powerful competitors on [their] terms [, not the customers'].
I think that JBoss/Red Hat represents a maturity with respect to how it views technology that I haven't seen anywhere else....[T]he reason we can punch way above our weight is because we've accepted that we don't have to be the sole source of innovation for everything we ship: we're willing to forego some control for the advantage of being able to deliver a technology stack composed of the best, most popular components.
That's practical because we've spent the last 3 years building a very flexible and adaptable server-side platform (JBoss AS 5.0.0) - the same run-time can be use to deploy stateless GWT apps., Spring apps., Ruby apps. or BPEL or Java EE / Seam apps. or whatever else comes along. We won't inflict a different run-time on customers just because they choose a new framework or technology. Operations people like stability and consistency. Developers like choice.
In other words, Red Hat's work with GWT is a chance for Red Hat to cater to developers already-expressed desires for a Red Hat RIA story, but within the context of the enterprise. This, of course, requires a developer focus, and for that I also asked Michael Neale, a senior engineer on the JBoss Drools project with Red Hat, to give me the developer perspective on Red Hat's GWT development:… Read more