This post is part of the Who's @ Google I/O, a series of blog posts that give a closer look at developers who'll be speaking or demoing at Google I/O. This guest post is written by Reuben S. Kerben and Andrei Volgin, CEO and President of Spiral Universe, who will be demoing as part of the Developer Sandbox.
When we started working on a new school information management system a couple of years ago, we wanted to make it available to all schools around the world even if they could not pay for it. Cloud architecture was the only way to go. The key challenge was to build a user interface that could work with any modern browser, support any language, and did not require any plugins. We chose Google Web Toolkit (GWT). There were other RIA frameworks available, but few matched the scalability, performance and flexibility of the Java + GWT combo.
GWT was in its infancy at that time, and our first "webtop" UI was sluggish. It took a leap of faith to stick with the webtop concept. We hoped that advances in web browsers and the GWT compiler would improve our UI performance by the time we hit the market. The GWT team delivered! Once we upgraded to GWT 2.0, the UI became very responsive, and now it closely mimics the desktop experience.
We also must thank Darrel Meyer and the Ext GWT team for improving their library, on which we rely heavily, and the entire Chrome team for raising the performance bar so quickly. After more than two years of coding, we released our beta to the public this January. Today, our system is already used by schools in 80 countries! We are proud to participate in Google I/O to show off our technology and, hopefully, inspire other developers to rethink their approach to UI. We also plan to shop for apps that we can integrate with our system. If your company has a cool product or service that schools, teachers, students or parents will be interested in, send us a note, or come talk to us at the Developer Sandbox.
Posted by Reuben S. Kerben and Andrei Volgin, CEO and President of Spiral Universe