The Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is part of the Google Developers line of products and services and is the development toolkit for building and optimizing complex browser-based applications. GWT is used by many products at Google, including Google AdWords, and it’s open source, completely free, and used by many web developers around the world.

The goal of GWT is to enable productive development of high-performance web applications without the developer having to be an expert in browser quirks, XMLHttpRequest, and JavaScript. The overview and description will cover the built-in tools found within the kit, and will highlight the Plugin for Eclipse, Speed Tracker, GWT Designer, and GWT SDK. The foundation to using any of the GWT tools includes the process of writing, debugging, optimizing, and then running your code. These tools are made available to make it as smooth a process as possible for web designers. All of the tools are available from the Google Web Toolkit Downloads page.

Plugin for Eclipse

The Google plugin for Eclipse provides IDE support for the Google Web Toolkit and App Engine web projects, and includes a lightweight version of GWT Designer. Also, note that the download for the plugin includes Eclipse tools as well as the option to install the Google Web Toolkit SDK and App Engine SDK. The plugin for Eclipse assumes that you already have a version of Eclipse installed, and depending on the version you have, check the list of URLs for installing the plugin from the Google Eclipse download page.

Speed Tracer

Speed Tracer is a Google Chrome Extension that allows you to pinpoint performance problems in your web applications and fix them. It allows you to view visualization metrics that are taken from low level instrumentation points inside of the browser and analyzes them as your application runs, giving you a better picture of where time is being spent in your application.

GWT Designer

GWT Designer is a powerful and easy-to-use bi-directional Java GUI designer that lets you create user interfaces in minutes with tools for intelligent layout assist, drag-and-drop, and automatic code generation. With the GWT Designer, you can create rich internet applications which utilize a powerful set of Eclipse-based development tools that enables Java developers to quickly create Ajax web applications. It is also assumed that you have already installed some flavor of Eclipse.


The Google Web Toolkit SDK contains the set of core libraries and the compiler that are required to write web applications. One note: if you are already using Eclipse, it is suggested that you download and install the Google Plugin for Eclipse instead of the GWT SDK. A few other notes before you install the GWT SDK:

  • You will need the Java SDK version 1.6 or later.
  • Apache Ant is also necessary to run command line arguments.

For more information on the GWT SDK, you can refer to “Get Started with the GWT SDK.”

The complete Google Developer’s Guide offers tutorials and developer guides for all the tools mentioned above including topics such as project organization, coding, debugging, testing, optimizing, and publishing your web application.