I've been trying out SmartGWT for the past two months. I can't say the ride has been entirely smooth. I'm considering looking at different libraries and it seems like Ext-GWT is the other big choice for building RIA applications.

I'm really drawn by the fact that the Java is more than skin deep. When you're debugging Ext-GWT, how much of the source code can you see? It seems like it would be far easier for a GWT programmer to extend Ext-GWT, and easier to debug/understand what is going on.

SmartGWT has been pretty good overall. The server side code made my life easier at the start, although I ended up re-writing most of the server code myself because I needed to add logic. So it was a temporary win. The one part where SmartGWT has not been great is bugs. While the development team is often really quick to fix them, it makes developing with it really expensive from my time perspective. I also find the API really heavy on the sugar and it's really hard to understand the underlying framework - which means I abuse it and then it does not work (mea culpa... or is that mea booga?)

So I'd like to ask:
  • Why do you use Ext-GWT and what are the things you really like about it?
  • More importantly, what are the things you don't like, and what is your worst experience.
  • What are the main ways to communicate with the server, what are the best tools to do this?