Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SmartGWT vs GXT

Sanjiv Jivan has moved to Isomorphic Software and developed SmartGWT 1.0b2. It is a Google GWT wrapping around SmartClient. SmartGWT 1.0b2 is a stability release and contains various enhancements and bug fixes. GWT 1.6 M2 is also supported.

Ever since ExtJs changed the licensing model, GWT-Ext is considerably "dead". SmartGWT is the upcoming replacement for it.

When comparing to GXT, SmartGWT does have a "laggy" feeling when using the loaded application. The arguement is SmartGWT is a wrapper around SmartClient Ajax API while GXT provide pure Java code pruning.

Comparison Summary


  • Only thing I am impressed about SmartGWT is their data binding and RestDataSource feature
  • LGPL license => free.
  • Rich UI featureset => very much like the old GXT.
  • SmartGWT is JSNI wrap around GWT + SmartClient to create SmartGWT => slow


  • GXT data binding is kind of similar to the old GWT-EXT.
  • GXT is pure GWT implementation => Fast, code pruning, custom js build
  • GXT 2.0 is coming out next week. They declare that 2.0 has flash chart API. WebDesktop and Flash Chart are what SmartGWT lack of.
  • It will cost some $$$ to get the developer licenses

There is not hard and fast rule on who is better. SmartGWT is a UI winner while GXT is a application loading winner.

I observed that SmartGWT codes are hosted at Google Code. I am very concern about SmartGWT user support if Sanjiv Jivan decides to switch again....


  1. Hi Thompson,

    In terms of responsiveness for typical user interactions like showing a context menu, disable Firebug and there is no appreciable performance difference for interactions of this kind.

    In terms of real-world performance when actually using an application, SmartGWT's data management facilities give it a large advantage, by reducing the amount of server contact required. In particular, superior cache management and adaptive filtering and sort make a large difference. See:


    In first-ever download size, GXT does have an advantage for small applications that only use a few components. In larger applications that use a variety of components, this advantage goes away. Consider also that SmartGWT's separate JavaScript runtime works better for CDNs and shared caching.

    Note that SmartGWT's commercial versions include an option for Flash Charting via FusionCharts. On the Web Desktop feature, frankly this is more of a demo than a feature, it's very easy to build from the underlying components.

    As far as user support, SmartGWT is a supported product of Isomorphic Software, and we have signed a public open letter that we are keeping the technology LGPL.

  2. Ive just switched from GXT to SmartGWT...GXT is very buggy!!!!. I was using version 2.0.1 and things worked ok only to break in version 2.1. They dont release patches unless you buy a support package. This bad deal led me to ditch GXT and move over to Smart.

  3. Currently using GXT and while this is a very rich library it has very many downsides.

    Its fairly obvious that the developers have no intention of any serious developers using their library as many of the components are hard to extend and you end up having to write them from scratch. The framework is also full of bugs and regular API changes force a lot of code rework.

    They're forums are also horribly useless, getting some feedback on the forums is a nightmare{Even as a premium member} as they tend to avoid the tougher topics.

    Currently investing SmartGWT as an alternative.


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