Back in August when Google acquired Instantiations, the speculation was that Google would possibly provide Instantiations GWT Designer as a free tool for all to use. Today, Google has made my day, because not only is GWT Designer relaunched as a free tool, but so are their three other core products. This is a huge day for Java developers, particularly those focussed on the desktop, as these tools are among the best of breed: as commercial tools they were worth the cost as they boosted productivity, but as free tools they are now an indispensible part of your software development workflow.
The importance of this announcement can not be overstated. Firstly, Java developers now have a production quality UI builder for fast prototyping of their desktop application using either Swing, SWT or RCP, as well as GWT and XWT. I've used WindowBuilder in the past, and it's a great way to get started quickly. The code generated is very usable. There has been no convincing free solution available for this range of UI frameworks in the past: today that all changes.
High quality static analysis of code is important for Java developers. Before you walk into a code review, it's always worth taking a scan over your code. Typically developers skip this, or else they use a free static analysis tool (e.g. FindBugs). Working CodePro AnalytiX into your development process, or just your nightly build, will help you identify bugs, and possible security issues, with your codebase earlier.
Finally, automated UI testing is one of the most difficult areas to get right. While there are free solutions available, the commercial products have always seemed one step better. WindowTesterPro will allow you to automated tests for your Swing, SWT or RCP applications. It includes record and playback functionality to get you started with an automation test suite quickly.
Here's a quick overview of the tools, now relaunched as Google products
- GWT Designer
Powerful Eclipse-based development tools that enable Java developers to quickly create Ajax user interfaces using Google Web Toolkit (GWT)
- CodePro AnalytiX
Comprehensive automated software code quality and security analysis tools to improve software quality, reliability, and maintainability
- WindowBuilder Pro
Java graphical user interface designer for Swing, SWT, GWT, RCP, and XWT UI frameworks
- WindowTester Pro
Test GUI interactions within Java client rich applications for the SWT and Swing UI frameworks