GUI toolkits for web apps?

March 15, 2006

Everything seems to be moving to the web and online servies, take for example Microsoft Live and all the new highly featured and interactive services; Gmail, Flickr, 30boxes, Box.net.

Building a GUI

A limitation, or area in need of improvement in web application development seems to be the development of the GUI. This is why Ajax based interfaces which update browser pages and communicate with the server without the need to refresh are becomming so popular. It is not a new idea or technique but has been coined Ajax. The technology has had alot of interest in the community and people are becoming aware of the XMLHttpRequest object (the object used via javascript to communicate Asynchronously with the server). This is fine, however it would be nice to have an extensive GUI framework available to work with for use in web applications. In the client side GUI the choices seem to narrow down to DHTML, Java and Flash based implementations.

Flash and Java?

Although GUIs can be created quite easily with technologies such as Flash and Java one of the limitations is that indexing services such as Google cannot index the metadata (or even obtain it) to the same extend as DHTML based solutions. Another is they require browser plugins. Many people disable flash and a higher amount do not even have the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) required to run java applications or have the desire to install it (and who could blame them with the way it is currently distributed/integrated, but that’s another story!)

XUL is a framework based on the mozilla engine using XML and javascript to create web-based thin client applications, I admit I do not know much about this so will have to have a look, however I do know it is limited only to firefox in terms of browsers. SongBird is an excellent example of how XUL can be utilised.

What does this leave us with? DHTML? Are there any toolkits,frameworks or builders for creating DHTML web apps?

Adobe Flex 2.0 Beta looks interesting…

Is there something that I am missing?

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2 Responses to “GUI toolkits for web apps?”


  1. […] I have mentioned YUI before in my post: GUI toolkits for web apps? […]


  2. […] Personally I don’t feel this is all too suprising. As I have said in my post GUI toolkits for web apps? (proberly in need of an update)  the Adobe Flex IDE looked to be (at the time of writing) a high candidate for the creation of interactive web applications. If the Flash support on Linux based operating systems (or anything else FireFox has been ported to) gains momentum Adobe will be in a very desirable place. […]


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