Friday, December 12, 2008

Use Eclipse RAP to Build Rich Internet Application

It is a pity that I had not heard of Eclipse RAP (Rich Ajax Platform) when last year I developed Grimoires Browser, an Eclipse RCP based client for the Grimoires Service Registry.

RAP has joined the family of Eclipse UI toolkits, as existing ones such as SWT for Windows, SWT for Liunx, and SWT for Mac. In some sense, RAP can be considered as SWT for Web.

RAP is ued to develop Rich Internet Application (RIA). To develop an RAP-based web application, programmers are still working in Java, in SWT, and in JFace. And RAP makes sure the UI is built on top of HTML, JavaScript and Ajax. Remind you something? Yes, GWT. There are some very good introductory articles [1, 2] about RAP on IBM Developer Works.

It is claimed that in a minimal effort, we can transform an existing RCP application to RAP; or we can even build an application which is largely independent of RAP or RCP. So it can run as both a web application and a desktop application.

No doubt, RAP is the way to go to make Grimoires Browser a web application. It will then totally relieve users the pain to install some software on their machine in order to access Grimoires.

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