[messages] [Developers] Re: Roadmap for VASSAL 4

bdgza bdegroot at gmail.com
Mon Mar 28 03:28:26 MST 2011

"generateui" wrote:
> Your last sentence make me believe that what GWT does is not fully
> understood. Applications written with GWT are __entirely written and
> debugged in java and your favorite IDE__. GWT contains a compiler
> which translates Java to Javascript, so a user can run the application
> in the browser. GWT makes different permutations for each browser, to
> ensure the small (and sometimes big in the case of IE) differences are
> taken care of. That's something GWT does by default, nothing which the
> programmer needs to do. I have actually not written a single sentence
> of javascript, though OpenSettlers still runs 100% natively (no
> flash/java applet, 100% html/javascript/css) in the browser. By using
> GWT, I have a single codebase, and I can support any browser, device
> (as long as it has a modern browser, like Android and IOS devices) and
> resolution (abstracted UI in OpenSettlers takes care of this). I don't
> have to worry about OSes, since the browser itself abstracts the OS.
> Apart from the SVG element (GWT 2.2, which supports canvas, removes
> the need for SVG), I have not yet found any crossbrowser bugs.
> Crossbrowser support is handled by GWT, not by the programmer coding
> against GWT.
> I am no contributor for Vassal, so the things I share on this forum
> are just FYI. It's just my experience devving on a codebase in many
> aspects similar to Vassal's. I don't own Google shares, I'm just a
> techdude sharing learned lessons :)

* The game server is a single point of failure and will not scale.

Making all of VASSAL web-based, even if it runs mostly in client-side
Javascript, will still add strain to an already strained server, and
does not solve the single point of failure. If VASSAL must be redone as
a web-based platform it must use technology which can run offline (when
the server goes down). That leaves HTML5, Adobe AIR/Flex, MS
Silverlight. HTML5 is completely unready. Adobe AIR runs on all
currently supported platforms, but it basically a fancy Flash app, and I
don't think it is suitable. MS Silverlight I think might be suitable
someday, but it does not support Linux. The developer of ZunTzu is
looking at Silverlight for ZunTzu 2, but I think it will be a tough nut
to crack, and ZunTzu does a whole lot less than VASSAL. While there are
some fancy web-apps out there, they all rely on their server and are all
custom programmed to support one single game/task.

Bottom line is that I don't feel that all things considered there is any
argument that makes web-based make more sense than a more suitable
technology. You find the tools to fit the solution, not fit the solution
around the tools. If you make it web-based, you force it through because
you feel it must be web-based. Desktop applications provide a richer
framework and more offline flexibility. Whats important is choosing one
that works best on all three currently supported platforms, is easiest
to expand to other platforms (iOS/Android/...), and is easiest for the
developers to implement all the existing and future desired features
(2D/3D graphics, modules and extensions, Python event scripting, ...).

I am not a developer either, so my contribution to this thread is all
FYI too. I make desktop and web apps. Completely different field from
VASSAL, but code is code  :wink: .

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