GWT Development with NetBeans IDE – Setup and Run

I prefer Netbeans over Eclipse too. To develop for GWT, I used the following setup steps without installing gwt4nb plugin. Since I use an IDE for code analysis and editing help only, and feel quite comfortable manipulating files and directories in the source tree directly. Though this may not fit your case, I guess for many developers the steps should be good enough because you can treat gwt development just a normal java project.

1. Install JDK, NetBeans-SE. Extract gwt package. I have a note for gwt-1.7.1. If running on a windows 64bit version, install 64bit netbeans and jdk, and also a 32 bit JRE.

2. Copy the Hello sample from gwt directory to a directory out of gwt package directory. Create a project of existing java source code, and put the project under the same Hello directory. Then netbeans will create two files in the Hello directory: nbbuild.xml and, and create its own nbproject directory under Hello. I simply ignore these files.

3. In netbeans “Projects” window, right click on “Libraries” and choose “Add JAR” to add the jar files from the gwt directory.

4. In netbeans “Files” window (not the “Projects” window), you will see the original “build.xml” file that comes with the Hello sample. Edit this file so the “gwt.sdk” points to the location of gwt package directory. On windows 64bit, also add a “jvm” property under “java” task. It shall look like (only jvm=… is newly added):

<target name="hosted" depends="javac" description="Run hosted mode">
  <java failonerror="true" fork="true" classname="" 

5. Use “Files” window, click to expand “build.xml” file node. Then right click on “hosted” ant target under “build.xml” and choose “Run Target” in the context menu to build and run the hosted mode.

The ant targets from “build.xml” you usually use:

  • “build”: Use this to build the javascript.
  • “hosted”: Use this to build java and start hosted server and browser.

Once the hosted server is started, you can run “build” target to build the javascript and to have the result served by the running hosted server immediately without restarting the server. Use your normal browser to see the javascript version at “localhost:8888”. You can set a different port by editing the “build.xml” file.

Usually I copy the Hello sample to a different directory, and use that as a start point of a new project. After that manually edit the files to match the project naming and directory structure.

I also copy the other samples from gwt package to a new directory, then build and run them to use that as a code reference. If you want to also develop the servlet, take a look at the servlet of DynaTable sample and create or copy the files into the same directory structure in your project.

A note about gwt4nb plugin: I installed it but figured out it is too heavy weight for me. With the above manual setup, I can do everything that I need to without any difficulty.


About minghuasweblog

a long time coder
This entry was posted in AJAX and Webapp, All, Java/JavaScript, Software and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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