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A maven archetype that produces multi-module GWT projects with full Eclipse IDE support
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A maven archetype that generates multi-module GWT projects with full Eclipse IDE support.


gwt-modular-webapp-archetype is a Maven archetype that helps you build modular GWT web applications. It provides the following features :

  • Perfect isolation between server and client modules.
  • Out of the box Eclipse IDE launch configurations.
  • GWT Codeserver debug profile for better productivity in development.
  • GWT Compiler production profile for the best performance on deployment.
  • Rewritten GWT Starter code.
  • Automatic Asynchronous Interfaces Generation.


GWT 2.7.0 can only compile JAVA source code of level 1.6 or 1.7. For simplicity the same source level is used for the whole project.

Maven requires a JDK installation (a JRE is not sufficient).

Installing the archetype

First, you need to install gwt-modular-webapp-archetype in your Maven repository, whether you are planning to run it using the CLI or Eclipse.

In a terminal, under the directory of your choosing, issue the following commands :

$ git clone
$ cd gwt-modular-webapp-archetype
$ mvn install

Getting started using the CLI

If you just want to run your application immediately without the need for advanced IDE capabilities, it is possible to use the CLI.

1. Generate the project

Open a terminal and issue the following command :

  • On a Unix based system
$ mvn archetype:generate \
  -B \
  -DarchetypeCatalog=local \
  -DarchetypeGroupId=org.zerowarning \
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=gwt-modular-webapp-archetype \
  -DarchetypeVersion=2.7.0-SNAPSHOT \
  -DgroupId=com.yourcompany \
  -DartifactId=yourproject \
  -Dversion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT \
  -Dpackage=com.yourcompany.yourproject \
  -Djavaversion=1.7 \
  • On a Windows based system :
$ mvn archetype:generate ^
  -B ^
  -DarchetypeCatalog=local ^
  -DarchetypeGroupId=org.zerowarning ^
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=gwt-modular-webapp-archetype ^
  -DarchetypeVersion=2.7.0-SNAPSHOT ^
  -DgroupId=com.yourcompany ^
  -DartifactId=yourproject ^
  -Dversion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT ^
  -Dpackage=com.yourcompany.yourproject ^
  -Djavaversion=1.7 ^

Congratulations ! Your project is ready for use under yourproject directory. The resulting project is structured as follows :

Folder Description
yourproject The Parent module under which all related Maven modules are aggregated.
yourproject-client The Client module contains JAVA code to be compiled into HTML/CSS/JS by the GWT compiler.
yourproject-launch The Launch folder contains Eclipse .launch files to make working on your project inside Eclipse as easy as possible.
yourproject-server The Server module contains the server side code and resources that are not compiled by the GWT compiler.
yourproject-shared The Shared module contains model classes exchanged between the client and the server.

2. Run the project in development mode

In development mode, two servers are involved to run your application. Tomcat server runs the server module and Codeserver using Jetty runs the client module. You don't have to worry about setting them up, they are shipped with the project build.

a. Run the server module

In the first terminal go to yourproject directory and issue the following command

$ mvn package -pl yourproject-server -am -Pdebugserver
b. Run the client module

In a second terminal go to yourproject directory and issue the following command

$ mvn package -pl yourproject-client -am -Pdebugclient
c. Preview the application

Preview the application by opening your browser at http://localhost:8080.

In development mode, by default, the application runs only on WebKit based browsers. In order to speed up GWT code generation, App-dev.gwt.xml module produces a single permutation for WebKit. This means that in development mode, the application can only run on Chrome or Safari. It is possible to target other browsers by setting user.agent. The list of all possible user agents si available Here.

To support debugging for Firefox and Chrome set user.agent property in App-dev.gwt.xml to :

<set-property name="user.agent" value="gecko1_8,safari" />

3. Package the application

To package your project for deployment, in a terminal go to yourproject directory and issue the following command :

$ mvn clean verify

Your application is now packaged, ready for deployment and available here :


Using the archetype with Eclipse IDE

gwt-modular-webapp-archetype works perfectly with Eclipse and provides a set of launch configurations to help you manage your project.

1. Setup Eclipse

2. Generate the project

  • Inside Eclipse, navigate to File > New > Other… in order to bring up the project creation wizard.
  • Scroll to the Maven folder, choose Maven Project, then hit Next.

  • Leave the default options for the next panel and hit Next.

  • Check the option Include snapshot archetypes and select the artifact that has Group Id=org.zerowarning, Artifact Id=gwt-modular-webapp-archetype and Version=2.7.0-SNAPSHOT. Then hit Next.


  • Finally, specify the parameters for the artifact to be generated and optionally override the default extra parameters and hit Finish.


Extra Parameter Default Description
javaversion 1.7 Can be 1.6 or 1.7, any other value can lead to an unexpected behavior. The chosen value must match the JDK setup for your Eclipse workspace to avoid unpleasant warnings about JDK mismatch.
tomcatport 8080 When running multiple tomcat instances at the same time, please set tomcatport to an available port.

Congratulations, you have successfully generated your project using Eclipse !

  • The generated project uses build-helper-maven-plugin to add Asynchronous Interfaces on the fly to the source path. In order for M2Eclipse to know how to handle that plugin it must acquire the m2e connector for build-helper-maven-plugin. If the connector is not yet installed, Eclipse will automatically ask you to do so as soon as the project is created. Hit Next to install the connector.


3. Run the project in development mode

Working on the newly generated project is made easy as lunch configurations are shipped with the generated project. In the menu bar click the debug button to open the debug menu.

  • a. Run the server module by selecting [Step1]-yourproject-server-debug.
  • b. Run the client module by selecting [Step2]-yourproject-client-debug.
  • c. Launch the application by opening your browser at http://localhost:8080.

4. Package the application

To package your project for deployment select [Step3]-yourproject-project-release.


Mohamed ilyes Dimassi, 2015. Licensed under the MIT license.

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