Yesterday, in my treatise about why Sun's emphasis on R&D and developer communities is too easily dismissed, I slipped in a bit of news about a skunkworks project at Sun called Phobos that the company unveiled this week at JavaOne. In the bigger scheme of things, Phobos is about how developers that work in languages other than Java will be able to program a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) with those non-Java languages. This pick your favorite language for scripting runtimes is called "dynamic language support" and it has long been a feature of Microsoft's .Net runtime environment.
One note however for the many Java developers building behind the firewall applications: According to Taylor, the Google Web ToolKit does not lift the licensing barrier that currently prevents Google's APIs from being incorporating into applications that aren't exposed to the public Web. To officially get programmatic access to some of Google's functionality for behind the firewall applications, Taylor said businesses must look into acquiring one of Google's search appliances.
In terms of some of the neat things that Google Web Tool Kit does under hood, one of them is that it automatically resolves browser dependencies which is good. Java programmers are used to writing their code to certifiably Java-compliant runtimes which means they don't have to worry about code that will run in one place and not the other. Thrusting them into an environment of target uncertainty is not something most Java programmers would appreciate from a productivity point of view. Google Web Took Kit ameliorates the headaches of having to maintain separate chunks of code for each browser and the subsequent branching logic the developers typically must install to get their code working smoothly across all Web browers (perhaps a good reason for AJAX developers to become Java developers!).