GWT war file Size Reduction – a.k.a GWT Weightloss

GWT is great, but the size and number of files compiled can slowly creep upward. In a large project, this can mean your war file contains thousands of unneeded files. On environments like AppEngine, where the size of your war is limited, this introduces an upper bound on the application size.

Don’t worry, you can easily slim that war down.

The Stowaways

  • .gwt-tmp/ - used in the compile process, we don’t need them anymore
  • _.junit_symbolMaps/ - used by junit, not needed in production
  • WEB-INF/classes/com/yourPkg/ - compiled java classes, but client runs JS
But, you don’t want to ax the entire `WEB-INF/` folder since it contains .rpc manifests. Hold on to these or RPC’s will be bollixed.

Maven to the rescue

The following line used when packaging your war using the maven-antrun-plugin does the trick, or you can just do it by hand or your scripting framework of choice.

                    <echo message="Copying GWT resources into WAR file" />
                    <copy todir="${}/${project.warOutputName}">
                        <fileset dir="../gwt/target/yourModuleName">
                            <exclude name="**/.gwt-tmp/**" />
                            <exclude name="**/*junit_symbolMaps/**" />
                             <!-- Just want JS files, not classes, rpc -->
                            <exclude name="**/WEB-INF/classes/com/yourPkg/**" />

Case Study

On my project, we took the number of GWT files in the war from 2800 to 400. If we made better use of CSSResource, ImageResource, and DataResource, it would be more like 150 files in the war.

  • Saved 2400 files from war file
  • Saved 50% on war file size
  • Sped up compilation by 90 seconds