Tessell has three primary motivations:

  1. Provide an MVP architecture with as little view boilerplate as possible
  2. Provide rich models/data binding to have as little inner-class boilerplate as possible
  3. Provide a structured “way to do things” that results in well-built GWT/MVP applications


MVP (model, view, presenter) is a way of building a UI that decouples the UI logic from the UI widgets. There is a lot of documentation on this:

But the short of it is: running tests against real on-screen/browser-based widgets is usually horribly slow, we should abstract them some how.

Contrary to traditional approach from the Ray Ryan talk/GWT docs, Tessell simply makes interfaces for each widget. If you have TextBox, you code against IsTextBox. At test time, a StubTextBox pretends to be your textbox.

Your real UI code goes in a presenter class which, since it only talks to IsXxx widget interfaces, you can use the stub widgets to unit test your presenter very quickly.

See view generation for more.

Rich Models

Tessell places much more emphasis on the M in MVP by having rich, client-side models.

The whole point of AJAX/desktop-style apps is to apply non-trivial business/validation logic on the client-side, so it only makes sense to have a rich way of expressing the business model vs. just DTOs.

(This is unlike traditional GWT MVP, which only uses DTOs, essentially ignoring the “M” part of MVP).

A major benefit of rich models is data binding: declaratively tying a property of your model object to a UI widget in as few lines as code as possible.

For example, model-less/DTO-only UI logic typically has to use inner classes to respond to updates:

view.name().addClickHandler(new OnNameClick());

private class OnNameClick implements ClickHandler() {
  public void onClick(ClickEvent e) {

While a rich model with data binding allows the much simpler:


Other frameworks using rich models/data binding include:

Tessell uses a lot of these same ideas, and basically reimplements them in an MVP-/unit-test-able fashion.

See rich models for more.