Developer(s) Vaadin Ltd.
Stable release
8.1.0 / 25 July 2017 (2017-07-25)
Platform Java
Type Web framework
License Apache License 2.0

Vaadin is an open-source web framework for rich Internet applications. In contrast to JavaScript libraries and browser-plugin based solutions, it features a server-side architecture, which means that the majority of the logic runs on the servers. Ajax technology runs on the browser-side to ensure a rich and interactive user experience. On the client-side Vaadin is built on top of and can be extended with Google Web Toolkit.


Vaadin uses Java as the programming language for creating web content. The framework incorporates event-driven programming and widgets, which enables a programming model that is closer to GUI software development than traditional web development with HTML and JavaScript.

Vaadin uses Google Web Toolkit for rendering the resulting web page. While the way Vaadin uses Google Web Toolkit could lead to trust issues – it only operates client-side (i.e., in a web browser's JavaScript engine) – Vaadin adds server-side data validation to all actions. This means that if the client data is tampered with, the server notices this and doesn't allow it.

Vaadin's default component set can be extended with custom GWT widgets and themed with CSS.

Vaadin is distributed as a collection of JAR files (either as direct downloads, or with Maven or Ivy integration), which can be included in any kind of Java web project developed with standard Java tools. In addition, there exist Vaadin plugins for the Eclipse IDE and NetBeans for easing the development of Vaadin applications as well as direct support of (and distribution through) Maven.

Vaadin applications can be deployed as Java servlets for any Java web server, including Google App Engine. Applications can also be deployed as portlets to any Java portal like eXo Platform. Vaadin also has some deeper integration with the Liferay Portal.

Browsers compatibility

Vaadin 7 supports the following browsers:

  • Android 2.3 or newer (no android app available)
  • Google Chrome 23 or newer
  • Internet Explorer 8 or newer
  • iOS 5 or newer
  • Mozilla Firefox 17 or newer
  • Opera 12 or newer
  • Safari 6 or newer

Runtime environment

Vaadin 7 requires Java Servlet API 2.4 but also supports later versions and should work with any Java application server that conforms to the standard. The following application servers are supported:

Vaadin 7 supports the JSR-286 Portlet specification and all portals that implement the specification should work. The following portals are supported:

  • Liferay Portal 5.2-6
  • GateIn Portal 3
  • eXo Platform 3
  • IBM WebSphere Portal 8


Development was first started as an adapter on top of the Millstone 3 open source Web framework released in year 2002. It introduced an Ajax based client communication and rendering engine. During 2006 this concept was then developed separately as a commercial product. As a consequence for this, a large part of Vaadin's server-side API is still compatible with Millstone's Swing-like APIs.

In early 2007 the product name was changed to IT Mill Toolkit and version 4 was released. It used a proprietary JavaScript Ajax-implementation for the client-side rendering, which made it rather complicated to implement new widgets. By the end of year 2007 the proprietary client-side implementation was abandoned and GWT was integrated on top of the server-side components. At the same time the product license was changed to open source Apache License 2.0. The first production ready release of IT Mill Toolkit 5 was made on March 4, 2009 after an over one year beta period.

On September 11, 2008, it was publicly announced that Michael Widenius, the main author of the original version of MySQL, invested in IT Mill, the developer of Vaadin. The size of the investment is undisclosed.

On May 20, 2009, IT Mill Toolkit changed its name to Vaadin Framework to attract more community. The name originates from the Finnish word for doe, more precisely put, a female reindeer. It can also be translated from Finnish as "I insist". In addition to the name change, a pre-release of version 6 along with a community web-site was launched. Later, IT Mill Ltd, the company behind the open source Vaadin Framework, changed its name to Vaadin Ltd.

On March 30, 2010, Vaadin Directory was opened. Directory added a channel for easily distributing, for free or commercially, add-on components to the core Vaadin Framework. On launch date there were 95 add-ons already available for download.

On Feb 25, 2011, Vaadin Pro Account - a commercial support and tools model was launched.

On Mar 04, 2013, Vaadin 7 was released. This was the first major version release after the launch of Vaadin 6 in 2009.

On Jun 27, 2013, Vaadin 7.1 was released which included pseudo asynchronous push (via server poll); in subsequent Vaadin 7.2 support for WebSocket connections was added.

On Feb 16, 2015, Vaadin 7.4.0 was released. Most profound change was new Grid component suited for enterprise needs to replace old Table component.

On Feb 22, 2017, Vaadin 8 was released. Biggest enhancement is re-written data binding API utilizing modern Java features, such as type parameters and lambda expressions. Also, more efficient memory and CPU.

On Jul 25, 2017, Vaadin 8.1 was released. The release included renewed Tree component and TreeGrid. Grid also now supports having components in cells and HTML5 based drag and drop. OSGi and Liferay 7 support was improved.


Vaadin is considered a Rich Internet Application framework. It may be compared with other RIA Frameworks - especially with similar frameworks like Echo, ICEfaces and ZK - that use a server-side programming model. The server-side APIs are quite similar, providing events and GUI components, but the client-side (i.e. web-browser) interaction differs in that Vaadin uses Java-programmed GWT widgets (ICEFaces uses JSF, ZK uses jQuery, and Echo has its own implementation). Another competitor is the Remote Application Platform, which enables writing SWT and RCP applications for both web and native execution.

See also

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