Theming GWT-Bootstrap

First of all, if you haven’t done it yet, read Getting started with GWT-Bootstrap.

Create the GWT-Project

$ mvn archetype:generate \ \
   -DarchetypeGroupId=org.codehaus.mojo \
   -DarchetypeArtifactId=gwt-maven-plugin \

I created my project with the following properties:

Define value for property 'groupId': : com.github.caarlos0
Define value for property 'artifactId': : Example
Define value for property 'version':  1.0-SNAPSHOT: :
Define value for property 'package':  com.github.caarlos0: :
Define value for property 'module': : Example

Now, lets add the GWT-Bootstrap dependency to the pom.xml file:

Add the repository:

    <name>GWT-Bootstrap SNAPSHOTS</name>

And the dependency itself:


And then, update your project with a $ mvn clean install.

Configure GWT-Bootstrap

In this point, we have to setup the *.gwt.xml file and our UIBinder XML file. You can follow getting started tutorial to do that in the right way.

Get a custom Bootstrap Theme

You can get a custom bootstrap.min.css file in several ways:

For this example, I’ll use this theme. Download the bootstrap.min.css from the site.

Clean the example

By default, the Maven GWT Archetype will generate a lot of junk, “by example”, for you. You can clean it up.

You can remove:

  • All classes inside shared folder;
  • All classes inside server folder;
  • All the content in the EntryPoint class (Example, in our case);
  • The servlet declarations from web.xml file;
  • Test related classes and files;
  • Messages files in resources/client folder.

At this point we will have a structure like this:

$ tree
|-- src
|   |-- main
|   |   |-- java
|   |   |   `-- com
|   |   |       `-- github
|   |   |           `-- caarlos0
|   |   |               |-- client
|   |   |               |   |--
|   |   |               |-- server
|   |   |               `-- shared
|   |   |-- resources
|   |   |   `-- com
|   |   |       `-- github
|   |   |           `-- caarlos0
|   |   |               `-- Example.gwt.xml
|   |   `-- webapp
|   |       |-- Example.css
|   |       |-- Example.html
|   |       `-- WEB-INF
|   |           `-- web.xml
|   `-- test
`-- target

Create our example

Now, lets create a UIBinder class to made our amazing test widget! Create a new UiBinder class/xml combo called ExampleUiBinder, with the following content:


<ui:UiBinder xmlns:ui=''
            <b:NavLink href="">Another Test</b:NavLink>
          <b:NavForm size="1"/>
          <b:Nav alignment="RIGHT">
          <b:NavText alignment="RIGHT">Right</b:NavText>
          <b:NavSearch size="2" placeholder="Search" alignment="RIGHT"/>

        <b:Heading size="1">Hello Custom Theme!</b:Heading>
        <b:Button type="WARNING">Warning</b:Button>

public class ExampleUiBinder extends Composite {
  interface ExampleUiBinderUiBinder
      extends UiBinder<HTMLPanel, ExampleUiBinder> {

  private static ExampleUiBinderUiBinder ourUiBinder =

  public ExampleUiBinder() {

At this point, if everything is OK, we will get a window like this:

The not themed version


Right now, we will have to write our own Resources and Configuration classes. I’ll advise you that it’s a boring thing to do, but the result could be really awesome. So, let’s go.

Dir structure

We will have to create a resources folder under the same folder of our *.gwt.xml file. Just to you understand better, the folders client, shared, server and resources must be in the same hierarchical level, just like this:

$ tree
|-- client
|-- resources
|-- server
`-- shared

Creating the needed files

Assuming that we will only change the CSS file, inside your resources file, create a css folder, and paste the bootstrap.min.css file downloaded before inside it. Yes, the file name must be bootstrap.min.css.

As said before, we also need a Resources and Configuration files. This files must be inside our resources folder too. The content is the following:

package com.github.caarlos0.resources;

import com.github.gwtbootstrap.client.ui.resources.Resources;

public interface ExampleResources extends Resources {
  TextResource bootstrapCss();

package com.github.caarlos0.resources;

import com.github.gwtbootstrap.client.ui.config.Configurator;
import com.github.gwtbootstrap.client.ui.resources.Resources;

public class ExampleConfigurator implements Configurator {
  public Resources getResources() {
    return GWT.create(ExampleResources.class);

  public boolean hasResponsiveDesign() {
    return false;

At this point, the structure should be something like this:

$ tree
|-- client
|   |--
|   |--
|   |-- ExampleUiBinder.ui.xml
|-- resources
|   |-- css
|   |   `-- bootstrap.min.css
|   |--
|   `--
|-- server
`-- shared

Now, we have to do a little hack in our *.gwt.xml. We will need to replace com.github.gwtbootstrap.client.ui.config.Configurator with our Configurator, and setup the resources dir. So, in the end, we will have something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<module rename-to='Example'>
    <inherits name=''/>
    <inherits name=''/>
    <inherits name=''/>
    <inherits name="com.github.gwtbootstrap.Bootstrap"/>
    <entry-point class='com.github.caarlos0.client.Example'/>
    <source path='client'/>
    <source path='shared'/>

    <!--pay attention in this part-->
    <source path='resources'/>
    <replace-with class="com.github.caarlos0.resources.ExampleConfigurator">
      <when-type-is class="com.github.gwtbootstrap.client.ui.config.Configurator"/>
    <public path="resources">
      <exclude name="** /*.java"/>
      <exclude name="** /*.class"/>


That’s it :)

The Themed Version


Sometimes GWT caches everything, and seems like it doesn’t work. In this cases, do the following:

  • mvn clean;
  • Delete the webapp/Example folder (in our case, Example is the Module name);

If it still dont working, do this:

  • Comment the <source path='resources'/> tag in your *.gwt.xml;
  • Run the app, you will got a exception;
  • Uncomment the line again, and run you app again.

For me, this process always works.

Download the code

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