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Wednesday
Dec032008

Grails acquired by SpringSource... A Good Thing

I've been thinking about the recent acquisition of G2One by SpringSource, and I've come to the conclusion that it was a very bold and smart move by both parties. Why? Simply because it provides benefits to both parties and gives those who need rapid web development another alternative to Rails, only that runs natively in the JVM and can access all of their existing Java EE infrastructure.

I should note that my employer, Chariot Solutions, is a consulting partner with SpringSource as well as with several other firms such as RedHat/JBoss.

SpringSource gains a lot by adding this web framework. First of all, it now has an agile web platform, based on Spring and other open source technologies, that it can support for larger corporate customers. This may bring agile web development into more enterprises, as most have shied away from Groovy/Grails simply because it was too new, ran on a maverick language (Groovy) and had a small support team.

Second, SpringSource extends its team of experts to include the talented Grame Rocher, a great addition to their team who brings an offbeat and innovative perspective to application development. I understand they may use some of his time to help them with Spring Core, and as he says in his interview on Grails Podcast Episode 72, this acquisition will actually give him more time to work on Grails than he had when G2One was independent.

From G2One's side, they gain a huge support staff, with the ability to fix bugs in the platform, add staff to commit to Grails 1.1 and beyond, and for new projects, such as revamping Grails' Eclipse plugin support. Not to mention the fact that Groovy/Grails makes the enterprise more productive, I think we will start to see a lot of new prototyping efforts as people start kicking the tires and discovering the big productivity gains that will await them once they give it a try.

If you haven't given Grails a try, and you're a Java developer, you should. It's a compelling platform for application development, and has a growing community.

Some upcoming features of Grails 1.1 mentioned in that podcast above:


  • Maven Support (Really, Graeme? Wow, I know that must hurt a bit! ;)

  • Customized templates are now honored when installed with grails install-templates

  • JSP taglib support in GSPs

  • Plugins now are stored outside of a Grails project, and the project metadata references the plugin. This means no more checking in plugin code to source code repositories. What's more, when a project is checked out, the plugins are automatically installed, ala transitive dependency management.

  • GORM now allows basic type collections like Strings

  • Data binding now can use a subset of the data from an HTTP request using the subscript operator

  • Read-only access to domain objects using DomainObj.read(id)

  • Default sorting order in Domain classes, associations

  • The new Testing Plugin is now the standard way to test in Grails.


And a whole lot more. Read up on the Grails 1.1 feature list in the Beta release notes page on Grails.org.

 

Nice job on the interview, GrailsPodcast guys!

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