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« G2Exchange Recap, Day #3 | Main | Greetings from the Groovy/Grails Experience »

Flying Koalas, Culture Breaks, and 10 Minute Features!

Day #2 of the Groovy/Grails Experience 2008 included some rather in-depth sessions. My only regret is in not dividing and conquering the sessions with another person.

First, I attended the Racing with Rhinos talk, which was a good introduction to using Groovy within Spring, as well as using Grails to serve RESTful web services. The speaker, John Carnell, uses Groovy where he can in his financial institution, and the samples were very thorough.

Next, Jason Rudolph hit us hard and fast with the Going Further With Grails talk. A very thorough "next steps" lecture, he covered how to work with Groovy Server Pages, introduced us to the acegi security plugin, showed us templates, email, and a lot more. A great speaker, he was entertaining but kept the talk technical at the same time--a tough balancing act.

Grame Rocher gave a talk in the afternoon on GORM that included a great overview of static mappings, which can modify the Hibernate defaults for column and table names, datatypes, versioning, etc. He talked about query techniques, including the dynamic finder methods where you can issue statements like this:

def list =
("NorthEast", "Checking")

or, with criteria, this:

Date now = new Date()
def list = Account.withCriteria {
between("createDate", now - 30, now )
eq("category", "Checking")

I'm not doing the talk justice, but I can tell you that I'm not even scratching the surface of those features. Of course, like everything else, you should truly know your domain (and database design) if you are going to call methods like that. In the end, GORM is simply generating SQL queries.

Flying Koalas

But the funniest part of the evening was Glen Smith's talk. He's Austrailian, and gave a talk called "The Whole 9 Yards: Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes" which was basically a set of recipes for quick projects in Groovy and Grails. His talk was not only very informative, but hysterical, as he brought six little Koala bears in, and tossed them to people who asked him questions. He also took a "Culture Exchange" break, talking about Kangaroos and how they are not nice, cuddly little creatures.

Along the way we learned how to create graphs with JFreeChart and Google Charts, generate PDF files, using EHCache for storing things beyond Hibernate data (pre-rendered graphic thumbnails, for example), generating and consuming RSS feeds, using Textile markup language for a simple blogging engine, and some Scriptaculous javascript effects. (I'm missing a few).

So far, the message I got from the the conference is that there is a ground swell of community support for Groovy and Grails. The event was well attended, if very ambitious. We started this morning at 9 AM, and stopped close to 10 PM. That's with only a few breaks for lunch, dinner, and stretching.

More about the third day tomorrow. On deck: a series called "Refactorium" where Jason Rudolph takes us through the Grails source code and attempts to make us all Grails open source contributors...

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