I have a love/hate relationship with Groovy. I do find it wonderfully productive for hammering out a quick script to do something, but I feel uneasy attempting anything larger without my crutches of static analysis (strict shouty compilers and Find Bugs) and knowing there are great profilers if I need them. Yet, when returning to Java I’m left thinking “why do I have to write so much code?”.

You’ll understand, then, why I find Scala so appealing.

Still, I do use Groovy, and mostly I use Groovy in the context of Grails, where I enter small snippets of Groovy to get the job done. Even here, though, I rely on an IDE to help and the only really usable one is IntelliJ where they have done a great job on supporting Grails. Having said that, the Grails Podcast have mentioned that there’s been some good Grails work in Netbeans 6.5. Don’t get me wrong: Netbeans is a great tool, but in some respects it always seems to be “jam tomorrow”….

To keep up-to-date with the Grails world, I headed up to the Skillsmatter for the Groovy and Grails User Group Meeting. It was good to see who’s using Grails and how people are using Grails, to chat with them at the pub, but also it was handy to hear Graeme Rocher give a “state of grails” talk. And there’s some great stuff in the pipeline for 1.1:

  • plugins are going to be installed once on your machine and only the meta data will be written to your project, and the plugin system will resolve dependencies for you;
  • the plugin system is going to be faster at finding and listing plugins;
  • plugins can be scoped (e.g., this plugin just for testing, not deployment);
  • improved Maven support (the Grails POMs have been published already, I believe);
  • decoupling of components out of Grails, including GORM and GSP;
  • better Java integration, such as for JPA, JSP, portlets; and
  • OSGi support after 1.1.

And I suspect there will be hundreds of smaller changes too. All this is schedule for Dec 08/ Jan 09, which is the same timeframe as the two new Grails books: Grails in Action and the 2nd edition of The Definitive Guide to Grails (I would not recommend buying the 1st edition now, as it was based on Grails 0.3). As I’m mentioning books I’ll just say that I found Programming Groovy: Dynamic Productivity for the Java Developer to be pretty useful.

The event was recorded, and it looks like it will appear on the Skillsmatter Java podcast page.