CommunityOne 2007: G2One

The G2One, Groovy and Grails mini-pre-JavaOne conference, was put together by the folks behind No Fluff, Just Stuff conferences. The G2One mini-conference brought together Guillaume LaForge, the Groovy project lead, Graeme Rocher, Grails project lead, and Groovy in Action author Dierk Koenig amongst other Groovy developers and evangelist.

Guillaume started the event by proving a quick introduction of Groovy and going into the details of the upcoming release. Groovy provides semantic sugar and sweetness to the Java VM. Groovy is Java-like and compiles down to Java to byte code but with the added bonus of the GDK, the Groovy Development Kit. You can mix and match Java/Groovy classes seamlessly, no bridge/connector required. I think that Groovy is what Java 3 should and might be. For example, Groovy provides string substitution, array and map literals, and regex literals. There are Eclipse plugins for Groovy that come with code completion, navigation, and highlighting. Groovy 1.1-beta has support for annotations.

Graeme talked about the currently available Grails 0.5 release. Grails builds on top of Groovy as the language used in the models and controllers, Spring for the Inversion of Control container, Hibernate for the Object Relational Mapping, Quartz for task scheduler, and Sitemesh for templeting. Grails comes with an embedded Jetty servlet container and embedded HSQLDB database for quick turn around agile development. Graeme stated that most of the behavior in Grails is provided by plugins. So what is new in Grails 0.5? Command Objects in controllers. List and map support in GORM. Cascading validation. Script event hooks. Converter plugin to automatic convert models too XML, JSON, or RSS.

There was a series of rapid fire demoes by Guillaume, Graeme, Dierk, and other Groovy developers. One demo used the SwingBuilder groovy class to mashup GMaps and Flickr data. The demo used XMLSlurp to consume XML RSS feeds. Remixing and mashing up Google Maps and Flickr is like the ‘Hello, World’ first program of Web 2.0 mashups. When demoing the Swing-based mashup, Dierk Koenig said of the aesthetics of his demo, “This is what happens when you program in Swing, the first attempt is usually ugly.”

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