SpringSource Targets Enterprise with Latest Groovy and Grails

SpringSource, the new purveyors of Groovy and Grails, released updates to the dynamic programming language and the open source Web app framework last week.

After going through fits and starts over its four-year history, developer interest in the Groovy dynamic language has accelerated over the past year. SpringSource reports up to 30,000 downloads per month for the Groovy JVM. The company in November acquired G2One Inc., the sponsor behind Groovy and Grails, which is built on Spring.

Groovy has become a popular alternative to dynamic languages such as Ruby and Python, though it compiles Java byte code but does so within the JVM.

Groovy 1.6 has an improved runtime performance ranging from 100 to 400 percent depending on which benchmark you look at, according to Graeme Rocher, head of Grails development at SpringSource. It supports abstract syntax tree transformations that provide in-memory representations of the language, new meta programming APIs and the ability to extend Java to create embedded domain-specific languages.

Meanwhile, the Grails 1.1 rapid application development framework has deeper integration with Spring via Spring namespace support for other key Java build tools such as Apache Maven and Ant.

"It's a full spec build system that includes an object relational mapping layer and a controller view layer," Rocher said. "With the 1.1 release, we've basically improved integration with the Java ecosystem significantly."

Groovy and Grails will appeal to those who want to leverage their Java investments but don't necessarily want to move to a LAMP stack, according to RedMonk analyst Michael Cote. "Having a corporate patron helps out, but in general, for the Java world, people are looking for ways to extend the Java platform with dynamic languages," Cote said.

There was strong interest in Groovy and Grails when it first came out. That interest died down for about a year and now appears be making a resurgence, Cote said. "It's a language that keeps coming back, if you will, that people are interested in," he said. "I think it has staying power."

Developers can download Grails 1.1 here and Groovy 1.6 here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at



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