Groovy To Join Apache Software Foundation

The open source Groovy project may soon have a new sponsor: the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

The project's previous sponsor, Pivotal, announced in January that it would stop directly funding the development of the dynamic JVM language and the associated Grails Web application framework on March 31. Since that announcement, the project's committers have considered seeking sponsorship from various foundations, including the Eclipse Foundation and the Software Conservancy, but decided today on the ASF.

"The Apache Foundation is the one that is closest to our philosophy," longtime project lead Guillaume Laforge told ADTmag. "The focus on community is there -- it's more important than any one company's funding -- and the code, of course."

Laforge, announced earlier this week that he would be joining Restlet, a French maker of a framework used by Java developers to create web APIs. His announcement, almost more than Pivotal's, seemed to raise the anxiety level in the Groovy/Grails community. The decision to seek foundation sponsorship was, in part, a move to ease those anxieties, Laforge said.

"We wanted to send a clear message to the community and to our user base that Groovy is here for the long run," he said. "People sometimes associate an open source project with a key figure. But Groovy is not equal to Guillaume Laforge. It has a group of core committers working actively on the project -- and not just people working for Pivotal -- and it will definitely live on and continue to be developed."

Laforge said Groovy was downloaded over four million times in 2014.

Laforge announced this morning on his blog that the project's leadership would shorty begin the process of submitting a proposal to the ASF Incubator, a project through which new projects join the foundation. The Incubator filters proposals, evaluates a proposed project's maturity, and helps to create a project's operational infrastructure.

If the proposal is accepted, Laforge will the chair of the Project Management Committee (PMC), which would govern the project. Apache PMCs are composed of project committers. But he will also be working full-time at Restlet. His focus there will be product leadership and developer advocacy. "I will be helping to accelerate the evolution of API tools that are critically needed by software developers," he said.

"The PMC is about reaching consensus," Laforge said. "And that's consistent with the way I've always tried to manage the project. It's nice to have a leader, but it's good for the community to know that the project will continue to be a highly collaborative effort."

The Restlet Framework is an open source RESTful web API framework for the Java platform. The lightweight framework includes a Java client for Android and other platforms. Restlet plans to use Groovy to improve its API development tools, Laforge said, including its APISpark, Restlet Studio, and Restlet Framework.

In its January announcement, Pivotal argued that the Groovy community and language were "reaching maturity," and concluded that its sponsorship was not longer needed. Groovy is a foundation technology of Pivotal's Spring Boot, so the company is still invested in its continued development. However, Grails will be removed from the Spring IO Platform, the company said. The company also said that it would support the transition of the Groovy Eclipse project and GGTS tooling to a new sponsor. Groovy 2.4 and Grails 3.0 will be the last major releases under Pivotal sponsorship.

Laforge will also continue to blog about his work at Restlet and his continuing contributions to the Groovy project here. He'll be blogging for Restlet here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].