TechCast #32 – Grails discussion with Brent Baxter and Gordon Dickens

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Grails is a convention over configuration web framework, written in the Groovy dynamic language and based on the widely adopted Spring and Hibernate frameworks.  In this TechCast, I sit down with Chariot’s Gordon Dickens and Brent Baxter and discuss the relative merits of developing applications on the platform. We talk about the Groovy language, the productivity of building applications on the Grails platform, available plugins, and overall uses for the platform.

Grails Training at Chariot on May 11
We are running a one-day seminar on Grails at Chariot on Monday, May 11.  Sign up using the promotional code ‘techcast’ and receive 50% off the cost of the seminar.  Visit the course information page for details.

Groovy key points

  1. Groovy compiler generates Java ByteCode
  2. Groovy collections are easy to work with
  3. Closures – blocks of code that can be passed around anonymously
  4. The each method for iteration, key and value for maps -vs- just lists
  5. Groovy GDK – Groovyized Java library classes (each, etc)
  6. Groovy and XMLXMLSlurper for parsing, Markup Builder for XML emit
  7. Installing Groovy – and the Groovy Console
  8. Groovy 1.6 – Grape dependency management
  9. Groovy is being embedded in SOA/Integration containers (Camel, Mule, etc)
  10. Mounting Groovy scripts in Spring:  the Spring <lang:groovy> namespace

Grails framework key points

Visit the grails kickstart page to walk through many of the topics we’ve talked about, including:

  1. Grails create-app to build an application skeleton
  2. Domain Classes and dynamic finders
  3. Controllers and scaffolding

Other topics:

  1. Grails is based on Hibernate, Spring, Spring MVC and other projects
  2. Grails plugins for extending both front end features and backend capabilities
  3. Webflow using Grails closures – see my blog entry on this

Groovy/Grails Books

  1. Groovy in Action – Dierk Koenig et al…
  2. Programming Groovy – Venkat Subramaniam
  3. Groovy Recipes – Scott Davis
  4. Groovy and Grails Recipes – Bashar Abdul-Jawad
  5. The Definitive Guide to Grails, 2nd edition by Graeme Rocher and Jeff Brown (from G2One, now SpringSource – Graeme is the founder of the Grails framework)
  6. Grails in Action, Glenn Smith and Peter Ledbrook (currently a beta e-book, will publish in June/July of 2009)

Chariot Bloggers on Grails

  1. Gordon Dickens writes about Grails on
  2. Ken Rimple blogs about Grails and other technology, music and photography at