Grails is an open source Web development framework leveraging the JVM and the Groovy language. Available since 2007, it has been used for purposes such as deploying Netflix to the Amazon Web Services cloud, as well as for the Hudki search engine for real estate and used cars. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill recently talked with Grails project lead Graeme Rocher, of Pivotal, about where the framework is headed, including plans to extend it beyond Java application server deployments.
InfoWorld: Is Grails the Java answer to Ruby on Rails?
Rocher: Yes. It takes a lot of inspiration from Ruby on Rails. But it's designed and targeted specifically for the Java Virtual Machine.
InfoWorld: How was it inspired by Ruby on Rails?
Rocher: It features the convention-over-configuration paradigm that Ruby on Rails pioneered. Instead of configuring everything manually using settings or whatever, the application expresses a bunch of conventions and sensible defaults and assumptions it makes on your behalf. It's an opinionated framework. You write less code and it makes it easier.
InfoWorld: When is version 3.0 arriving?
Rocher: The plan is for initial milestone [releases] of Grails 3 to be available next year. With Grails 3, we're looking at extending the reach of Grails to target other [deployment] destinations [besides Java application servers], so things like batch processing applications, Hadoop, event-driven systems. We're introducing a concept of [an] application profile. An application profile is essentially a set of plug-ins that allows you to target the particular deployment environment.
InfoWorld: What are the key features in Grails 2.3?
Rocher: The headline is essentially comprehensive REST support on the server side. [Also] we have new APIs for supporting asynchronous programming. With the increasing number of processors on chips, on server machines nowadays, it's increasingly important to take advantage of parallel programming in terms of all those processes and writing concurrent programs that are thread-safe.
InfoWorld: Are there any intermediary releases of Grails planned between now and version 3?
Rocher: There will be a minor 2.4 release, which supports Spring 4.0 and Groovy 2.2.
InfoWorld: How many people are using Grails?
Rocher: Being an open source project, it's always difficult to judge these things. We have various measures based on download numbers, based on Web traffic, so it's hard to put a concrete number on these things. But it's definitely one one of the top three Web frameworks on the Java Virtual Machine.
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This story, "Inspired by Ruby on Rails, Grails to go beyond Web app dev" was originally published by InfoWorld.