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InfoQ Homepage News Groovy Gains Big Sky Sponsorship and aboutGroovy Portal

Groovy Gains Big Sky Sponsorship and aboutGroovy Portal

The momentum behind Groovy continued to increase this week with the announcement of Big Sky Technology's funding of Jochen Theodorou's services full time to work on the project and the launch of the aboutGroovy portal. Big Sky runs the popular No Fluff Just Stuff conference series. From the press release:
"Jochen will be able to focus his efforts exclusively on Groovy development now which will help ensure that Groovy 1.0 is released the end of 2006 and future enhancements in Groovy will be addressed at an accelerated rate", commented Jay Zimmerman, President of Big Sky Technology and creator/director of the No Fluff Just Stuff Java Symposium Series. When asked why Big Sky Technology has stepped up to fund this initiative in the Groovy space, Zimmerman commented: "The NFJS Symposium series has always been a big advocate of the open source community from its inception in 2002. Over the last five years we have seen the pain points in the Java space from our conversations with NFJS attendees which for the most part are corporate developers. With Groovy we have decided to take a more activist role by directly supporting ongoing Groovy development as we see great benefits to the Java development community namely addressing unit testing, streamlining XML usage, better ORM support, and being able to take advantage of Groovy's dynamic language features like closures.

Zimmerman also noted that the NFJS will be offering a full Groovy track at events in 2007.

Also on the Groovy front the portal was announced this month: -- your source for news about the programming language Groovy. In the days and weeks to come, will bring you the best of news, tutorials, and rich media from across the Internet. Welcome aboard!

aboutGroovy is a partnership between Big Sky Technologies and Scott Davis, Editor and Chief and author of such titles as JBoss at Work and Pragmatic GIS.

InfoQ sat down with Zimmerman and Theodorou to discuss the announcements. First Zimmerman was asked why now for a full Groovy track and the support of development:

So many reasons.....

One, Groovy 1.0 will be out 1st week of January and ready for prime time use.

Two, Groovy gets rid of a lot of the verbosity found in straight Java code. Scott Hickey said it best, "Groovy's concise, yet flexible syntax frees developers from normal Java constructs that are required for code compilation but don't necessarily help express what the program is really trying to accomplish. What's more, Groovy's relaxed typing removes perceived code complexity through the reduction of interfaces and super classes, which are required in normal Java applications to support common behavior among distinct concrete types. "

Three, Java developers can become productive in a very short amount of time with Groovy due to the familiar syntax and on a practical level, developers can inject Groovy code into their for applications immediately without having to fight the internal political battle with upper technical management regarding the merits of another language and the accompanying learning curve which goes with it.

Theodorou was then asked what was on his list to improve in Groovy now that it is his full time focus:
Improvement of the documentation - Not all methods are documented and there is a need for writing a document about the internal dos and don'ts, structures and goals, ideas and implementation technics. I started with that a while back ... but it should be more than just a paragraph =).

Make it a real JSR - That means writing a spec and a test test compatibility kit (tck).

Build system - The current build requires maven 1.0.2 (exact version) so we are thinking about migrating to Gant, our upcoming Groovy based build tool.

Performance - 1.0 had many internal changes allowing a better way to improve the performance in following releases. One such improvement is to have new MetaClasses for special types like Maps, Closures, instances of GroovyObject... we will experiment with code generation during runtime here to get performance to the maximum level.

Java5 language support - enums and annotations are high on our list, because more and more tools out there do need them.

Finally, Zimmerman was asked how the portal come into being:

We wanted to see a central place for all Groovy/Grails related content (articles, presentations, interviews, book downloads and Groovy/Grails discussions to occur). In addition, I wanted the portal to be built with Grails to showcase the technology. To accomplish this task, Big Sky Technology partnered with Scott Davis and Davisworld Consulting. Phase 1 is now out and available for use. We have many new features to be added to the site over the next three months, so stay tuned!

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