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Pivotal Pulls Groovy/Grails Funding

by Victor Grazi on Jan 19, 2015 |

Pivotal Software today announced that it will be withdrawing funding for the popular Groovy and Grails frameworks after March 31, 2015.

In their statement, Pivotal said "the decision to conclude its sponsorship of Groovy and Grails is part of Pivotal’s larger strategy to concentrate resources on accelerating both commercial and open source projects that support its growing traction in Platform-as-a-Service, Data, and Agile development. Pivotal has determined that the time is right to let further development of Groovy and Grails be led by other interested parties in the open source community who can best serve the goals of those projects."

InfoQ spoke to Groovy project manager Guillaume Laforge about the announcement.

InfoQ: What led to this announcement?

LaForge: As Pivotal's announcement and FAQ say, Pivotal decided to refocus its energy mainly around Cloud Foundry, and don't see Groovy and Grails as strategic as before. That's why they decided to stop funding the projects, despite the ongoing growth and success of the projects.

InfoQ: Was this decision by mutual agreement?

LaForge: No, it's Pivotal's decision. We would have loved continuing developing both Groovy and Grails under this umbrella, as there's a lot of synergy with our Spring team friends for example, and there's so much we could have done to help use Groovy and Grails to build the future of Cloud Foundry's infrastructure (think cloud service composition Groovy domain specific language, Grails agile dashboards / value added micro-services and backend services, etc)

We were not short on ideas on how Groovy and Grails could have helped make an impact!

InfoQ: What will you do next?

LaForge: In the immediate future, we're looking forward to finding a new home for the projects, so that we can continue working full time on them, to not slow down the pace of development and innovation. But at the same time, of course, we still keep on developing the projects themselves. We're actually planning an imminent release of Groovy 2.4, and Grails 3.0 will follow suit afterwards.

InfoQ: Do you have any prospective backers going forward?

LaForge: We're discussing with potential backers, but so far, haven't found a definitive answer to our search for a new home. With the announcement, perhaps a new potential interested third party will emerge.

InfoQ: How will this impact Groovy/Grails March and beyond?

LaForge: As I said, we continue to develop Groovy and Grails as usual, we have plenty of work to do and ideas to develop. The risk is that we may not necessarily be able to develop at full speed as usual, but at a more reduced pace. We might perhaps rethink some big bang features and try to reschedule them more cleverly in a piece-meal fashion, etc. However thanks to the community's contributions, we know Groovy and Grails will live on and continue to evolve, but finding a new home willing to fund the project and its teams full time would tremendously help.

InfoQ: What is on the horizon for Groovy/Grails as a product?

LaForge: I mentioned the Groovy 2.4 and Grails 3.0 imminent releases.

Groovy 2.4 will bring very nice support for the Android platform, allowing you to build mobile apps with Groovy in a very productive and elegant way, but we also worked on various performance improvements. For Grails 3, that's the big re-architecting around Spring Boot, making Grails 3 a nice fit for the buzz-trendy micro-services era.

For Groovy going forward, we have a lot more ideas we want to pursue, like more support for Java 8 constructs (in particular adopting some new syntax elements), enhancing and reworking our internal dynamic runtime, our ongoing work on performance (as well as shorter bytecode, trimming down a bit of memory consumption, etc), and we are also thinking of adding some kind of macros to help developers author code transformations to kill some more boilerplate code compared to raw Java.

We're definitely not short on ideas on how to further improve the projects to make our developers more productive using the language and the framework!

InfoQ: Well we do wish you the best of luck. Groovy is a great platform, and has impacted Java itself, inspiring Project Lambda, Project Coin, and the trend towards making Java more functional.

LaForge: Thanks a lot for the interview, your support, and your kind words!

With regards to support contracts, Pivotal says they will honor all existing contracts for the current term. Pivotal also says this decision will not reflect any change in their support of the Spring framework.

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Let the Groovy/Grails framework fire glow. Dont let it die... by Sakar SR

Groovy/Grails is the best frame work i come accross in recent days. It is sad that Pivotal is pulling out. Let someone come to help the Groovy/Grails team.

What a shame by Jose Carlos

After so many years those guys comes with such a politician discourse! Its bad news for groovy community, I'll stick with Scala and Typesafe I can't risk my career with Groovy or Grails anymore!

Pivotal may stop supporting Spring too on a day by mohammed nazeel

we love groovy and grails, let them find a better home from a solid company.

Re: What a shame by Seriy V

No offense but this is not well-founded comment at all.

Typesafe (company behind Scala) is the private company. Do you know how if it is profitable? Do you know its financial status and how long this company will be alive? You can google that they've got two round of investment but in total secured 17 millions usd. Quite limited funds. For comparison, you can also google that Firefox have got $274M from Google in its search deal. This is order of magnitude more compared to compared to Typesafe funding. How long do you think Typesafe can live and innovate for these $17M?

You need to look at whether the technology can live without its main sponsor. Can Groovy/Grails live without Pivotal? We will see. Can Scala live without Typesafe if lets say in a yer a two they will run out of money? Are you sure in the answer?

For example, check github.com/scala/scala/graphs/contributors and think what happens if you remove top 10 contributors.

Yes, groovy is not in the better shape. This is definitely true.

But better think of this as a warning that some open source project come and go. And you can be sure only in very limited number of them.

Glorious Grails by MANOJ MUNGARA

I am heartbroken. Let us see, who is the lucky chap to pickup the sponsoring.

Re: What a shame by Jose Carlos

Scala is more likely to adopt than Groovy, probably you aren't updated about developers trends. Do your home work my friend.

No word on Groovy Eclipse support... by Mauro Molinari

Said that I'm disappointed to know that Pivotal won't invest any more on technologies on which they habr pushed a lot until yesterday... however, I think Groovy will find a new way to live on its own, but the main problem is the lack of a decent Groovy support in the Eclipse world. The Groovy Plugin for Eclipse has a lot of flaws and problems that almost cancel the productivity gain you get by using Groovy over Java. Last year Pivotal put three people to improve that plugin and fix a lot of bugs, but for some months now there have been nobody working on it any more.

Unfortunately LaForge isn't saying anything about it and this really concerns me... I think I must revise my decision to heavily introduce Groovy on the projects I'm driving, because even if I think Groovy will still improve and evolve even without Pivotal support, without any decent Eclipse support it is a no go for me.

Re: What a shame by Victor Grazi

Do you mean to say Scala is more popular than Groovy?
That does not seem to be what Indeed.com trends say:
www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=Scala%2C+groovy&l=
with Groovy enjoying stronger growth: www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=Scala%2C+groovy&...

Or do you have a better source?

Re: What a shame by Oliver Doepner

@Jose : I think Seriy made a valid point that if loss of corporate and financial backing makes you drop an Open Source technology from your toolset, then Scala might be another risk you are taking.

However, I would see the bright side: Groovy/Grails is Open Source and if the community interest is strong enough, it will survive this and become even more community-driven.

If you are looking for non-Java Open Source JVM language with strong financial backing by a company who is completely based on Open Source, then Ceylon might be interesting. It is backed by Redhat and lead by Gavin King, the guy who created Hibernate and CDI.

Re: What a shame by John Davies

It seems a little misplaced to get into a Scala vs. Groovy debate here. We have people in C24 that swear (by and at) both. For that reason I won't begin the comparison, to me they are both useful and both should be allowed to continue, me personally I'll stick with Java and Spring.

It's a real shame that Pivotal chose to drop Groovy, they seem blinkered on everything having something to do with Cloud Foundry. Perhaps TypeSafe would be an interesting home for Groovy, I guess we'll see how it plays out but you'd be crazy to drop a language just because a cloud obsessed company drops support for it. They didn't exactly put much effort into it before just as they don't now for things like Spring. Don't judge a language by decisions made by management that have lost touch with the developer community (IMOHO).

And I should add that I like Cloud Foundry so nothing against that technology.

-John-

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