Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grails 1.1.1, Gr8conf, AppEngine and other happenings

Just got back from Gr8conf and really had a blast. It was a nice small group of 90-100 which meant you could really have a lot of one on one time with many of the attendees who had questions. The sessions were also not too short. Having that extra bit of time to elaborate on things makes a real different compared to the 45 minute rush you have at JavaOne et al.

All in all it felt more like a No Fluff event, which can only be described as a good thing. Right before the conference we released Grails 1.1.1 which is mainly a bug fix release, but the exciting part is the new Google AppEngine plugin which works with Grails 1.1.1

The plugin takes the heavy lifting out of configuring a Grails application for usage on AppEngine by automatically configuring the AppEngine development environment and a JDO persistence layer (JPA is coming too soon). You get reloading out of the box too, so Grails + AppEngine is really the most productive environment for developing JVM applications for AppEngine.

One missing feature from the AppEngine support right now is GORM (you have to use the raw JDO APIs). However, we are hard at work developing GORM-JPA (and potentially GORM-JDO) which will bring most of the features of GORM on top of standard JPA.

GORM-JPA is not the only exciting thing happening right now in the Grails plugin front. We are working with Adobe on integrating Flex and BlazeDS closely with Spring. The results of that can be seen in the recent Spring/BlazeDS integration 1.0 Rc2 release. The next phase is to build on top of that for the Grails plugin which is on my todo list to complete soon. Exciting times.

The plugin community itself continues to flourish, checkout these:
  • It is now finally possible to write Grails applications for different Portals such as Liferay and Pluto thanks to the Portlets plugins.
  • There is an excellent new plugin that embeds an LDAP server into Grails for easily testing LDAP
  • The Flex Scaffold plugin let's you generated complete CRUD applications using Grails and Adobe Flex
  • The Build Test Data plugin let's you quickly create dummy test data
  • Using the Spring WS plugin writing SOAP web services, feels more like writing REST service. Easy and painless.
These are just a few isolated mentions, there is activity going on all the time on the plugin space.