SpringOne2GX, Day 3 Recap

Two great demos in the morning regarding Gradle, by it’s author, Hans Docktor. Gradle is something I’d heard about frequently, but never bothered to look into thinking that I didn’t need to learn another way to build until it was necessary. Combining the declarative nature of a DSL with the scripting capabilities of Groovy, Gradle looks to be a “next generation” build tool. Familiar constructs exist – job, task, etc – but each of those constructs has properties that can be inspected, and the DSL itself can be easily extended to meet an organization’s need. Since the Ant jars are packed with Gradle, it looks like Gradle should have easier inroads into the enterprise than other new build technologies. Any task or all of the build can be written using Gradle, which would allow for a migration approach as opposed to a conversion. The demos themselves were smooth and engaging with no technical hiccups. Really good stuff.

The last talk of the conference was a demo of Daisy CMS Grails. Like a few other talks/demos, I learned more about the subject itself (CMSs) rather than the technology that was the subject of the talk.

In all, a good conference. The quality of content in the talks varied greatly. Some were demos, some were presentations, and others seemed like they were thrown together at the last minute. The good content was great, and the not-so-good content, well, was not-so-good. Although I’m sure the pub crawl was fun, I think the conference could have fit into two days had the lower quality material been removed. I came away with a few exciting things to look into and a new appreciation for the Spring/Groovy community.

SpringOne2GX, Day 2 Recap

Another good day at SpringOne.

The first session of the day was with Burt Beckwith going over the Spring Security plugin(s) for Grails. The last Grails work I did was with the Shiro/JSecurity plugin, which worked well, but I’ve always been interested in the extended feature set of Spring Security and it’s extensions. I thought the UI plugin looks useful, and the OpenID support looks like it’s got some nice features. Much of the rest still seems to be up in the air, but it’s maturing nicely. Glad to hear the demo code will be available.

Second talk was on the Google track, and was covering Spring Roo (which I promptly got stoked about yesterday) and it’s integration with GWT. I understand all of the browser compatibility advantages of GWT, but I’m still not convinced the complexity is worth it. Thankfully, Spring Roo does what it does best when it comes to GWT – generates and tucks away your boiler plate code. I’m not as excited about GWT as I thought I would be.

Third talk was with Burt Beckwith again – this time about strategies for handling database migrations in Grails apps. This is an aspect of Rails that I think is far superior to Grails. I didn’t get much from this talk other than how to correctly use Liquibase, but it was good to hear that this is something is being addressed in the upcoming version of Grails.

Fourth talk was about Extreme Scaffolding with Jean Barmash. We saw demos of a few interesting plugins for scaffolding and other UI enhancements, but I didn’t see anything really groundbreaking. It seems that a good command of grails templates, layouts and keeping DRY in mind would accomplish the same thing. It might even take longer to put all of these plugins in, and learn how to correctly use them, rather than just focus on writing good code and pushing out useful functionality.

Finishing the day with Stefan Schmidt and another great talk on the versatile persistence functionality available in the latest version of Spring Roo. The incremental reverse engineering is awesome and blows hibernate right out of the water. Grails and Rails are great for greenfield development, but this really makes Roo a compelling solution for developing new apps on existing databases. The JPA2 and NoSQL support were interesting. The one part I didn’t get was the discussion on Hades. Hades is a Roo add-on that generates the DAOs that Roo is made to get rid of (or at least hide). Maybe I missed something – it sounded interesting – I just didn’t see how it fit with the rest of the features of Roo, other than code generation, of course.

In all, not as good a day as the first, but I learned some interesting things. Spring Roo really seems like an exciting alternative Grails, especially if you’re developing in a dynamic language resistent environment. Looking forward to tomorrow.

SpringOne2GX, Day 1 Recap

It was an interesting day today at SpringOne2GX. There were many interesting presentations – here’s some thoughts on the 5 I attended today:

Guillaume Laforge’s talk on Gaelyk first thing in the morning was very interesting. I’ve been casually following the Gaelyk project for a while and was happy to hear more about it from the project’s founder. It looks like a great toolkit to easily take advantage of all of the features of the Google App Engine using a familiar and concise language in Groovy. A nice departure from Grails, Gaelyk is packed with a lot of interesting options and flexibility being on the Google App Engine. Definitely worth checking out for lightweight web apps with simple persistence needs.

Arjen Poutsma’s talk on the new features of Spring-WS was interesting also – good to see the familiar patterns and usages of Spring MVC making their way into the integration side. I’m currently on a Spring 3 project, and I’m quite sure there’s a compelling reason to roll this in. Definitely looking forward to getting into the details.

The Spring Roo presentation by Rod Johnson was a real eye-opener and definitely renewed my interest in the static-typed side of the Spring ecosystem. Grails, for straight java – what a cool idea. Pseudo-dynamic, clean code with boilerplate code woven in using AspectJ ‘side files’. I can’t wait to fire this one up, although I’m skeptical about how well I will work with it outside of eclipse/STS, which is not my first choice in regards to an IDE. The scaffolded UIs look very impressive. Looking forward to learning more about Roo + GWT tomorrow.

Another interesting Groovy-related talk was by Guillaume Laforge and Paul King on building DSLs with Groovy. A few very cool tricks and what I’m sure will be useful strategies for building DSLs using Groovy.

Wrapped up the day checking on the Grails 1.3 update with Graeme Rocher. Definitely a lot of stuff coming up that will be useful as the framework continues to grow. The GORM implementations at tonight’s keynote were awesome. New dependency management will be nice and clear with the right amount of control.

Looking forward to tomorrow!