Concurrency craze

Groovy concurrency framework GPars readies itself for big release

Chris Mayer
Gpars.11

Embracing the multicore age is key for Java and Groovy developers. GPars’ first full version will guide you along the way

Groovy’s arrival back in January
2007 added a bit of dynamism to the JVM. Now there was a new
functional scripting language that kept its ties close to Java, but
brought in concepts from other languages too.

Earlier in 2012, Groovy 2.0 introduced static type-checking
amongst other features, solidifying its place within the JVM.
During that time, we’ve seen a plethora of offshoot projects crop
up, such as web framework Grails, desktop framework Griffon and
build automation tool Gradle.

One project though has bided its time before releasing a 1.0
release.
GPars, the
concurrency preaching framework containing both Groovy and Java
APIs, was created by Vaclav Pech three years ago, with concurrent
programming only being carried out by the few back then.
Now,

a release candidate has surfaced
, suggesting
a final release is weeks away.

With the prevalence of multi-core hardware, writing
concurrently and understanding parallelism is now a necessity for
Java and Groovy developers if they want to stay with the pace.
Higher level concepts such as actors and dataflow aren’t new, but
finally entering the mainstream now the barriers are lower and the
worth of using them substantially greater.

A general release was always on the cards sooner rather than
later, and due to the complexity of parallelism, it was right for
the GPars team to wait until the project was mature enough for the
masses. The challenge is to make it intuitive enough for them to
enjoy concurrent programming from the off.

Three distinct concepts are covered currently within GPars.
At the lowest level, there are code-level helpers for parallel
collections and asynchronous programming. GPars also contains
constructs like actors (popularised by Scala) and data parallelism
to help architectural design. Finally, agents for “shared mutable
state protection” are provided to help in the case when mutable
state can’t be avoided (5% of the time say GPars).

It seems that the three years in hibernation have done
wonders for GPars – the team has thought of everything to help ease
the eager Java or Groovy developer into the world of parallelism.
Pech writes in the Reference Documentation that GPars is “very
addictive.” He adds:

“Once you get hooked you won’t be able to code without it.
May the world force you to write code in Java, you will still be
able to benefit from most of GPars features.”

If you’re interested in learning about what
GPars
can make possible, check out
the
Github
page
for the project. Also, have a read of
this

excellent introductory tutorial to GPars

from Pech himself, which appeared in Java Tech Journal in
2012.

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