Right on

“Groovy is the Swift-alternative for Android”

Lucy Carey

Java derivative language creator sees Groovy as the Swift-alike for Android programmers – and after all, the two have a lot in common.


When fruit falls from the Apple tree, everyone’s
got an opinion – as we saw with Tuesday’s big reveal of glossy
proprietary language

, designed to make certain aspects of
 programming for OS X onwards Macs, iPhones and iPads easier
to grasp and faster than with old stalwart Objective C.

One of the first to publish their thoughts was
Groovy creator

Guillaume Laforge
, who blogged that, “an
acquainted Groovy eye would immediately notice the inspiration the
Swift designers took from Groovy.” Akin to Swift, Groovy is also
derived from a major language – in this case Java. There’s a very
meagre learning curve for Java devs, and, whilst there’s a welcome
lack of Java’s verbosity, there are a host of additional features
for Groovy users to enjoy like (similar to lambdas in Java 8, but,
as Laforge notes, Android developers don’t have Java 8), “builders,
runtime and compile-time metaprogramming.”

Laforge’s colleague and fellow Groovy committer
Cédric Champeau has taken the love-in one step further,
emphatically recommending Groovy as Android’s respective Swift
counterpart. In a recent post, Champeau recommends that anyone
impressed by Swift take a good long look at Groovy. He writes that
Android users yearning for a language which is “as modern as Swift
is, but running on Android” need look no further than the

Lest anyone accuse Laforge and and Champeau of
merely jumping on the “we-did-it-first” bandwagon (with the diverse
functionalities within Swift, there’s plenty of fodder for multiple
communities to make these sort of claims), Apple did in fact make a
direct reference to Groovy during Swift’s big reveal – however
Laforge does dispute Apple’s less-than-flattering assessment of his
progeny in terms of performance.

Side by side, there are indeed some clear similarities
between Groovy and Swift, namely; syntax for lists and maps,
similar closures, syntactic rules and safe navigation. A full
assessment, slides and code examples can be found in  Cédric’s
Those who want to be further persuaded why Groovy is so fab should
also take a look at our

interview with Guillaume Laforge
, recorded
at JAX 2014:


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