Almost a year in development, it's finally here

The wait is over – Grails 2.0 released!

Chris Mayer
grails

Grails 2.0 includes the latest libraries such as Groovy 1.8 and Spring 3.1 and gets a lick of paint with new intuitive UI

The SpringSource team certainly like dropping a sack full of
goodies to the community around December. Nearly a year in
development, the second major release of the full stack Groovy
language-based framework, Grails 2.0 has been
revealed and it has already got developers salivating at the
prospect of migrating their applications

It’s fair to say that Grails has certainly modernised web
development on the JVM in recent years, by ridding the complexity
of old frameworks. By using established Java technologies such as
Spring and Hibernate and constantly evolving the amount of plugins
available, Grails has managed to become a crowd favourite.

Graeme
Rocher
promised a greater user experience and the list of the
gifts on offer seems longer than many you’d see at this time of
year. The first striking difference is the new console interface,
now incorporating tab completion and coloured output, certainly
giving the framework the aesthetic look it rightly deserves. The
documentation engine has got a makeover too, making it much easier
to retrieve information.

Another welcomed improvement is the
revised reloading mechanism that no longer uses class loaders,
but instead employs a JVM agent to do the class files work, meaning
that there should be far less server restarts. Further enhancements
include:

  • Improved error reporting and problem diagnosis
  • The latest libraries: Groovy 1.8, Spring 3.1, Hibernate 3.6 and
    Servlet 3.0
  • A powerful framework for static resources (CSS, Javascript,
    etc.)
  • New APIs for link generation and page rendering
  • New GORM features: detached criteria, Where queries, multiple
    data sources, and NoSQL support ( Redis, Riak, and
    MongoDB)
  • Standard plugins for database migrations and reverse
    engineering
  • New unit testing API with full GORM emulation

This is only scratching the surface however with over 900 tweaks
tailored to make Grails that little bit better. If that’s possible.
Grails 2.0 is cloud-ready through Cloud Foundry, with both the Grails
and Heroku teams stating that they are in the midst of
migration.

Rocher also noted the internal changes as development went
on:

During the course of the development of Grails 2.0
the source
code
 has evolved in a number of significant ways. We
modularized the source code by shifting to Gradle as a build tool; we now
use Artifactory for
repository management; Spock has become our defacto
testing tool; and we rewrote the internals to take advantage of
Groovy AST transformations. Grails is significantly better off with
all these changes and users will see the benefit in Grails 2.0

You’ll find much deeper detail within the team’s magnificently
crafted What’s
New
section, really delving deep into the changes they’ve made.
Peter Ledbrook also provides this excellent webinar, telling you
why you should think of upgrading if you’re an avid user or if
you’re not a Grails user why you ought to reconsider. His
Countdown to Grails 2.0
series gives great insight too.

Once again, Grails has reinvented the
wheel and is on the right track towards a greater user experience
and community acclaim. That year in incubation has really paid
off.

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