Project lead Graeme Rocher on the future of Grails
Following Pivotal’s surprise decision to withdraw support from Groovy and Grails, Graeme Rocher, project lead of Grails at Pivotal, spoke to us about the future of the web development framework.
JAXenter: Can you tell us a bit about what Pivotal’s decision means for Grails? How is it looking for future funding? Should all Grails fans despair?
Graeme Rocher: We are investigating a number of different avenues for sponsorship of the development of the language and framework. The Groovy and Grails team are a team of 6 engineers and for any company hiring 6 engineers is a significant investment, hence we understand the challenges involved. In particular it is a difficult time for many companies as fiscal Q4 has just completed. Nevertheless we are optimistic and believe the community is strong. We also believe in the potential to be unlocked for both projects.
Groovy and Grails fans should not despair as both projects are Open Source and will continue to move forward regardless of corporate sponsorship status.
We’ve heard Pivotal decided to cut funding to Groovy and Grails because (of all projects where they could cut funding) they knew it would definitely survive without it. Does Pivotal’s decision make sense to you?
In some senses I understand Pivotal’s desire to be very focused on Cloud Foundry, on the other hand it is a shame as I believe the Groovy and Grails communities could have been a strong driver for growth of the Cloud Foundry platform.
Ultimately I believe you need a developer audience to successfully promote a PaaS, but I guess Pivotal felt they would be just fine without the Groovy and Grails communities on board, which is a real shame.
Some have responded by asking why Groovy and Grails should even need funding at all? Is this a fair question? Should they be able to survive on their own?
That is a fair question, in an ideal world all Open Source projects would be community run and we all live happily after. In the real world however there are very few large and truly successful Open Source projects that have not had some form of investment by a commercial entity during their development.
What I would say is that there is no question of Groovy and Grails surviving on their own, it is more a matter of what potential could be unlocked if more resources were available to the project.
Is there any chance of Grails being able to expand on its usage potential in order acquire more support? Can you tell us a bit about what new features, if any, are planned for Grails?
Absolutely, both Groovy and Grails have massive future potential. The latest release of Groovy features Android support, which expands its user base to mobile. If you consider Groovy is already used with Gradle as the build system for Android you can imagine how great the potential is to use a single language for your entire Android development experience from build system, to mobile application and finally a Grails (or even Ratpack) backend.
In the case of Grails, with Grails 3.0 and the introduction of profiles you can now build completely new RAD frameworks on top of Grails that could for example allow the development of a Grails-like framework for Android applications, hence simplifying the client. Alternatively you could create profiles for Micro Services, Hadoop and so on. There are many possibilities there.