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Top 5 IDEs and text editors for Groovy

Jane Elizabeth
Groovy
© Shutterstock / blue67design

Our IDE series continues with Groovy. This chilled out language packs a powerful punch for dynamic programming. Today, we take a look at the top 5 IDEs for Groovy.

We’re movin’ and groovin’ this week with Groovy, a totally radical programming language with static-typing for the Java platform. Groovy is a part of the Apache Software Foundation and it’s aimed at improving developer productivity with a concise and easy to learn syntax.

The latest update for Apache Groovy arrived earlier this summer, stuffed with groundbreaking enhancements and a promising roadmap! We took a look at the highlights of the 2.5 release here.

Caveat: As always, I would like to take this time to remind everyone that this list is subjective. There are a lot of IDEs out there and we can’t cover them all. We’re looking at some language-specific IDEs this week as well as some generalists to cover all our bases.

In no particular order, here are the top 5 IDEs and code editors for Groovy.

Groovy/Grails Tool Suite

Supported by Spring and Pivotal, the Groovy/Grails Tool Suite is an Eclipse-based IDE for Groovy and Grails applications. The Tool Suite comes with the developer edition of Pivotal tc Server, which gives developers a real-time view of application performance metrics. The Groovy/Grails Tool Suite is suitable for applications on local, virtual, or cloud-based servers.

As for Groovy-specific features, the Tool Suite offers a smart inferencing engine to constantly analyze code. It has smart code completion, detailed hover info, and fast navigation around your codebase. There’s even an intelligent debugger to make developer’s lives easier.

More information about the Groovy/Grails Tools Suite is available here. This tool suite is free and open source under the Eclipse Public License.

SEE ALSO: Apache Groovy 2.5 arrived: Major improvements and a bright future

TextMate

TextMate is a new one to our top 5 lists, but it’s one that we’ve been looking at for a while. Exclusively for the MacOS, TextMate brings the OSX approach to text editors. TextMate uses a UNIX foundation to reduce overhead and the need for manual work. This text editor uses powerful snippets, macros, and unique scoping system to support developers.

TextMate comes with a number of features, including syntax highlighting, foldable code blocks, recordable macros, and more. Working with the code is made easier with things like auto-indent, column selections, and column typing, and a dynamic outline for working with multiple files. The Groovy extension is available as a bundle in TextMate and it will automatically update after installation.

More information about the Groovy extension for TextMate is available here. TextMate is free and open source.

UltraEdit

UltraEdit is a new text editor to our list, but it’s got a lot of great features that really set it apart. Widely considered to be one of the best text editors on the market, UltraEditor has been around for over 25 years. That’s pretty darn impressive for a text editor.

With customizable themes, developers can choose to control their text editing experience to best fit their personal layout of choice. UltraEdit offers syntax highlighting for nearly any coding language, including Groovy. There are smart templates, a powerful find and replace, and most importantly, support for very large files.

More information about UltraEdit is available here. UltraEdit has a free 30 day trial, with tiered pricing available depending on how much support you want.

SEE ALSO: Micronaut: A lightweight framework that supports Java, Groovy and Kotlin

IntelliJ IDEA

This certainly isn’t the first time IntelliJ IDEA has made one of our top 5 lists and it won’t be the last. IntelliJ IDEA is a capable and ergonomic IDE for the JVM with support for a whole host of languages, including built-in support for Groovy.

IntelliJ’s list of features includes smart code completion, language injection, an editor-centric environment, and lots of useful build tools. However, it does offer some Groovy-specific features, including test, running and debugging Groovy scripts, Groovy-specific refactorings, and working with lists and maps. Plus, there’s a Groovy interactive console!

More information about IntelliJ IDEA is available here. The community edition of IntelliJ IDEA is free and open source.

GroovyEclipse

Of course, our friends at Eclipse make this week’s list. The popular IDE from the Eclipse Foundation is full of cross-platform magic. The Groovy plugin provides Eclipse and Maven tooling support for developers. Although this project has been around for nearly 10 years, the GitHub page is up to date with the most recent Groovy release. There’s even a helpful how-to guide for new developers.

The GroovyEclipse source code is a set of Eclipse plug-in projects. Each project contributes various Groovy tooling logic into Eclipse with differing extension points. Every plug-in is responsible for a specific feature of the Groovy tooling support in Eclipse, like a language-specific launch configurations, compiler, debugger, editor for .groovy files, and more.

GroovyEclipse relies on the Eclipse Java Development Tools to work, meaning that almost any version of Eclipse with the JDT will work. (However, we do recommend Eclipse Photon, the latest and greatest version of Eclipse!)

More information about GroovyEclipse can be found here. GroovyEclipse is free and open source.

SEE ALSO: Groovy downloads double after joining Apache Foundation

Honorable mentions

NetBeans does indeed support Groovy! Features include syntax highlighting, code completion, and refactoring.

SlickEdit is another powerful cross-platform editor with a wide variety of cool features like dynamic surround, auto-completions, and beautify while typing. However, it is a commercial product and requires users to purchase a license.

Author
Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com.