Grails gets cozy with AngularJS for better JavaScript

The Grails framework features improved REST capabilities, while the companion Groovy language gets compiler boosts

Grails gets cozy with AngularJS for better JavaScript
Credit: © Copyright Lairich Rig, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Grails Web application framework will be paired with the AngularJS JavaScript framework to help developers build SPAs (single-page applications).

Version 3.1 of Grails, due by the end of this year, will feature an AngularJS profile with targeted plug-ins and code generation capabilities for rapidly building SPAs, said Graeme Rocher, who leads the design and development of Grails.

"With front ends typically being created using native clients or JavaScript, single-page frameworks such as AngularJS have become popular," Rocher said in an email. "Many Grails developers are looking to SPA frameworks to increase their productivity for client-side development of JavaScript applications."

The builders of Grails anticipate developing profiles for frameworks like, including React and Ember via plug-ins following the 3.1 release, which will support extensible profiles. "What this means is that developers will be able to create application templates and code generation facilities specific to their organization or framework of choice," said Rocher.

The upgrade also features a more focused environment for building REST microservice applications. "With plug-ins and code generation facilities targeted at the creation of REST APIs using JSON and integration with OAuth for security, developers will immediately feel more productive using Grails 3.1 to build REST microservices," Rocher said. Grails 3.1 also will support Hibernate 5 and MongoDB 3.0 driver releases for data access, Rocher said.

The subsequent Grails 3.2 release will feature a profile for low-memory-footprint, nonblocking microservices. To complement the nature of this profile, nonblocking versions of GORM (Grails Object Relational Mapping) will be developed for MongoDB and SQL.

Grails leverages the Groovy language, which runs on the Java Virtual Machine. Many companies, Rocher said, want the stability and production quality of the JVM for back end services. Recently, Groovy has enhanced compiler speed, said Guillaume Laforge, who has led the Groovy project, in an email. Code transformations also are being improved, and meta-annotations, for regrouping annotations, are being utilized to avoid "littering" code with too many annotations, Laforge said. Developers will have more control over annotations as well.

Grails has been under the jurisdiction of OCI (Object Computing) since this spring. Previously, it was shepherded by Pivotal. "Grails is becoming more accessible since its move to OCI," Rocher said. "For the first time really ever, we have a software engineering services organization supporting the framework." Groovy also was discarded by Pivotal; it's now under the jurisdiction of the Apache Software Foundation.

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