Other new features to Groovy 1.7 include improved support for annotations and assertions. The GroovyConsole and the Abstract Syntax Tree interfaces have been improved and the GroovyScriptEngine has been rewritten. The developers have also released a Microsoft Windows installer for Groovy. Grails has recently been updated as well.
Groovy, which is open source under the Apache license, is updated once a year, Laforge said. Plans for version 1.8 include performance improvements. Programs written in dynamically compiled languages, such as Groovy or Ruby, typically run more slowly than those compiled ahead of time, in statically compiled languages such as Java. Groovy, in particular, has been criticized for slow performance. The developers did not do much work on 1.7 on improving performance, Laforge said, though that will be more of a priority for version 1.8.
Another priority for Groovy 1.8 will be additional enhancements to aid in the developing of domain specific languages, or DSLs. DSLs are languages with keywords customized for some specific task. DSLs can be used to write business logic in such a way that it can be understood by non-programmers. Given its comparatively simple syntax and extensibility, Groovy could serve as a base for building out DSLs, though Laforge said he would like to see more work done at cleaning up some of the "syntactical noise" of the language, such as commas and semicolons.
"We got some ideas on how to further streamline the syntax to allow nicer-looking DSLs, which will look more like normal English," he said.