SpringSource joins the Groovy club

G2One acquisition adds SpringSource to the list of vendors endorsing Groovy, but relying on a support business model for Groovy may not be the best path forward.

SpringSource announced that it's acquiring G2One, the company behind Groovy and Grails. Groovy is an open-source dynamic scripting language that runs inside a Java Virtual Machine. Groovy uses Java-like syntax, so it's often positioned as the scripting language of choice for developers who already know Java (and/or don't want to learn a scripting language like PHP). Some have even gone as far as suggesting that Groovy will become the dominant language for the JVM (ahead of the Java language). Grails is a Groovy-based framework.

SpringSource is joining the list of Java application server vendors adding support for Groovy. IBM has been supporting Groovy with WebSphere sMash, and Project Zero since July 2007. Sun's GlassFish recently added support for Groovy in GlassFish v3 Prelude. JBoss has integrated Groovy with JBoss Seam. I couldn't find any product-specific info from Oracle or BEA about Groovy. Oracle/BEA offers developer documentation that describes how to use Groovy, but nothing about Groovy support within an Oracle/BEA product. (Oracle/BEA readers, please correct me if I'm wrong).

What does this acquisition mean for customers (considering or using Groovy)? According to the SpringSource acquisition FAQ:

SpringSource has built a global support and governance operation for the Spring Framework. This infrastructure, coupled with G2One's experts and some investment, can deliver a 24x7, worldwide support network for enterprises investing heavily in Groovy and Grails. Additionally, there will be some immediate product enhancements and we will be investigating the creation of enterprise grade Eclipse tools for Groovy and Grails development.

Selling support for Groovy (a language) or Grails (a framework) doesn't sound like a great business to me. Look at Zend, the company behind the PHP language. They're making money from ancillary products around the PHP language, not simply from supporting the PHP language. Next, there isn't a whole lot of revenue to be had from support of a framework. SpringSource knows this better than most vendors. The Spring Framework is widely used, but the majority of customers are in production without any support from SpringSource. This is why SpringSource has introduced Spring products, because as I've been saying, products are valuable; support, not so much. But maybe SpringSource will introduce enterprise-grade products with Groovy & Grails?

It'll be interesting to see how the acquisition plays out. Best of luck to G2One and the SpringSource team.

P.S.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."


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