Groovy programming language thrives under Apache

Once dropped by Pivotal, the language for JVMs doubles its downloads with support from the open source software foundation

Moving over to the Apache Software Foundation has been good for the Groovy language, with downloads more than doubling inside of six months.

Orphaned by Pivotal in March, the dynamic language for the Java Virtual Machine was picked up by Apache. Since then, downloads have boomed. "After Groovy joined the Apache Foundation, the monthly downloads doubled to 1.3 million per month. That's a massive increase in less than six months," said project lead Guillaume Laforge, in a blog post on Laforge is now employed at API tools vendor Restlet.

Under the jurisdiction of Apache, the project is independent of any one company, Laforge noted. "By putting the project at the Apache Foundation, it's a stamp saying that the project is here to stay for the long run."

Groovy entered incubator status in March, when it had 643,000 downloads for the month. By August, the number had climbed to 1.34 million. Laforge attributes the jump to Apache's "stamp of approval" and the strong marketing Apache brings.

Laforge also noted that Groovy is set to graduate from Apache Incubator project status. Though the language was already well-established, incubation is required of all new Apache projects. "We have to comply with certain rules to be able to graduate, basically."

The language has niches in tasks like scripting for automating tasks on servers and building of domain-specific languages for business rules. Released in January, Groovy 2.4 added support for Android development. "Mobile developers have the choice to use Groovy instead of Java for developing mobile applications on the Android platform" Laforge said. "We are definitely seeing quite some usage there."

Now on the agenda for producers of Groovy is an upgrade, version 2.5, planned for the end of this year. It's slated to feature faster compilation. "The compiler's already snappy, but we'll try to make things even snappier," said Laforge.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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