Grails 3 Preview

Graeme Rocher sent an email out the Grails Mailing List this morning that included a video preview of Grails 3. If you haven’t watched it yet I suggest you do. The first thing I notice right off the bat is how much faster Grails builds and runs. This is no doubt do Gradle being introduced as the build system for Grails moving forward. I will probably build Grails from source today and get it running on my machine. If anyone needs some help doing so I may write another entry on how to do that. Until then, enjoy!

Grails in Action 2nd Edition Bonus Chapters

grails_in_action_2ndI have been slowly but surely working my way through another book. Grails in Action the Second edition is a really well put together book. I enjoy the structure of the book and the fact that they introduce you to concepts early but don’t give you everything right away and then dive deeper into those concepts later on. I also enjoy the sample application they have you build throughout the book called hubbub which is basically a twitter like application.

Enough of my thoughts and on to the reason for this blog post. I didn’t realize this but there are actually 2 bonus chapters that you can download. Best of all even if you didn’t buy the book you can get them. If you don’t have the book I would recommend reading them and if you like them pick up the book. There is a chapter called Advanced GORM kung fu which goes into some advanced GORM concepts and a chapter on building plugins. Click on the link below and the bonus chapters 19 & 20 are under the downloads section.

http://www.manning.com/gsmith2/

 

Groovy Podcast Episode 5

Yesterday I posted my thoughts on the Pivotal announcement that they would be dropping Groovy & Grails. Today the Groovy podcast released episode 5 and with 2 really big guests. Guillaume and Graeme joined Peter to discuss the Pivotal announcement. They also looked back on some of the big news they took away from 2014 as well as their excitement around the upcoming releases of Groovy 2.4 and Grails 3.0. If you’re doing work with either of these technologies I think its a must watch.

If you aren’t already a subscriber I suggest you go subscribe right now to the Groovy podcast.

Pivotal Drops Groovy & Grails Sponsorship

If you haven’t heard by now Pivotal released a statement yesterday that they will be no longer be funding the Groovy & Grails projects after March 31, 2015. Since the acquisition of G2One by SpringSource in 2008, SpringSource, VMware, and subsequently Pivotal have collectively sponsored the Groovy and Grails projects. When the news dropped I was a little bit in shock. I was reading through all of the “Sky is Falling” comments on Twitter and I just couldn’t believe this was happening.

Pivotal

In the statement release by Pivotal they had this to say as to why they were dropping support.

The decision to conclude its sponsorship of Groovy and Grails is part of Pivotal’s larger strategy to concentrate resources on accelerating both commercial and open source projects that support its growing traction in Platform-as-a-Service, Data, and Agile development.

Basically Pivotal has decided to focus all of their efforts on Cloud Foundry. If you look at the numbers both the Groovy and Grails projects have been widely successful but in the eyes of Pivotal they don’t serve a purpose as a part in their new strategy. While this can strictly be a business decision I just don’t understand their reasoning and wish we could hear more from Pivotal. My guess is the Spring Platform will stick around and they will use those resources to their advantage and to me Groovy and Grails fit perfect into Spring.io. You do have to ask yourself the question though, is the Spring Platform next? Thanks to Groovy & Grails I have had some exposure into all of the Spring Projects and I love what I see. I was also very encouraged to see the Spring & Groovy/Grails teams working so closely together. This is the one thing I think we are going to lose and that just sucks.

Groovy & Grails

I have been involved with Groovy & Grails for a few years now. The reason I got into is probably a similar story for most folks. Java was great but there were so many things about the language I did not like. Having worked with other dynamic languages before I loved the power and to me the pros have always outweighed the cons. In the last year it became more than just a hobby. At work we decided to move all of our future projects to the Java Platform. We will rely heavily on Groovy and Grails. We use them both to build out a service oriented architecture on the back end and a frameworks like AngularJS & Backbone to build out the front end. So of course my initial worry was what is going happen at work. I mean we have poured so much time into training and we have made a large commitment to this stack.

First it was really nice to hear from Guillaume Laforge and Graeme Rocher yesterday and I think both of their comments put me at ease a bit. Guillaume also gave a quick interview to InfoQ and one question and answer stood out to me.

Question: Was this decision by mutual agreement?

LaForge: No, it’s Pivotal’s decision. We would have loved continuing developing both Groovy and Grails under this umbrella, as there’s a lot of synergy with our Spring team friends for example, and there’s so much we could have done to help use Groovy and Grails to build the future of Cloud Foundry’s infrastructure (think cloud service composition Groovy domain specific language, Grails agile dashboards / value added micro-services and backend services, etc)

We were not short on ideas on how Groovy and Grails could have helped make an impact!

Given that answer and a few tweets from key members it was obvious that this decision caught them off guard just like the rest of us.

What Comes Next

The plan is for Groovy to release 2.4 and Grails to release 3.0 before the sponsorship ends. After that one of two things are going to happen. They will either find another sponsor or they won’t. Obviously finding another sponsor is the top priority for the teams so if you or anyone you know would like to discuss this more please contact Guillaume or Graeme. If they can’t find a sponsor right away I just don’t see this as the end of the world. We will continue to support these projects and work and hopefully we can see more involvement from the community to keep these projects going. The biggest impact is that the frequency of releases would probably slow down. I love what I am seeing so far from Grails 3.0 but we are a long time away from updating projects to that version. I think a tweet that sums this up perfectly came from Dan Woods.

Final Thoughts

My biggest fear is that everyone over reacts to this announcement. There is no reason to not move forward with your current or future projects using Groovy & Grails. Some things happen for a reason and maybe (just maybe) a new and better opportunity will present itself. I also want to wish all of the current and former team members who have made these projects what they are today. I wish you all the best of luck and hope something works out for all of you quickly. I would also love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this so please share your comments below.

— Just a quick shout out to Ken Kousen who wrote a fantastic summary of his own that I encourage you to read it here https://kousenit.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/groovygrails-pivotal-opportunity

Inserting a Groovy Date into a Time Stamp Column

cal_clockI am working on a project where I am using straight SQL to insert a record into a database using Groovy. It’s pretty darn easy in most languages to grab the current date / time and in Java you can do so just by creating a new instance of the Date class.

The problem with this (and the same goes for other languages) is that you can’t insert that value into a timestamp column. I need to stick this date/time into a timestamp column and to do so in most languages you need to format this so it matches up to what a timestamp column expects. With this simple Java example we need to bring in another package to do formatting , create a formatting object with the correct pattern and then format our date. Not the hardest thing in the world to do but certainly something I don’t care to do.

Luckily I am using Groovy on this project. If you haven’t already played around with Groovy it seems to remove the annoyances of Java by adding on to the API. Groovy adds a convenient method to all Date objects for converting a date to a timestamp. If you print out the class names you will also see that its not just converting it into a formatted string but an actual timestamp object.  No extra libraries needed and I don’t have to remember what a timestamp format looks like.

To me this is just one in the land of many examples of how Groovy makes programming in Java fun.

7th Annual Toys for Shots

toysforshotslogoSaturday December 20th we held our 7th Annual Toys for Shots and it was a huge success. Before I talk a little about this years event I would like to tell all of you who don’t know, just how we got started. Seven years ago my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to throw a Christmas party. We decided to have it at McCarthy’s Downtown Cleveland which as a small bar where we hung out a lot. It also helped that the owners Marc and Gretchen wanted to support the event. While we were planning the party I decided that I really wanted to be able to do something good for our community. Already being a big fan of the Marines and what they do with the Toys for Tots foundation it was a perfect match. So we got the word out that the admission to our party was 1 unwrapped toy and of course if you wanted to bring more we would be OK with that as well. The marines dropped off 2 boxes for toys and said they would be back to pick them up tomorrow. We would fill those 2 boxes and I was beyond excited that we were able to do that.

Fast forward to this years event and boy have we grown up. We keep getting better at planning these events as you would expect and we have a whole team behind us now. Not only that but we went out and became a legitimate non profit organization called CLE Cares. We have been growing like crazy and we knew it was time to find a new venue. We started looking around and someone from Shooters on the Water got in touch with us. After speaking with Laura (the events coordinator there) the first time, I knew we had found a new home. They really wanted to be involved in this great event and we absolutely loved the place. If you live in Cleveland then you probably know where Shooters is so we couldn’t have been more excited to call this home.

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WordPress on Digital Ocean

logo-digitalocean-999daba3f7ccfa71c3f836aa98d0b1dc

I recently moved my blog over to WordPress which you can read all about here. I went through some of the reasons for moving to the WordPress Platform but not much about the infrastructure changes that I made so I would like to do that here. My old website was being run on a VPS server with ColdFusion 10 installed. I was getting really tired of paying $35/month for just that site (that I was rarely using) and my charity event site so I decided it was time for a change. I started looking around at affordable cloud hosting and stumbled upon Digital Ocean. What I really liked about them was just how easy it was to provision a new instance, how inexpensive it was and the 1 click application installations. I am starting a WordPress site for our Non Profit company here in Cleveland called CLE Cares so I would like to use this post to you walk you through that setup.

What is “The Cloud”?

Before we get into the setup we should talk a little bit about “The Cloud” and then where Digital Ocean comes in. “The Cloud” is a hot buzz word that a lot of us throw around but have a hard time explaining. I’ll admit that while I have a general understanding of the different use cases for the cloud and how they work, I am by far no expert. The term “The Cloud” in its simplest form is just a network or remote servers that can be accessed via the internet. The Cloud is used for so many things today and you might be using it now and not even realize it.

  • Companies like Google, Microsoft and Adobe are using it to host software. Long are the days of actually installing software, instead we run these services virtually.
  • When you like a facebook post or picture on Instagram that data is saved to the cloud.
  • My iPhone backs up most of my data to Apple’s iCloud.
  • Some online backups take advantage of cloud as it offers a powerful solution.
  • Hosting a web site or application.

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WordPress Admin Panel Blank

I am still pretty new to WordPress so when something like this happens I tend to freak out. I recently logged into my WordPress admin and noticed that 2 plugins needed to be updated. I selected both plugins and clicked update. The update went through its normal cycle and when it was done it redirected me to the clean, plain and boring white page you see below.

WordPress Admin Panel Blank

I didn’t think much of it and just refreshed the page, still nothing. I then went into Chrome Dev Tools and deleted all of the cookies so it would kill my session. This time I finally got my login screen back so I logged in and still nothing. I was officially now starting to freak out.

wp_admin_login

 

After doing a little research and asking for help on Twitter it turns out that this is a little more common than I would of thought. If a change to a theme or plugin causes an error in WordPress you will end up with this “Blank Admin Panel” and there happens to be a really easy way to fix this. For me I knew the last 2 plugins I updated that were probably the cause of this. I backed up my remote files and logged into FTP and deleted both of them. Once I did this I was able to login again and this time I have everything load up just fine. Again this could be caused by changes to a theme or plugin so its not a bad idea to make a backup before updating either of these.

 

YouTube on Apple TV just got a whole lot better

appletv

I really love my Apple TV and today it just got a little better. I want to talk about the update but before we get to what came out today I want to speak a little bit about how I use my Apple TV. I have been on the hunt to cut the cord (Cable TV) for a couple years now and maybe that is a discussion for another time but this was one of my purchases that I would hope push me in that direction.  Apple TV has a ton of applications and I am not going to claim to use all of them but here are a few applications I use and what I love about them.

 

iTunes Moves & TV Shows

I have iTunes on my iPhone, Macbook, PC and soon to be purchased iPad. So purchasing content through iTunes and building my digital library to share across devices is great. Ill be honest and say that I use to find media another way (I won’t get into specifics) but now I enjoy getting all of my media through iTunes. I don’t buy any albums/songs these days because I use Spotify for all of my music but for Movies and TV shows iTunes is pretty awesome.

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The Grails Diary is a weekly must read

I wanted to take a minute here and point out an awesome resource for anyone in the Grails world. Even If you’re just playing around with Groovy & Grails I think you should make this a weekly read. Jacob Mikkelsen is the author of the Grails Diary and does an amazing job with it. You can usually find this blog post every Monday over at his blog. The Grails Diary runs down any major announcements from the week, presentations, blog posts, plugins and any Tweets related to Grails. I can only imagine how much work he puts into this every week so Thank You Jacob for all of your hard work.