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.
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.
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