Grappling with Groovy and Grails for the First Time

Grappling with Groovy and Grails for the First Time by Kyla Iglesia

Kyla Iglesia, a fresh college graduate from DLSU and newly-hired software engineer at Orange and Bronze, gets exposed to Groovy and Grails for the first time. She tells us the story of her Groovy and Grails training – how it changed  her perspective on programming, and opened her eyes to the reality of working for a Philippine offshore product development company.

My experience with Groovy and Grails for the past month has been challenging, not because understanding the concept behind the framework was difficult (such as the concept of MVC), but because we were asked to quicken our pace. It was also the first time I ever coded in Groovy.

Mikko (my colleague and co-trainee) and I had no prior experience to using Grails. When the project was handed to us and we were asked to go through a crash course on Grails in one day, it overwhelmed the both of us. We managed to create a simple Grails app at the end of the day which takes input and displays it in another gsp page. Although it was overwhelming to learn something new in one day, it was an experience that made me realize that projects will be like this. Projects will be given to us, and we are expected to learn what we do not know quickly in order to implement everything needed and present our work in time.

Tommy Lim, our team lead, informed us that we needed to work quickly for the project, so I had to figure out a way to be able to learn things quickly. The way I worked in college is quite different as to how we work here. I got used to reading up on concepts first before actually proceeding with the project, and this approach worked in school because we are usually allotted a month to work on a machine project. For this project, I had to work faster and so I had to learn and read up on Groovy and Grails while coding.

In our WEBDEVE (Web Development) class during college, we already had experience with MVC through using Struts 2. We have also learned about JSP and Servlets prior to that, so MVC was just something I had to review. Coding in Groovy, on the other hand, was something different. Based on what I read about Groovy, it’s basically Java because it runs on the Java platform with the addition of some of the benefits of dynamic languages. Finding out the differences between Java and Groovy was easy because of the rich documentation available online, but remembering them while coding was difficult. For instance, I kept on forgetting that I need not typecast in Groovy. Because of this, I would end up wasting time and lines of code.

My experience with Grails though was generally pleasant. As compared to Struts 2 and using JSPs and Servlets in college, Grails was very easy and convenient to use. For instance, I need not worry too much about the database aspect of an app because Grails creates the database for me. Given domain objects, I can just place code which can describe its relationship (ex: one-to-many) with other objects and Grails takes care of it. I enjoyed using Grails ultimately because it allows me to focus more on business logic for instance rather than the nitty-gritty details.

About the author

Kyla is a graduate of the De La Salle University-Manila with the degree in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Specialization in Software Technology. She also received the Most Outstanding Thesis Award when she graduated. Her Interests: UI-related design (includes CSS), Using Photoshop, Music (Singing), Drawing/Sketching, Arts & Crafts

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