Making Java Groovy, an upcoming book from O’Reilly

Recently there was a discussion on the Groovy User’s list about Groovy books, in which it was noted that there are currently no books involving Groovy from O’Reilly. I responded to that post, announcing for the first time in a public forum that Scott Davis and I are working on a Groovy book from O’Reilly, entitled “Making Java Groovy“.

Since some people don’t necessarily follow the mailing list, I thought I’d echo that post in my blog. Feel free to skip this if you’re not interested.

I should mention that as a result of the discussion on the email list, I’m considering adding the subtitle, “Enrich, Enhance, and Amplify Your Java with Groovy” to our title. Thanks to Dierk Koenig for that idea.

Here’s my post:

Scott Davis and I are working on a Groovy book, to be published by O’Reilly, entitled “Making Java Groovy”. We hope to have it available by the end of this year.

Some obvious FAQs:

1. What’s the book about?

The goal of “Making Java Groovy” (MJG) is to show existing Java developers how to add Groovy to their systems in order to make their lives easier. It’s really a book about Java/Groovy integration, rather than being a pure Groovy book. In that we’re following the Groovy philosophy, which is that Groovy doesn’t replace Java, it works with Java to get the job done.

2. How is “Making Java Groovy” different from all the other Groovy books in the marketplace?

I’m a huge fan of GinA (“Groovy in Action“, of course), which is one of my all-time favorite technical books on any subject. I think Dierk Koenig and his co-authors did a brilliant job on that book and will order the second edition as soon as it’s announced. I’m also a big fan of Scott’s “Groovy Recipes” book, and I had the great pleasure of being one of the technical reviewers on Venkat Subramaniam’s excellent “Programming Groovy” book. I’m a book fan, actually, so I also have “Groovy and Grails Recipes“, “Beginning Groovy and Grails“, all the Grails-specific books I could find (especially DGG2, which totally rocks), and even that old academic book on Groovy programming.

I’d say, therefore, that I’m pretty familiar with the marketplace, and MJG is attempting to fill a role that is different from all the others. Our book assumes that you’re not necessarily free to replace everything you have with Groovy code, but instead want to leverage Groovy to make you more productive in the Java world. For example, if you can build your application using Grails, then more power to you. Grails is wonderful, and the fact that it uses Spring and Hibernate under the hood is pretty well hidden if you don’t need to access that functionality directly. If, on the other hand, you don’t have the freedom to do everything in Grails, then Groovy can still play an important role. That’s especially true if you’re using the Spring framework, like most of the industry. We have a dedicated chapter on using the Groovy capabilities of Spring.

(By the way, if you want to get a sense of what that particular chapter is about, see my article on Groovy/Spring integration in the February issue of GroovyMag.)

Most of the book will follow that pattern. We’ve got chapters planned on using Groovy with databases (with a nod to Robert Fischer’s upcoming book on that topic), using Groovy in your build system (Gant, AntBuilder, Grape, Gradle, and so on), taking advantage of Groovy’s testing capabilities, working with XML, how Groovy can be used in web services, building user interfaces with Groovy’s builders, and even Griffon. In each case, our focus is on how Groovy helps you be more productive.

3. Who are you and why are you qualified to write an O’Reilly book on Groovy?

First of all, Scott Davis probably needs no introduction to this group. He’s the author of “Groovy Recipes” and several other books, a JavaOne superstar, internationally known speaker and consultant, and combines all of that with being a really good guy. (Just don’t tell him I said so.)

My own credentials in this area aren’t as showy, but I’ve been working with Groovy and Grails for the past couple of years, and with Java and related technologies since the mid 90’s. My primary job is as an instructor teaching technical training classes, but I also do consulting, mentoring, and my own development projects. I’ve been a tech editor on several books, a speaker at No Fluff Just Stuff conferences, and have been working in industry for the past 20 years or so. For what it’s worth, I’m also an adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in their Hartford, CT location, and have a range of academic degrees, most of which I no longer use.

More details can be found on my company web site, Kousen IT, Inc. Incidentally, my last name is pronounced like the relative, so my company name sounds like the hairy character in the Addams Family.

(One more aside: I have a friend who is a graphic designer and was looking for a small project, so I had him design a new logo for me. It’s on my web site. Now I’m just waiting for the cease and desist order from the Addams estate.)

4. When is all this going to happen?

We’re hoping to have a draft of the book ready in the early fall and hope to see it published by the end of the year. We’re planning on releasing a “Rough Cut” (O’Reilly’s early access PDFs) in the next few months. When that happens, I’ll post something here.

5. Did you clear all this information with Scott?

Um, no. Maybe I should have. Er. No, I’m sure he’ll be okay with it (right Scott?).

6. Are you willing to take suggestions on topics and techniques?

Most definitely. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have. I’ll do my best to respond to each one as quickly as possible, and I’ll make sure that if I use any of your suggestions that I’ll give you full credit in the acknowledgments section. 🙂

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