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. 🙂

8 responses to “Making Java Groovy, an upcoming book from O’Reilly”

  1. Good luck – can’t wait to get a read of this one from two very sharp people (Scott Davis and Jason Rudolph were the two primary reasons I got in to Groovy and Grails in 2007). Your own blog writing (and GroovyMag stuff!) have helped that much more, and the combination, along with O’Reilly’s generally high bar for quality, should make for a great book!

  2. Thanks, Michael! As it turns out, Jason Rudolph and Scott Davis were my gateways into the world of Groovy and Grails, too. I attended an Intro to Grails presentation by Jason while I was traveling in Philadelphia in late 2007, and I’ve known Scott for years from his books and NFJS presentations.

    I’m a huge fan of GroovyMag (as you know). I look forward to it every month. Thanks for all your hard work on that.

  3. Really enjoyed your GroovyMag article any more in the pipeline?

    Looking forward to the book.

  4. Thanks! I really like GroovyMag and hope to write more for them (er, him, meaning Michael Kimsal, the editor) soon. I don’t have any articles in the pipeline at the moment, but I’m currently working on the “Groovy and Web Services” chapter of my book and some of that material might make a good article.

    Thanks again for the kind words.

  5. Ken,

    Great news! I am really looking forward to the book, . . . It will be one more tool to help take Groovy to main street. Best of Luck! and praying that you are able to stay awake for the long days and nights of writing.


  6. Zzzzzz. What? What was that? Ooooh, need more caffeine. 🙂

    I can honestly say that writing this book is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Fortunately, it’s all a labor of love at this point. I’m really having a good time, even though it’s taking a lot more time than I anticipated. Hopefully, though, I can reach the standard you set with your book. 🙂


  7. When I first encounter the title, I thinking whether the word “Groovy” is a noun or a adjective. I thought whether will it be fun and eye-catching to use it as a verb, something like “Groovying with Java” as this will be different from traditional approach of using the keyword plainly.
    eg Google as a noun but as a verb for search (googling/google the word “blogging”)

    Came across a similar book called “Scripting in Java” by Addison-Wesley too that focus a lot of Groovy.

    Hope the same thing happen for Grails
    – Grailing your web application

    Anway, thank for writing a new book on Groovy. Looking forward to it.

  8. Good luck,

    I’ve already read Scott’s recipes book and several others on Groovy and Grails. Sounds like this may help ‘merge the gap’ and possibly help get some of the Java folks off the sideline and give Groovy a try.

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