Groovy/Grails – Pivotal == Opportunity

The news broke this morning that Pivotal plans to withdraw its financial support from the Groovy and Grails projects by the end of March, 2015. The heads of both projects, Guillaume Laforge and Graeme Rocher, have each blogged about it, with their typical grace, thanking Pivotal for the opportunity and assuring everybody that both projects have a long, bright future ahead of them.

Since I.T. is a field that frequently has very little memory, let me remind people about a couple of items:

  1. Groovy existed as a successful open source project for at least four years before SpringSource started supporting it. Grails started as an offshoot of Groovy and was just as popular.
  2. Several of the core teams members of both projects formed the G2One company, which was sufficiently successful in its first year that SpringSource acquired it in the first place

Neither Groovy nor Grails are radical departures from their underlying technologies. That makes them quiet projects — they’re popular, but they aren’t showy. They never have been popular among the hipster IT community, but they get the job done. It’s so easy to add Groovy to existing Java projects that most developers who do it don’t feel obligated to crow about it. Groovy is being used throughout the Java industry, and in most places it’s just acknowledged without comment. Grails, for all its power, feels like an easy way to build traditional Spring/Hibernate web applications, which work really well but are hardly sexy.

It’s therefore not surprising that the potential of Groovy and Grails is often underestimated. I have no idea what Pivotal was thinking, and the public statements about them have been uniformly positive (again, not a big surprise given the people involved), but I find it easy to believe Groovy and Grails were underrated yet again.

Many people will now write many posts demonstrating, yet again, how powerful Groovy is and how easy it is for Java developers to learn. The Grails web site already has dozens of success stories. I’m not going to try to add to that, other than to say I love working with both technologies and they’ve completely changed my life.

I want to mention something else. I’ve been in the IT industry for over 20 years. I was in the engineering community for a dozen years before that. I would hold up my academic background against anybody’s. From all those experiences, I’ve known geniuses and incredibly hard workers, and communities who are friendly, hostile, and everything in between.

I’m here to tell you that the Groovy and Grails core teams members are among the brightest people I’ve ever met, but they’re also successful because they’re wonderful individuals to be around. In an industry often marred by what I like to call “boys behaving badly,” I’ve never heard a negative word about anyone involved in Groovy and Grails. That attitude starts at the top, with great people like Graeme and Guillaume, and I feel privileged to know and work with them, however tangentially.

Look, community matters. It makes the difference between struggling to accomplish anything and enjoying your job. I teach technical training courses for a living, and you should see the joy in Java developers eyes when they learn both how much they can now do, and — this is important — how newcomers are treated with respect and how their questions are answered without patronizing or humiliating attitudes.

They say it’s hard for companies to find good developers these days. Well, here’s your opportunity. For the price of supporting technologies that will inevitably help your bottom line, you can acquire a team of coders that are among the most accomplished, most dedicated, and most easy to work with that you’ll ever meet.

Pivotal is now out of the picture. This is a great opportunity for a smart company to step in, acquire two fantastic teams of developers, and be a hero to the open source community. Heck, I’d do it myself if I could afford it. Don’t miss this chance. They don’t come along very often.

About Ken Kousen
I teach software development training courses. I specialize in all areas of Java and XML, from EJB3 to web services to open source projects like Spring, Hibernate, Groovy, and Grails. Find me on Google+ I am the author of "Making Java Groovy", a Java / Groovy integration book published by Manning in the Fall of 2013, and "Gradle Recipes for Android", published by O'Reilly in 2015.

13 Responses to Groovy/Grails – Pivotal == Opportunity

  1. I will second that! Very well written, Ken.

  2. Manuel Ortiz Bey says:

    Straight to the point! Agree with everything!

  3. Thank you for this great article. I agree …

  4. Couldn’t agree more, great team, great technology, minus the hype. Pivotal seems to lack vision, but hey, the future is brighter for sure!

  5. asoftwareguy says:

    Well said, Ken! I agree 100%, and I know that these awesomely talented individuals will land in the right place. When one door closes, another one opens up.

  6. Apart from the whole need to get paid, they are probably better off this way.

  7. Pingback: Settimanale Groovy #54 | BME

  8. Gavin says:

    Is there any possible way something like https://www.patreon.com/ could be used to cover the funds needed to support these guys?

  9. Ken Kousen says:

    I like patreon. I sponsor two web cartoonists and two musicians that way, but I see it as a way to work with individuals rather than groups. I would certainly kick in a percentage of my invoices from my Groovy/Grails work, but I doubt that would scale. I’m still hoping a company will hire them all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they all have alternative jobs before that happens. They’re really good developers, and the market is pretty hot right now.

  10. Great article Ken. We have followed these projects for several years and still love them. Your thoughts on community and attitude are well-taken.

  11. Pingback: Diario di Grails (settimana 4 del 2015) | BME

  12. Pingback: Groovy & Grails: Gr8 without Pivotal | TO THE NEW BLOG

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