Introduction

Groovy…

1. Groovy Language Specification

1.1. Syntax

This chapter covers the syntax of the Groovy programming language. The grammar of the language derives from the Java grammar, but enhances it with specific constructs for Groovy, and allows certain simplifications.

1.1.1. Comments

Single line comment

Single line comments start with // and can be found at any position in the line. The characters following //, till the end of the line, are considered part of the comment.

// a standalone single line comment
println "hello" // a comment till the end of the line
Multiline comment

A multiline comment starts with /* and can be found at any position in the line. The characters following /* will be considered part of the comment, including new line characters, up to the first */ closing the comment. Multiline comments can thus be put at the end of a statement, or even inside a statement.

/* a standalone multiline comment
   spanning two lines */
println "hello" /* a multiline comment starting
                   at the end of a statement */
println 1 /* one */ + 2 /* two */
GroovyDoc comment

Similarly to multiline comments, GroovyDoc comments are multiline, but start with /** and end with \*/. Lines following the first GroovyDoc comment line can optionally start with a star \*. Those comments are associated with:

  • type definitions (classes, interfaces, enums, annotations),

  • fields and properties definitions

  • methods definitions

Although the compiler will not complain about JavaDoc comments not being associated with the above language elements, you should prepend those constructs with the comment right before it.

/**
 * A Class description
 */
class Person {
    /** the name of the person */
    String name

    /**
     * Creates a greeting method for a certain person.
     *
     * @param otherPerson the person to greet
     * @return ag reeting message
     */
    String greet(String otherPerson) {
       "Hello ${otherPerson}"
    }
}

GroovyDoc follows the same conventions as Java’s own JavaDoc. So you’ll be able to use the same tags as with JavaDoc.

Shebang line

Beside the single line comment, there is a special line comment, often called the shebang line understood by UNIX systems which allows scripts to be run directly from the command-line, provided you have installed the Groovy distribution and the groovy command is available on the PATH.

#!/usr/bin/env groovy
println "Hello from the shebang line"
The # character must be the first character of the file. Any indentation would yield a compilation error.

1.1.2. Keywords

The following list represents all the keywords of the Groovy language:

Table 1. Keywords

as

assert

break

case

catch

class

const

continue

def

default

do

else

enum

extends

false

finally

for

goto

if

implements

import

in

instanceof

interface

new

null

package

return

super

switch

this

throw

throws

true

try

while

1.1.3. Identifiers

Normal identifiers

Identifiers start with a letter, a dollar or an underscore. They cannot start with a number.

A letter can be in the following ranges:

  • a to z (lowercase ascii letter)

  • A to Z (uppercase ascii letter)

  • \u00C0 to \u00D6

  • \u00D8 to \u00F6

  • \u00F8 to \u00FF

  • \u0100 to \uFFFE

Then following characters can contain letters and numbers.

Here are a few examples of valid identifiers (here, variable names):

def name
def item3
def with_underscore
def $dollarStart

But the following ones are invalid identifiers:

def 3tier
def a+b
def a#b

All keywords are also valid identifiers when following a dot:

foo.as
foo.assert
foo.break
foo.case
foo.catch
Quoted identifiers

Quoted identifiers appear after the dot of a dotted expression. For instance, the name part of the person.name expression can be quoted with person."name" or person.'name'. This is particularly interesting when certain identifiers contain illegal characters that are forbidden by the Java Language Specification, but which are allowed by Groovy when quoted. For example, characters like a dash, a space, an exclamation mark, etc.

def map = [:]

map."an identifier with a space and double quotes" = "ALLOWED"
map.'with-dash-signs-and-single-quotes' = "ALLOWED"

assert map."an identifier with a space and double quotes" == "ALLOWED"
assert map.'with-dash-signs-and-single-quotes' == "ALLOWED"

As we shall see in the following section on strings, Groovy provides different string literals. All kind of strings are actually allowed after the dot:

map.'single quote'
map."double quote"
map.'''triple single quote'''
map."""triple double quote"""
map./slashy string/
map.$/dollar slashy string/$

There’s a difference between plain character strings and Groovy’s GStrings (interpolated strings), as in that the latter case, the interpolated values are inserted in the final string for evaluating the whole identifier:

def firstname = "Homer"
map."Simson-${firstname}" = "Homer Simson"

assert map.'Simson-Homer' == "Homer Simson"

1.1.4. Strings

Text literals are represented in the form of chain of characters called strings. Groovy lets you instantiate java.lang.String objects, as well as GStrings (groovy.lang.GString) which are also called interpolated strings in other programming languages.

Single quoted string

Single quoted strings are a series of characters surounded by single quotes:

def firstname = "Homer"
map."Simson-${firstname}" = "Homer Simson"

assert map.'Simson-Homer' == "Homer Simson"
Single quoted strings are plain java.lang.String and don’t support interpolation.
String concatenation

All the Groovy strings can be concatenated with the + operator:

assert 'ab' == 'a' + 'b'
Triple single quoted string

Triple single quoted strings are a series of characters surrounded by single quotes:

'a single quoted string'
Triple single quoted strings are plain java.lang.String and don’t support interpolation.

Triple single quoted strings are multiline. You can span the content of the string across line boundaries without the need to split the string in several pieces, without contatenation or newline escape characters:

def aMultilineString = '''line one
line two
line three'''

If your code is indented, for example in the body of the method of a class, your string will contain the whitespace of the indentation. The Groovy Development Kit contains methods for stripping out the indentation with the String#stripIndent() method, and with the String#stripMargin() method that takes a delimiter character to identify the text to remove from the beginning of a string.

When creating a string as follows:

def startingAndEndingWithANewline = '''
line one
line two
line three
'''

You will notice that the resulting string contains a newline character as first character. It is possible to strip that character by escaping the newline with a backslash:

def strippedFirstNewline = '''\
line one
line two
line three
'''

assert !strippedFirstNewline.startsWith('\n')
Escaping special characters

You can escape single quotes with the the backslash character to avoid terminating the string literal:

'an escaped single quote: \' needs a backslash'

And you can escape the escape character itself with a double backslash:

'an escaped escape character: \\ needs a double backslash'

Some special characters also use the backslash as escape character:

Escape sequence Character

\t

tabulation

\b

backspace

\n

newline

\r

carriage return

\f

formfeed

\\

backslash

\'

single quote (for single quoted and triple single quoted strings)

\"

double quote (for double quoted and triple double quoted strings)

Unicode escape sequence

For characters that are not present on your keyboard, you can use unicode escape sequances: a backslash, followed by u, then 4 hexadecimal digits.

For example, the Euro currency symbol can be represented with:

'The Euro currency symbol: \u20AC'
Double quoted string

Double quoted strings are a series of characters surrounded by double quotes:

"a double quoted string"
Double quoted strings are plain java.lang.String if there’s no interpolated expression, but are groovy.lang.GString instances if interpolation is present.
To escape a double quote, you can use the backslash character: "A double quote: \"".
String interpolation

Any Groovy expression can be interpolated in all string literals, apart from single and triple single quoted strings. Interpolation is the act of replacing a placeholder in the string with its value upon evaluation of the string. The placeholder expressions are surrounded by ${} or prefixed with $ for dotted expressions. The expression value inside the placeholder is evaluated to its string representation when the GString is passed to a method taking a String as argument by calling toString() on that expression.

Here, we have a string with a placeholder referencing a local variable:

def name = 'Guillaume' // a plain string
def greeting = "Hello ${name}"

assert greeting.toString() == 'Hello Guillaume'

But any Groovy expression is valid, as we can see in this example with an arithmetic expression:

def sum = "The sum of 2 and 3 equals ${2 + 3}"
assert sum.toString() == 'The sum of 2 and 3 equals 5'
Not only expressions are actually allowed in between the ${} placeholder. Statements are also allowed, but a statement’s value is just null. So if several statements are inserted in that placeholder, the last one should somehow return a meaningful value to be inserted. For instance, "The sum of 1 and 2 is equal to ${def a = 1; def b = 2; a + b}" is supported and works as expected but a good practice is usually to stick to simple expressions inside GString placeholders.

In addition to ${} placeholders, we can also use a lone $ sign prefixing a dotted expression:

def person = [name: 'Guillaume', age: 36]
assert "$person.name is $person.age years old" == 'Guillaume is 36 years old'

But only dotted expressions of the form a.b, a.b.c, etc, are valid, but expressions that would contain parentheses like method calls, curly braces for closures, or arithmetic operators would be invalid. Given the following variable definition of a number:

def number = 3.14

The following statement will throw a groovy.lang.MissingPropertyException because Groovy believes you’re trying to access the toString property of that number, which doesn’t exist:

shouldFail(MissingPropertyException) {
    println "$number.toString()"
}
You can think of "$number.toString()" as being interpreted by the parser as "${number.toString}()".

If you need to escape the $ or ${} placeholders in a GString so they appear as is without interpolation, you just need to use a \ backslash character to escape the dollar sign:

assert '${name}' == "\${name}"
Special case of interpolating closure expressions

So far, we’ve seen we could interpolate arbitrary expressions inside the ${} placeholder, but there is a special case and notation for closure expressions. When the placeholder contains an arrow, ${→}, the expression is actually a closure expression — you can think of it as a closure with a dollar prepended in front of it:

def sParameterLessClosure = "1 + 2 == ${-> 3}" (1)
assert sParameterLessClosure == '1 + 2 == 3'

def sOneParamClosure = "1 + 2 == ${ w -> w << 3}" (2)
assert sOneParamClosure == '1 + 2 == 3'
1 The closure is a parameterless closure which doesn’t take arguments.
2 Here, the closure takes a single java.io.StringWriter argument, to which you can append content with the << leftShift operator. In either case, both placeholders are embedded closures.

In appearance, it looks like a more verbose way of defining expressions to be interpolated, but closure have an interesting advantage over mere expressions: lazy evaluation.

Let’s consider the following sample:

def number = 1 (1)
def eagerGString = "value == ${number}"
def lazyGString = "value == ${ -> number }"

assert eagerGString == "value == 1" (2)
assert lazyGString ==  "value == 1" (3)

number = 2 (4)
assert eagerGString == "value == 1" (5)
assert lazyGString ==  "value == 2" (6)
1 We define a number variable containing 1 that we then interpolate within two GStrings, as an expression in eagerGString and as a closure in lazyGString.
2 We expect the resulting string to contain the same string value of 1 for eagerGString.
3 Similarily for lazyGString
4 Then we change the value of the variable to a new number
5 With a plain interpolated expression, the value was actually bound at the time of creation of the GString.
6 But with a closure expression, the closure is called upon each coercion of the GString into String, resulting in an updated string containing the new number value.
An embedded closure expression taking more than one parameter will generate an exception at runtime. Only closures with zero or one paramaters are allowed.
Inteoperability with Java

When a method (whether implemented in Java or Groovy) expects a java.lang.String, but we pass a groovy.lang.GString instance, the toString() method of the GString is automatically and transparently called.

String takeString(String message) {         (4)
    assert message instanceof String        (5)
    return message
}

def message = "The message is ${'hello'}"   (1)
assert message instanceof GString           (2)

def result = takeString(message)            (3)
assert result instanceof String
assert result == 'The message is hello'
1 We create a GString variable
2 We double check it’s an instance of the GString
3 We then pass that GString to a method taking a String as parameter
4 The signature of the takeString() method explicitly says its sole parameter is a String
5 We also verify that the parameter is indeed a String and not a GString.
GString and String hashCodes

Although interpolated strings can be used in lieu of plain Java strings, they differ with strings in a particular way: their hashCodes are different. Plain Java strings are immutable, whereas the resulting String representation of a GString can vary, depending on its interpolated values. Even for the same resulting string, GStrings and Strings don’t have the same hashCode.

assert "one: ${1}".hashCode() != "one: 1".hashCode()

GString and Strings having different hashCode values, using GString as Map keys should be avoided, especially if we try to retrieve an associated value with a String instead of a GString.

def key = "a"
def m = ["${key}": "letter ${key}"]     (1)

assert m["a"] == null                   (2)
1 The map is created with an initial pair whose key is a GString
2 When we try to fetch the value with a String key, we will not find it, as Strings and GString have different hashCode values
Triple double quoted string

Triple double quoted strings behave like double quoted strings, with the addition that they are multiline, like the triple single quoted strings.

def name = 'Groovy'
def template = """
    Dear Mr ${name},

    You're the winner of the lottery!

    Yours sincerly,

    Dave
"""

assert template.toString().contains('Groovy')
Neither double quotes nor single quotes need be escaped in triple double quoted strings.
Slashy string

Beyond the usual quoted strings, Groovy offers slashy strings, which use / as delimiters. Slashy strings are particularly useful for defining regular expressions and patterns, as there is no need to escape backslashes.

Example of a slashy string:

def fooPattern = /.*foo.*/
assert fooPattern == '.*foo.*'

Only forward slashes need to be escaped with a backslash:

def escapeSlash = /The character \/ is a forward slash/
assert escapeSlash == 'The character / is a forward slash'

Slashy strings are multiline:

def multilineSlashy = /one
    two
    three/

assert multilineSlashy.contains('\n')

Slashy strings can also be interpolated (ie. a GString):

def color = 'blue'
def interpolatedSlashy = /a ${color} car/

assert interpolatedSlashy == 'a blue car'

There are a few gotchas to be aware of.

An empty slashy string cannot be represented with a double forward slash, as it’s understood by the Groovy parser as a line comment. That’s why the following assert would actually not compile as it would look like a non-terminated statement:

assert '' == //
Dollar slashy string

Dollar slashy strings are multiline GStrings delimited with an opening $/ and and a closing /$. The escaping character is the dollar sign, and it can escape another dollar, or a forward slash. But both dollar and forward slashes don’t need to be escaped, except to escape the dollar of a string subsequence that would start like a GString placeholder sequence, or if you need to escape a sequence that would start like a closing dollar slashy string delimiter.

Here’s an example:

def name = "Guillaume"
def date = "April, 1st"

def dollarSlashy = $/
    Hello $name,
    today we're ${date}.

    $ dollar sign
    $$ escaped dollar sign
    \ backslash
    / forward slash
    $/ escaped forward slash
    $/$ escaped dollar slashy string delimiter
/$

assert [
    'Guillaume',
    'April, 1st',
    '$ dollar sign',
    '$ escaped dollar sign',
    '\\ backslash',
    '/ forward slash',
        '$/ escaped forward slash',
        '/$ escaped dollar slashy string delimiter'

        ].each { dollarSlashy.contains(it) }
String summary table

String name

String syntax

Interpolated

Multiline

Escape character

Single quoted

'…'

\

Triple single quoted

'''…'''

\

Double quoted

"…"

\

Triple double quoted

"""…"""

\

Slashy

/…/

\

Dollar slashy

$/…/$

$

Characters

Unlike Java, Groovy doesn’t have an explicit character literal. However, you can be explicit about making a Groovy string an actual character, by three different means:

char c1 = 'A' (1)
assert c1 instanceof Character

def c2 = 'B' as char (2)
assert c2 instanceof Character

def c3 = (char)'C' (3)
assert c3 instanceof Character
1 by being explicit when declaring a variable holding the character by specifying the char type
2 by using type coercion with the as operator
3 by using a cast to char operation
The first option 1 is interesting when the character is held in a variable, while the other two (2 and 3) are more interesting when a char value must be passed as argument of a method call.

1.1.5. Numbers

Groovy supports different kinds of integral literals and decimal literals, backed by the usual Number types of Java.

Integral literals

The integral literal types are the same as in Java:

  • byte

  • char

  • short

  • int

  • long

  • java.lang.BigInteger

You can create integral numbers of those types with the following declarations:

// primitive types
byte  b = 1
char  c = 2
short s = 3
int   i = 4
long  l = 5

// infinite precision
BigInteger bi =  6

If you use optional typing by using the def keyword, the type of the integral number will vary: it’ll adapt to the capacity of the type that can hold that number.

For positive numbers:

def a = 1
assert a instanceof Integer

// Integer.MAX_VALUE
def b = 2147483647
assert b instanceof Integer

// Integer.MAX_VALUE + 1
def c = 2147483648
assert c instanceof Long

// Long.MAX_VALUE
def d = 9223372036854775807
assert d instanceof Long

// Long.MAX_VALUE + 1
def e = 9223372036854775808
assert e instanceof BigInteger

As well as for negative numbers:

def na = -1
assert na instanceof Integer

// Integer.MIN_VALUE
def nb = -2147483648
assert nb instanceof Integer

// Integer.MIN_VALUE - 1
def nc = -2147483649
assert nc instanceof Long

// Long.MIN_VALUE
def nd = -9223372036854775808
assert nd instanceof Long

// Long.MIN_VALUE - 1
def ne = -9223372036854775809
assert ne instanceof BigInteger
Alternative non-base 10 representations
Binary literal

In Java 6 and before, as well as in Groovy, numbers could be represented in decimal, octal and hexadecimal bases, and with Java 7 and Groovy 2, you can use a binary notation with the 0b prefix:

int xInt = 0b10101111
assert xInt == 175

short xShort = 0b11001001
assert xShort == 201 as short

byte xByte = 0b11
assert xByte == 3 as byte

long xLong = 0b101101101101
assert xLong == 2925l

BigInteger xBigInteger = 0b111100100001
assert xBigInteger == 3873g

int xNegativeInt = -0b10101111
assert xNegativeInt == -175
Octal literal

Octal numbers are specified in the typical format of 0 followed by octal digits.

int xInt = 077
assert xInt == 63

short xShort = 011
assert xShort == 9 as short

byte xByte = 032
assert xByte == 26 as byte

long xLong = 0246
assert xLong == 166l

BigInteger xBigInteger = 01111
assert xBigInteger == 585g

int xNegativeInt = -077
assert xNegativeInt == -63
Hexadecimal literal

Hexadecimal numbers are specified in the typical format of 0x followed by hex digits.

int xInt = 0x77
assert xInt == 119

short xShort = 0xaa
assert xShort == 170 as short

byte xByte = 0x3a
assert xByte == 58 as byte

long xLong = 0xffff
assert xLong == 65535l

BigInteger xBigInteger = 0xaaaa
assert xBigInteger == 43690g

Double xDouble = new Double('0x1.0p0')
assert xDouble == 1.0d

int xNegativeInt = -0x77
assert xNegativeInt == -119
Decimal literals

The decimal literal types are the same as in Java:

  • float

  • double

  • java.lang.BigDecimal

You can create decimal numbers of those types with the following declarations:

// primitive types
float  f = 1.234
double d = 2.345

// infinite precision
BigDecimal bd =  3.456

Decimals can use exponents, with the e or E exponent letter, followed by an optional sign, and a integral number representing the exponent:

assert 1e3  ==  1_000.0
assert 2E4  == 20_000.0
assert 3e+1 ==     30.0
assert 4E-2 ==      0.04
assert 5e-1 ==      0.5

Conveniently for exact decimal number calculations, Groovy choses java.lang.BigDecimal as its decimal number type. In addition, both float and double are supported, but require an explicit type declaration, type coercion or suffix. Even if BigDecimal is the default for decimal numbers, such literals are accepted in methods or closures taking float or double as parameter types.

Decimal numbers can’t be represented using a binary, octal or hexadecimal representation.
Underscore in literals

When writing long literal numbers, it’s harder on the eye to figure out how some numbers are grouped together, for example with groups of thousands, of words, etc. By allowing you to place underscore in number literals, it’s easier to spot those groups:

long creditCardNumber = 1234_5678_9012_3456L
long socialSecurityNumbers = 999_99_9999L
double monetaryAmount = 12_345_132.12
long hexBytes = 0xFF_EC_DE_5E
long hexWords = 0xFFEC_DE5E
long maxLong = 0x7fff_ffff_ffff_ffffL
long alsoMaxLong = 9_223_372_036_854_775_807L
long bytes = 0b11010010_01101001_10010100_10010010
Number type suffixes

We can force a number (including binary, octals and hexadecimals) to have a specific type by giving a suffix (see table bellow), either uppercase or lowercase.

Type Suffix

BigInteger

G or g

Long

L or l

Integer

I or i

BigDecimal

G or g

Double

D or d

Float

F or f

Examples:

assert 42I == new Integer('42')
assert 42i == new Integer('42') // lowercase i more readable
assert 123L == new Long("123") // uppercase L more readable
assert 2147483648 == new Long('2147483648') // Long type used, value too large for an Integer
assert 456G == new BigInteger('456')
assert 456g == new BigInteger('456')
assert 123.45 == new BigDecimal('123.45') // default BigDecimal type used
assert 1.200065D == new Double('1.200065')
assert 1.234F == new Float('1.234')
assert 1.23E23D == new Double('1.23E23')
assert 0b1111L.class == Long // binary
assert 0xFFi.class == Integer // hexadecimal
assert 034G.class == BigInteger // octal
Math operations

Although operators are covered later on, it’s important to discuss the behavior of math operations and what their resulting types are.

Division and power binary operations aside (covered below),

  • binary operations between byte, char, short and int result in int

  • binary operations involving long with byte, char, short and int result in long

  • binary operations involving BigInteger and any other integral type result in BigInteger

  • binary operations between float, double and BigDecimal result in double

  • binary operations between two BigDecimal result in BigDecimal

The following table summarizes those rules:

byte char short int long BigInteger float double BigDecimal

byte

int

int

int

int

long

BigInteger

double

double

double

char

int

int

int

long

BigInteger

double

double

double

short

int

int

long

BigInteger

double

double

double

int

int

long

BigInteger

double

double

double

long

long

BigInteger

double

double

double

BigInteger

BigInteger

double

double

double

float

double

double

double

double

double

double

BigDecimal

BigDecimal

Thanks Groovy’s operator overloading, the usual arithmetic operators work as well with BigInteger and BigDecimal, unlike in Java where you have to use explict methods for operating on those numbers.
The case of the division operator

The division operators / (and /= for division and assignment) produce a double result if either operand is a float or double, and a BigDecimal result otherwise (when both operands are any combination of an integral type short, char, byte, int, long, BigInteger or BigDecimal).

BigDecimal division is performed with the divide() method if the division is exact (ie. yielding a result that can be represented within the bounds of the same precision and scale), or using a MathContext with a precision of the maximum of the two operands' precision plus an extra precision of 10, and a scale of the maximum of 10 and the maximum of the operands' scale.

For integer division like in Java, you should use the intdiv() method, as Groovy doesn’t provide a dedicated integer division operator symbol.
The case of the power operator

The power operation is represented by the ** operator, with two parameters: the base and the exponent. The result of the power operation depends on its operands, and the result of the operation (in particular if the result can be represented as an integral value).

The following rules are used by Groovy’s power operation to determine the resulting type:

  • If the exponent is a decimal value

    • if the result can be represented as an Integer, then return an Integer

    • else if the result can be represented as a Long, then return a Long

    • otherwise return a Double

  • If the exponent is an integral value

    • if the exponent is strictly negative, then return an Integer, Long or Double if the result value fits in that type

    • if the exponent is positive or zero

      • if the base is a BigDecimal, then return a BigDecimal result value

      • if the base is a BigInteger, then return a BigInteger result value

      • if the base is an Integer, then return an Integer if the result value fits in it, otherwise a BigInteger

      • if the base is a Long, then return a Long if the result value fits in it, otherwise a BigInteger

We can illustrate those rules with a few examples:

// base and exponent are ints and the result can be represented by an Integer
assert    2    **   3    instanceof Integer    //  8
assert   10    **   9    instanceof Integer    //  1_000_000_000

// the base is a long, so fit the result in a Long
// (although it could have fit in an Integer)
assert    5L   **   2    instanceof Long       //  25

// the result can't be represented as an Integer or Long, so return a BigInteger
assert  100    **  10    instanceof BigInteger //  10e20
assert 1234    ** 123    instanceof BigInteger //  170515806212727042875...

// the base is a BigDecimal and the exponent a negative int
// but the result can be represented as an Integer
assert    0.5  **  -2    instanceof Integer    //  4

// the base is an int, and the exponent a negative float
// but again, the result can be represented as an Integer
assert    1    **  -0.3f instanceof Integer    //  1

// the base is an int, and the exponent a negative int
// but the result will be calculated as a Double
// (both base and exponent are actually converted to doubles)
assert   10    **  -1    instanceof Double     //  0.1

// the base is a BigDecimal, and the exponent is an int, so return a BigDecimal
assert    1.2  **  10    instanceof BigDecimal //  6.1917364224

// the base is a float or double, and the exponent is an int
// but the result can only be represented as a Double value
assert    3.4f **   5    instanceof Double     //  454.35430372146965
assert    5.6d **   2    instanceof Double     //  31.359999999999996

// the exponent is a decimal value
// and the result can only be represented as a Double value
assert    7.8  **   1.9  instanceof Double     //  49.542708423868476
assert    2    **   0.1f instanceof Double     //  1.0717734636432956

1.1.6. Booleans

Boolean is a special data type that is used to represent truth values: true and false. Use this data type for simple flags that track true/false conditions.

Boolean values can be stored in variables, assigned into fields, just like any other data type:

def myBooleanVariable = true
boolean untypedBooleanVar = false
booleanField = true

true and false are the only two primitive boolean values. But more complex boolean expressions can be represented using logical operators.

In addition, Groovy has special rules (often referred to as Groovy Truth) for coercing non-boolean objects to a boolean value.

1.1.7. Lists

Groovy uses a comma-separated list of values, surrounded by square brackets, to denote lists. Groovy lists are plain JDK java.util.List, as Groovy doesn’t define its own collection classes. The concrete list implementation used when defining list literals are java.util.ArrayList by default, unless you decide to specify otherwise, as we shall see later on.

def numbers = [1, 2, 3]         (1)

assert numbers instanceof List  (2)
assert numbers.size() == 3      (3)
1 We define a list numbers delimited by commas and surrounded by square brackets, and we assign that list into a variable
2 The list is an instance of Java’s java.util+List interface
3 The size of the list can be queried with the size() method, and shows our list contains 3 elements

In the above example, we used a homogeneous list, but you can also create lists containing values of heterogeneous types:

def heterogeneous = [1, "a", true]  (1)
1 Our list here contains a number, a string and a boolean value

We mentioned that by default, list literals are actually instances of java.util.ArrayList, but it is possible to use a different backing type for our lists, thanks to using type coercion with the as operator, or with explicit type declaration for your variables:

def arrayList = [1, 2, 3]
assert arrayList instanceof java.util.ArrayList

def linkedList = [2, 3, 4] as LinkedList    (1)
assert linkedList instanceof java.util.LinkedList

LinkedList otherLinked = [3, 4, 5]          (2)
assert otherLinked instanceof java.util.LinkedList
1 We use coercion with the as operator to explicitly request a java.util.LinkedList implementation
2 We can say that the variable holding the list literal is of type java.util.LinkedList

You can access elements of the list with the [] subscript operator (both for reading and setting values) with positive indices or negative indices to access elements from the end of the list, as well as with ranges, and use the << leftShift operator to append elements to a list:

def letters = ['a', 'b', 'c', 'd']

assert letters[0] == 'a'     (1)
assert letters[1] == 'b'

assert letters[-1] == 'd'    (2)
assert letters[-2] == 'c'

letters[2] = 'C'             (3)
assert letters[2] == 'C'

letters << 'e'               (4)
assert letters[ 4] == 'e'
assert letters[-1] == 'e'

assert letters[1, 3] == ['b', 'd']         (5)
assert letters[2..4] == ['C', 'd', 'e']    (6)
1 Access the first element of the list (zeroth-based counting)
2 Access the last element of the list with a negative index: -1 is the first element from the end of the list
3 Use an assignment to set a new value for the third element of the list
4 Use the << leftShift operator to append an element at the end of the list
5 Access two elements at once, returning a new list containing those two elements
6 Use a range to access a range of values from the list, from a start to an end element position

As lists can be heterogeneous in nature, lists can also contain other lists to create multi-dimensional lists:

def multi = [[0, 1], [2, 3]]     (1)
assert multi[1][0] == 2          (2)
1 Define a list of list of numbers
2 Access the second element of the top-most list, and the first element of the inner list

1.1.8. Arrays

Groovy reuses the list notation for arrays, but to make such literals arrays, you need to explicitely define the type of the array through coercion or type declaration.

String[] arrStr = ['Ananas', 'Banana', 'Kiwi']  (1)

assert arrStr instanceof String[]    (2)
assert !(arrStr instanceof List)     (3)

def numArr = [1, 2, 3] as int[]      (4)

assert numArr instanceof int[]       (5)
assert numArr.size() == 3
1 Define an array of strings using explicit variable type declaration
2 Assert that we created an array of strings
3 Create an array of ints with the as operator
4 Assert that we created an array of primitive ints

You can also create multi-dimensional arrays:

def matrix3 = new Integer[3][3]         (1)
assert matrix3.size() == 3

Integer[][] matrix2                     (2)
matrix2 = [[1, 2], [3, 4]]
assert matrix2 instanceof Integer[][]
1 You can define the bounds of a new array
2 Or declare an array without specifying its bounds

Access to elements of an array follows the same notation as for lists:

String[] names = ['Cédric', 'Guillaume', 'Jochen', 'Paul']
assert names[0] == 'Cédric'     (1)

names[2] = 'Blackdrag'          (2)
assert names[2] == 'Blackdrag'
1 Retrieve the first element of the array
2 Set the value of the third element of the array to a new value
Java’s array initializer notation is not supported by Groovy, as the curly braces can be misinterpreted with the notation of Groovy closures.

1.1.9. Maps

Sometimes called dictionaries or associative arrays in other languages, Groovy features maps. Maps associate keys to values, separating keys and values with colons, and each key/value pairs with commas, and the whole keys and values surrounded by square brackets.

def colors = [red: '#FF0000', green: '#00FF00', blue: '#0000FF']   (1)

assert colors['red'] == '#FF0000'    (2)
assert colors.green  == '#00FF00'    (3)

colors['pink'] = '#FF00FF'           (4)
colors.yellow  = '#FFFF00'           (5)

assert colors.pink == '#FF00FF'
assert colors['yellow'] == '#FFFF00'

assert colors instanceof java.util.LinkedHashMap
1 We define a map of string color names, associated with their hexadecimal-coded html colors
2 We use the subscript notation to check the content associated with the red key
3 We can also use the property notation to assert the color green’s hexadecimal representation
4 Similarily, we can use the subscript notation to add a new key/value pair
5 Or the property notation, to add the yellow color
When using names for the keys, we actually define string keys in the map.
Groovy creates maps that are actually instances of java.util.LinkedHashMap.

If you try to access a key which is not present in the map:

assert colors.unknown == null

You will retrieve a null result.

In the examples above, we used string keys, but you can also use values of other types as keys:

def numbers = [1: 'one', 2: 'two']

assert numbers[1] == 'one'

Here, we used numbers as keys, as numbers can unambiguously be recognized as numbers, so Groovy will not create a string key like in our previous examples. But consider the case you want to pass a variable in lieu of the key, to have the value of that variable become the key:

def key = 'name'
def person = [key: 'Guillaume']      (1)

assert !person.containsKey('name')   (2)
assert person.containsKey('key')     (3)
1 The key associated with the 'Guillaume' name will actually be the "key" string, not the value associated with the key variable
2 The map doesn’t contain the 'name' key
3 Instead, the map contains a 'key' key
You can also pass quoted strings as well as keys: ["name": "Guillaume"]. This is mandatory if your key string isn’t a valid identifier, for example if you wanted to create a string key containing a hash like in: ["street-name": "Main street"].

When you need to pass variable values as keys in your map definitions, you must surround the variable or expression with parentheses:

person = [(key): 'Guillaume']        (1)

assert person.containsKey('name')    (2)
assert !person.containsKey('key')    (3)
1 This time, we surround the key variable with parentheses, to instruct the parser we are passing a variable rather than defining a string key
2 The map does contain the name key
3 But the map doesn’t contain the key key as before

1.2. Operators

This chapter covers the operators of the Groovy programming language.

1.2.1. Arithmetic operators

Groovy supports the usual familiar arithmetic operators you find in mathematics and in other programming languages like Java. All the Java arithmetic operators are supported. Let’s go through them in the following examples.

Normal arithmetic operators

The following binary arithmetic operators are available in Groovy:

Operator Purpose Remarks

+

addition

-

substraction

*

multiplication

/

division

Use intdiv() for integer division, and see the section about the integer division for more information on the return type of the division.

%

modulo

**

power

See the section about the power operation for more information on the return type of the operation.

Here are a few examples of usage of those operators:

assert  1  + 2 == 3
assert  4  - 3 == 1
assert  3  * 5 == 15
assert  3  / 2 == 1.5
assert 10  % 3 == 1
assert  2 ** 3 == 8
Unary operators

The + and - operators are also available as unary operators:

assert +3 == 3
assert -4 == 0 - 4

assert -(-1) == 1  (1)
1 Note the usage of parentheses to surround an expression to apply the unary minus to that surrounded expression.

In terms of unary arithmetics operators, the ++ (increment) and -- (decrement) operators are available, both in prefix and postfix notation:

def a = 2
def b = a++ * 3             (1)

assert a == 3 && b == 6

def c = 3
def d = c-- * 2             (2)

assert c == 2 && d == 6

def e = 1
def f = ++e + 3             (3)

assert e == 2 && f == 5

def g = 4
def h = --g + 1             (4)

assert g == 3 && h == 4
1 The postfix increment will increment a after the expression has been evaluated and assigned into b
2 The postfix decrement will decrement c after the expression has been evaluated and assigned into d
3 The prefix increment will increment e before the expression is evaluated and assigned into f
4 The prefix decrement will decrement g before the expression is evaluated and assigned into h
Assignment arithmetic operators

From the binary arithmetic operators we have seen above, certain of them are also available in an assignment form:

  • +=

  • -=

  • *=

  • /=

  • %=

Let’s see them in action:

def a = 4
a += 3

assert a == 7

def b = 5
b -= 3

assert b == 2

def c = 5
c *= 3

assert c == 15

def d = 10
d /= 2

assert d == 5

def e = 10
e %= 3

assert e == 1

1.2.2. Relational operators

Relational operators allow comparisons between objects, to know if two objects are the same or different, or if one is greater or lower than or equal to the other.

The following operators are available:

Operator Purpose

==

equal

!=

different

<

less than

<=

less than or equal

>

greater than

>=

greater than or equal

These operators into action in simple number comparisons:

assert 1 + 2 == 3
assert 3 != 4

assert -2 < 3
assert 2 <= 2
assert 3 <= 4

assert 5 > 1
assert 5 >= -2

1.2.3. Logical operators

Groovy offers three logical operators for boolean expressions:

  • &&: logical "and"

  • ||: logical "or"

  • !: logical "not"

Let’s illustrate them with the following examples:

assert !false           (1)
assert true && true     (2)
assert true || false    (3)
1 "not" false is true
2 true "and" true is true
3 true "or" false is true
Precedence

The logical "not" has a higher priority than the logical "and".

assert !false && true    (1)
1 Here, the assertion is true, because "not" has a higher precedence than "and", otherwise, the assertion would have failed

The logical "and" has a higher priority than the logical "or".

assert false || true && true    (1)
1 Here, the assertion is true, because "and" has a higher precedence than "or", otherwise, the assertion would have failed
Short-circuiting for ||

The logical "or" operator is supporting short-circuiting: if the left operand is true, it won’t evaluate the right operand. The right operand will be evaluated only if the left operand is false.

called = false

boolean somethingTrueOrFalse(boolean b) {  (1)
    called = true
    return b
}

assert true || somethingTrueOrFalse(false)
assert !called                              (2)

assert false || somethingTrueOrFalse(true)
assert called                               (3)
1 We create a function that returns its boolean argument, but it sets the called flag
2 In the first case, we confirm that the function is not called, as || short-circuits the evaluation of the right operand.
3 In the second case, the right operand is called, as indicated by the fact our flag is now true

1.2.4. Bitwise operators (TBD)

1.2.5. Conditional operators (TBD)

Not operator (TBD)
Ternary operator (TBD)
Elvis operator (TBD)

1.2.6. Object operators (TBD)

Safe navigation operator (TBD)
Direct field access operator (TBD)
Method reference operator (TBD)

1.2.7. Regular expression operators (TBD)

Pattern operator (TBD)
Find operator (TBD)
Match operator (TBD)

1.2.8. Other operators (TBD)

Spread operator (TBD)
Spreading method arguments (TBD)
Spread list elements (TBD)
Spread map elements (TBD)
Range operator (TBD)
Spaceship operator (TBD)
Subscript operator (TBD)
Membership operator (TBD)
Identity operator (TBD)
Coercion operator (TBD)
Diamond operator (TBD)
Call operator (TBD)

1.2.9. Operator precedence (TBD)

1.2.10. Operator overloading (TBD)

1.3. Program structure

This chapter covers the program structure of the Groovy programming language.

1.3.1. Package name (TBD)

1.3.2. Imports (TBD)

Default imports (TBD)
Simple import (TBD)
Star import (TBD)
Static import (TBD)
Static star import (TBD)
Import aliasing (TBD)

1.3.3. Scripts versus classes (TBD)

1.3.4. Initializers (TBD)

Static initializers (TBD)
Instance initializers (TBD)

1.4. Object orientation

This chapter covers the object orientation of the Groovy programming language.

1.4.1. Types (TBD)

Primitive types (TBD)
Class (TBD)
Normal class (TBD)
Static class (TBD)
Inner class (TBD)
Anonymous inner class (TBD)
Abstract class (TBD)
Interface (TBD)
Annotation (TBD)
Closure annotation parameters (TBD)
Meta-annotations (TBD)
Annotation placement (TBD)
Constructors (TBD)
Named argument constructor (TBD)
Methods (TBD)
Method definition (TBD)
Named arguments (TBD)
Default arguments (TBD)
Varargs (TBD)
Method selection algorithm (TBD)
Exception declaration (TBD)
Fields and properties (TBD)
Fields (TBD)
Properties (TBD)
Inheritance (TBD)
Generics (TBD)
Traits

Traits are a a structural construct of the language which allow:

  • composition of behaviors

  • runtime implementation of interfaces

  • behavior overriding

  • compatibility with static type checking/compilation

They can be seen as interfaces carrying both default implementations and state. A trait is defined using the trait keyword:

trait FlyingAbility {                           (1)
        String fly() { "I'm flying!" }          (2)
}
1 declaration of a trait
2 declaration of a method inside a trait

Then it can be used like a normal interface using the implements keyword:

class Bird implements FlyingAbility {}          (1)
def b = new Bird()                              (2)
assert b.fly() == "I'm flying!"                 (3)
1 Adds the trait FlyingAbility to the Bird class capabilities
2 instantiate a new Bird
3 the Bird class automatically gets the behavior of the FlyingAbility trait

Traits allow a wide range of capabilities, from simple composition to testing, which are described throughfully in this section.

Methods
Public methods

Declaring a method in a trait can be done like any regular method in a class:

trait FlyingAbility {                           (1)
        String fly() { "I'm flying!" }          (2)
}
1 declaration of a trait
2 declaration of a method inside a trait
Abstract methods

In addition, traits may declare abstract methods too, which therefore need to be implemented in the class implementing the trait:

trait Greetable {
    abstract String name()                              (1)
    String greeting() { "Hello, ${name()}!" }           (2)
}
1 implementing class will have to declare the name method
2 can be mixed with a concrete method

Then the trait can be used like this:

class Person implements Greetable {                     (1)
    String name() { 'Bob' }                             (2)
}

def p = new Person()
assert p.greeting() == 'Hello, Bob!'                    (3)
1 implement the trait Greetable
2 since name was abstract, it is required to implement it
3 then greeting can be called
Private methods

Traits may also define private methods. Those methods will not appear in the trait contract interface:

trait Greeter {
    private String greetingMessage() {                      (1)
        'Hello from a private method!'
    }
    String greet() {
        def m = greetingMessage()                           (2)
        println m
        m
    }
}
class GreetingMachine implements Greeter {}                 (3)
def g = new GreetingMachine()
assert g.greet() == "Hello from a private method!"          (4)
try {
    assert g.greetingMessage()                              (5)
} catch (MissingMethodException e) {
    println "greetingMessage is private in trait"
}
1 define a private method greetingMessage in the trait
2 the public greet message calls greetingMessage by default
3 create a class implementing the trait
4 greet can be called
5 but not greetingMessage
Traits only support public and private methods. Neither protected nor package private scopes are supported.
The meaning of this

this represents the implementing instance. Think of a trait as a superclass. This means that when you write:

trait Introspector {
    def whoAmI() { this }
}
class Foo implements Introspector {}
def foo = new Foo()

then calling:

foo.whoAmI()

will return the same instance:

assert foo.whoAmI().is(foo)
Interfaces

Traits may implement interfaces, in which case the interfaces are declared using the implements keyword:

interface Named {                                       (1)
    String name()
}
trait Greetable implements Named {                      (2)
    String greeting() { "Hello, ${name()}!" }
}
class Person implements Greetable {                     (3)
    String name() { 'Bob' }                             (4)
}

def p = new Person()
assert p.greeting() == 'Hello, Bob!'                    (5)
assert p instanceof Named                               (6)
assert p instanceof Greetable                           (7)
1 declaration of a normal interface
2 add Named to the list of implemented interfaces
3 declare a class that implements the Greetable trait
4 implement the missing greet method
5 the greeting implementation comes from the trait
6 make sure Person implements the Named interface
7 make sure Person implements the Greetable trait
Properties

A trait may define properties, like in the following example:

trait Named {
    String name                             (1)
}
class Person implements Named {}            (2)
def p = new Person(name: 'Bob')             (3)
assert p.name == 'Bob'                      (4)
assert p.getName() == 'Bob'                 (5)
1 declare a property name inside a trait
2 declare a class which implements the trait
3 the property is automatically made visible
4 it can be accessed using the regular property accessor
5 or using the regular getter syntax
Fields
Private fields

Since traits allow the use of private methods, it can also be interesting to use private fields to store state. Traits will let you do that:

trait Counter {
    private int count = 0                   (1)
    int count() { count += 1; count }       (2)
}
class Foo implements Counter {}             (3)
def f = new Foo()
assert f.count() == 1                       (4)
This is a major difference with Java 8 virtual extension methods. While virtual extension methods do not carry state, traits can. Also interesting traits in Groovy are supported starting with Java 6, but their implementation do not rely on virtual extension methods. This means that even if a trait can be seen from a Java class as a regular interface, this interface will not have default methods, only abstract ones.
Public fields

Public fields work the same way as private fields, but in order to avoid the diamond problem, field names are remapped in the implementing class:

trait Named {
    public String name                      (1)
}
class Person implements Named {}            (2)
def p = new Person()                        (3)
p.Named__name = 'Bob'                       (4)
1 declare a public field inside the trait
2 declare a class implementing the trait
3 create an instance of that class
4 the public field is available, but renamed

The name of the field depends on the fully qualified name of the trait. All dots (.) in package are replaced with an underscore (_), and the final name includes a double underscore. So if the type of the field is String, the name of the package is my.package, the name of the trait is Foo and the name of the field is bar, in the implementing class, the public field will appear as:

String my_package_Foo__bar
While traits support public fields, it is not recommanded to use them and considered as a bad practice.
Composition of behaviors

Traits can be used to implement multiple inheritance in a controlled way, avoiding the diamond issue. For example, we can have the following traits:

trait FlyingAbility {                           (1)
        String fly() { "I'm flying!" }          (2)
}
trait SpeakingAbility {
    String speak() { "I'm speaking!" }
}

And a class implementing both traits:

class Duck implements FlyingAbility, SpeakingAbility {} (1)

def d = new Duck()                                      (2)
assert d.fly() == "I'm flying!"                         (3)
assert d.speak() == "I'm speaking!"                     (4)
1 the Duck class implements both FlyingAbility and SpeakingAbility
2 creates a new instance of Duck
3 we can call the method fly from FlyingAbility
4 but also the method speak from SpeakingAbility

Traits encourage the reuse of capabilities among objects, and the creation of new classes by the composition of existing behavior.

Overriding default methods

Traits provide default implementations for methods, but it is possible to override them in the implementing class. For example, we can slightly change the example above, by having a duck which quacks:

class Duck implements FlyingAbility, SpeakingAbility {
    String quack() { "Quack!" }                         (1)
    String speak() { quack() }                          (2)
}

def d = new Duck()
assert d.fly() == "I'm flying!"                         (3)
assert d.quack() == "Quack!"                            (4)
assert d.speak() == "Quack!"                            (5)
1 define a method specific to Duck, named quack
2 override the default implementation of speak so that we use quack instead
3 the duck is still flying, from the default implementation
4 quack comes from the Duck class
5 speak no longer uses the default implementation from SpeakingAbility
Extending traits
Simple inheritance

Traits may extend another trait, in which case you must use the extends keyword:

trait Named {
    String name                                     (1)
}
trait Polite extends Named {                        (2)
    String introduce() { "Hello, I am $name" }      (3)
}
class Person implements Polite {}
def p = new Person(name: 'Alice')                   (4)
assert p.introduce() == 'Hello, I am Alice'         (5)
1 the Named trait defines a single name property
2 the Polite trait extends the Named trait
3 Polite adds a new method which has access to the name property of the super-trait
4 the name property is visible from the Person class implementing Polite
5 as is the introduce method
Multiple inheritance

Alternatively, a trait may extend multiple traits. In that case, all super traits must be declared in the implements clause:

trait WithId {                                      (1)
    Long id
}
trait WithName {                                    (2)
    String name
}
trait Identified implements WithId, WithName {}     (3)
1 WithId trait defines the id property
2 WithName trait defines the name property
3 Identified is a trait which inherits both WithId and WithName
Duck typing and traits
Dynamic code

Traits can call any dynamic code, like a normal Groovy class. This means that you can, in the body of a method, call methods which are supposed to exist in an implementing class, without having to explicitly declare them in an interface. This means that traits are fully compatible with duck typing:

trait SpeakingDuck {
    String speak() { quack() }                      (1)
}
class Duck implements SpeakingDuck {
    String methodMissing(String name, args) {
        "${name.capitalize()}!"                     (2)
    }
}
def d = new Duck()
assert d.speak() == 'Quack!'                        (3)
1 the SpeakingDuck expects the quack method to be defined
2 the Duck class does implement the method using methodMissing
3 calling the speak method triggers a call to quack which is handled by methodMissing
Dynamic methods in a trait

It is also possible for a trait to implement MOP methods like methodMissing or propertyMissing, in which case implementing classes will inherit the behavior from the trait, like in this example:

trait DynamicObject {                               (1)
    private Map props = [:]
    def methodMissing(String name, args) {
        name.toUpperCase()
    }
    def propertyMissing(String prop) {
        props['prop']
    }
    void setProperty(String prop, Object value) {
        props['prop'] = value
    }
}

class Dynamic implements DynamicObject {
    String existingProperty = 'ok'                  (2)
    String existingMethod() { 'ok' }                (3)
}
def d = new Dynamic()
assert d.existingProperty == 'ok'                   (4)
assert d.foo == null                                (5)
d.foo = 'bar'                                       (6)
assert d.foo == 'bar'                               (7)
assert d.existingMethod() == 'ok'                   (8)
assert d.someMethod() == 'SOMEMETHOD'               (9)
1 create a trait implementing several MOP methods
2 the Dynamic class defines a property
3 the Dynamic class defines a method
4 calling an existing property will call the method from Dynamic
5 calling an non-existing property will call the method from the trait
6 will call setProperty defined on the trait
7 will call getProperty defined on the trait
8 calling an existing method on Dynamic
9 but calling a non existing method thanks to the trait methodMissing
Multiple inheritance conflicts
Default conflict resolution

It is possible for a class to implement multiple traits. If some trait defines a method with the same signature as a method in another trait, we have a conflict:

trait A {
    String exec() { 'A' }               (1)
}
trait B {
    String exec() { 'B' }               (2)
}
class C implements A,B {}               (3)
1 trait A defines a method named exec returning a String
2 trait B defines the very same method
3 class C implements both traits

In this case, the default behavior is that methods from the last declared trait wins. Here, B is declared after A so the method from B will be picked up:

def c = new C()
assert c.exec() == 'B'
User conflict resolution

In case this behavior is not the one you want, you can explicitly choose which method to call using the Trait.super.foo syntax. In the example above, we can force to choose the method from trait A, by writing this:

class C implements A,B {
    String exec() { A.super.exec() }    (1)
}
def c = new C()
assert c.exec() == 'A'                  (2)
1 explicit call of exec from the trait A
2 calls the version from A instead of using the default resolution, which would be the one from B
Runtime implementation of traits
Implementing a trait at runtime

Groovy also supports implementing traits dynamically at runtime. It allows you to "decorate" an existing object using a trait. As an example, let’s start with this trait and the following class:

trait Extra {
    String extra() { "I'm an extra method" }            (1)
}
class Something {                                       (2)
    String doSomething() { 'Something' }                (3)
}
1 the Extra trait defines an extra method
2 the Something class does not implement the Extra trait
3 Something only defines a method doSomething

Then if we do:

def s = new Something()
s.extra()

the call to extra would fail because Something is not implementing Extra. It is possible to do it at runtime with the following syntax:

def s = new Something() as Extra                        (1)
s.extra()                                               (2)
s.doSomething()                                         (3)
1 use of the as keyword to coerce an object to a trait at runtime
2 then extra can be called on the object
3 and doSomething is still callable
When coercing an object to a trait, the result of the operation is not the same instance. It is guaranteed that the coerced object will implement both the trait and the interfaces that the original object implements, but the result will not be an instance of the original class.
Implementing multiple traits at once

Should you need to implement several traits at once, you can use the withTraits method instead of the as keyword:

trait A { void methodFromA() {} }
trait B { void methodFromB() {} }

class C {}

def c = new C()
c.methodFromA()                     (1)
c.methodFromB()                     (2)
def d = c.withTraits A, B           (3)
d.methodFromA()                     (4)
d.methodFromB()                     (5)
1 call to methodFromA will fail because C doesn’t implement A
2 call to methodFromB will fail because C doesn’t implement B
3 withTrait will wrap c into something which implements A and B
4 methodFromA will now pass because d implements A
5 methodFromB will now pass because d also implements B
When coercing an object to multiple traits, the result of the operation is not the same instance. It is guaranteed that the coerced object will implement both the traits and the interfaces that the original object implements, but the result will not be an instance of the original class.
Chaining behavior

Groovy supports the concept of stackable traits. The idea is to delegate from one trait to the other if the current trait is not capable of handling a message. To illustrate this, let’s imagine a message handler interface like this:

interface MessageHandler {
    void on(String message, Map payload)
}

Then you can compose a message handler by applying small behaviors. For example, let’s define a default handler in the form of a trait:

trait DefaultHandler implements MessageHandler {
    void on(String message, Map payload) {
        println "Received $message with payload $payload"
    }
}

Then any class can inherit the behavior of the default handler by implementing the trait:

class SimpleHandler implements DefaultHandler {}

Now what if you want to log all messages, in addition to the default handler? One option is to write this:

class SimpleHandlerWithLogging implements DefaultHandler {
    void on(String message, Map payload) {                                  (1)
        println "Seeing $message with payload $payload"                     (2)
        DefaultHandler.super.on(message, payload)                           (3)
    }
}
1 explicitly implement the on method
2 perform logging
3 continue by delegating to the DefaultHandler trait

This works but this approach has drawbacks:

  1. the logging logic is bound to a "concrete" handler

  2. we have an explicit reference to DefaultHandler in the on method, meaning that if we happen to change the trait that our class implements, code will be broken

As an alternative, we can write another trait which responsability is limited to logging:

trait LoggingHandler implements MessageHandler {                            (1)
    void on(String message, Map payload) {
        println "Seeing $message with payload $payload"                     (2)
        super.on(message, payload)                                          (3)
    }
}
1 the logging handler is itself a handler
2 prints the message it receives
3 then super makes it delegate the call to the next trait in the chain

Then our class can be rewritten as this:

class HandlerWithLogger implements DefaultHandler, LoggingHandler {}
def loggingHandler = new HandlerWithLogger()
loggingHandler.on('test logging', [:])

which will print:

Seeing test logging with payload [:]
Received test logging with payload [:]

As the priority rules imply that LoggerHandler wins because it is declared last, then a call to on will use the implementation from LoggingHandler. But the latter has a call to super, which means the next trait in the chain. Here, the next trait is DefaultHandler so both will be called:

The interest of this approach becomes more evident if we add a third handler, which is responsible for handling messages that start with say:

trait SayHandler implements MessageHandler {
    void on(String message, Map payload) {
        if (message.startsWith("say")) {                                    (1)
            println "I say ${message - 'say'}!"
        } else {
            super.on(message, payload)                                      (2)
        }
    }
}
1 a handler specific precondition
2 if the precondition is not meant, pass the message to the next handler in the chain

Then our final handler looks like this:

class Handler implements DefaultHandler, SayHandler, LoggingHandler {}
def h = new Handler()
h.on('foo', [:])
h.on('sayHello', [:])

Which means:

  • messages will first go through the logging handler

  • the logging handler calls super which will delegate to the next handler, which is the SayHandler

  • if the message starts with say, then the hanlder consumes the message

  • if not, the say handler delegates to the next handler in the chain

This approach is very powerful because it allows you to write handlers that do not know each other and yet let you combine them in the order you want. For example, if we execute the code, it will print:

Seeing foo with payload [:]
Received foo with payload [:]
Seeing sayHello with payload [:]
I say Hello!

but if we move the logging handler to be the second one in the chain, the output is different:

class AlternateHandler implements DefaultHandler, LoggingHandler, SayHandler {}
h = new AlternateHandler()
h.on('foo', [:])
h.on('sayHello', [:])

prints:

Seeing foo with payload [:]
Received foo with payload [:]
I say Hello!

The reason is that now, since the SayHandler consumes the message without calling super, the logging handler is not called anymore.

Semantics of super inside a trait

If a class implements multiple traits and that a call to an unqualified super is found, then:

  1. if the class implements another trait, the call delegates to the next trait in the chain

  2. if there isn’t any trait left in the chain, super refers to the super class of the implementing class (this)

For example, it is possible to decorate final classes thanks to this behavior:

trait Filtering {                                       (1)
    StringBuilder append(String str) {                  (2)
        def subst = str.replace('o','')                 (3)
        super.append(subst)                             (4)
    }
    String toString() { super.toString() }              (5)
}
def sb = new StringBuilder().withTraits Filtering       (6)
sb.append('Groovy')
assert sb.toString() == 'Grvy'                          (7)
1 define a trait named Filtering, supposed to be applied on a StringBuilder at runtime
2 redefine the append method
3 remove all 'o’s from the string
4 then delegate to super
5 in case toString is called, delegate to super.toString
6 runtime implementation of the Filtering trait on a StringBuilder instance
7 the string which has been appended no longer contains the letter o

In this example, when super.append is encountered, there is no other trait implemented by the target object, so the method which is called is the original append method, that is to say the one from StringBuilder. The same trick is used for toString, so that the string representation of the proxy object which is generated delegates to the toString of the StringBuilder instance.

Advanced features
SAM type coercion

If a trait defines a single abstract method, it is candidate for SAM type coercion. For example, imagine the following trait:

trait Greeter {
    String greet() { "Hello $name" }        (1)
    abstract String getName()               (2)
}
1 the greet method is not abstract and calls the abstract method getName
2 getName is an abstract method

Since getName is the single abstract method in the Greeter trait, you can write:

Greeter greeter = { 'Alice' }               (1)
1 the closure "becomes" the implementation of the getName single abstract method

or even:

void greet(Greeter g) { println g.greet() } (1)
greet { 'Alice' }                           (2)
1 the greet method accepts the SAM type Greeter as parameter
2 we can call it directly with a closure
Differences with Java 8 default methods

In Java 8, interfaces can have default implementations of methods. If a class implements an interface and does not provide an implementation for a default method, then the implementation from the interface is chosen. Traits behave the same but with a major difference: the implementation from the trait is always used if the class declares the trait in its interface list and that it doesn’t provide an implementation.

This feature can be used to compose behaviors in an very precise way, in case you want to override the behavior of an already implemented method.

To illustrate the concept, let’s start with this simple example:

import groovy.transform.CompileStatic
import org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilerConfiguration
import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ASTTransformationCustomizer
import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ImportCustomizer

class SomeTest extends GroovyTestCase {
    def config
    def shell

    void setup() {
        config = new CompilerConfiguration()
        shell = new GroovyShell(config)
    }
    void testSomething() {
        assert shell.evaluate('1+1') == 2
    }
    void otherTest() { /* ... */ }
}

In this example, we create a simple test case which uses two properties (config and shell) and uses those in multiple test methods. Now imagine that you want to test the same, but with another distinct compiler configuration. One option is to create a subclass of SomeTest:

class AnotherTest extends SomeTest {
    void setup() {
        config = new CompilerConfiguration()
        config.addCompilationCustomizers( ... )
        shell = new GroovyShell(config)
    }
}

It works, but what if you have actually multiple test classes, and that you want to test the new configuration for all those test classes? Then you would have to create a distinct subclass for each test class:

class YetAnotherTest extends SomeTest {
    void setup() {
        config = new CompilerConfiguration()
        config.addCompilationCustomizers( ... )
        shell = new GroovyShell(config)
    }
}

Then what you see is that the setup method of both tests is the same. The idea, then, is to create a trait:

trait MyTestSupport {
    void setup() {
        config = new CompilerConfiguration()
        config.addCompilationCustomizers( new ASTTransformationCustomizer(CompileStatic) )
        shell = new GroovyShell(config)
    }
}

Then use it in the subclasses:

class AnotherTest extends SomeTest implements MyTestSupport {}
class YetAnotherTest extends SomeTest2 implements MyTestSupport {}
...

It would allow us to dramatically reduce the boilerplate code, and reduces the risk of forgetting to change the setup code in case we decide to change it. Even if setup is already implemented in the super class, since the test class declares the trait in its interface list, the behavior will be borrowed from the trait implementation!

This feature is in particular useful when you don’t have access to the super class source code. It can be used to mock methods or force a particular implementation of a method in a subclass. It lets you refactor your code to keep the overriden logic in a single trait and inherit a new behavior just by implementing it. The alternative, of course, is to override the method in every place you would have used the new code.

It’s worth noting that if you use runtime traits, the methods from the trait are always preferred to those of the proxied object:
class Person {
    String name                                         (1)
}
trait Bob {
    String getName() { 'Bob' }                          (2)
}

def p = new Person(name: 'Alice')
assert p.name == 'Alice'                                (3)
def p2 = p as Bob                                       (4)
assert p2.name == 'Bob'                                 (5)
1 the Person class defines a name property which results in a getName method
2 Bob is a trait which defines getName as returning Bob
3 the default object will return Alice
4 p2 coerces p into Bob at runtime
5 getName returns Bob because getName is taken from the trait
Again, don’t forget that dynamic trait coercion returns a distinct object which only implements the original interfaces, as well as the traits.
Differences with mixins

There are several conceptual differences with mixins, as they are available in Groovy. Note that we are talking about runtime mixins, not the @Mixin annotation which is deprecated in favour of traits.

First of all, methods defined in a trait are visible in bytecode:

  • internally, the trait is represented as an interface (without default methods) and several helper classes

  • this means that an object implementing a trait effectively implements an interface

  • those methods are visible from Java

  • they are compatible with type checking and static compilation

Methods added through a mixin are, on the contrary, only visible at runtime:

class A { String methodFromA() { 'A' } }        (1)
class B { String methodFromB() { 'B' } }        (2)
A.metaClass.mixin B                             (3)
def o = new A()
assert o.methodFromA() == 'A'                   (4)
assert o.methodFromB() == 'B'                   (5)
assert o instanceof A                           (6)
assert !(o instanceof B)                        (7)
1 class A defines methodFromA
2 class B defines methodFromB
3 mixin B into A
4 we can call methodFromA
5 we can also call methodFromB
6 the object is an instance of A
7 but it’s not an instanceof B

The last point is actually a very important and illustrates a place where mixins have an advantage over traits: the instances are not modified, so if you mixin some class into another, there isn’t a third class generated, and methods which respond to A will continue responding to A even if mixed in.

Static methods, properties and fields
The following instructions are subject to caution. Static member support is work in progress and still experimental. The information below is valid for 2.3.0-SNAPSHOT only.

It is possible to define static methods in a trait, but it comes with numerous limitations:

  • traits with static methods cannot be compiled statically or type checked. All static methods/properties/field are accessed dynamically (it’s a limitation from the JVM).

  • the trait is interpreted as a template for the implementing class, which means that each implementing class will get its own static methods/properties/methods. So a static member declared on a trait doesn’t belong to the Trait, but to it’s implementing class.

Let’s start with a simple example:

trait TestHelper {
    public static boolean CALLED = false        (1)
    static void init() {                        (2)
        CALLED = true                           (3)
    }
}
class Foo implements TestHelper {}
Foo.init()                                      (4)
assert Foo.TestHelper__CALLED                   (5)
1 the static field is declared in the trait
2 a static method is also declared in the trait
3 the static field is updated within the trait
4 a static method init is made available to the implementing class
5 the static field is remapped to avoid the diamond issue

As usual, it is not recommanded to use public fields. Anyway, should you want this, you must understand that the following code would fail:

Foo.CALLED = true

because there is no static field CALLED defined on the trait itself. Likewise, if you have two distinct implementing classes, each one gets a distinct static field:

class Bar implements TestHelper {}              (1)
class Baz implements TestHelper {}              (2)
Bar.init()                                      (3)
assert Bar.TestHelper__CALLED                   (4)
assert !Baz.TestHelper__CALLED                  (5)
1 class Bar implements the trait
2 class Baz also implements the trait
3 init is only called on Bar
4 the static field CALLED on Bar is updated
5 but the static field CALLED on Baz is not, because it is distinct
Inheritance of state gotchas

We have seen that traits are stateful. It is possible for a trait to define fields or properties, but when a class implements a trait, it gets those fields/properties on a per-trait basis. So consider the following example:

trait IntCouple {
    int x = 1
    int y = 2
    int sum() { x+y }
}

The trait defines two properties, x and y, as well as a sum method. Now let’s create a class which implements the trait:

class BaseElem implements IntCouple {
    int f() { sum() }
}
def base = new BaseElem()
assert base.f() == 3

The result of calling f is 3, because f delegates to sum in the trait, which has state. But what if we write this instead?

class Elem implements IntCouple {
    int x = 3                                       (1)
    int y = 4                                       (2)
    int f() { sum() }                               (3)
}
def elem = new Elem()
1 Override property x
2 Override property y
3 Call sum from trait

If you call elem.f(), what is the expected output? Actually it is:

assert elem.f() == 3

The reason is that the sum method accesses the fields of the trait. So it is using the x and y values defined in the trait. If you want to use the values from the implementing class, then you need to derefencence fields by using getters and setters, like in this last example:

trait IntCouple {
    int x = 1
    int y = 2
    int sum() { getX()+getY() }
}

class Elem implements IntCouple {
    int x = 3
    int y = 4
    int f() { sum() }
}
def elem = new Elem()
assert elem.f() == 7
Limitations
Compatibility with AST transformations
Traits are not officially compatible with AST transformations. Some of them, like @CompileStatic will be applied on the trait itself (not on implementing classes), while others will apply on both the implementing class and the trait. There is absolutely no guarantee that an AST transformation will run on a trait as it does on a regular class, so use it at your own risk!
Prefix and postfix operations

Within traits, prefix and postfix operations are not allowed if they update a field of the trait:

trait Counting {
    int x
    void inc() {
        x++                             (1)
    }
    void dec() {
        --x                             (2)
    }
}
class Counter implements Counting {}
def c = new Counter()
c.inc()
1 x is defined within the trait, postfix increment is not allowed
2 x is defined within the trait, prefix decrement is not allowed

A workaround is to use the += operator instead. :leveloffset: 3 = Closures (TBD)

This chapter covers Groovy Closures.

Syntax (TBD)
Parameters (TBD)
Normal parameters (TBD)
Implicit parameter (TBD)
Default parameter (TBD)
Varargs (TBD)
Delegation strategy (TBD)
Closures in GStrings (TBD)
Functional programming (TBD)
Currying (TBD)
Left currying (TBD)
Right currying (TBD)
Index based currying (TBD)
Memoization (TBD)
Composition (TBD)
Trampoline (TBD)
Semantics

This chapter covers the semantic of the Groovy programming language.

Statements (TBD)
Variable definition (TBD)
Variable assignment (TBD)
Multiple assignment (TBD)
Control structures (TBD)
Conditional structures (TBD)
if / else (TBD)
switch / case (TBD)
Looping structures (TBD)
Classic for loop (TBD)
for in loop (TBD)
while loop (TBD)
Exception handling (TBD)
try / catch / finally (TBD)
Multi-catch (TBD)
Power assertion (TBD)
Labeled statements (TBD)
Expressions (TBD)
GPath expressions (TBD)
Promotion and coercion (TBD)
Number promotion (TBD)
Closure to type coercion
Assigning a closure to a SAM type

A SAM type is a type which defines a single abstract method. This includes:

Functional interfaces
interface Predicate<T> {
    boolean accept(T obj)
}
Abstract classes with single abstract method
abstract class Greeter {
    abstract String getName()
    void greet() {
        println "Hello, $name"
    }
}

Any closure can be converted into a SAM type using the as operator:

Predicate filter = { it.contains 'G' } as Predicate
assert filter.accept('Groovy') == true

Greeter greeter = { 'Groovy' } as Greeter
greeter.greet()

However, the as Type expression is optional since Groovy 2.2.0. You can omit it and simply write:

Predicate filter = { it.contains 'G' }
assert filter.accept('Groovy') == true

Greeter greeter = { 'Groovy' }
greeter.greet()

which means you are also allowed to use method pointers, as shown in the following example:


boolean doFilter(String s) { s.contains('G') }

Predicate filter = this.&doFilter
assert filter.accept('Groovy') == true

Greeter greeter = GroovySystem.&getVersion
greeter.greet()
Calling a method accepting a SAM type with a closure

The second and probably more important use case for closure to SAM type coercion is calling a method which accepts a SAM type. Imagine the following method:

public <T> List<T> filter(List<T> source, Predicate<T> predicate) {
    source.findAll { predicate.accept(it) }
}

Then you can call it with a closure, without having to create an explicit implementation of the interface:

assert filter(['Java','Groovy'], { it.contains 'G'} as Predicate) == ['Groovy']

But since Groovy 2.2.0, you are also able to omit the explicit coercion and call the method as if it used a closure:

assert filter(['Java','Groovy']) { it.contains 'G'} == ['Groovy']

As you can see, this has the advantage of letting you use the closure syntax for method calls, that is to say put the closure outside of the parenthesis, improving the readability of your code.

Closure to arbitrary type coercion

In addition to SAM types, a closure can be coerced to any type and in particular interfaces. Let’s define the following interface:

interface FooBar {
    int foo()
    void bar()
}

You can coerce a closure into the interface using the as keyword:

def impl = { println 'ok'; 123 } as FooBar

This produces a class for which all methods are implemented using the closure:

assert impl.foo() == 123
impl.bar()

But it is also possible to coerce a closure to any class. For example, we can replace the interface that we defined with class without changing the assertions:

class FooBar {
    int foo() { 1 }
    void bar() { println 'bar' }
}

def impl = { println 'ok'; 123 } as FooBar

assert impl.foo() == 123
impl.bar()
Map to type coercion

Usually using a single closure to implement an interface or a class with multiple methods is not the way to go. As an alternative, Groovy allows you to coerce a map into an interface or a class. In that case, keys of the map are interpreted as method names, while the values are the method implementation. The following example illustrates the coercion of a map into an Iterator:

def map
map = [
  i: 10,
  hasNext: { map.i > 0 },
  next: { map.i-- },
]
def iter = map as Iterator

Of course this is a rather contrived example, but illustrates the concept. You only need to implement those methods that are actually called, but if a method is called that doesn’t exist in the map a MissingMethodException or an UnsupportedOperationException is thrown, depending on the arguments passed to the call, as in the following example:

interface X {
    void f()
    void g(int n)
    void h(String s, int n)
}

x = [ f: {println "f called"} ] as X
x.f() // method exists
x.g() // MissingMethodException here
x.g(5) // UnsupportedOperationException here

The type of the exception depends on the call itself:

  • MissingMethodException if the arguments of the call do not match those from the interface/class

  • UnsupportedOperationException if the arguments of the call match one of the overloaded methods of the interface/class

String to enum coercion

Groovy allows transparent String (or GString) to enum values coercion. Imagine you define the following enum:

enum State {
    up,
    down
}

then you can assign a string to the enum without having to use an explicit as coercion:

State st = 'up'
assert st == State.up

It is also possible to use a GString as the value:

def val = "up"
State st = "${val}"
assert st == State.up

However, this would throw a runtime error (IllegalArgumentException):

State st = 'not an enum value'

Note that it is also possible to use implicit coercion in switch statements:

State switchState(State st) {
    switch (st) {
        case 'up':
            return State.down // explicit constant
        case 'down':
            return 'up' // implicit coercion for return types
    }
}

in particular, see how the case use string constants. But if you call a method that uses an enum with a String argument, you still have to use an explicit as coercion:

assert switchState('up' as State) == State.down
assert switchState(State.down) == State.up
Custom type coercion

It is possible for a class to define custom coercion strategies by implementing the asType method. Custom coercion is invoked using the as operator and is never implicit. As an example, imagine you defined two classes, Polar and Cartesian, like in the following example:

class Polar {
    double r
    double phi
}
class Cartesian {
   double x
   double y
}

And that you want to convert from polar coordinates to cartesian coordinates. One way of doing this is to define the asType method in the Polar class:

def asType(Class target) {
    if (Cartesian==target) {
        return new Cartesian(x: r*cos(phi), y: r*sin(phi))
    }
}

which allows you to use the as coercion operator:

def sigma = 1E-16
def polar = new Polar(r:1.0,phi:PI/2)
def cartesian = polar as Cartesian
assert abs(cartesian.x-sigma) < sigma

Putting it all together, the Polar class looks like this:

class Polar {
    double r
    double phi
    def asType(Class target) {
        if (Cartesian==target) {
            return new Cartesian(x: r*cos(phi), y: r*sin(phi))
        }
    }
}

but it is also possible to define asType outside of the Polar class, which can be practical if you want to define custom coercion strategies for "closed" classes or classes for which you don’t own the source code, for example using a metaclass:

Polar.metaClass.asType = { Class target ->
    if (Cartesian==target) {
        return new Cartesian(x: r*cos(phi), y: r*sin(phi))
    }
}
Class literals vs variables and the as operator

Using the as keyword is only possible if you have a static reference to a class, like in the following code:

interface Greeter {
    void greet()
}
def greeter = { println 'Hello, Groovy!' } as Greeter // Greeter is known statically
greeter.greet()

But what if you get the class by reflection, for example by calling Class.forName?

Class clazz = Class.forName('Greeter')

Trying to use the reference to the class with the as keyword would fail:

greeter = { println 'Hello, Groovy!' } as clazz
// throws:
// unable to resolve class clazz
// @ line 9, column 40.
//   greeter = { println 'Hello, Groovy!' } as clazz

It is failing because the as keyword only works with class literals. Instead, you need to call the asType method:

greeter = { println 'Hello, Groovy!' }.asType(clazz)
greeter.greet()
Optionality (TBD)
Optional parentheses (TBD)
Optional semicolons (TBD)
Optional return keyword (TBD)
Optional public keyword (TBD)
The Groovy Truth (TBD)
Customizing the truth with asBoolean() methods (TBD)
Typing (TBD)
Optional typing (TBD)
Static type checking (TBD)
Static compilation (TBD)

2. Tools

2.1. Compiling Groovy

2.1.1. groovyc, the Groovy compiler

groovyc is the Groovy compiler command line tool. It allows you to compile Groovy sources into bytecode. It plays the same role as javac in the Java world. The easiest way to compile a Groovy script or class is to run the following command:

groovyc MyClass.groovy

This will produce a MyClass.class file (as well as other .class files depending on the contents of the source). groovyc supports a number of command line switches:

Short version Long version Description Example

-b

--basescript

Base class name for scripts (must derive from Script)

-cp

-classpath, --classpath

Specify the compilation classpath. Must be the first argument.

groovyc -cp lib/dep.jar MyClass.groovy

--sourcepath*

Directory where to find source files

groovyc -sourcepath src script.groovy

--temp

Temporary directory for the compiler

--encoding

Encoding of the source files

groovyc -encoding utf-8 script.groovy

--help

Displays help for the command line groovyc tool

groovyc --help

-v

--version

Displays the compiler version

groovyc -v

-e

--exception

Displays the stack trace in case of compilation error

groovyc -e script.groovy

-j

--jointCompilation*

Enables joint compilation

groovyc -j A.groovy B.java

Notes:

  • sourcepath is not used anymore. Specifying this parameter will have no effect on compilation.

  • for a full description of joint compilation, see the joint compilation section.

2.1.2. Ant task

<groovyc>
Description

Compiles Groovy source files and, if joint compilation option is used, Java source files.

Required taskdef

Assuming groovy-all-VERSION.jar is in my.classpath you will need to declare this task at some point in the build.xml prior to the groovyc task being invoked.

<taskdef name="groovyc"
         classname="org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovyc"
         classpathref="my.classpath"/>
<groovyc> Attributes
Attribute Description Required

configscript

Set the configuration file used to customize the compilation configuration.

No

srcdir

Location of the Groovy (and possibly Java) source files.

Yes

destdir

Location to store the class files.

Yes

classpath

The classpath to use.

No

classpathref

The classpath to use given as a path references.

No

sourcepath

The sourcepath to use.

No

sourcepathref

The sourcepath to use given as a path reference.

No

encoding

Encoding of source files.

No

verbose

Asks the compiler for verbose output; defaults to no.

No

includeAntRuntime

Whether to include the Ant run-time libraries in the classpath; defaults to yes.

No

includeJavaRuntime

Whether to include the default run-time libraries from the executing VM in the classpath; defaults to no.

No

fork

Whether to execute groovyc using a spawned instance of the JVM; defaults to no.

No

memoryInitialSize

The initial size of the memory for the underlying VM, if using fork mode; ignored otherwise. Defaults to the standard VM memory setting. (Examples: 83886080, 81920k, or 80m)

No

memoryMaximumSize

The maximum size of the memory for the underlying VM, if using fork mode; ignored otherwise. Defaults to the standard VM memory setting. (Examples: 83886080, 81920k, or 80m)

No

failonerror

Indicates whether compilation errors will fail the build; defaults to true.

No

listfiles

Indicates whether the source files to be compiled will be listed; defaults to no.

No

stacktrace

if true each compile error message will contain a stacktrace

No

indy

Enable compilation with the “invoke dynamic” support when using Groovy 2.0 and beyond and running on JDK 7

No

scriptBaseClass

Sets the base class for Groovy scripts

No

stubdir

Set the stub directory into which the Java source stub files should be generated. The directory need not exist and will not be deleted automatically - though its contents will be cleared unless keepStubs is true. Ignored when forked.

No

keepStubs

Set the keepStubs flag. Defaults to false. Set to true for debugging. Ignored when forked.

No

forceLookupUnnamedFiles

The Groovyc Ant task is frequently used in the context of a build system that knows the complete list of source files to be compiled. In such a context, it is wasteful for the Groovy compiler to go searching the classpath when looking for source files and hence by default the Groovyc Ant task calls the compiler in a special mode with such searching turned off. If you wish the compiler to search for source files then you need to set this flag to true. Defaults to false.

No

Example:

<groovyc srcdir="src" destdir="target/classes">
</groovyc>
<groovyc> Nested Elements
element kind Required Replaces Attribute

javac

javac task

No

jointCompilationOptions

src

a path structure

Yes (unless srcdir is used)

srcdir

classpath

a path structure

No

classpath

Notes:

  • For path structures see for example http://ant.apache.org/manual/using.html#path

  • For usages of the javac task see http://ant.apache.org/manual/CoreTasks/javac.html

  • The nested javac task behaves more or less as documented for the top-level javac task. srcdir, destdir, classpath, encoding for the nested javac task are taken from the enclosing groovyc task. If these attributes are specified then they are added, they do not replace. In fact, you should not attempt to overwrite the destination. Other attributes and nested elements are unaffected, for example fork, memoryMaximumSize, etc. may be used freely.

Joint Compilation

Joint compilation is enabled by using an embedded javac element, as shown in the following example:

<groovyc srcdir="${testSourceDirectory}" destdir="${testClassesDirectory}">
  <classpath>
    <pathelement path="${mainClassesDirectory}"/>
    <pathelement path="${testClassesDirectory}"/>
    <path refid="testPath"/>
  </classpath>
  <javac source="1.7" target="1.7" debug="on" />
</groovyc>

It is rare to specify srcdir and destdir, the nested javac task is provided with the srcdir and destdir values from the enclosing groovyc task, and it is invariable the right thing to do just to leave this as is. To restate: the javac task gets the srcdir, destdir and classpath from the enclosing groovyc task.

More details about joint compilation can be found in the joint compilation section.

2.1.3. Maven integration

There are several approaches to compiling Groovy code in your Maven projects. GMaven is the most flexible and feature rich, but it has some difficulties with joint Java-Groovy projects and it is no longer under active development. The Groovy-Eclipse compiler plugin for Maven sidesteps the joint compilation issues. Read this for a deeper discussion of the benefits and disadvantages of the two approaches.

A third approach is to use Maven’s Ant plugin to compile a groovy project. Note that the Ant plugin is bound to the compile and test-compile phases of the build in the example below. It will be invoked during these phases and the contained tasks will be carried out which runs the Groovy compiler over the source and test directories. The resulting Java classes will coexist with and be treated like any standard Java classes compiled from Java source and will appear no different to the JRE, or the JUnit runtime.

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/maven-v4_0_0.xsd">
    <modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
    <groupId>com.mycomp.MyGroovy</groupId>
    <artifactId>MyGroovy</artifactId>
    <packaging>jar</packaging>
    <version>1.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
    <name>Maven Example building a Groovy project</name>
    <dependencies>
        <dependency>
            <groupId>junit</groupId>
            <artifactId>junit</artifactId>
            <version>3.8.1</version>
            <scope>test</scope>
        </dependency>
        <dependency>
            <groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId>
            <artifactId>groovy-all</artifactId>
            <version>2.1.6</version>
        </dependency>
    </dependencies>
    <build>
        <plugins>
            <plugin>
                <artifactId>maven-antrun-plugin</artifactId>
                <executions>
                    <execution>
                        <id>compile</id>
                        <phase>compile</phase>
                        <configuration>
                            <tasks>
                                <mkdir dir="${basedir}/src/main/groovy"/>
                                <taskdef name="groovyc"
                                    classname="org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovyc">
                                    <classpath refid="maven.compile.classpath"/>
                                </taskdef>
                                <mkdir dir="${project.build.outputDirectory}"/>
                                <groovyc destdir="${project.build.outputDirectory}"
                                    srcdir="${basedir}/src/main/groovy/" listfiles="true">
                                    <classpath refid="maven.compile.classpath"/>
                                </groovyc>
                            </tasks>
                        </configuration>
                        <goals>
                            <goal>run</goal>
                        </goals>
                    </execution>
                    <execution>
                        <id>test-compile</id>
                        <phase>test-compile</phase>
                        <configuration>
                            <tasks>
                                <mkdir dir="${basedir}/src/test/groovy"/>
                                <taskdef name="groovyc"
                                    classname="org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovyc">
                                    <classpath refid="maven.test.classpath"/>
                                </taskdef>
                                <mkdir dir="${project.build.testOutputDirectory}"/>
                                <groovyc destdir="${project.build.testOutputDirectory}"
                                    srcdir="${basedir}/src/test/groovy/" listfiles="true">
                                    <classpath refid="maven.test.classpath"/>
                                </groovyc>
                            </tasks>
                        </configuration>
                        <goals>
                            <goal>run</goal>
                        </goals>
                    </execution>
                </executions>
            </plugin>
        </plugins>
    </build>
</project>

This assumes you have a Maven project setup with groovy subfolders as peers to the java src and test subfolders. You can use the java/jar archetype to set this up then rename the java folders to groovy or keep the java folders and just create groovy peer folders. There exists, also a groovy plugin which has not been tested or used in production. After defining the build section as in the above example, you can invoke the typical Maven build phases normally. For example, mvn test will execute the test phase, compiling Groovy source and Groovy test source and finally executing the unit tests. If you run mvn jar it will execute the jar phase bundling up all of your compiled production classes into a jar after all of the unit tests pass. For more detail on Maven build phases consult the Maven2 documentation.

2.1.4. GMaven and GMavenPlus

GMaven

GMaven is a separate project and documentation for GMaven can be found here.

Example:

<dependencies>
    <dependency>
        <groupId>org.codehaus.gmaven.runtime</groupId>
        <artifactId>gmaven-runtime-default</artifactId>
    </dependency>
</dependencies>

<build>
    <plugins>
        <plugin>
            <groupId>org.codehaus.gmaven</groupId>
            <artifactId>gmaven-plugin</artifactId>
            <executions>
                <execution>
                    <goals>
                        <goal>generateStubs</goal>
                        <goal>compile</goal>
                        <goal>generateTestStubs</goal>
                        <goal>testCompile</goal>
                    </goals>
                </execution>
            </executions>
        </plugin>
    </plugins>
</build>

Important:

You should be aware that GMaven is not supported anymore and has problems with joint compilation. Should you need joint compilation, we advise that you use the Groovy Eclipse maven plugin.

GMavenPlus

GMavenPlus is a rewrite of GMaven which is in active development. It does not support all the features of GMaven but supports newer versions of Groovy, invokedynamic, as well as joint compilation, through stubs (which means it has the same potential issues as GMaven). The main advantage over its predecessor is that it compiles with recent versions of the compiler and supports choosing what version of Groovy is used.

GMaven2

See GMaven 2

Unlike the name seems to indicate, GMaven 2 is not aimed at replacing GMaven. In fact, it’s a rewrite of the scripting features of the GMaven plugin. Interestingly, it supports the missing features of GMavenPlus, that is to say:

  • Script execution

  • Command-line shell access

  • GUI console access

So it may be used as a complement to the Groovy Eclipse plugin or GMavenPlus.

2.1.5. The Groovy Eclipse Maven plugin

Groovy-Eclipse provides a compiler plugin for Maven. Using the compiler plugin, it is possible to compile your maven projects using the Groovy-Eclipse compiler.

The most recent version of the Groovy-Eclipse-Compiler plugin for maven is 2.8.0-01.2.9.0-01-SNAPSHOT is now available from http://nexus.codehaus.org/snapshots/ .The most recent version of the groovy-eclipse-batch artifact is 2.1.5-03 (for Groovy 2.1) and 2.0.7-03 (for Groovy 2.0). They are both available from maven central. 

How to use the compiler plugin—Setting up the POM

In your plugin section, you must change the compiler used by the maven-compiler-plugin. Like the javac ant task, the maven-compiler-plugin does not actually compile, but rather delegates the compilation to a different artifact (in our case, the groovy-eclipse-batch artifact):

<build>
...
<plugins>
  <plugin>
    <artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
    <!-- 2.8.0-01 and later require maven-compiler-plugin 3.0 or higher -->
    <version>3.0</version>
    <configuration>
      <compilerId>groovy-eclipse-compiler</compilerId>
      <!-- set verbose to be true if you want lots of uninteresting messages -->
      <!-- <verbose>true</verbose> -->
    </configuration>
    <dependencies>
      <dependency>
        <groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId>
        <artifactId>groovy-eclipse-compiler</artifactId>
        <version>2.8.0-01</version>
      </dependency>
      <!-- for 2.8.0-01 and later you must have an explicit dependency on groovy-eclipse-batch -->
      <dependency>
        <groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId>
        <artifactId>groovy-eclipse-batch</artifactId>
        <version>2.1.5-03</version>
        <!-- or choose a different compiler version -->
        <!-- <version>1.8.6-01</version> -->
        <!-- <version>1.7.10-06</version> -->
</dependency>
 </dependencies>
  </plugin>
  ...
</plugins>
</build>

This will allow Groovy files to be compiled. The groovy-eclipse-compiler recognizes all settings supported by the maven-compiler-plugin.

Remember that you still need to specify a groovy artifact as a build dependency in addition to the maven-compiler-plugin dependency.  The groovy dependency version should match the compiler version.  Something like this:

<dependencies>
  ...
  <dependency>
    <groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId>
    <artifactId>groovy-all</artifactId>
    <version>1.8.6</version>
  </dependency>
  ...
</dependencies>

Note that the groovy-eclipse-compiler and groovy-eclipse-batch artifacts are available in Maven-central, so there is no need to explicitly declare any extra repositories.

Setting up the source folders

There are several ways to set up your maven project to recognize Groovy source files

Do nothing

The simplest way to set up your source folders is to do nothing at all: add all of your Groovy files to src/main/java and src/test/java. This requires absolutely no extra configuration and is easy to implement. However, this is not a standard maven approach to setting up your project. If you require a more standard maven approach, then it is possible to put your Groovy files in src/main/groovy and src/test/groovy and you Java files in src/main/java and src/test/java. There are several ways of doing this.

Do almost nothing

If there is at least one file (Java or not) in src/main/java, then all files in src/main/groovy will be found. If, however, src/main/java is empty, then src/main/groovy will be ignored. You can get around this by placing an empty file in src/main/java just so that src/main/groovy will be recognized. The same is true for src/test/java and src/test/groovy. This is actually a workaround for GRECLIPSE-1221.

Use the groovy-eclipse-compiler mojo for configuring source folders

(You only need this approach if your project has an empty src/main/java or src/test/java.)

If your project has no Java files and you don’t want to add an empty file in src/main/java, then you can configure source files by referencing the groovy-eclipse-compiler mojo. Just add this to the plugins section of your pom:

<build>
  ...
  <plugin>
    <groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId>
    <artifactId>groovy-eclipse-compiler</artifactId>
    <version>2.8.0-01</version>
    <extensions>true</extensions>
  </plugin>
  ...
</build>

The <extensions>true</extensions> section is important because this redefines the default lifecycle of your project so that an extra phase is added. This phase has an extra goal attached to it that adds the two Groovy source folders.

Use the build-helper-maven-plugin

(You only need this approach if your project has an empty src/main/java or src/test/java.)

The build-helper-maven-plugin allows you to do things like adding extra source folders to your project without needing to redefine the default lifecycle. You need to add this configuration to your build plugin section:

<build>
  ...
  <plugin>
    <groupId>org.codehaus.mojo</groupId>
    <artifactId>build-helper-maven-plugin</artifactId>
    <version>1.5</version>
    <executions>
      <execution>
        <id>add-source</id>
        <phase>generate-sources</phase>
        <goals>
          <goal>add-source</goal>
        </goals>
        <configuration>
          <sources>
            <source>src/main/groovy</source>
          </sources>
        </configuration>
      </execution>
      <execution>
        <id>add-test-source</id>
        <phase>generate-test-sources</phase>
        <goals>
          <goal>add-test-source</goal>
        </goals>
        <configuration>
          <sources>
            <source>src/test/groovy</source>
          </sources>
        </configuration>
      </execution>
    </executions>
  </plugin>
  ...
</build>

The benefit of using this approach is that you do not need to make any changes to the default lifecycle. The downside is, of course, that you need 31 lines of configuration to do this!

Sample project and source code

There is an archetype available for this project. You can use it through a command like this:

mvn archetype:generate \
    -DarchetypeGroupId=org.codehaus.groovy \
    -DarchetypeArtifactId=groovy-eclipse-quickstart \
    -DarchetypeVersion=2.5.2-01 \
    -DgroupId=foo \
    -DartifactId=bar \
    -Dversion=1 \
    -DinteractiveMode=false \
    -DarchetypeRepository=https://nexus.codehaus.org/content/repositories/snapshots/

(This archetype is not actively maintained.)

A sample project using the compiler plugin as well as the source code for the plugin itself are available from the github repository:

The full URL to the maven projects is:https://github.com/groovy/groovy-eclipse/tree/master/extrasThere are several projects in the repository:groovy-eclipse-compiler : the compiler plugin itself (an m2eclipse project).groovy-eclipse-batch-builder : a set of ant scripts and configuration files used to build the groovy-eclipse-batch artifact. This artifact is an amalgamation of all jars required for compiling Groovy and Java code in Eclipse, including ecj (the Eclipse compiler for Java), the non-UI components of Groovy-Eclipse, the Groovy jars, and various required Eclipse bundles.groovy-eclipse-maven-tests : a sample project that uses the compiler plugin (an m2eclipse project).org.codehaus.groovy.m2eclipse : an Eclipse plugin that provides integration between Groovy-Eclipse and m2eclipse (the Maven tooling for Eclipse).Feature org.codehaus.groovy.m2eclipse : an Eclipse feature that is required for building and releasing the org.codehaus.groovy.m2eclipse plugin.

The sample project and archetype is not maintained as well as we would like. Some community help with this would be greatly appreciated. Please see GRECLIPSE-1285.

Why another Groovy compiler for Maven? What about GMaven?

GMaven 2.0 and later no longer supports compilation.  You can read more about this on the GMaven 2 project page. GMaven 1.x is now deprecated.

GMaven 1.x had limitations over the groovy-eclipse-compiler and for the following reasons GMaven 2.0 compilation is no longer supported:

  1. The compiler plugin does not require the creation of Java stubs so that your Groovy files can compile against Java files. This will prevent some arcane compile errors from appearing.

  2. The Groovy-Eclipse compiler is the same inside Eclipse and inside Maven, and so configuration across the two platforms can be simplified.

  3. The compiler plugin is a standard compiler plugin for Maven. It therefore follows all allows all the same standard configuration that the Javac compiler plugin uses. This makes it simpler to introduce Groovy into an existing Maven project. All you need to do is change the compiler plugin that the pom references.

There are still some reasons to use GMaven:

  1. GroovyDoc tool is not supported because the compiler plugin does not produce stubs.

  2. Groovy Mojos are not supported.

  3. Groovy scripts cannot be executed in your poms.

Whether or not the Groovy-Eclipse compiler plugin for Maven is appropriate for your project will depend on your requirements.

Project Lombok

Project Lombok is compatible with the groovy-eclipse-compiler.  There is some extra configuration that you need to do.  The lombok jar needs to be added to both the build and compile dependencies sections:

<dependency>
  <groupId>org.projectlombok</groupId>
  <artifactId>lombok</artifactId>
  <version>0.10.4</version>
</dependency>

Also, the following configuration needs to be added to the maven-compiler-plugin configuration:

<configuration>
  <compilerId>groovy-eclipse-compiler</compilerId>
  <verbose>true</verbose>
  <compilerArguments>
    <javaAgentClass>lombok.core.Agent</javaAgentClass>
  </compilerArguments>
  <fork>true</fork>
</configuration>
Groovy-Eclipse configurator for m2Eclipse

If you are going to be working with your maven project inside of Eclipse, it is strongly recommended that you use m2eclipse. And to use your Groovy projects with m2eclipse, you will need to install the Groovy-Eclipse configurator for m2eclipse. This feature is available any of the Groovy-Eclipse update sites (e.g., nightly, milestone, or release). Just go to your Eclipse update manager and add the Groovy-Eclipse update sites (if you haven’t done so already). Select the Groovy-Eclipse M2E integration.

Release Builds

Eclipse level

Release update site

4.2 (Juno)

http://dist.springsource.org/release/GRECLIPSE/e4.2

3.7 (Indigo)

http://dist.springsource.org/release/GRECLIPSE/e3.7

Development Builds

Eclipse level

Development update site

4.2 (Juno)

http://dist.springsource.org/snapshot/GRECLIPSE/e4.2

3.7 (Indigo)

http://dist.springsource.org/snapshot/GRECLIPSE/e3.7

The Groovy-Eclipse configurator for m2eclipse is not compatible with AspectJ or Scala.  So you cannot use a joint AspectJ/Scala/Groovy project in Eclipse. These languages must be separated into separate sub-projects.

Where to find more information and ask questions

Please ask all questions on the Groovy-Eclipse mailing list. Any bugs or feature enhancements should go on Groovy-Eclipse’s jira.

The compiler plugin was originally described here and here, but these posts are no longer updated and this page will always contain the more recent information.

2.1.6. Joint compilation

Joint compilation means that the Groovy compiler will parse the Groovy source files, create stubs for all of them, invoke the Java compiler to compile the stubs along with Java sources, and then continue compilation in the normal Groovy compiler way. This allows mixing of Java and Groovy files without constraint.

Joint compilation can be enabled using the -j flag with the command-line compiler, or using using a nested tag and all the attributes and further nested tags as required for the Ant task.

It is important to know that if you don’t enable joint compilation and try to compile Java source files with the Groovy compiler, the Java source files will be compiled as if they were Groovy sources. In some situations, this might work since most of the Java syntax is compatible with Groovy, but semantics would be different. = groovysh, the Groovy shell

2.2. Groovy : Groovy Shell

The Groovy Shell, aka. groovysh is a command-line application which allows easy access to evaluate Groovy expressions, define classes and run simple experiments.

2.2.1. Features

  • No need for go command to execute buffer.

  • Rich cross-platform edit-line editing, history and completion thanks to JLine.

  • ANSI colors (prompt, exception traces, etc).

  • Simple, yet robust, command system with online help, user alias support and more.

  • User profile support

2.2.2. Command-line Options and Arguments

The shell supports several options to control verbosity, ANSI coloring and other features.

./bin/groovysh --help
usage: groovysh [options] [...]
  -C, --color[=FLAG]         Enable or disable use of ANSI colors
  -D, --define=NAME=VALUE    Define a system property
  -T, --terminal=TYPE        Specify the terminal TYPE to use
  -V, --version              Display the version
  -d, --debug                Enable debug output
  -h, --help                 Display this help message
  -q, --quiet                Suppress superfluous output
  -v, --verbose              Enable verbose output

In addition to options, commands or expressions can be given on the command-line which will invoke the shell in non-interactive mode. The commands or expressions will be evaluated and the shell will exit. If no additional arguments are given the shell will startup interactively.

Execute a Command
./bin/groovysh 'show preferences'
No preferences are set
Evaluate an Expression
./bin/groovysh 'System.properties.each { k, v -> println("$k = $v") }'
java.runtime.name = Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition
sun.boot.library.path = /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.5.0/Libraries
java.vm.version = 1.5.0_07-87
awt.nativeDoubleBuffering = true
gopherProxySet = false
...

2.2.3. Evaluating Expressions

Simple Expressions
println "Hello"
Evaluation Result

When a complete expression is found, it is compiled and evaluated. The result of the evaluation is stored into the _ variable.

Multi-line Expressions

Multi-line/complex expressions (like closure or class definitions) may be defined over several lines. When the shell detects that it has a complete expression it will compile and evaluate it.

Define a Class
class Foo {
    def bar() {
        println "baz"
    }
}
Use the Class
foo = new Foo()
foo.bar()
Variables

Shell variables are all untyped (ie. no def or other type information).

This will set a shell variable:

foo = "bar"

But, this will evaluate a local variable and will not be saved to the shell’s environment:

def foo = "bar"
Functions

Functions can be defined in the shell, and will be saved for later use.

Defining a function is easy:

groovy:000> def hello(name) {
groovy:001> println("Hello $name")
groovy:002> }

And then using it is as one might expect:

hello("Jason")

Internally the shell creates a closure to encapsulate the function and then binds the closure to a variable. So variables and functions share the same namespace.

2.2.4. Commands

The shell has a number of different commands, which provide rich access to the shell’s environment.

Commands all have a name and a shortcut (which is something like \h). Commands may also have some predefined system aliases. Users may also create their own aliases.

Recognized Commands
help

Display the list of commands (and aliases) or the help text for specific command.

The Command List

groovy:000> help

For information about Groovy, visit:
    http://groovy.codehaus.org

Available commands:
  help      (\h ) Display this help message
  ?         (\? ) Alias to: help
  exit      (\x ) Exit the shell
  quit      (\q ) Alias to: exit
  import    (\i ) Import a class into the namespace
  display   (\d ) Display the current buffer
  clear     (\c ) Clear the buffer and reset the prompt counter.
  show      (\S ) Show variables, classes or imports
  inspect   (\n ) Inspect a variable or the last result with the GUI object browser
  purge     (\p ) Purge variables, classes, imports or preferences
  edit      (\e ) Edit the current buffer
  load      (\l ) Load a file or URL into the buffer
  .         (\. ) Alias to: load
  save      (\s ) Save the current buffer to a file
  record    (\r ) Record the current session to a file
  history   (\H ) Display, manage and recall edit-line history
  alias     (\a ) Create an alias
  set       (\= ) Set (or list) preferences
  register  (\rc) Registers a new command with the shell
  doc       (\D ) Opens a browser window displaying the doc for the argument

For help on a specific command type:
    help <command>

Help for a Command

While in the interactive shell, you can ask for help for any command to get more details about its syntax or function. Here is an example of what happens when you ask for help for the help command:

groovy:000> help help

usage: help [<command>]

Display the list of commands or the help text for <command>.
exit

Exit the shell.

This is the only way to exit the shell. Well, you can still CTRL-C, but the shell will complain about an abnormal shutdown of the JVM.

import

Add a custom import which will be included for all shell evaluations.

This command can be given at any time to add new imports.

display

Display the contents of the current buffer.

This only displays the buffer of an incomplete expression. Once the expression is complete, the buffer is rest. The prompt will update to show the size of the current buffer as well.

Example

groovy:000> class Foo {
groovy:001> def bar
groovy:002> def baz() {
groovy:003> display
 001> class Foo {
 002> def bar
 003> def baz() {
clear

Clears the current buffer, resetting the prompt counter to 000. Can be used to recover from compilation errors.

show

Show variables, classes or preferences or imports.

show variables

groovy:000> show variables
Variables:
  _ = true

show classes

show imports

show preferences

show all

inspect

Opens the GUI object browser to inspect a variable or the result of the last evaluation.

purge

Purges objects from the shell.

purge variables

purge classes

purge imports

purge preferences

purge all

edit

Edit the current buffer in an external editor.

Currently only works on UNIX systems which have the EDITOR environment variable set, or have configured the editor preference.

load

Load one or more files (or urls) into the buffer.

save

Saves the buffer’s contents to a file.

record

Record the current session to a file.

record start

record stop

record status

history

Display, manage and recall edit-line history.

history show

history recall

history flush

history clear

alias

Create an alias.

doc

Opens a browser with documentation for the provided class. For example:

doc java.net.URL

will open two windows (or tabs, depending on your browser):

  • one for the JDK documentation

  • one for the GDK documentation

set

Set or list preferences.

2.2.5. Preferences

Some of aspects of groovysh behaviors can be customized by setting preferences. Preferences are set using the set command or the \= shortcut.

Recognized Preferences
verbosity

Set the shell’s verbosity level. Expected to be one of:

  • DEBUG

  • VERBOSE

  • INFO

  • QUIET

Default is INFO.

If this preference is set to an invalid value, then the previous setting will be used, or if there is none, then the preference is removed and the default is used.

show-last-result

Show the last result after an execution.

Default is true.

sanitize-stack-trace

Sanitize (trim-down/filter) stack traces.

Default is true.

editor

Configures the editor used by the edit command.

Default is the value of the system environment variable EDITOR.

Mac OS XTo use TextEdit, the default text editor on Mac OS X, configure: set editor /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit

Setting a Preference
set verbosity DEBUG
Listing Preferences

To list the current set preferences (and their values):

show preferences

LimitationAt the moment, there is no way to list all of the known/available preferences to be set.

Clearing Preferences (ie. Resetting to Defaults)
purge preferences

2.2.6. User Profile Scripts and State

Profile Scripts
$HOME/.groovy/groovysh.profile

This script, if it exists, is loaded when the shell starts up.

$HOME/.groovy/groovysh.rc

This script, if it exists, is loaded when the shell enters interactive mode.

State
$HOME/.groovy/groovysh.history

Edit-line history is stored in this file.

2.2.7. Custom commands

The register command allows you to register custom commands in the shell. For example, writing the following will register the Stats command:

register Stats

where the Stats class is a class extending the org.codehaus.groovy.tools.shell.CommandSupport class. For example:

import org.codehaus.groovy.tools.shell.CommandSupport
import org.codehaus.groovy.tools.shell.Groovysh

class Stats extends CommandSupport {
    protected Stats(final Groovysh shell) {
        super(shell, 'stats', 'T')
    }

    public Object execute(List args) {
        println "Free memory: ${Runtime.runtime.freeMemory()}"
    }

}

Then the command can be called using:

groovy:000> stats
stats
Free memory: 139474880
groovy:000>

Note that the command class must be found on classpath: you cannot define a new command from within the shell.

2.2.8. Screen Shots

These shots have been taken over the development of the new shell, so some of the content might look slightly different. Also, note the yellow colors here are the shell’s bold color, so the colors might look different depending on how the enclosing shell has its colors setup.

image

image

image

2.2.9. Troubleshooting

Please report any problems you run into. Please be sure to mark the JIRA issue with the Groovysh component.

Platform Problems
Problems loading the JLine DLL

On Windows, JLine (which is used for the fancy shell input/history/completion fluff), uses a tiny DLL file to trick the evil Windows faux-shell (CMD.EXE or COMMAND.COM) into providing Java with unbuffered input. In some rare cases, this might fail to load or initialize.

One solution is to disable the frills and use the unsupported terminal instance. You can do that on the command-line using the --terminal flag and set it to one of:

  • none

  • false

  • off

  • jline.UnsupportedTerminal

groovysh --terminal=none
Problems with Cygwin on Windows

as Some people have issues when running groovysh with cygwin. If you have troubles, the following may help:

stty -icanon min 1 -echo
groovysh --terminal=unix
stty icanon echo

2.3. groovyConsole, the Groovy swing console

2.3.1. Groovy : Groovy Console

The Groovy Swing Console allows a user to enter and run Groovy scripts. This page documents the features of this user interface.

2.3.2. Basics

image

  1. Groovy Console is launched via groovyConsole or groovyConsole.bat, both located in $GROOVY_HOME/bin

  2. The Console has an input area and an output area.

  3. You type a Groovy script in the input area.

  4. When you select Run from the Actions menu, the console compiles the script and runs it.

  5. Anything that would normally be printed on System.out is printed in the output area.

  6. If the script returns a non-null result, that result is printed.

2.3.3. Features

Running Scripts

There are several shortcuts that you can use to run scripts or code snippets:

  • Ctrl+Enter and Ctrl+R are both shortcut keys for Run Script.

  • If you highight just part of the text in the input area, then Groovy runs just that text.

  • The result of a script is the the value of the last expression executed.

  • You can turn the System.out capture on and off by selecting Capture System.out from the Actions menu

Editing Files

You can open any text file, edit it, run it (as a Groovy Script) and then save it again when you are finished.

  • Select File > Open (shortcut key ctrl+O) to open a file

  • Select File > Save (shortcut key ctrl+S) to save a file

  • Select File > New File (shortcut key ctrl+Q) to start again with a blank input area

History and results
  • You can pop-up a gui inspector on the last (non-null) result by selecting Inspect Last from the Actions menu. The inspector is a convenient way to view lists and maps.

  • The console remembers the last ten script runs. You can scroll back and forth through the history by selecting Next and Previous from the Edit menu. Ctrl-N and ctrl-P are convenient shortcut keys.

  • The last (non-null) result is bound to a variable named _ (an underscore).

  • The last result (null and non-null) for every run in the history is bound into a list variable named __ (two underscores). The result of the last run is __[-1], the result of the second to last run is __[-2] and so forth.

Interrupting a script

The Groovy console is a very handy tool to develop scripts. Often, you will find yourself running a script multiple times until it works the way you want it to. However, what if your code takes too long to finish or worse, creates an infinite loop? Interrupting script execution can be acheived by clicking the interrupt button on the small dialog box that pops up when a script is executing or through the interrupt icon in the tool bar.

Toolbar

However, this may not be sufficient to interrupt a script: clicking the button will interrupt the execution thread, but if your code doesn’t handle the interrupt flag, the script is likely to keep running without you being able to effectively stop it. To avoid that, you have to make sure that the Script > Allow interruption menu item is flagged. This will automatically apply an AST transformation to your script which will take care of checking the interrupt flag (@ThreadInterrupt). This way, you guarantee that the script can be interrupted even if you don’t explicitly handle interruption, at the cost of extra execution time.

And more
  • You can change the font size by selecting Smaller Font or Larger Font from the Actions menu

  • The console can be run as an Applet thanks to groovy.ui.ConsoleApplet

  • Code is auto indented when you hit return

  • You can drag’n drop a Groovy script over the text area to open a file

  • You can modify the classpath with which the script in the console is being run by adding a new JAR or a directory to the classpath from the Script menu

  • Error hyperlinking from the output area when a compilation error is expected or when an exception is thrown

2.3.4. Embedding the Console

To embed a Swing console in your application, simply create the Console object,
load some variables, and then launch it. The console can be embedded in either Java or Groovy code.
The Java code for this is:

import groovy.ui.Console;

    ...

    Console console = new Console();
    console.setVariable("var1", getValueOfVar1());
    console.setVariable("var2", getValueOfVar2());
    console.run();

    ...

Once the console is launched, you can use the variable values in Groovy code.

An example of how to embed either the GroovyConsole or GroovyShell in a Spring Web application can be found at Embedding a Groovy Console in a Java Server Application

2.3.5. Visualizing script output results

You can customize the way script output results are visualized. Let’s see how we can customize this. For example, viewing a map result would show something like this:

image

What you see here is the usual textual representation of a Map. But, what if we enabled custom visualization of certain results? The Swing console allows you to do just that. First of all, you have to ensure that the visualization option is ticked: View -> Visualize Script Results — for the record, all settings of the Groovy Console are stored and remembered thanks to the Preference API. There are a few result visualizations built-in: if the script returns a java.awt.Image, a javax.swing.Icon, or a java.awt.Component with no parent, the object is displayed instead of its toString() representation. Otherwise, everything else is still just represented as text. Now, create the following Groovy script in ~/.groovy/OutputTransforms.groovy:

import javax.swing.*

transforms << { result ->
    if (result instanceof Map) {
        def table = new JTable(
            result.collect{ k, v ->
                [k, v?.inspect()] as Object[]
            } as Object[][],
            ['Key', 'Value'] as Object[])
        table.preferredViewportSize = table.preferredSize
        return new JScrollPane(table)
    }
}

The Groovy Swing console will execute that script on startup, injecting a transforms list in the binding of the script, so that you can add your own script results representations. In our case, we transform the Map into a nice-looking Swing JTable. And we’re now able to visualize maps in a friendly and attractive fashion, as the screenshot below shows:

image

2.3.6. AST browser

Groovy Console can visualize the AST (Abstract Syntax Tree) representing the currently edited script, as shown by the screenshot below. This is particularly handy when you want to develop AST transformations.

AST Browser

2.4. groovydoc, the Groovy & Java documentation generator

GroovyDoc is a tool responsible for generating documentation from your code. It acts like the Javadoc tool in the Java world but is capable of handling both groovy and java files. The distribution comes with two ways of generating documentation: from command line or from Apache Ant. Other build tools like Maven or Gradle also offer wrappers for Groovydoc.

2.4.1. The groovydoc command line tool

The groovydoc command line can be invoked to generate groovydocs:

groovydoc [options] [packagenames] [sourcefiles]

where options must be picked from the following table:

Short version Long version Description

-windowtitle <text>

Browser window title for the documentation

-author

Include @author paragraphs (currently not used)

-charset <charset>

Charset for cross-platform viewing of generated documentation

-classpath, -cp

--classpath

Specify where to find the class files - must be first argument

-d

--destdir <dir>

Destination directory for output files

--debug

Enable debug output

-doctitle <html>

Include title for the overview page

-exclude <pkglist>

Specify a list of packages to exclude (separated by colons for all operating systems)

-fileEncoding <charset>

Charset for generated documentation files

-footer <html>

Include footer text for each page

-header <html>

Include header text for each page

-help

--help

Display help message

-nomainforscripts

Don’t include the implicit public static void main method for scripts

-noscripts

Don’t process Groovy Scripts

-overview <file>

Read overview documentation from HTML file

-package

Show package/protected/public classes and members

-private

Show all classes and members

-protected

Show protected/public classes and members (default)

-public

Show only public classes and members

-quiet

Suppress superfluous output

-sourcepath <pathlist>

Specify where to find source files (dirs separated by platform path separator)

-stylesheetfile <path>

File to change style of the generated documentation

-verbose

Enable verbose output

--version

Display the version

2.4.2. The groovydoc Ant task

The groovydoc Ant task allows generating groovydocs from an Ant build.

Required taskdef

Assuming groovy-all-2.3.0-SNAPSHOT.jar is in my.classpath you will need to declare this task at some point in the build.xml prior to the groovydoc task being invoked.

<taskdef name         = "groovydoc"
         classname    = "org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovydoc"
         classpathref = "my.classpath"/>
<groovydoc> Attributes
Attribute Description Required

private

Show all classes and members (i.e. including private ones) if set to “true”.

No

destdir

Location to store the class files.

Yes

sourcepath

The sourcepath to use.

No

packagenames

Comma separated list of package files (with terminating wildcard).

No

use

Create class and package usage pages.

No

windowtitle

Browser window title for the documentation (text).

No

doctitle

Include title for the package index(first) page (html-code).

No

header

Include header text for each page (html-code).

No

footer

Include footer text for each page (html-code).

No

overview

Read overview documentation from HTML file.

No

<groovydoc> Nested Elements

Create link to groovydoc/javadoc output at the given URL.

Attribute Description Required

href

Base URL of external site

Yes

packages

Comma separated list of package prefixes

Yes

Example #1 - <groovydoc> Ant task
<taskdef name           = "groovydoc"
         classname      = "org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovydoc"
         classpathref   = "path_to_groovy_all"/>

<groovydoc destdir      = "${docsDirectory}/gapi"
           sourcepath   = "${mainSourceDirectory}"
           packagenames = "**.*"
           use          = "true"
           windowtitle  = "${title}"
           doctitle     = "${title}"
           header       = "${title}"
           footer       = "${docFooter}"
           overview     = "src/main/overview.html"
           private      = "false">
        <link packages="java.,org.xml.,javax.,org.xml." href="http://download.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/api"/>
        <link packages="org.apache.tools.ant."          href="http://evgeny-goldin.org/javadoc/ant/api"/>
        <link packages="org.junit.,junit.framework."    href="http://kentbeck.github.com/junit/javadoc/latest"/>
        <link packages="groovy.,org.codehaus.groovy."   href="http://groovy.codehaus.org/api/"/>
        <link packages="org.codehaus.gmaven."           href="http://evgeny-goldin.org/javadoc/gmaven"/>
</groovydoc>
Example #2 - Executing <groovydoc> from Groovy
def ant = new AntBuilder()
ant.taskdef(name: "groovydoc", classname: "org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovydoc")
ant.groovydoc(
    destdir      : "${docsDirectory}/gapi",
    sourcepath   : "${mainSourceDirectory}",
    packagenames : "**.*",
    use          : "true",
    windowtitle  : "${title}",
    doctitle     : "${title}",
    header       : "${title}",
    footer       : "${docFooter}",
    overview     : "src/main/overview.html",
    private      : "false") {
        link(packages:"java.,org.xml.,javax.,org.xml.",href:"http://download.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/api")
        link(packages:"groovy.,org.codehaus.groovy.",  href:"http://groovy.codehaus.org/api")
        link(packages:"org.apache.tools.ant.",         href:"http://evgeny-goldin.org/javadoc/ant/api")
        link(packages:"org.junit.,junit.framework.",   href:"http://kentbeck.github.com/junit/javadoc/latest")
        link(packages:"org.codehaus.gmaven.",          href:"http://evgeny-goldin.org/javadoc/gmaven")
}
Custom templates

The groovydoc Ant task supports custom templates, but it requires two steps:

  1. A custom groovydoc class

  2. A new groovydoc task definition

Custom Groovydoc class

The first step requires you to extend the Groovydoc class, like in the following example:

package org.codehaus.groovy.tools.groovydoc;

import org.codehaus.groovy.ant.Groovydoc;

/**
 * Overrides GroovyDoc's default class template - for testing purpose only.
 *
 * @author Andre Steingress
 */
public class CustomGroovyDoc extends Groovydoc {

    @Override
    protected String[] getClassTemplates() {
        return new String[]{"org/codehaus/groovy/tools/groovydoc/testfiles/classDocName.html"};
    }
}

You can override the following methods:

  • getClassTemplates for class-level templates

  • getPackageTemplates for package-level templates

  • getDocTemplates for top-level templates

You can find the list of default templates in the org.codehaus.groovy.tools.groovydoc.gstringTemplates.GroovyDocTemplateInfo class.

Using the custom groovydoc task

Once you’ve written the class, using it is just a matter of redefining the groovydoc task:

<taskdef name           = "groovydoc"
         classname      = "org.codehaus.groovy.ant.CustomGroovyDoc"
         classpathref   = "path_to_groovy_all"/>

Please note that template customization is provided as is. APIs are subject to change, so you must consider this as a fragile feature.

2.5. IDE integration

The Groovy language is supported by lots of IDEs and text editors.

Editor Support level Syntax highlighting Code completion Refactoring

UltraEdit

Yes

Text based

No

Groovy Eclipse

Yes

Yes

Yes

IntelliJ IDEA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Netbeans

Yes

Yes

Yes

Groovy and Grails Toolsuite

Yes

Yes

Yes

Emacs Groovy Mode

Yes

Brackets

No

TextMate

Yes

Snippets

No

vim

Yes

No

No

3. User Guides

3.1. Getting started

3.1.1. Download

In this download area, you will be able to download the distribution (binary and source), the Windows installer and the documentation for Groovy.

For a quick and effortless start on Mac OSX, Linux or Cygwin, you can use GVM (the Groovy enVironment Manager) to download and configure any Groovy version of your choice. Basic instructions can be found below.

Stable

You can learn more about this version in the release notes or in the JIRA release notes.

If you plan on using invokedynamic support, read those notes.

Snapshots

For those who want to test the very latest versions of Groovy and live on the bleeding edge, you can use our snapshot builds. As soon as a build succeeds on our continuous integration server a snapshot is deployed to Codehaus' snapshot repository.

3.1.2. Maven Repository

If you wish to embed Groovy in your application, you may just prefer to point to your favourite maven repositories or the codehaus maven repository.

Stable Release
Gradle Maven Explanation

'org.codehaus.groovy:groovy:2.3.0-SNAPSHOT'

<groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId> <artifactId>groovy</artifactId> <version>2.3.0-SNAPSHOT</version>

Just the core of groovy without the modules (see below). Treats Antlr, ASM, etc. as standard dependencies. Only useful if you happen to also use the same versions of these jars yourself as it will save you having two copies of these jars.

'org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-$module:2.3.0-SNAPSHOT'

<groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId> <artifactId>groovy-$module</artifactId> <version>2.3.0-SNAPSHOT</version>

"$module" stands for the different optional groovy modules "ant", "bsf", "console", "docgenerator", "groovydoc", "groovysh", "jmx", "json", "jsr223", "servlet", "sql", "swing", "test", "testng" and "xml". Example: <artifactId>groovy-sql</artifactId>

'org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-all:2.3.0-SNAPSHOT'

<groupId>org.codehaus.groovy</groupId> <artifactId>groovy-all</artifactId> <version>2.3.0-SNAPSHOT</version>

The core plus all the modules. Also includes jar versions of Antlr, ASM, Commons-CLI and Retrotranslator runtime. Allows you or your other dependencies (e.g. Hibernate) to use other versions of these jars. Optional dependencies are marked as optional. You may need to include some of the optional dependencies to use some features of Groovy, e.g. AntBuilder, GroovyMBeans, etc.

To use the InvokeDynamic version of the jars just append ':indy' for Gradle or <classifier>indy</classifier> for Maven.

Snapshot Releases

In addition to the stable and milestone releases you can find intermediate SNAPSHOT releases at the codehaus snapshot maven repository.

3.1.3. GVM (the Groovy enVironment Manager)

This tool makes installing Groovy on any Bash platform (Mac OSX, Linux, Cygwin, Solaris or FreeBSD) very easy.

Simply open a new terminal and enter:

$ curl -s get.gvmtool.net | bash

Follow the instructions on-screen to complete installation.

Open a new terminal or type the command:

$ source "$HOME/.gvm/bin/gvm-init.sh"

Then install the latest stable Groovy:

$ gvm install groovy

After installation is complete and you’ve made it your default version, test it with:

$ groovy -version

That’s all there is to it!

3.1.4. Other ways to get Groovy

Installation on Mac OS X
MacPorts

If you’re on MacOS and have MacPorts installed, you can run:

sudo port install groovy
Homebrew

If you’re on MacOS and have Homebrew installed, you can run:

brew install groovy
Installation on Windows

If you’re on Windows, you can also use the NSIS Windows installer.

Other Distributions

You may download other distributions of Groovy from this site.

Source Code

If you prefer to live on the bleeding edge, you can also grab the source code from GitHub.

IDE plugin

If you are an IDE user, you can just grab the latest IDE plugin and follow the plugin installation instructions.

3.1.5. Install Binary

These instructions describe how to install a binary distribution of Groovy.

  • First, Download a binary distribution of Groovy and unpack it into some file on your local file system.

  • Set your GROOVY_HOME environment variable to the directory you unpacked the distribution.

  • Add GROOVY_HOME/bin to your PATH environment variable.

  • Set your JAVA_HOME environment variable to point to your JDK. On OS X this is /Library/Java/Home, on other unixes its often /usr/java etc. If you’ve already installed tools like Ant or Maven you’ve probably already done this step.

You should now have Groovy installed properly. You can test this by typing the following in a command shell:

groovysh

Which should create an interactive groovy shell where you can type Groovy statements. Or to run the Swing interactive console type:

groovyConsole

To run a specific Groovy script type:

groovy SomeScript

3.2. Differences with Java

Groovy tries to be as natural as possible for Java developers. We’ve tried to follow the principle of least surprise when designing Groovy, particularly for developers learning Groovy who’ve come from a Java background.

Here we list all the major differences between Java and Groovy.

3.2.1. Default imports

All these packages and classes are imported by default, i.e. you do not have to use an explicit import statement to use them:

  • java.io.*

  • java.lang.*

  • java.math.BigDecimal

  • java.math.BigInteger

  • java.net.*

  • java.util.*

  • groovy.lang.*

  • groovy.util.*

3.2.2. Multi-methods

In Groovy, the methods which will be invoked are chosen at runtime. This is called runtime dispatch or multi-methods. It means that the method will be chosen based on the types of the arguments at runtime. In Java, this is the opposite: methods are chosen at compile time, based on the declared types.

The following code, written as Java code, can be compiled in both Java and Groovy, but it will behave differently:

int method(String arg) {
    return 1;
}
int method(Object arg) {
    return 2;
}
Object o = "Object";
int result = method(o);

In Java, you would have:

assertEquals(2, result);

Whereas in Groovy:

assertEquals(1, result);

That is because Java will use the static information type, which is that o is declared as an Object, whereas Groovy will choose at runtime, when the method is actually called. Since it is called with a String, then the String version is called.

3.2.3. Array initializers

In Groovy, the { ... } block is reserved for closures. That means that you cannot create array literals with this syntax:

int[] array = { 1, 2, 3}

You actually have to use:

int[] array = [1,2,3]

3.2.4. Package scope visibility

In Groovy, omitting a modifier on a field doesn’t result in a package-private field like in Java:

class Person {
    String name
}

Instead, it is used to create a property, that is to say a private field, an associated getter and an associated _setter.

It is possible to create a package-private field by annotating it with @PackageScope:

class Person {
    @PackageScope String name
}

3.2.5. ARM blocks

ARM (Automatic Resource Management) block from Java 7 are not supported in Groovy. Instead, Groovy provides various methods relying on closures, which have the same effect while being more idiomatic. For example:

Path file = Paths.get("/path/to/file");
Charset charset = Charset.forName("UTF-8");
try (BufferedReader reader = Files.newBufferedReader(file, charset)) {
    String line;
    while ((line = reader.readLine()) != null) {
        System.out.println(line);
    }

} catch (IOException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
}

can be written like this:

new File('/path/to/file').eachLine('UTF-8') {
   println it
}

or, if you want a version closer to Java:

new File('/path/to/file').withReader('UTF-8') { reader ->
   reader.eachLine {
       println it
   }
}

3.2.6. Inner classes

The implementation of anonymous inner classes and nested classes follows the Java lead, but you should not take out the Java Language Spec and keep shaking the head about things that are different. The implementation done looks much like what we do for groovy.lang.Closure, with some benefits and some differences. Accessing private fields and methods for example can become a problem, but on the other hand local variables don’t have to be final.
Static inner classes

Here’s an example of static inner class:

class A {
    static class B {}
}

new A.B()

The usage of static inner classes is the best supported one. If you absolutely need an inner class, you should make it a static one.

Anonymous Inner Classes
boolean called = false

Timer timer = new Timer()
timer.schedule(new TimerTask() {
    void run() {
        called = true
    }
}, 0)
sleep 100

assert called
Creating Instances of Non-Static Inner Classes

In Java you can do this:

public class Y {
    public class X {}
    public X foo() {
        return new X();
    }
    public static X createX(Y y) {
        return y.new X();
    }
}

Groovy doesn’t support the y.new X() syntax. Instead, you have to write new X(y), like in the code below:

public class Y {
    public class X {}
    public X foo() {
        return new X()
    }
    public static X createX(Y y) {
        return new X(y)
    }
}
Caution though, Groovy supports calling methods with one parameter without giving an argument. The parameter will then have the value null. Basically the same rules apply to calling a constructor. There is a danger that you will write new X() instead of new X(this) for example. Since this might also be the regular way we have not yet found a good way to prevent this problem.

3.2.7. Lambdas

Java 8 supports lambdas and method references:

Runnable run = () -> System.out.println("Run");
list.forEach(System.out::println);

Java 8 lambdas can be more or less considered as anonymous inner classes. Groovy doesn’t support that syntax, but has closures instead:

Runnable run = { println 'run' }
list.each { println it } // or list.each(this.&println)

3.3. Groovy Development Kit (TBD)

3.3.1. Working with IO (TBD)

3.3.2. Working with collections (TBD)

3.3.3. Handy utilities

ConfigSlurper

ConfigSlurper is a utility class for reading configuration files defined in the form of Groovy scripts. Like it is the case with Java *.properties files, ConfigSlurper allows a dot notation. But in addition, it allows for Closure scoped configuration values and arbitrary object types.

def config = new ConfigSlurper().parse('''
    app.date = new Date()  (1)
    app.age  = 42
    app {                  (2)
        name = "Test${42}"
    }
''')

assert config.app.date instanceof Date
assert config.app.age == 42
assert config.app.name == 'Test42'
1 Usage of the dot notation
2 Usage of Closure scopes as an alternative to the dot notation

As can be seen in the above example, the parse method can be used to retrieve groovy.util.ConfigObject instances. The ConfigObject is a specialized java.util.Map implementation that either returns the configured value or a new ConfigObject instance but never null.

def config = new ConfigSlurper().parse('''
    app.date = new Date()
    app.age  = 42
    app.name = "Test${42}"
''')

assert config.test != null   (1)
1 config.test has not been specified yet it returns a ConfigObject when being called.

In the case of a dot being part of a configuration variable name, it can be escaped by using single or double quotes.

def config = new ConfigSlurper().parse('''
    app."person.age"  = 42
''')

assert config.app."person.age" == 42

In addition, ConfigSlurper comes with support for environments. The environments method can be used to hand over a Closure instance that itself may consist of a several sections. Let’s say we wanted to create a particular configuration value for the development environment. When creating the ConfigSlurper instance we can use the ConfigSlurper(String) constructor to specify the target environment.

def config = new ConfigSlurper('development').parse('''
  environments {
       development {
           app.port = 8080
       }

       test {
           app.port = 8082
       }

       production {
           app.port = 80
       }
  }
''')

assert config.app.port == 8080
The ConfigSlurper environments aren’t restricted to any particular environment names. It solely depends on the ConfigSlurper client code what value are supported and interpreted accordingly.

The environments method is built-in but the registerConditionalBlock method can be used to register other method names in addition to the environments name.

def slurper = new ConfigSlurper()
slurper.registerConditionalBlock('myProject', 'developers')   (1)

def config = slurper.parse('''
  sendMail = true

  myProject {
       developers {
           sendMail = false
       }
  }
''')

assert !config.sendMail
1 Once the new block is registered ConfigSlurper can parse it.

For Java integration purposes the toProperies method can be used to convert the ConfigObject to a java.util.Properties object that might be stored to a *.properties text file. Be aware though that the configuration values are converted to String instances during adding them to the newly created Properties instance.

def config = new ConfigSlurper().parse('''
    app.date = new Date()
    app.age  = 42
    app {
        name = "Test${42}"
    }
''')

def properties = config.toProperties()

assert properties."app.date" instanceof String
assert properties."app.age" == '42'
assert properties."app.name" == 'Test42'
Expando

The Expando class can be used to create a dynamically expandable object. Despite its name it does not use the ExpandoMetaClass underneath. Each Expando object represents a standalone, dynamically-crafted instance that can be extended with properties (or methods) at runtime.

def expando = new Expando()
expando.name = 'John'

assert expando.name == 'John'

A special case occurs when a dynamic property registers a Closure code block. Once being registered it can be invoked as it would be done with a method call.

def expando = new Expando()
expando.toString = { -> 'John' }
expando.say = { String s -> "John says: ${s}" }

assert expando as String == 'John'
assert expando.say('Hi') == 'John says: Hi'
Observable list, map and set

Groovy comes with observable lists, maps and sets. Each of these collections trigger java.beans.PropertyChangeEvent events when elements are added, removed or changed. Note that a PropertyChangeEvent is not only signaling that a certain event has occurred, moreover, it holds information on the property name and the old/new value a certain property has been changed to.

Depending on the type of change that has happened, observable collections might fire more specialized PropertyChangeEvent types. For example, adding an element to an observable list fires an ObservableList.ElementAddedEvent event.


def event                                       (1)
def listener = {
    if (it instanceof ObservableList.ElementEvent)  {  (2)
        event = it
    }
} as PropertyChangeListener


def observable = [1, 2, 3] as ObservableList    (3)
observable.addPropertyChangeListener(listener)  (4)

observable.add 42                               (5)

assert event instanceof ObservableList.ElementAddedEvent

def elementAddedEvent = event as ObservableList.ElementAddedEvent
assert elementAddedEvent.changeType == ObservableList.ChangeType.ADDED
assert elementAddedEvent.index == 3
assert elementAddedEvent.oldValue == null
assert elementAddedEvent.newValue == 42
1 Declares a PropertyChangeEventListener that is capturing the fired events
2 ObservableList.ElementEvent and its descendant types are relevant for this listener
3 Registers the listener
4 Creates an ObservableList from the given list
5 Triggers an ObservableList.ElementAddedEvent event
Be aware that adding an element in fact causes two events to be triggered. The first is of type ObservableList.ElementAddedEvent, the second is a plain PropertyChangeEvent that informs listeners about the change of property size.

The ObservableList.ElementClearedEvent event type is another interesting one. Whenever multiple elements are removed, for example when calling clear(), it holds the elements being removed from the list.

def event
def listener = {
    if (it instanceof ObservableList.ElementEvent)  {
        event = it
    }
} as PropertyChangeListener


def observable = [1, 2, 3] as ObservableList
observable.addPropertyChangeListener(listener)

observable.clear()

assert event instanceof ObservableList.ElementClearedEvent

def elementClearedEvent = event as ObservableList.ElementClearedEvent
assert elementClearedEvent.values == [1, 2, 3]
assert observable.size() == 0

To get an overview of all the supported event types the reader is encouraged to have a look at the JavaDoc documentation or the source code of the observable collection in use.

ObservableMap and ObservableSet come with the same concepts as we have seen for ObservableList in this section.

3.4. Metaprogramming

The Groovy language supports two flavors of metaprogramming: runtime metaprogramming and compile-time metaprogramming. The first one allows altering the class model and the behavior of a program at runtime, while the second only occurs at compile-time. Both have pros and cons, that we will detail in this section.

3.4.1. Runtime metaprogramming (TBD)

GroovyObject interface (TBD)
invokeMethod (TBD)
get/setProperty (TBD)
get/setMetaClass (TBD)
get/setAttribute (TBD)
methodMissing

Groovy supports the concept of methodMissing. This method differs from invokeMethod in that it is only invoked in the case of a failed method dispatch, when no method can be found for the given name and/or the given arguments.

class Foo {
   def methodMissing(String name, def args) {
        return "this is me"
   }
}

assert new Foo().someUnknownMethod(42l) == 'this is me'

Typically when using methodMissing the code will react in some way that makes it possible for the next time the same method is called, that it goes through the regular Groovy method dispatch logic.

For example consider dynamic finders in GORM. These are implemented in terms of methodMissing. The code resembles something like this:

class GORM {
   def dynamicMethods = [...] // an array of dynamic methods that use regex
   def methodMissing(String name, args) {
       def method = dynamicMethods.find { it.match(name) }
       if(method) {
          GORM.metaClass."$name" = { Object[] varArgs ->
             method.invoke(delegate, name, varArgs)
          }
          return method.invoke(delegate,name, args)
       }
       else throw new MissingMethodException(name, delegate, args)
   }
}

Notice how, if we find a method to invoke then we dynamically register a new method on the fly using ExpandoMetaClass. This is so that the next time the same method is called it is more efficient. This way methodMissing doesn’t have the overhead of invokeMethod and is not expensive for the second call.

propertyMissing

Groovy supports the concept of propertyMissing for intercepting otherwise failing property resolution attempts. In the case of a getter method, propertyMissing takes a single String argument resembling the property name:

class Foo {
   def propertyMissing(String name) { name }
}

assert new Foo().boo == 'boo'

The propertyMissing(String) method is only called when no getter method for the given property can be found by the Groovy runtime.

For a setter methods a second propertyMissing definition can be added that takes an additional value argument:

class Foo {
   def storage = [:]
   def propertyMissing(String name, value) { storage[name] = value }
   def propertyMissing(String name) { storage[name] }
}

def f = new Foo()
f.foo = "bar"

assert f.foo == "bar"

As with methodMissing it is best practice to dynamically register new properties at runtime to improve the overall lookup performance.

methodMissing and propertyMissing that deal with static methods and properties can be added via the ExpandoMetaClass.
GroovyInterceptable (TBD)
Categories

There are situations where it is useful if a class not under control had additional methods. In order to enable this capability, Groovy implements a feature borrowed from Objective-C, called Categories.

Categories are implemented with so-called category classes. A category class is special in that it needs to meet certain pre-defined rules for defining extension methods.

There are a few categories that are included in the system for adding functionality to classes that make them more usable within the Groovy environment:

Category classes aren’t enabled by default. To use the methods defined in a category class it is necessary to apply the scoped use method that is provided by the GDK and available from inside every Groovy object instance:

use(TimeCategory)  {
    println 1.minute.from.now       (1)
    println 10.hours.ago

    def someDate = new Date()       (2)
    println someDate - 3.months
}
1 TimeCategory adds methods to Integer
2 TimeCategory adds methods to Date

The use method takes the category class as its first parameter and a closure code block as second parameter. Inside the Closure access to the category methods is available. As can be seen in the example above even JDK classes like java.lang.Integer or java.util.Date can be enriched with user-defined methods.

A category needs not to be directly exposed to the user code, the following will also do:

class JPACategory{
  // Let's enhance JPA EntityManager without getting into the JSR committee
  static void persistAll(EntityManager em , Object[] entities) { //add an interface to save all
    entities?.each { em.persist(it) }
  }
}

def transactionContext = {
  EntityManager em, Closure c ->
  def tx = em.transaction
  try {
    tx.begin()
    use(JPACategory) {
      c()
    }
    tx.commit()
  } catch (e) {
    tx.rollback()
  } finally {
    //cleanup your resource here
  }
}

// user code, they always forget to close resource in exception, some even forget to commit, let's not rely on them.
EntityManager em; //probably injected
transactionContext (em) {
 em.persistAll(obj1, obj2, obj3)
 // let's do some logics here to make the example sensible
 em.persistAll(obj2, obj4, obj6)
}

When we have a look at the groovy.time.TimeCategory class we see that the extension methods are all declared as static methods. In fact, this is one of the requirements that must be met by category classes for its methods to be successfully added to a class inside the use code block:

public class TimeCategory {

    public static Date plus(final Date date, final BaseDuration duration) {
        return duration.plus(date);
    }

    public static Date minus(final Date date, final BaseDuration duration) {
        final Calendar cal = Calendar.getInstance();

        cal.setTime(date);
        cal.add(Calendar.YEAR, -duration.getYears());
        cal.add(Calendar.MONTH, -duration.getMonths());
        cal.add(Calendar.DAY_OF_YEAR, -duration.getDays());
        cal.add(Calendar.HOUR_OF_DAY, -duration.getHours());
        cal.add(Calendar.MINUTE, -duration.getMinutes());
        cal.add(Calendar.SECOND, -duration.getSeconds());
        cal.add(Calendar.MILLISECOND, -duration.getMillis());

        return cal.getTime();
    }

    // ...

Another requirement is the first argument of the static method must define the type the method is attached to once being activated. The other arguments are the normal arguments the method will take as parameters.

Because of the parameter and static method convention, category method definitions may be a bit less intuitive than normal method definitions. As an alternative Groovy comes with a @Category annotation that transforms annotated classes into category classes at compile-time.

class Distance {
    def number
    String toString() { "${number}m" }
}

@Category(Number)
class NumberCategory {
    Distance getMeters() {
        new Distance(number: this)
    }
}

use (NumberCategory)  {
    assert 42.meters.toString() == '42m'
}

Applying the @Category annotation has the advantage of being able to use instance methods without the target type as a first parameter. The target type class is given as an argument to the annotation instead.

There is a distinct section on @Category in the compile-time metaprogramming section.
Metaclasses (TBD)
Custom metaclasses (TBD)
Delegating metaclass (TBD)
Magic package (TBD)
Per instance metaclass (TBD)
ExpandoMetaClass

Groovy comes with a special MetaClass the so-called ExpandoMetaClass. It is special in that it allows for dynamically adding or changing methods, constructors, properties and even static methods by using a neat closure syntax.

Applying those modifications can be especially useful in mocking or stubbing scenarios as shown in the Testing Guide.

Every java.lang.Class is supplied by Groovy with a special metaClass property that will give you a reference to an ExpandoMetaClass instance. This instance can then be used to add methods or change the behaviour of already existing ones.

By default ExpandoMetaClass doesn’t do inheritance. To enable this you must call ExpandoMetaClass#enableGlobally() before your app starts such as in the main method or servlet bootstrap.

The following sections go into detail on how ExpandoMetaClass can be used in various scenarios.

Methods

Once the ExpandoMetaClass is accessed by calling the metaClass property, methods can added by using either the left shift << or the = operator.

Note that the left shift operator is used to append a new method. If the method already exists an exception will be thrown. If you want to replace a method you can use the = operator.

The operators are applied on a non-existent property of metaClass passing an instance of a Closure code block.

class Book {
   String title
}

Book.metaClass.titleInUpperCase << {-> title.toUpperCase() }

def b = new Book(title:"The Stand")

assert "THE STAND" == b.titleInUpperCase()

The example above shows how a new method can be added to a class by accessing the metaClass property and using the << or = operator to assign a Closure code block. The Closure parameters are interpreted as method parameters. Parameterless methods can be added by using the {-> ...} syntax.

Properties

ExpandoMetaClass supports two mechanisms for adding or overriding properties.

Firstly, it has support for declaring a mutable property by simply assigning a value to a property of metaClass:

class Book {
   String title
}

Book.metaClass.author = "Stephen King"
def b = new Book()

assert "Stephen King" == b.author

Another way is to add getter and/or setter methods by using the standard mechanisms for adding instance methods.

class Book {
  String title
}
Book.metaClass.getAuthor << {-> "Stephen King" }

def b = new Book()

assert "Stephen King" == b.author

In the source code example above the property is dictated by the closure and is a read-only property. It is feasible to add an equivalent setter method but then the property value needs to be stored for later usage. This could be done as shown in the following example.

class Book {
  String title
}

def properties = Collections.synchronizedMap([:])

Book.metaClass.setAuthor = { String value ->
   properties[System.identityHashCode(delegate) + "author"] = value
}
Book.metaClass.getAuthor = {->
   properties[System.identityHashCode(delegate) + "author"]
}

This is not the only technique however. For example in a servlet container one way might be to store the values in the currently executing request as request attributes (as is done in some cases in Grails).

Constructors

Constructors can be added by using a special constructor property. Either the << or = operator can be used to assign a Closure code block. The Closure arguments will become the constructor arguments when the code is executed at runtime.

class Book {
    String title
}
Book.metaClass.constructor << { String title -> new Book(title:title) }

def book = new Book('Groovy in Action - 2nd Edition')
assert book.title == 'Groovy in Action - 2nd Edition'
Be careful when adding constructors however, as it is very easy to get into stack overflow troubles.
Static Methods

Static methods can be added using the same technique as instance methods with the addition of the static qualifier before the method name.

class Book {
   String title
}

Book.metaClass.static.create << { String title -> new Book(title:title) }

def b = Book.create("The Stand")
Borrowing Methods

With ExpandoMetaClass it is possible to use Groovy’s method pointer syntax to borrow methods from other classes.

class Person {
    String name
}
class MortgageLender {
   def borrowMoney() {
      "buy house"
   }
}

def lender = new MortgageLender()

Person.metaClass.buyHouse = lender.&borrowMoney

def p = new Person()

assert "buy house" == p.buyHouse()
Dynamic Method Names

Since Groovy allows you to use Strings as property names this in turns allows you to dynamically create method and property names at runtime. To create a method with a dynamic name simply use the language feature of reference property names as strings.

class Person {
   String name = "Fred"
}

def methodName = "Bob"

Person.metaClass."changeNameTo${methodName}" = {-> delegate.name = "Bob" }

def p = new Person()

assert "Fred" == p.name

p.changeNameToBob()

assert "Bob" == p.name

The same concept can be applied to static methods and properties.

One application of dynamic method names can be found in the Grails web application framework. The concept of "dynamic codecs" is implemented by using dynamic method names.

HTMLCodec Class
class HTMLCodec {
    static encode = { theTarget ->
        HtmlUtils.htmlEscape(theTarget.toString())
    }

    static decode = { theTarget ->
    	HtmlUtils.htmlUnescape(theTarget.toString())
    }
}

The example above shows a codec implementation. Grails comes with various codec implementations each defined in a single class. At runtime there will be multiple codec classes in the application classpath. At application startup the framework adds a encodeXXX and a decodeXXX method to certain meta-classes where XXX is the first part of the codec class name (e.g. encodeHTML). This mechanism is in the following shown in some Groovy pseudo-code:

def codecs = classes.findAll { it.name.endsWith('Codec') }

codecs.each { codec ->
    Object.metaClass."encodeAs${codec.name-'Codec'}" = { codec.newInstance().encode(delegate) }
    Object.metaClass."decodeFrom${codec.name-'Codec'}" = { codec.newInstance().decode(delegate) }
}


def html = '<html><body>hello</body></html>'

assert '<html><body>hello</body></html>' == html.encodeAsHTML()
Runtime Discovery

At runtime it is often useful to know what other methods or properties exist at the time the method is executed. ExpandoMetaClass provides the following methods as of this writing:

  • getMetaMethod

  • hasMetaMethod

  • getMetaProperty

  • hasMetaProperty

Why can’t you just use reflection? Well because Groovy is different, it has the methods that are "real" methods and methods that are available only at runtime. These are sometimes (but not always) represented as MetaMethods. The MetaMethods tell you what methods are available at runtime, thus your code can adapt.

This is of particular use when overriding invokeMethod, getProperty and/or setProperty.

GroovyObject Methods

Another feature of ExpandoMetaClass is that it allows to override the methods invokeMethod, getProperty and setProperty, all of them can be found in the groovy.lang.GroovyObject class.

The following example shows how to override invokeMethod:

class Stuff {
   def invokeMe() { "foo" }
}

Stuff.metaClass.invokeMethod = { String name, args ->
   def metaMethod = Stuff.metaClass.getMetaMethod(name, args)
   def result
   if(metaMethod) result = metaMethod.invoke(delegate,args)
   else {
      result = "bar"
   }
   result
}

def stf = new Stuff()

assert "foo" == stf.invokeMe()
assert "bar" == stf.doStuff()

The first step in the Closure code is to lookup the MetaMethod for the given name and arguments. If the method can be found everything is fine and it is delegated to. If not, a dummy value is returned.

A MetaMethod is a method that is known to exist on the MetaClass whether added at runtime or at compile-time.

The same logic can be used to override setProperty or getProperty.

class Person {
   String name = "Fred"
}

Person.metaClass.getProperty = { String name ->
   def metaProperty = Person.metaClass.getMetaProperty(name)
   def result
   if(metaProperty) result = metaProperty.getProperty(delegate)
   else {
      result = "Flintstone"
   }
   result
}

def p = new Person()

assert "Fred" == p.name
assert "Flintstone" == p.other

The important thing to note here is that instead of a MetaMethod a MetaProperty instance is looked up. If that exists the getProperty method of the MetaProperty is called, passing the delegate.

Overriding Static invokeMethod

ExpandoMetaClass even allows for overriding static method with a special invokeMethod syntax.

class Stuff {
   static invokeMe() { "foo" }
}

Stuff.metaClass.'static'.invokeMethod = { String name, args ->
   def metaMethod = Stuff.metaClass.getStaticMetaMethod(name, args)
   def result
   if(metaMethod) result = metaMethod.invoke(delegate,args)
   else {
      result = "bar"
   }
   result
}

assert "foo" == Stuff.invokeMe()
assert "bar" == Stuff.doStuff()

The logic that is used for overriding the static method is the same as we’ve seen before for overriding instance methods. The only difference is the access to the metaClass.static property and the call to getStaticMethodName for retrieving the static MetaMethod instance.

Extending Interfaces

It is possible to add methods onto interfaces with ExpandoMetaClass. To do this however, it must be enabled globally using the ExpandoMetaClass.enableGlobally() method before application start-up.

List.metaClass.sizeDoubled = {-> delegate.size() * 2 }

def list = []

list << 1
list << 2

assert 4 == list.sizeDoubled()
Extension modules
Extending existing classes

An extension module allows you to add new methods to existing classes, including classes which are precompiled, like classes from the JDK. Those new methods, unlike those defined through a metaclass or using a category, are available globally. For example, when you write:

Standard extension method
def file = new File(...)
def contents = file.getText('utf-8')

The getText method doesn’t exist on the File class. However, Groovy knows it because it is defined in a special class, ResourceGroovyMethods:

ResourceGroovyMethods.java
public static String getText(File file, String charset) throws IOException {
 return IOGroovyMethods.getText(newReader(file, charset));
}

You may notice that the extension method is defined using a static method in a “helper” class (where various extension methods are defined). The first argument of the getText method corresponds to the receiver, while additional parameters correspond to the arguments of the extension method. So here, we are defining a method called getText on the File class (because the first argument is of type File), which takes a single argument as a parameter (the encoding String).

The process of creating an extension module is simple:

  • write an extension class like above

  • write a module descriptor file

Then you have to make the extension module visible to Groovy, which is as simple as having the extension module classes and descriptor available on classpath. This means that you have the choice:

  • either provide the classes and module descriptor directly on classpath

  • or bundle your extension module into a jar for reusability

An extension module may add two kind of methods to a class:

  • instance methods (to be called on an instance of a class)

  • static methods (to be called on the class itself)

Instance methods

To add an instance method to an existing class, you need to create an extension class. For example, let’s say you want to add a maxRetries method on Integer which accepts a closure and executes it at most n times until no exception is thrown. To do that, you only need to write the following:

MaxRetriesExtension.groovy
class MaxRetriesExtension {                                     (1)
    static void maxRetries(Integer self, Closure code) {        (2)
        int retries = 0
        Throwable e
        while (retries<self) {
            try {
                code.call()
                break
            } catch (Throwable err) {
                e = err
                retries++
            }
        }
        if (retries==0 && e) {
            throw e
        }
    }
}
1 The extension class
2 First argument of the static method corresponds to the receiver of the message, that is to say the extended instance

Then, after having declared your extension class, you can call it this way:

int i=0
5.maxRetries {
    i++
}
assert i == 1
i=0
try {
    5.maxRetries {
        throw new RuntimeException("oops")
    }
} catch (RuntimeException e) {
    assert i == 5
}
Static methods

It is also possible to add static methods to a class. In that case, the static method needs to be defined in its own file:

StaticStringExtension.groovy
class StaticStringExtension {                                       (1)
    static String greeting(String self) {                           (2)
        'Hello, world!'
    }
}
1 The static extension class
2 First argument of the static method corresponds to the class being extended and is unused

In which case you can call it directly on the String class:

assert String.greeting() == 'Hello, world!'
Module descriptor

For Groovy to be able to load your extension methods, you must declare your extension helper classes. You must create a file named org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.ExtensionModule into the META-INF/services directory:

org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.ExtensionModule
moduleName=Test module for specifications
moduleVersion=1.0-test
extensionClasses=support.MaxRetriesExtension
staticExtensionClasses=support.StaticStringExtension

The module descriptor requires 4 keys:

  • moduleName : the name of your module

  • moduleVersion: the version of your module. Note that version number is only used to check that you don’t load the same module in two different versions.

  • extensionClasses: the list of extension helper classes for instance methods. You can provide several classes, given that they are comma separated.

  • staticExtensionClasses: the list of extension helper classes for static methods. You can provide several classes, given that they are comma separated.

Note that it is not required for a module to define both static helpers and instance helpers, and that you may add several classes to a single module. You can also extend different classes in a single module without problem. It is even possible to use different classes in a single extension class, but it is recommended to group extension methods into classes by feature set.

Extension modules and classpath

It’s worth noting that you can’t use an extension which is compiled at the same time as code using it. That means that to use an extension, it has to be available on classpath, as compiled classes, before the code using it gets compiled. Usually, this means that you can’t have the test classes in the same source unit as the extension class itself. Since in general, test sources are separated from normal sources and executed in another step of the build, this is not an issue.

Compatibility with type checking

Unlike categories, extension modules are compatible with type checking: if they are found on classpath, then the type checker is aware of the extension methods and will not complain when you call them. It is also compatible with static compilation.

3.4.2. Compile-time metaprogramming

Compile-time metaprogramming in Groovy allows code generation at compile-time. Those transformations are altering the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) of a program, which is why in Groovy we call it AST transformations. AST transformations allow you to hook into the compilation process, modify the AST and continue the compilation process to generate regular bytecode. Compared to runtime metaprogramming, this has the advantage of making the changes visible in the class file itself (that is to say, in the bytecode). Making it visible in the bytecode is important for example if you want the transformations to be part of the class contract (implementing interfaces, extending abstract classes, …) or even if you need your class to be callable from Java (or other JVM languages). For example, an AST transformation can add methods to a class. If you do it with runtime metaprogramming, the new method would only be visible from Groovy. If you do the same using compile-time metaprogramming, the method would be visible from Java too. Last but not least, performance would likely be better with compile-time metaprogramming (because no initialization phase is required).

In this section, we will start with explaining the various compile-time transformations that are bundled with the Groovy distribution. In a subsequent section, we will describe how you can implement your own AST transformations and what are the disadvantages of this technique.

Available AST transformations

Groovy comes with various AST transformations covering different needs: reducing boilerplate (code generation), implementing design patterns (delegation, …), logging, declarative concurrency, cloning, safer scripting, tweaking the compilation, implementing Swing patterns, testing and eventually managing dependencies. If none of those AST transformations cover your needs, you can still implement your own, as show in section Developing your own AST transformations.

AST transformations can be separated into two categories:

  • global AST transformations are applied transparently, globally, as soon as they are found on compile classpath

  • local AST transformations are applied by annotating the source code with markers. Unlike global AST transformations, local AST transformations may support parameters.

Groovy doesn’t ship with any global AST transformation, but you can find a list of local AST transformations available for you to use in your code here:

Code generation transformations

This category of transformation includes AST transformations which help removing boilerplate code. This is typically code that you have to write but that does not carry any useful information. By autogenerating this boilerplate code, the code you have to write is left clean and concise and the chance of introducing an error by getting such boilerplate code incorrect is reduced.

@groovy.transform.ToString

The @ToString AST transformation generates a human readable toString representation of the class. For example, annotating the Person class like below will automatically generate the toString method for you:

import groovy.transform.ToString

@ToString
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

With this definition, then the following assertion passes, meaning that a toString method taking the field valuess from the class and printing them out has been generated:

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson)'

The @ToString annotation accepts several parameters which are summarized in the following table:

Attribute Default value Description Example

includeNames

false

Whether to include names of properties in generated toString.

@ToString(includeNames=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(firstName:Jack, lastName:Nicholson)'

excludes

Empty list

List of properties to exclude from toString

@ToString(excludes=['firstName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Nicholson)'

includes

Empty list

List of fields to include in toString

@ToString(includes=['lastName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Nicholson)'

includeSuper

False

Should superclass be included in toString


@ToString
class Id { long id }

@ToString(includeSuper=true)
class Person extends Id {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(id:1, firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson, Id(1))'

includeFields

False

Should fields be included in toString, in addition to properties

@ToString(includeFields=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    private int age
    void test() {
       age = 42
    }
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
p.test()
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson, 42)'

ignoreNulls

False

Should properties/fields with null value be displayed

@ToString(ignoreNulls=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack')
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Jack)'

includePackage

False

Use fully qualified class name instead of simple name in toString

@ToString(includePackage=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName:'Nicholson')
assert p.toString() == 'acme.Person(Jack, Nicholson)'

cache

False

Cache the toString string. Should only be set to true if the class is immutable.

@ToString(cache=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName:'Nicholson')
def s1 = p.toString()
def s2 = p.toString()
assert s1 == s2
assert s1 == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson)'
assert s1.is(s2) // same instance
@groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode

The @EqualsAndHashCode AST transformation aims at generating equals and hashCode methods for you. The generated hashcode follows the best practices as described in Effective Java by Josh Bloch:

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
@EqualsAndHashCode
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')

assert p1==p2
assert p1.hashCode() == p2.hashCode()

There are several options available to tweak the behavior of @EqualsAndHashCode:

Attribute Default value Description Example

excludes

Empty list

List of properties to exclude from equals/hashCode

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
@EqualsAndHashCode(excludes=['firstName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person(firstName: 'Bob', lastName: 'Nicholson')

assert p1==p2
assert p1.hashCode() == p2.hashCode()

includes

Empty list

List of fields to include in equals/hashCode

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode
@EqualsAndHashCode(includes=['lastName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person(firstName: 'Bob', lastName: 'Nicholson')

assert p1==p2
assert p1.hashCode() == p2.hashCode()

callSuper

False

Whether to include super in equals and hashCode calculations

import groovy.transform.EqualsAndHashCode

@EqualsAndHashCode
class Living {
    String race
}

@EqualsAndHashCode(callSuper=true)
class Person extends Living {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(race:'Human', firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person(race: 'Human beeing', firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')

assert p1!=p2
assert p1.hashCode() != p2.hashCode()

includeFields

False

Should fields be included in equals/hashCode, in addition to properties

@ToString(includeFields=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    private int age
    void test() {
       age = 42
    }
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
p.test()
assert p.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson, 42)'

cache

False

Cache the hashCode computation. Should only be set to true if the class is immutable.

@ToString(cache=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName:'Nicholson')
def s1 = p.toString()
def s2 = p.toString()
assert s1 == s2
assert s1 == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson)'
assert s1.is(s2) // same instance

useCanEqual

True

Should equals call canEqual helper method.

@groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

The @TupleConstructor annotation aims at eliminating boilerplate code by generating constructors for you. A tuple constructor is created for each property, with default values (using the Java default values). For example, the following code will generate 3 constructors:

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

// traditional map-style constructor
def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
// generated tuple constructor
def p2 = new Person('Jack', 'Nicholson')
// generated tuple constructor with default value for second property
def p3 = new Person('Jack')

The first constructor is a no-arg constructor which allows the traditional map-style construction. It is worth noting that if the first property (or field) has type LinkedHashMap or if there is a single Map, AbstractMap or HashMap property (or field), then the map-style mapping is not available.

The other constructors are generated by taking the properties in the order they are defined. Groovy will generate as many constructors as they are properties (or fields, depending on the options).

The @TupleConstructor AST transformation accepts several configuration options:

Attribute Default value Description Example

excludes

Empty list

List of properties to exclude from tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor(excludes=['lastName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person('Jack')
try {
    // will fail because the second property is excluded
    def p3 = new Person('Jack', 'Nicholson')
} catch (e) {
    assert e.message.contains ('Could not find matching constructor')
}

includes

Empty list

List of fields to include in tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor(includes=['firstName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
def p2 = new Person('Jack')
try {
    // will fail because the second property is not included
    def p3 = new Person('Jack', 'Nicholson')
} catch (e) {
    assert e.message.contains ('Could not find matching constructor')
}

includeFields

False

Should fields be included in tuple constructor generation, in addition to properties

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor(includeFields=true)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    private String occupation
    public String toString() {
        "$firstName $lastName: $occupation"
    }
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson', occupation: 'Actor')
def p2 = new Person('Jack', 'Nicholson', 'Actor')

assert p1.firstName == p2.firstName
assert p1.lastName == p2.lastName
assert p1.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: Actor'
assert p1.toString() == p2.toString()

includeProperties

True

Should properties be included in tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor(includeProperties=false)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')

try {
    def p2 = new Person('Jack', 'Nicholson')
} catch(e) {
    // will fail because properties are not included
}

includeSuperFields

False

Should fields from super classes be included in tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

class Base {
    protected String occupation
    public String occupation() { this.occupation }
}

@TupleConstructor(includeSuperFields=true)
class Person extends Base {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    public String toString() {
        "$firstName $lastName: ${occupation()}"
    }
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson', occupation: 'Actor')

def p2 = new Person('Actor', 'Jack', 'Nicholson')

assert p1.firstName == p2.firstName
assert p1.lastName == p2.lastName
assert p1.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: Actor'
assert p2.toString() == p1.toString()

includeSuperProperties

True

Should properties from super classes be included in tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

class Base {
    String occupation
}

@TupleConstructor(includeSuperProperties=true)
class Person extends Base {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    public String toString() {
        "$firstName $lastName: $occupation"
    }
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')

def p2 = new Person('Actor', 'Jack', 'Nicholson')

assert p1.firstName == p2.firstName
assert p1.lastName == p2.lastName
assert p1.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: null'
assert p2.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: Actor'
import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

class Base {
    String occupation
    Base() {}
    Base(String job) { occupation = job?.toLowerCase() }
}

@TupleConstructor(includeSuperProperties = true, callSuper=true)
class Person extends Base {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    public String toString() {
        "$firstName $lastName: $occupation"
    }
}

def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')

def p2 = new Person('ACTOR', 'Jack', 'Nicholson')

assert p1.firstName == p2.firstName
assert p1.lastName == p2.lastName
assert p1.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: null'
assert p2.toString() == 'Jack Nicholson: actor'

callSuper

False

Should super properties be called within a call to the parent constructor rather than set as properties

force

False

By default, the transformation will do nothing if a constructor is already defined. Setting this property to true, the constructor will be generated and it’s your responsability to ensure that no duplicate constructor is defined

See javadocs

@groovy.transform.Canonical

The @Canonical AST transformation combines the effects of the @ToString, @EqualsAndHashCode and @TupleConstructor annotations:

import groovy.transform.Canonical

@Canonical
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}
def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p1.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson)' // Effect of @ToString

def p2 = new Person('Jack','Nicholson') // Effect of @TupleConstructor
assert p2.toString() == 'Person(Jack, Nicholson)'

assert p1==p2 // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode
assert p1.hashCode()==p2.hashCode() // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode

A similar immutable class can be generated using the @Immutable AST transformation instead. The @Canonical AST transformation supports several configuration options:

Attribute Default value Description Example

excludes

Empty list

List of properties to exclude from tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.Canonical

@Canonical(excludes=['lastName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}
def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p1.toString() == 'Person(Jack)' // Effect of @ToString

def p2 = new Person('Jack') // Effect of @TupleConstructor
assert p2.toString() == 'Person(Jack)'

assert p1==p2 // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode
assert p1.hashCode()==p2.hashCode() // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode

includes

Empty list

List of fields to include in tuple constructor generation

import groovy.transform.Canonical

@Canonical(includes=['firstName'])
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
}
def p1 = new Person(firstName: 'Jack', lastName: 'Nicholson')
assert p1.toString() == 'Person(Jack)' // Effect of @ToString

def p2 = new Person('Jack') // Effect of @TupleConstructor
assert p2.toString() == 'Person(Jack)'

assert p1==p2 // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode
assert p1.hashCode()==p2.hashCode() // Effect of @EqualsAndHashCode
@groovy.transform.InheritConstructors

The @InheritConstructor AST transformation aims at generating constructors matching super constructors for you. This is in particular useful when overridding exception classes:

import groovy.transform.InheritConstructors

@InheritConstructors
class CustomException extends Exception {}

// all those are generated constructors
new CustomException()
new CustomException("A custom message")
new CustomException("A custom message", new RuntimeException())
new CustomException(new RuntimeException())

// Java 7 only
// new CustomException("A custom message", new RuntimeException(), false, true)
@groovy.lang.Category

The @Category AST transformation simplifies the creation of Groovy categories. Historically, a Groovy category was written like this:

class TripleCategory {
    public static Integer triple(Integer self) {
        3*self
    }
}
use (TripleCategory) {
    assert 9 == 3.triple()
}

The @Category transformation lets you write the same using an instance-style class, rather that a static class style. This removes the need for having the first argument of each method being the receiver. The category can be written like this:

@Category(Integer)
class TripleCategory {
    public Integer triple() { 3*this }
}
use (TripleCategory) {
    assert 9 == 3.triple()
}

Note that the mixed in class can be referenced using this instead. It’s also worth noting that using instance fields in a category class is inherently unsafe: categories are not stateful (like traits).

@groovy.transform.IndexedProperty

The @IndexedProperty annotation aims at generating indexed getters/setters for properties of list/array types. This is in particular useful if you want to use a Groovy class from Java. While Groovy supports GPath to access properties, this is not available from Java. The @IndexedProperty annotation will generate indexed properties of the following form:

class SomeBean {
    @IndexedProperty String[] someArray = new String[2]
    @IndexedProperty List someList = []
}

def bean = new SomeBean()
bean.setSomeArray(0, 'value')
bean.setSomeList(0, 123)

assert bean.someArray[0] == 'value'
assert bean.someList == [123]
@groovy.lang.Lazy

The @Lazy AST transformation implements lazy initialization of fields. For example, the following code:

class SomeBean {
    @Lazy LinkedList myField
}

will produce the following code:

List $myField
List getMyField() {
    if ($myField!=null) { return $myField }
    else {
        $myField = new LinkedList()
        return $myField
    }
}

The default value which is used to initialize the field is the default constructor of the declaration type. It is possible to define a default value by using a closure on the right hand side of the property assignment, as in the following example:

class SomeBean {
    @Lazy LinkedList myField = { ['a','b','c']}()
}

In that case, the generated code looks like the following:

List $myField
List getMyField() {
    if ($myField!=null) { return $myField }
    else {
        $myField = { ['a','b','c']}()
        return $myField
    }
}

If the field is declared volatile then initialization will be synchronized using the double-checked locking pattern.

Using the soft=true parameter, the helper field will use a SoftReference instead, providing a simple way to implement caching. In that case, if the garbage collector decides to collect the reference, initialization will occur the next time the field is accessed.

@groovy.lang.Newify

The @Newify AST transformation is used to bring alternative syntaxes to construct objects:

  • Using the Python style:

@Newify([Tree,Leaf])
class TreeBuilder {
    Tree tree = Tree(Leaf('A'),Leaf('B'),Tree(Leaf('C')))
}
  • or using the Ruby style:

@Newify([Tree,Leaf])
class TreeBuilder {
    Tree tree = Tree.new(Leaf.new('A'),Leaf.new('B'),Tree.new(Leaf.new('C')))
}

The Ruby version can be disabled by setting the auto flag to false.

@groovy.lang.Sortable

The @Sortable AST transformation is used to help write classes that are Comparable and easily sorted by numerous properties. It is easy to use as shown in the following example where we annotate the Person class:

import groovy.transform.Sortable

@Sortable class Person {
    String first
    String last
    Integer born
}

The generated class has the following properties:

  • it implements the Comparable interface

  • it contains a compareTo method with an implementation based on the natural ordering of the first, last and born properties

  • it has three methods returning comparators: comparatorByFirst, comparatorByLast and comparatorByBorn.

The generated compareTo method will look like this:

public int compareTo(java.lang.Object obj) {
    if (this.is(obj)) {
        return 0
    }
    if (!(obj instanceof Person)) {
        return -1
    }
    java.lang.Integer value = this.first <=> obj.first
    if (value != 0) {
        return value
    }
    value = this.last <=> obj.last
    if (value != 0) {
        return value
    }
    value = this.born <=> obj.born
    if (value != 0) {
        return value
    }
    return 0
}

As an example of the generated comparators, the comparatorByFirst comparator will have a compare method that looks like this:

public int compare(java.lang.Object arg0, java.lang.Object arg1) {
    if (arg0 == arg1) {
        return 0
    }
    if (arg0 != null && arg1 == null) {
        return -1
    }
    if (arg0 == null && arg1 != null) {
        return 1
    }
    return arg0.first <=> arg1.first
}

The Person class can be used wherever a Comparable is expected and the generated comparators wherever a Comparator is expected as shown by these examples:

def people = [
    new Person(first: 'Johnny', last: 'Depp', born: 1963),
    new Person(first: 'Keira', last: 'Knightley', born: 1985),
    new Person(first: 'Geoffrey', last: 'Rush', born: 1951),
    new Person(first: 'Orlando', last: 'Bloom', born: 1977)
]

assert people[0] > people[2]
assert people.sort()*.last == ['Rush', 'Depp', 'Knightley', 'Bloom']
assert people.sort(false, Person.comparatorByFirst())*.first == ['Geoffrey', 'Johnny', 'Keira', 'Orlando']
assert people.sort(false, Person.comparatorByLast())*.last == ['Bloom', 'Depp', 'Knightley', 'Rush']
assert people.sort(false, Person.comparatorByBorn())*.last == ['Rush', 'Depp', 'Bloom', 'Knightley']

Normally, all properties are used in the generated compareTo method in the priority order in which they are defined. You can include or exclude certain properties from the generated compareTo method by giving a list of property names in the includes or excludes annotation attributes. If using includes, the order of the property names given will determine the priority of properties when comparing. To illustrate, consider the following Person class definition:

@Sortable(includes='first,born') class Person {
    String last
    int born
    String first
}

It will have two comparator methods comparatorByFirst and comparatorByBorn and the generated compareTo method will look like this:

public int compareTo(java.lang.Object obj) {
    if (this.is(obj)) {
        return 0
    }
    if (!(obj instanceof Person)) {
        return -1
    }
    java.lang.Integer value = this.first <=> obj.first
    if (value != 0) {
        return value
    }
    value = this.born <=> obj.born
    if (value != 0) {
        return value
    }
    return 0
}

This Person class can be used as follows:

def people = [
    new Person(first: 'Ben', last: 'Affleck', born: 1972),
    new Person(first: 'Ben', last: 'Stiller', born: 1965)
]

assert people.sort()*.last == ['Stiller', 'Affleck']
@groovy.transform.builder.Builder

The @Builder AST transformation is used to help write classes that can be created using fluent api calls. The transform supports multiple building strategies to cover a range of cases and there are a number of configuration options to customize the building process. If you’re an AST hacker, you can also define your own strategy class. The following table lists the available strategies that are bundled with Groovy and the configuration options each strategy supports.

Strategy

Description

builderClassName

builderMethodName

buildMethodName

prefix

includes/excludes

SimpleStrategy

chained setters

n/a

n/a

n/a

yes, default "set"

yes

ExternalStrategy

explicit builder class, class being built untouched

n/a

n/a

yes, default "build"

yes, default ""

yes

DefaultStrategy

creates a nested helper class

yes, default <TypeName>Builder

yes, default "builder"

yes, default "build"

yes, default ""

yes

InitializerStrategy

creates a nested helper class providing type-safe fluent creation

yes, default <TypeName>Initializer

yes, default "createInitializer"

yes, default "create" but usually only used internally

yes, default ""

yes

SimpleStrategy

To use the SimpleStrategy, annotate your Groovy class using the @Builder annotation, and specify the strategy as shown in this example:

import groovy.transform.builder.*

@Builder(builderStrategy=SimpleStrategy)
class Person {
    String first
    String last
    Integer born
}

Then, just call the setters in a chained fashion as shown here:

def p1 = new Person().setFirst('Johnny').setLast('Depp').setBorn(1963)
assert "$p1.first $p1.last" == 'Johnny Depp'

For each property, a generated setter will be created which looks like this:

public Person setFirst(java.lang.String first) {
    this.first = first
    return this
}

You can specify a prefix as shown in this example:

import groovy.transform.builder.*

@Builder(builderStrategy=SimpleStrategy, prefix="")
class Person {
    String first
    String last
    Integer born
}

And calling the chained setters would look like this:

def p = new Person().first('Johnny').last('Depp').born(1963)
assert "$p.first $p.last" == 'Johnny Depp'

You can use the SimpleStrategy in conjunction with @Canonical. If your @Builder annotation doesn’t have explicit includes or excludes annotation attributes but your @Canonical annotation does, the ones from @Canonical will be re-used for @Builder.

The annotation attributes builderClassName, buildMethodName, builderMethodName and forClass are not supported for this strategy.

Groovy already has built-in building mechanisms. Don’t rush to using @Builder if the built-in mechanisms meet your needs. Some examples:
def p2 = new Person(first: 'Keira', last: 'Knightley', born: 1985)
def p3 = new Person().with {
    first = 'Geoffrey'
    last = 'Rush'
    born = 1951
}
ExternalStrategy

To use the ExternalStrategy, create and annotate a Groovy builder class using the @Builder annotation, specify the class the builder is for using forClass and indicate use of the ExternalStrategy. Suppose you have the following class you would like a builder for:

class Person {
    String first
    String last
    int born
}

you explicitly create and use your builder class as follows:

import groovy.transform.builder.*

@Builder(builderStrategy=ExternalStrategy, forClass=Person)
class PersonBuilder { }

def p = new PersonBuilder().first('Johnny').last('Depp').born(1963).build()
assert "$p.first $p.last" == 'Johnny Depp'

Note that the (normally empty) builder class you provide will be filled in with appropriate setters and a build method. The generated build method will look something like:

public Person build() {
    Person _thePerson = new Person()
    _thePerson.first = first
    _thePerson.last = last
    _thePerson.born = born
    return _thePerson
}

The class you are creating the builder for can be any Java or Groovy class following the normal JavaBean conventions, e.g. a no-arg constructor and setters for the properties. Here is an example using a Java class:

import groovy.transform.builder.*

@Builder(builderStrategy=ExternalStrategy, forClass=javax.swing.DefaultButtonModel)
class ButtonModelBuilder {}

def model = new ButtonModelBuilder().enabled(true).pressed(true).armed(true).rollover(true).selected(true).build()
assert model.isArmed()
assert model.isPressed()
assert model.isEnabled()
assert model.isSelected()
assert model.isRollover()

The generated builder can be customised using the prefix, includes, excludes and buildMethodName annotation attributes. Here is an example illustrating various customisations:

import groovy.transform.builder.*
import groovy.transform.Canonical

@Canonical
class Person {
    String first
    String last
    int born
}

@Builder(builderStrategy=ExternalStrategy, forClass=Person, includes=['first', 'last'], buildMethodName='create', prefix='with')
class PersonBuilder { }

def p = new PersonBuilder().withFirst('Johnny').withLast('Depp').create()
assert "$p.first $p.last" == 'Johnny Depp'

The builderMethodName and builderClassName annotation attributes for @Builder aren’t applicable for this strategy.

You can use the ExternalStrategy in conjunction with @Canonical. If your @Builder annotation doesn’t have explicit includes or excludes annotation attributes but the @Canonical annotation of the class you are creating the builder for does, the ones from @Canonical will be re-used for @Builder.

DefaultStrategy

To use the DefaultStrategy, annotate your Groovy class using the @Builder annotation as shown in this example:

import groovy.transform.builder.Builder

@Builder
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    int age
}

def person = Person.builder().firstName("Robert").lastName("Lewandowski").age(21).build()
assert person.firstName == "Robert"
assert person.lastName == "Lewandowski"
assert person.age == 21

If you want, you can customize various aspects of the building process using the builderClassName, buildMethodName, builderMethodName, prefix, includes and excludes annotation attributes, some of which are used in the example here:

import groovy.transform.builder.Builder

@Builder(buildMethodName='make', builderMethodName='maker', prefix='with', excludes='age')
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    int age
}

def p = Person.maker().withFirstName("Robert").withLastName("Lewandowski").make()
assert "$p.firstName $p.lastName" == "Robert Lewandowski"

This strategy also supports annotating static methods and constructors. In this case, the static method or constructor parameters become the properties to use for building purposes and in the case of static methods, the return type of the method becomes the target class being built. If you have more than one @Builder annotation used within a class (at either the class, method or constructor positions) then it is up to you to ensure that the generated helper classes and factory methods have unique names (i.e. no more than one can use the default name values). Here is an example highlighting method and constructor usage (and also illustrating the renaming required for unique names).

import groovy.transform.builder.*
import groovy.transform.*

@ToString
@Builder
class Person {
  String first, last
  int born

  Person(){}

  @Builder(builderClassName='MovieBuilder', builderMethodName='byRoleBuilder')
  Person(String roleName) {
     if (roleName == 'Jack Sparrow') {
         this.first = 'Johnny'; this.last = 'Depp'; this.born = 1963
     }
  }

  @Builder(builderClassName='NameBuilder', builderMethodName='nameBuilder', prefix='having', buildMethodName='fullName')
  static String join(String first, String last) {
      first + ' ' + last
  }

  @Builder(builderClassName='SplitBuilder', builderMethodName='splitBuilder')
  static Person split(String name, int year) {
      def parts = name.split(' ')
      new Person(first: parts[0], last: parts[1], born: year)
  }
}

assert Person.splitBuilder().name("Johnny Depp").year(1963).build().toString() == 'Person(Johnny, Depp, 1963)'
assert Person.byRoleBuilder().roleName("Jack Sparrow").build().toString() == 'Person(Johnny, Depp, 1963)'
assert Person.nameBuilder().havingFirst('Johnny').havingLast('Depp').fullName() == 'Johnny Depp'
assert Person.builder().first("Johnny").last('Depp').born(1963).build().toString() == 'Person(Johnny, Depp, 1963)'

The forClass annotation attribute is not supported for this strategy.

InitializerStrategy

To use the InitializerStrategy, annotate your Groovy class using the @Builder annotation, and specify the strategy as shown in this example:

import groovy.transform.builder.*
import groovy.transform.*

@ToString
@Builder(builderStrategy=InitializerStrategy)
class Person {
    String firstName
    String lastName
    int age
}

Your class will be locked down to have a single public constructor taking a "fully set" initializer. It will also have a factory method to create the initializer. These are used as follows:

@CompileStatic
def firstLastAge() {
    assert new Person(Person.createInitializer().firstName("John").lastName("Smith").age(21)).toString() == 'Person(John, Smith, 21)'
}
firstLastAge()

Any attempt to use the initializer which doesn’t involve setting all the properties (though order is not important) will result in a compilation error. If you don’t need this level of strictness, you don’t need to use @CompileStatic.

You can use the InitializerStrategy in conjunction with @Canonical and @Immutable. If your @Builder annotation doesn’t have explicit includes or excludes annotation attributes but your @Canonical annotation does, the ones from @Canonical will be re-used for @Builder. Here is an example using @Builder with @Immutable:

import groovy.transform.builder.*
import groovy.transform.*

@Builder(builderStrategy=InitializerStrategy)
@Immutable
class Person {
    String first
    String last
    int born
}

@CompileStatic
def createFirstLastBorn() {
  def p = new Person(Person.createInitializer().first('Johnny').last('Depp').born(1963))
  assert "$p.first $p.last $p.born" == 'Johnny Depp 1963'
}

createFirstLastBorn()

The annotation attribute forClass is not supported for this strategy.

Class design annotations

This category of annotations are aimed at simplifying the implementation of well-known design patterns (delegation, singleton, …) by using a declarative style.

@groovy.lang.Delegate

The @Delegate AST transformation aims at implementing the delegation design pattern. In the following class:

class Event {
    @Delegate Date when
    String title
}

The when field is annotated with @Delegate, meaning that the Event class will delegate calls to Date methods to the when field. In this case, the generated code looks like this:

class Event {
    Date when
    String title
    boolean before(Date other) {
        when.before(other)
    }
    // ...
}

Then you can call the before method, for example, directly on the Event class:

def ev = new Event(title:'Groovy keynote', when: Date.parse('yyyy/MM/dd', '2013/09/10'))
def now = new Date()
assert ev.before(now)

The behavior of the @Delegate AST transformation can be changed using the following parameters:

Attribute Default value Description Example

interfaces

True

Should the interfaces implemented by the field be implemented by the class too

interface Greeter { void sayHello() }
class MyGreeter implements Greeter { void sayHello() { println 'Hello!'} }

class DelegatingGreeter { // no explicit interface
    @Delegate MyGreeter greeter = new MyGreeter()
}
def greeter = new DelegatingGreeter()
assert greeter instanceof Greeter // interface was added transparently

deprecated

false

If true, also delegates methods annotated with @Deprecated

class WithDeprecation {
    @Deprecated
    void foo() {}
}
class WithoutDeprecation {
    @Deprecated
    void bar() {}
}
class Delegating {
    @Delegate(deprecated=true) WithDeprecation with = new WithDeprecation()
    @Delegate WithoutDeprecation without = new WithoutDeprecation()
}
def d = new Delegating()
d.foo() // passes thanks to deprecated=true
d.bar() // fails because of @Deprecated

methodAnnotations

False

Whether to carry over annotations from the methods of the delegate to your delegating method.

class WithAnnotations {
    @Transactional
    void method() {
    }
}
class DelegatingWithoutAnnotations {
    @Delegate WithAnnotations delegate
}
class DelegatingWithAnnotations {
    @Delegate(methodAnnotations = true) WithAnnotations delegate
}
def d1 = new DelegatingWithoutAnnotations()
def d2 = new DelegatingWithAnnotations()
assert d1.class.getDeclaredMethod('method').annotations.length==0
assert d2.class.getDeclaredMethod('method').annotations.length==1

parameterAnnotations

False

Whether to carry over annotations from the method parameters of the delegate to your delegating method.

class WithAnnotations {
    void method(@NotNull String str) {
    }
}
class DelegatingWithoutAnnotations {
    @Delegate WithAnnotations delegate
}
class DelegatingWithAnnotations {
    @Delegate(parameterAnnotations = true) WithAnnotations delegate
}
def d1 = new DelegatingWithoutAnnotations()
def d2 = new DelegatingWithAnnotations()
assert d1.class.getDeclaredMethod('method',String).parameterAnnotations[0].length==0
assert d2.class.getDeclaredMethod('method',String).parameterAnnotations[0].length==1

excludes

Empty array

A list of methods to be excluded from delegation. For more fine-grained control, see also excludeTypes.

class Worker {
    void task1() {}
    void task2() {}
}
class Delegating {
    @Delegate(excludes=['task2']) Worker worker = new Worker()
}
def d = new Delegating()
d.task1() // passes
d.task2() // fails because method is excluded

includes

Empty array

A list of methods to be included in delegation. For more fine-grained control, see also includeTypes.

class Worker {
    void task1() {}
    void task2() {}
}
class Delegating {
    @Delegate(includes=['task1']) Worker worker = new Worker()
}
def d = new Delegating()
d.task1() // passes
d.task2() // fails because method is not included

excludeTypes

Empty array

A list of interfaces containing method signatures to be excluded from delegation

interface AppendStringSelector {
    StringBuilder append(String str)
}
class UpperStringBuilder {
    @Delegate(excludeTypes=AppendStringSelector)
    StringBuilder sb1 = new StringBuilder()

    @Delegate(includeTypes=AppendStringSelector)
    StringBuilder sb2 = new StringBuilder()

    String toString() { sb1.toString() + sb2.toString().toUpperCase() }
}
def usb = new UpperStringBuilder()
usb.append(3.5d)
usb.append('hello')
usb.append(true)
assert usb.toString() == '3.5trueHELLO'

includeTypes

Empty array

A list of interfaces containing method signatures to be included in delegation

interface AppendBooleanSelector {
    StringBuilder append(boolean b)
}
interface AppendFloatSelector {
    StringBuilder append(float b)
}
class NumberBooleanBuilder {
    @Delegate(includeTypes=AppendBooleanSelector, interfaces=false)
    StringBuilder nums = new StringBuilder()
    @Delegate(includeTypes=[AppendFloatSelector], interfaces=false)
    StringBuilder bools = new StringBuilder()
    String result() { "${nums.toString()}
@groovy.transform.Immutable

The @Immutable AST transformation simplifies the creation of immutable classes, that is to say classes for which members are deemed immutable. For that, all you have to do is annotating the class like in the following example:

import groovy.transform.Immutable

@Immutable
class Point {
    int x
    int y
}

Immutable classes generated with @Immutable are automatically made final. For a class to be immutable, you have to make sure that properties are of an immutable type (primitive or boxed types), of a known-immutable type or another class annotated with @Immutable. The effect of applying @Immutable to a class are pretty similar to those of applying the @Canonical AST transformation, but with an immutable class: automatic generation of toString, equals and hashCode methods for example, but trying to modify a property would throw a ReadOnlyPropertyException in that case.

Since @Immutable relies on a predefined list of known immutable classes (like java.net.URI or java.lang.String and fails if you use a type which is not in that list, you are allowed to instruct the transformation that some types are deemed immutable thanks to the following parameters:

Attribute Default value Description Example

knownImmutableClasses

Empty list

A list of classes which are deemed immutable.

import groovy.transform.Immutable
import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor
final class Point {
    final int x
    final int y
    public String toString() { "($x,$y)" }
}

@Immutable(knownImmutableClasses=[Point])
class Triangle {
    Point a,b,c
}

knownImmutables

Empty list

A list of property names which are deemed immutable.

import groovy.transform.Immutable
import groovy.transform.TupleConstructor

@TupleConstructor
final class Point {
    final int x
    final int y
    public String toString() { "($x,$y)" }
}

@Immutable(knownImmutables=['a','b','c'])
class Triangle {
    Point a,b,c
}

copyWith

false

A boolean whether to generate a copyWith( Map ) method.

import groovy.transform.Immutable

@Immutable( copyWith=true )
class User {
    String  name
    Integer age
}

def bob   = new User( 'bob', 43 )
def alice = bob.copyWith( name:'alice' )
assert alice.name == 'alice'
assert alice.age  == 43
@groovy.transform.Memoized

The @Memoized AST transformations simplifies the implementation of caching by allowing the result of method calls to be cached just by annotating the method with @Memoized. Let’s imagine the following method:

long longComputation(int seed) {
    // slow computation
    Thread.sleep(1000*seed)
    System.nanoTime()
}

This emulates a long computation, based on the actual parameters of the method. Without @Memoized, each method call would take several seconds plus it would return a random result:

def x = longComputation(1)
def y = longComputation(1)
assert x!=y

Adding @Memoized changes the semantics of the method by adding caching, based on the parameters:

@Memoized
long longComputation(int seed) {
    // slow computation
    Thread.sleep(1000*seed)
    System.nanoTime()
}

def x = longComputation(1) // returns after 1 second
def y = longComputation(1) // returns immediatly
def z = longComputation(2) // returns after 2 seconds
assert x==y
assert x!=z

The size of the cache can be configured using two optional parameters:

  • protectedCacheSize: the number of results which are guaranteed not to be cleared after garbage collection

  • maxCacheSize: the maximum number of results that can be kept in memory

By default, the size of the cache is unlimited and no cache result is protected from garbage collection. Setting a protectedCacheSize>0 would create an unlimited cache with some results protected. Setting maxCacheSize>0 would create a limited cache but without any protection from garbage protection. Setting both would create a limited, protected cache.

@groovy.lang.Singleton

The @Singleton annotation can be used to implement the singleton design pattern on a class. The singleton instance is defined eagerly by default, using class initialization, or lazily, in which case the field is initialized using double checked locking.

@Singleton
class GreetingService {
    String greeting(String name) { "Hello, $name!" }
}
assert GreetingService.instance.greeting('Bob') == 'Hello, Bob!'

By default, the singleton is created eagerly when the class is initialized and available through the instance property. It is possible to change the name of the singleton using the property parameter:

@Singleton(property='theOne')
class GreetingService {
    String greeting(String name) { "Hello, $name!" }
}

assert GreetingService.theOne.greeting('Bob') == 'Hello, Bob!'

And it is also possible to make initialization lazy using the lazy parameter:

class Collaborator {
    public static boolean init = false
}
@Singleton(lazy=true,strict=false)
class GreetingService {
    static void init() {}
    GreetingService() {
        Collaborator.init = true
    }
    String greeting(String name) { "Hello, $name!" }
}
GreetingService.init() // make sure class is initialized
assert Collaborator.init == false
GreetingService.instance
assert Collaborator.init == true
assert GreetingService.instance.greeting('Bob') == 'Hello, Bob!'

In this example, we also set the strict parameter to false, which allows us to define our own constructor.

@groovy.transform.Mixin

Deprecated. Consider using traits instead.

Logging improvements

Groovy provides AST transformation that helps integrating with the most widely used logging frameworks. It’s worth noting that annotating a class with one of those annotations doesn’t prevent you from adding the appropriate logging framework on classpath.

All transformations work in a similar way:

  • add static final log field corresponding to the logger

  • wrap all calls to log.level() into the appropriate log.isLevelEnabled guard, depending on the underlying framework

Those transformations support two parameters:

  • value (default log) corresponds to the name of the logger field

  • category (defaults to the class name) is the name of the logger category

@groovy.util.logging.Log

The first logging AST transformation available is the @Log annotation which relies on the JDK logging framework. Writing:

@groovy.util.logging.Log
class Greeter {
    void greet() {
        log.info 'Called greeter'
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}

is equivalent to writing:

import java.util.logging.Level
import java.util.logging.Logger

class Greeter {
    private final static Logger log = Logger.getLogger(Greeter.name)
    void greet() {
        if (log.isLoggable(Level.INFO)) {
            log.info 'Called greeter'
        }
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}
@groovy.util.logging.Commons

Groovy supports the Apache Commons Logging framework using to the @Commons annotation. Writing:

@groovy.util.logging.Commons
class Greeter {
    void greet() {
        log.debug 'Called greeter'
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}

is equivalent to writing:

import org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory
import org.apache.commons.logging.Log

class Greeter {
    private final static Log log = LogFactory.getLog(Greeter)
    void greet() {
        if (log.isDebugEnabled()) {
            log.debug 'Called greeter'
        }
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}
@groovy.util.logging.Log4j

Groovy supports the Apache Log4j 1.x framework using to the @Log4j annotation. Writing:

@groovy.util.logging.Log4j
class Greeter {
    void greet() {
        log.debug 'Called greeter'
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}

is equivalent to writing:

import org.apache.log4j.Logger

class Greeter {
    private final static Logger log = Logger.getLogger(Greeter)
    void greet() {
        if (log.isDebugEnabled()) {
            log.debug 'Called greeter'
        }
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}
@groovy.util.logging.Log4j2

Groovy supports the Apache Log4j 2.x framework using to the @Log4j2 annotation. Writing:

@groovy.util.logging.Log4j2
class Greeter {
    void greet() {
        log.debug 'Called greeter'
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}

is equivalent to writing:

import org.apache.logging.log4j.LogManager
import org.apache.logging.log4j.Logger

class Greeter {
    private final static Logger log = LogManager.getLogger(Greeter)
    void greet() {
        if (log.isDebugEnabled()) {
            log.debug 'Called greeter'
        }
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}
@groovy.util.logging.Slf4j

Groovy supports the Simple Logging Facade for Java (SLF4J) framework using to the @Slf4j annotation. Writing:

@groovy.util.logging.Slf4j
class Greeter {
    void greet() {
        log.debug 'Called greeter'
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}

is equivalent to writing:

import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory
import org.slf4j.Logger

class Greeter {
    private final static Logger log = LoggerFactory.getLogger(Greeter)
    void greet() {
        if (log.isDebugEnabled()) {
            log.debug 'Called greeter'
        }
        println 'Hello, world!'
    }
}
Declarative concurrency

The Groovy language provides a set of annotations aimed at simplifying common concurrency patterns in a declarative approach.

@groovy.transform.Synchronized

The @Synchronized AST transformations works in a similar way to the synchronized keyword but locks on different objects for safer concurrency. It can be applied on any method or static method:

import groovy.transform.Synchronized

import java.util.concurrent.Executors
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit

class Counter {
    int cpt
    @Synchronized
    int incrementAndGet() {
        cpt++
    }
    int get() {
        cpt
    }
}

Writing this is equivalent to creating a lock object and wrapping the whole method into a synchronized block:

class Counter {
    int cpt
    private final Object $lock = new Object()

    int incrementAndGet() {
        synchronized($lock) {
            cpt++
        }
    }
    int get() {
        cpt
    }

}

By default, @Synchronized creates a field named $lock (or $LOCK for a static method) but you can make it use any field you want by specifying the value attribute, like in the following example:

import groovy.transform.Synchronized

import java.util.concurrent.Executors
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit

class Counter {
    int cpt
    private final Object myLock = new Object()

    @Synchronized('myLock')
    int incrementAndGet() {
        cpt++
    }
    int get() {
        cpt
    }
}
@groovy.transform.WithReadLock and @groovy.transform.WithWriteLock

The @WithReadLock AST transformation works in conjunction with the @WithWriteLock transformation to provide read/write synchronization using the ReentrantReadWriteLock facility that the JDK provides. The annotation can be added to a method or a static method. It will transparently create a $reentrantLock final field (or $REENTRANTLOCK for a static method) and proper synchronization code will be added. For example, the following code:

import groovy.transform.WithReadLock
import groovy.transform.WithWriteLock

class Counters {
    public final Map<String,Integer> map = [:].withDefault { 0 }

    @WithReadLock
    int get(String id) {
        map.get(id)
    }

    @WithWriteLock
    void add(String id, int num) {
        Thread.sleep(200) // emulate long computation
        map.put(id, map.get(id)+num)
    }
}

is equivalent to this:

import groovy.transform.WithReadLock as WithReadLock
import groovy.transform.WithWriteLock as WithWriteLock

public class Counters {

    private final Map<String, Integer> map
    private final java.util.concurrent.locks.ReentrantReadWriteLock $reentrantlock

    public int get(java.lang.String id) {
        $reentrantlock.readLock().lock()
        try {
            map.get(id)
        }
        finally {
            $reentrantlock.readLock().unlock()
        }
    }

    public void add(java.lang.String id, int num) {
        $reentrantlock.writeLock().lock()
        try {
            java.lang.Thread.sleep(200)
            map.put(id, map.get(id) + num )
        }
        finally {
            $reentrantlock.writeLock().unlock()
        }
    }
}

Both @WithReadLock and @WithWriteLock support specifying an alternative lock object. In that case, the referenced field must be declared by the user, like in the following alternative:

import groovy.transform.WithReadLock
import groovy.transform.WithWriteLock

import java.util.concurrent.locks.ReentrantReadWriteLock

class Counters {
    public final Map<String,Integer> map = [:].withDefault { 0 }
    private final ReentrantReadWriteLock customLock = new ReentrantReadWriteLock()

    @WithReadLock('customLock')
    int get(String id) {
        map.get(id)
    }

    @WithWriteLock('customLock')
    void add(String id, int num) {
        Thread.sleep(200) // emulate long computation
        map.put(id, map.get(id)+num)
    }
}

For details

Easier cloning and externalizing

Groovy provides two annotations aimed at facilitating the implementation of Clonable and Externalizable interfaces, respectively named @AutoClone and @AutoExternalize.

@groovy.transform.AutoClone

The @AutoClone annotation is aimed at implementing the @java.lang.Cloneable interface using various strategies, thanks to the style parameter:

  • the default AutoCloneStyle.CLONE strategy calls super.clone() first then clone() on each cloneable property (and just copies non Cloneable properties)

  • the AutoCloneStyle.SIMPLE strategy uses a regular constructor call and copies properties from the source to the clone

  • the AutoCloneStyle.COPY_CONSTRUCTOR strategy creates and uses a copy constructor

  • the AutoCloneStyle.SERIALIZATION strategy uses serialization (or externalization) to clone the object

Each of those strategies have pros and cons which are discussed in the Javadoc for groovy.transform.AutoClone and groovy.transform.AutoCloneStyle .

For example, the following example:

import groovy.transform.AutoClone

@AutoClone
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    List<String> authors
    Date publicationDate
}

is equivalent to this:

class Book implements Cloneable {
    String isbn
    String title
    List<String> authors
    Date publicationDate

    public Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException {
        def result = super.clone()
        result.isbn = isbn.clone()
        result.title = title.clone()
        result.authors = authors instanceof Cloneable?authors.clone():authors
        result.publicationDate = publicationDate.clone()

        result
    }
}

In addition to cloning styles, @AutoClone supports multiple options:

Attribute Default value Description Example

excludes

Empty list

A list of property or field names that need to be excluded from cloning. A string consisting of a comma-separated field/property names is also allowed. See groovy.transform.AutoClone#excludes for details

import groovy.transform.AutoClone
import groovy.transform.AutoCloneStyle

@AutoClone(style=AutoCloneStyle.SIMPLE,excludes='authors')
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    List authors
    Date publicationDate
}

includeFields

false

By default, only properties are cloned. Setting this flag to true will also clone fields.

import groovy.transform.AutoClone
import groovy.transform.AutoCloneStyle

@AutoClone(style=AutoCloneStyle.SIMPLE,includeFields=true)
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    List authors
    protected Date publicationDate
}
@groovy.transform.AutoExternalize

The @AutoExternalize AST transformation will assist in the creation of java.io.Externalizable classes. It will automatically add the interface to the class and generate the writeExternal and readExternal methods. For example, this code:

import groovy.transform.AutoExternalize

@AutoExternalize
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    float price
}

will be converted into:

class Book implements java.io.Externalizable {
    String isbn
    String title
    float price

    void writeExternal(ObjectOutput out) throws IOException {
        out.writeObject(isbn)
        out.writeObject(title)
        out.writeFloat( price )
    }

    public void readExternal(ObjectInput oin) {
        isbn = oin.readObject()
        title = oin.readObject()
        price = oin.readFloat()
    }

}

The @AutoExternalize annotation supports two parameters which will let you slightly customize its behavior:

Attribute Default value Description Example

excludes

Empty list

A list of property or field names that need to be excluded from externalizing. A string consisting of a comma-separated field/property names is also allowed. See groovy.transform.AutoExternalize#excludes for details

import groovy.transform.AutoExternalize

@AutoExternalize(excludes='price')
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    float price
}

includeFields

false

By default, only properties are externalized. Setting this flag to true will also clone fields.

import groovy.transform.AutoExternalize

@AutoExternalize(includeFields=true)
class Book {
    String isbn
    String title
    protected float price
}
Safer scripting

The Groovy language makes it easy to execute user scripts at runtime (for example using groovy.lang.GroovyShell), but how do you make sure that a script won’t eat all CPU (infinite loops) or that concurrent scripts won’t slowly consume all available threads of a thread pool? Groovy provides several annotations which are aimed towards safer scripting, generating code which will for example allow you to interrupt execution automatically.

@groovy.transform.ThreadInterrupt

One complicated situation in the JVM world is when a thread can’t be stopped. The Thread#stop method exists but is deprecated (and isn’t reliable) so your only chance relies in Thread#interrupt. Calling the latter will set the interrupt flag on the thread, but it will not stop the execution of the thread. This is problematic because it’s the responsability of the code executing in the thread to check the interrupt flag and properly exit. This makes sense when you, as a developer, know that the code you are executing is meant to be run in an independent thread, but in general, you don’t know it. It’s even worse with user scripts, who might not even know what a thread is (think of DSLs).

@ThreadInterrupt simplifies this by adding thread interruption checks at critical places in the code:

  • loops (for, while)

  • first instruction of a method

  • first instruction of a closure body

Let’s imagine the following user script:

while (true) {
    i++
}

This is an obvious infinite loop. If this code executes in its own thread, interrupting wouldn’t help: if you join on the thread, then the calling code would be able to continue, but the thread would still be alive, running in background without any ability for you to stop it, slowly causing thread starvation.

One possibility to work around this is to setup your shell this way:

def config = new CompilerConfiguration()
config.addCompilationCustomizers(
        new ASTTransformationCustomizer(ThreadInterrupt)
)
def binding = new Binding(i:0)
def shell = new GroovyShell(binding,config)

The shell is then configured to automatically apply the @ThreadInterrupt AST transformations on all scripts. This allows you to execute user scripts this way:

def t = Thread.start {
    shell.evaluate(userCode)
}
t.join(500) // give at most 500ms for the script to complete
if (t.alive) {
    t.interrupt()
}

The transformation automatically modified user code like this:

while (true) {
    if (Thread.currentThread().interrupted) {
        throw new InterruptedException('The current thread has been interrupted.')
    }
    i++
}

The check which is introduced inside the loop guarantees that if the interrupt flag is set on the current thread, an exception will be thrown, interrupting the execution of the thread.

@ThreadInterrupt supports multiple options that will let you further customize the behavior of the transformation:

Attribute Default value Description Example

thrown

java.lang.InterruptedException

Specifies the type of exception which is thrown if the thread is interrupted.

class BadException extends Exception {
    BadException(String message) { super(message) }
}

def config = new CompilerConfiguration()
config.addCompilationCustomizers(
        new ASTTransformationCustomizer(thrown:BadException, ThreadInterrupt)
)
def binding = new Binding(i:0)
def shell = new GroovyShell(this.class.classLoader,binding,config)

def userCode = """
try {
    while (true) {
        i++
    }
} catch (BadException e) {
    i = -1
}
"""

def t = Thread.start {
    shell.evaluate(userCode)
}
t.join(1000) // give at most 1s for the script to complete
assert binding.i > 0
if (t.alive) {
    t.interrupt()
}
Thread.sleep(100)
assert binding.i == -1'''

checkOnMethodStart

true

Should an interruption check be inserted at the beginning of each method body. See groovy.transform.ThreadInterrupt for details.

@ThreadInterrupt(checkOnMethodStart=false)

applyToAllClasses

true

Should the transformation be applied on all classes of the same source unit (in the same source file). See groovy.transform.ThreadInterrupt for details.

@ThreadInterrupt(applyToAllClasses=false)
class A { ... } // interrupt checks added
class B { ... } // no interrupt checks

applyToAllMembers

true

Should the transformation be applied on all members of class. See groovy.transform.ThreadInterrupt for details.

class A {
    @ThreadInterrupt(applyToAllMembers=false)
    void method1() { ... } // interrupt checked added
    void method2() { ... } // no interrupt checks
}
@groovy.transform.TimedInterrupt

The @TimedInterrupt AST transformation tries to solve a slightly different problem from @groovy.transform.ThreadInterrupt: instead of checking the interrupt flag of the thread, it will automatically throw an exception if the thread has been running for too long.

This annotation does not spawn a monitoring thread. Instead, it works in a similar manner as @ThreadInterrupt by placing checks at appropriate places in the code. This means that if you have a thread blocked by I/O, it will not be interrupted.

Imagine the following user code:

def fib(int n) { n<2?n:fib(n-1)+fib(n-2) }

result = fib(600)

The implementation of the famous Fibonacci number computation here is far from optimized. If it is called with a high n value, it can take minutes to answer. With @TimedInterrupt, you can choose how long a script is allowed to run. The following setup code will allow the user script to run for 1 second at max:

def config = new CompilerConfiguration()
config.addCompilationCustomizers(
        new ASTTransformationCustomizer(value:1, TimedInterrupt)
)
def binding = new Binding(result:0)
def shell = new GroovyShell(this.class.classLoader, binding,config)

This code is equivalent to annotating a class with @TimedInterrupt like this:

@TimedInterrup(value=1, unit=TimeUnit.SECONDS)
class MyClass {
    def fib(int n) {
        n<2?n:fib(n-1)+fib(n-2)
    }
}

@TimedInterrupt supports multiple options that will let you further customize the behavior of the transformation:

Attribute Default value Description Example

value

Long.MAX_VALUE

Used in combination with unit to specify after how long execution times out.

@TimedInterrupt(value=500L, unit= TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS, applyToAllClasses = false)
class Slow {
    def fib(n) { n<2?n:fib(n-1)+fib(n-2) }
}
def result
def t = Thread.start {
    result = new Slow().fib(500)
}
t.join(1000)
assert result == null
assert !t.alive

unit

TimeUnit.SECONDS

Used in combination with value to specify after how long execution times out.

@TimedInterrupt(value=500L, unit= TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS, applyToAllClasses = false)
class Slow {
    def fib(n) { n<2?n:fib(n-1)+fib(n-2) }
}
def result
def t = Thread.start {
    result = new Slow().fib(500)
}
t.join(1000)
assert result == null
assert !t.alive

thrown

java.util.concurrent.TimeoutException

Specifies the type of exception which is thrown if timeout is reached.

@TimedInterrupt(thrown=TooLongException, applyToAllClasses = false, value=1L)
class Slow {
    def fib(n) { Thread.sleep(100); n<2?n:fib(n-1)+fib(n-2) }
}
def result
def t = Thread.start {
    try {
        result = new Slow().fib(50)
    } catch (TooLongException e) {
        result = -1
    }
}
t.join(2000)
assert result == -1

checkOnMethodStart

true

Should an interruption check be inserted at the beginning of each method body. See groovy.transform.TimedInterrupt for details.

@TimedInterrupt(checkOnMethodStart=false)

applyToAllClasses

true

Should the transformation be applied on all classes of the same source unit (in the same source file). See groovy.transform.TimedInterrupt for details.

@TimedInterrupt(applyToAllClasses=false)
class A { ... } // interrupt checks added
class B { ... } // no interrupt checks

applyToAllMembers

true

Should the transformation be applied on all members of class. See groovy.transform.TimedInterrupt for details.

class A {
    @TimedInterrupt(applyToAllMembers=false)
    void method1() { ... } // interrupt checked added
    void method2() { ... } // no interrupt checks
}
@TimedInterrupt is currently not compatible with static methods!
@groovy.transform.ConditionalInterrupt

The last annotation for safer scripting is the base annotation when you want to interrupt a script using a custom strategy. In particular, this is the annotation of choice if you want to use resource management (limit the number of calls to an API, …). In the following example, user code is using an infinite loop, but @ConditionalInterrupt will allow us to check a quota manager and interrupt automatically the script:

@ConditionalInterrupt({Quotas.disallow('user')})
class UserCode {
    void doSomething() {
        int i=0
        while (true) {
            println "Consuming resources ${++i}"
        }
    }
}

The quota checking is very basic here, but it can be any code:

class Quotas {
    static def quotas = [:].withDefault { 10 }
    static boolean disallow(String userName) {
        println "Checking quota for $userName"
        (quotas[userName]--)<0
    }
}

We can make sure @ConditionalInterrupt works properly using this test code:

assert Quotas.quotas['user'] == 10
def t = Thread.start {
    new UserCode().doSomething()
}
t.join(1000)
assert !t.alive
assert Quotas.quotas['user'] < 0

Of course, in practice, it is unlikely that @ConditionalInterrupt will be itself added by hand on user code. It can be injected in a similar manner as the example shown in the ThreadInterrupt section, using the org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ASTTransformationCustomizer :

def config = new CompilerConfiguration()
def checkExpression = new ClosureExpression(
        Parameter.EMPTY_ARRAY,
        new ExpressionStatement(
                new MethodCallExpression(new ClassExpression(ClassHelper.make(Quotas)), 'disallow', new ConstantExpression('user'))
        )
)
config.addCompilationCustomizers(
        new ASTTransformationCustomizer(value: checkExpression, ConditionalInterrupt)
)

def shell = new GroovyShell(this.class.classLoader,new Binding(),config)

def userCode = """
        int i=0
        while (true) {
            println "Consuming resources \\${++i}"
        }
"""

assert Quotas.quotas['user'] == 10
def t = Thread.start {
    shell.evaluate(userCode)
}
t.join(1000)
assert !t.alive
assert Quotas.quotas['user'] < 0

@ConditionalInterrupt supports multiple options that will let you further customize the behavior of the transformation:

Attribute Default value Description Example

value

The closure which will be called to check if execution is allowed. If the closure returns false, execution is allowed. If it returns true, then an exception will be thrown.

@ConditionalInterrupt({ ... })

thrown

java.lang.InterruptedException

Specifies the type of exception which is thrown if execution should be aborted.

config.addCompilationCustomizers(
        new ASTTransformationCustomizer(thrown: QuotaExceededException,value: checkExpression, ConditionalInterrupt)
)
assert Quotas.quotas['user'] == 10
def t = Thread.start {
    try {
        shell.evaluate(userCode)
    } catch (QuotaExceededException) {
        Quotas.quotas['user'] = 'Quota exceeded'
    }
}
t.join(1000)
assert !t.alive
assert Quotas.quotas['user'] == 'Quota exceeded'

checkOnMethodStart

true

Should an interruption check be inserted at the beginning of each method body. See groovy.transform.ConditionalInterrupt for details.

@ConditionalInterrupt(checkOnMethodStart=false)

applyToAllClasses

true

Should the transformation be applied on all classes of the same source unit (in the same source file). See groovy.transform.ConditionalInterrupt for details.

@ConditionalInterrupt(applyToAllClasses=false)
class A { ... } // interrupt checks added
class B { ... } // no interrupt checks

applyToAllMembers

true

Should the transformation be applied on all members of class. See groovy.transform.ConditionalInterrupt for details.

class A {
    @ConditionalInterrupt(applyToAllMembers=false)
    void method1() { ... } // interrupt checked added
    void method2() { ... } // no interrupt checks
}
Compiler directives

This category of AST transformations groups annotations which have a direct impact on the semantics of the code, rather than focusing on code generation. With that regards, they can be seen as compiler directives that either change the behavior of a program at compile time or runtime.

@groovy.transform.Field

The @Field annotation only makes sense in the context of a script and aims at solving a common scoping error with scripts. The following example will for example fail at runtime:

def x

String line() {
    "="*x
}

x=3
assert "===" == line()
x=5
assert "=====" == line()

The error that is thrown may be difficult to interpret: groovy.lang.MissingPropertyException: No such property: x. The reason is that scripts are compiled to classes and the script body is itself compiled as a single run() method. Methods which are defined in the scripts are independent, so the code above is equivalent to this:

class MyScript extends Script {

    String line() {
        "="*x
    }

    public def run() {
        def x
        x=3
        assert "===" == line()
        x=5
        assert "=====" == line()
    }
}

So def x is effectiveley interpreted as a local variable, outside of the scope of the line method. The @Field AST transformation aims at fixing this by changing the scope of the variable to a field of the enclosing script:

@Field def x

String line() {
    "="*x
}

x=3
assert "===" == line()
x=5
assert "=====" == line()

The resulting, equivalent, code is now:

class MyScript extends Script {

    def x

    String line() {
        "="*x
    }

    public def run() {
        x=3
        assert "===" == line()
        x=5
        assert "=====" == line()
    }
}
@groovy.transform.PackageScope

By default, Groovy visibility rules imply that if you create a field without specifying a modifier, then the field is interpreted as a property:

class Person {
    String name // this is a property
}

Should you want to create a package private field instead of a property (private field+getter/setter), then annotate your field with @PackageScope:

class Person {
    @PackageScope String name // not a property anymore
}
@groovy.transform.AnnotationCollector

@AnnotationCollector allows the creation of meta-annotation, which are described in a dedicated section.

@groovy.transform.TypeChecked

@TypeChecked activates compile-time type checking on your Groovy code. See section on type checking for details.

@groovy.transform.CompileStatic

@CompileStatic activates static compilation on your Groovy code. See section on type checking for details.

@groovy.transform.CompileDynamic

@CompileDynamic disables static compilation on parts of your Groovy code. See section on type checking for details.

@groovy.lang.DelegatesTo

@DelegatesTo is not, technically speaking, an AST transformation. It is aimed at documenting code and helping the compiler in case you are using type checking or static compilation. The annotation is described throughfully in the DSL section of this guide.

Swing patterns
@groovy.beans.Bindable

@Bindable is an AST transformation that transforms a regular property into a bound property (according to the JavaBeans specification). The @Bindable annotation can be placed on a property or a class. To convert all properties of a class into bound properties, on can annotate the class like in this example:

import groovy.beans.Bindable

@Bindable
class Person {
    String name
    int age
}

This is equivalent to writing this:

import java.beans.PropertyChangeListener
import java.beans.PropertyChangeSupport

class Person {
    final private PropertyChangeSupport this$propertyChangeSupport

    String name
    int age

    public void addPropertyChangeListener(PropertyChangeListener listener) {
        this$propertyChangeSupport.addPropertyChangeListener(listener)
    }

    public void addPropertyChangeListener(String name, PropertyChangeListener listener) {
        this$propertyChangeSupport.addPropertyChangeListener(name, listener)
    }

    public void removePropertyChangeListener(PropertyChangeListener listener) {
        this$propertyChangeSupport.removePropertyChangeListener(listener)
    }

    public void removePropertyChangeListener(String name, PropertyChangeListener listener) {
        this$propertyChangeSupport.removePropertyChangeListener(name, listener)
    }

    public void firePropertyChange(String name, Object oldValue, Object newValue) {
        this$propertyChangeSupport.firePropertyChange(name, oldValue, newValue)
    }

    public PropertyChangeListener[] getPropertyChangeListeners() {
        return this$propertyChangeSupport.getPropertyChangeListeners()
    }

    public PropertyChangeListener[] getPropertyChangeListeners(String name) {
        return this$propertyChangeSupport.getPropertyChangeListeners(name)
    }
}

@Bindable therefore removes a lot of boilerplate from your class, dramatically increasing readability. If the annotation is put on a single property, only that property is bound:

import groovy.beans.Bindable

class Person {
    String name
    @Bindable int age
}
@groovy.beans.ListenerList

The @ListenerList AST transformation generates code for adding, removing and getting the list of listeners to a class, just by annotating a collection property:

import java.awt.event.ActionListener
import groovy.beans.ListenerList

class Component {
    @ListenerList
    List<ActionListener> listeners;
}

The transform will generate the appropriate add/remove methods based on the generic type of the list. In addition, it will also create fireXXX methods based on the public methods declared on the class:

import java.awt.event.ActionEvent
import java.awt.event.ActionListener as ActionListener
import groovy.beans.ListenerList as ListenerList

public class Component {

    @ListenerList
    private List<ActionListener> listeners

    public void addActionListener(ActionListener listener) {
        if ( listener == null) {
            return
        }
        if ( listeners == null) {
            listeners = []
        }
        listeners.add(listener)
    }

    public void removeActionListener(ActionListener listener) {
        if ( listener == null) {
            return
        }
        if ( listeners == null) {
            listeners = []
        }
        listeners.remove(listener)
    }

    public ActionListener[] getActionListeners() {
        Object __result = []
        if ( listeners != null) {
            __result.addAll(listeners)
        }
        return (( __result ) as ActionListener[])
    }

    public void fireActionPerformed(ActionEvent param0) {
        if ( listeners != null) {
            ArrayList<ActionListener> __list = new ArrayList<ActionListener>(listeners)
            for (def listener : __list ) {
                listener.actionPerformed(param0)
            }
        }
    }
}

@Bindable supports multiple options that will let you further customize the behavior of the transformation:

Attribute Default value Description Example

name

Generic type name

By default, the suffix which will be appended to add/remove/… methods is the simple class name of the generic type of the list.

class Component {
    @ListenerList(name='item')
    List<ActionListener> listeners;
}

synchronize

false

If set to true, generated methods will be synchronized

class Component {
    @ListenerList(synchronize = true)
    List<ActionListener> listeners;
}
@groovy.beans.Vetoable

The @Vetoable annotation works in a similar manner to @Bindable but generates constrained property according to the JavaBeans specification, instead of bound properties. The annotation can be placed on a class, meaning that all properties will be converted to constrained properties, or on a single property. For example, annotating this class with @Vetoable:

import groovy.beans.Vetoable

import java.beans.PropertyVetoException
import java.beans.VetoableChangeListener

@Vetoable
class Person {
    String name
    int age
}

is equivalent to writing this:

public class Person {

    private String name
    private int age
    final private java.beans.VetoableChangeSupport this$vetoableChangeSupport

    public void addVetoableChangeListener(VetoableChangeListener listener) {
        this$vetoableChangeSupport.addVetoableChangeListener(listener)
    }

    public void addVetoableChangeListener(String name, VetoableChangeListener listener) {
        this$vetoableChangeSupport.addVetoableChangeListener(name, listener)
    }

    public void removeVetoableChangeListener(VetoableChangeListener listener) {
        this$vetoableChangeSupport.removeVetoableChangeListener(listener)
    }

    public void removeVetoableChangeListener(String name, VetoableChangeListener listener) {
        this$vetoableChangeSupport.removeVetoableChangeListener(name, listener)
    }

    public void fireVetoableChange(String name, Object oldValue, Object newValue) throws PropertyVetoException {
        this$vetoableChangeSupport.fireVetoableChange(name, oldValue, newValue)
    }

    public VetoableChangeListener[] getVetoableChangeListeners() {
        return this$vetoableChangeSupport.getVetoableChangeListeners()
    }

    public VetoableChangeListener[] getVetoableChangeListeners(String name) {
        return this$vetoableChangeSupport.getVetoableChangeListeners(name)
    }

    public void setName(String value) throws PropertyVetoException {
        this.fireVetoableChange('name', name, value)
        name = value
    }

    public void setAge(int value) throws PropertyVetoException {
        this.fireVetoableChange('age', age, value)
        age = value
    }
}

If the annotation is put on a single property, only that property is made vetoable:

import groovy.beans.Vetoable

class Person {
    String name
    @Vetoable int age
}
Test assistance
@groovy.lang.NotYetImplemented

@NotYetImplemented is used to invert the result of a JUnit 3/4 test case. It is in particular useful if a feature is not yet implemented but the test is. In that case, it is expected that the test fails. Marking it with @NotYetImplemented will inverse the result of the test, like in this example:

import groovy.transform.NotYetImplemented

class Maths {
    static int fib(int n) {
        // todo: implement later
    }
}

class MathsTest extends GroovyTestCase {
    @NotYetImplemented
    void testFib() {
        def dataTable = [
                1:1,
                2:1,
                3:2,
                4:3,
                5:5,
                6:8,
                7:13
        ]
        dataTable.each { i, r ->
            assert Maths.fib(i) == r
        }
    }
}

Another advantage of using this technique is that you can write test cases for bugs before knowing how to fix them. If some time in the future, a modification in the code fixes a bug by side effect, you’ll be notified because a test which was expected to fail passed.

@groovy.transform.ASTTest

@ASTTest is a special AST transformation meant to help debugging other AST transformations or the Groovy compiler itself. It will let the developer "explore" the AST during compilation and perform assertions on the AST rather than on the result of compilation. This means that this AST transformations gives access to the AST before the bytecode is produced. @ASTTest can be placed on any annotable node and requires two parameters:

  • phase: sets at which phase at which @ASTTest will be triggered. The test code will work on the AST tree at the end of this phase.

  • value: the code which will be executed once the phase is reached, on the annotated node

Compile phase has to be chosen from one of org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilePhase . However, since it is not possible to annotate a node twice with the same annotation, you will not be able to use @ASTTest on the same node at two distinct compile phases.

value is a closure expression which has access to a special variable node corresponding to the annotated node, and a helper lookup method which will be discussed here. For example, you can annotate a class node like this:

import groovy.transform.ASTTest
import org.codehaus.groovy.ast.ClassNode
import static org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilePhase.*

@ASTTest(phase=CONVERSION, value={   (1)
    assert node instanceof ClassNode (2)
    assert node.name == 'Person'     (3)
})
class Person {

}
1 we’re checking the state of the Abstract Syntax Tree after the CONVERSION phase
2 node refers to the AST node which is annotated by @ASTTest
3 it can be used to perform assertions at compile time

One interesting feature of @ASTTest is that if an assertion fails, then compilation will fail. Now imagine that we want to check the behavior of an AST transformation at compile time. We will take @PackageScope here, and we will want to verify that a property annotated with @PackageScope becomes a package private field. For this, we have to know at which phase the transform runs, which can be found in org.codehaus.groovy.transform.PackageScopeASTTransformation : semantic analysis. Then a test can be written like this:

import groovy.transform.ASTTest
import groovy.transform.PackageScope

import static org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilePhase.*

@ASTTest(phase=SEMANTIC_ANALYSIS, value= {
    def nameNode = node.properties.find { it.name == 'name' }
    def ageNode = node.properties.find { it.name == 'age' }
    assert nameNode
    assert ageNode == null // shouldn't be a property anymore
    def ageField = node.getDeclaredField 'age'
    assert ageField.modifiers == 0
})
class Person {
    String name
    @PackageScope int age
}

The @ASTTest annotation can only be placed wherever the grammar allows it. Sometimes, you would like to test the contents of an AST node which is not annotable. In this case, @ASTTest provides a convenient lookup method which will search the AST for nodes which are labelled with a special token:

def list = lookup('anchor') (1)
Statement stmt = list[0] (2)
1 returns the list of AST nodes which label is anchor
2 it is always necessary to choose which element to process since lookup always returns a list

Imagine, for example, that you want to test the declared type of a for loop variable. Then you can do it like this:

import groovy.transform.ASTTest
import groovy.transform.PackageScope
import org.codehaus.groovy.ast.ClassHelper
import org.codehaus.groovy.ast.expr.DeclarationExpression
import org.codehaus.groovy.ast.stmt.ForStatement

import static org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilePhase.*

class Something {
    @ASTTest(phase=SEMANTIC_ANALYSIS, value= {
        def forLoop = lookup('anchor')[0]
        assert forLoop instanceof ForStatement
        def decl = forLoop.collectionExpression.expressions[0]
        assert decl instanceof DeclarationExpression
        assert decl.variableExpression.name == 'i'
        assert decl.variableExpression.originType == ClassHelper.int_TYPE
    })
    void someMethod() {
        int x = 1;
        int y = 10;
        anchor: for (int i=0; i<x+y; i++) {
            println "$i"
        }
    }
}
Grape handling
@groovy.lang.Grab
@groovy.lang.GrabConfig
@groovy.lang.GrabExclude
@groovy.lang.GrabResolver
@groovy.lang.Grapes

Grape is a dependency management engine embedded into Groovy, relying on several annotations which are described throughfully in this section of the guide.

Developing AST transformations (TBD)
Compilation phases guide (TBD)
Local transformations (TBD)
Global transformations (TBD)
AST API guide (TBD)
Testing AST transformations (TBD)

3.5. Dependency management with Grape

3.5.1. Quick start

Add a Dependency

Grape is a JAR dependency manager embedded into Groovy. Grape lets you quickly add maven repository dependencies to your classpath, making scripting even easier. The simplest use is as simple as adding an annotation to your script:

@Grab(group='org.springframework', module='spring-orm', version='3.2.5.RELEASE')
import org.springframework.jdbc.core.JdbcTemplate

@Grab also supports a shorthand notation:

@Grab('org.springframework:spring-orm:3.2.5.RELEASE')
import org.springframework.jdbc.core.JdbcTemplate

Note that we are using an annotated import here, which is the recommanded way. You can also search for dependencies on mvnrepository.com and it will provide you the @Grab annotation form of the pom.xml entry.

Specify Additional Repositories

Not all dependencies are in maven central. You can add new ones like this:

@GrabResolver(name='restlet', root='http://maven.restlet.org/')
@Grab(group='org.restlet', module='org.restlet', version='1.1.6')
Maven Classifiers

Some maven dependencies need classifiers in order to be able to resolve. You can fix that like this:

@Grab(group='net.sf.json-lib', module='json-lib', version='2.2.3', classifier='jdk15')
Excluding Transitive Dependencies

Sometimes you will want to exclude transitive dependencies as you might be already using a slightly different but compatible version of some artifact. You can do this as follows:

@Grab('net.sourceforge.htmlunit:htmlunit:2.8')
@GrabExclude('xml-apis:xml-apis')
JDBC Drivers

Because of the way JDBC drivers are loaded, you’ll need to configure Grape to attach JDBC driver dependencies to the system class loader. I.e:

@GrabConfig(systemClassLoader=true)
@Grab(group='mysql', module='mysql-connector-java', version='5.1.6')
Using Grape From the Groovy Shell

From groovysh use the method call variant:

groovy.grape.Grape.grab(group:'org.springframework', module:'spring', version:'2.5.6')
Proxy settings

If you are behind a firewall and/or need to use Groovy/Grape through a proxy server, you can specify those settings on the command like via the http.proxyHost and http.proxyPort system properties:

groovy -Dhttp.proxyHost=yourproxy -Dhttp.proxyPort=8080 yourscript.groovy

Or you can make this system wide by adding these properties to your JAVA_OPTS environment variable:

JAVA_OPTS = -Dhttp.proxyHost=yourproxy -Dhttp.proxyPort=8080
Logging

If you want to see what Grape is doing set the system property “groovy.grape.report.downloads” to “true” (e.g. add “-Dgroovy.grape.report.downloads=true” to JAVA_OPTS) and Grape will print the following infos to System.error:

  • Starting resolve of a dependency

  • Starting download of an artifact

  • Retrying download of an artifact

  • Download size and time for downloaded artifacts

3.5.2. Detail

Grape (The Groovy Adaptable Packaging Engine or Groovy Advanced Packaging Engine) is the infrastructure enabling the grab() calls in Groovy, a set of classes leveraging Ivy to allow for a repository driven module system for Groovy. This allows a developer to write a script with an essentially arbitrary library requirement, and ship just the script. Grape will, at runtime, download as needed and link the named libraries and all dependencies forming a transitive closure when the script is run from existing repositories such as JCenter, Ibiblio, Codehaus, and java.net.

Grape follows the Ivy conventions for module version identification, with naming change.

  • group - Which module group the module comes from. Translates directly to a Maven groupId or an Ivy Organization. Any group matching /groovy[x][\..*]^/ is reserved and may have special meaning to the groovy endorsed modules.

  • module - The name of the module to load. Translated directly to a Maven artifactId or an Ivy artifact.

  • version - The version of the module to use. Either a literal version ‘1.1-RC3’ or an Ivy Range ‘[2.2.1,)’ meaning 2.2.1 or any greater version).

  • classifier - The optional classifier to use (for example, jdk15)

The downloaded modules will be stored according to Ivy’s standard mechanism with a cache root of ~/.groovy/grape

3.5.3. Usage

Annotation

One or more groovy.lang.Grab annotations can be added at any place that annotations are accepted to tell the compiler that this code relies on the specific library. This will have the effect of adding the library to the classloader of the groovy compiler. This annotation is detected and evaluated before any other resolution of classes in the script, so imported classes can be properly resolved by a @Grab annotation.

import com.jidesoft.swing.JideSplitButton
@Grab(group='com.jidesoft', module='jide-oss', version='[2.2.1,2.3.0)')
public class TestClassAnnotation {
    public static String testMethod () {
        return JideSplitButton.class.name
    }
}

An appropriate grab(...) call will be added to the static initializer of the class of the containing class (or script class in the case of an annotated script element).

Multiple Grape Annotations

In order to use a Grape annotation multiple times on the same node you must use the @Grapes annotation, e.g.:

@Grapes([
   @Grab(group='commons-primitives', module='commons-primitives', version='1.0'),
   @Grab(group='org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup', module='tagsoup', version='0.9.7')])
class Example {
// ...
}

Otherwise you’ll encounter the following error:

Cannot specify duplicate annotation on the same member
Method call

Typically a call to grab will occur early in the script or in class initialization. This is to insure that the libraries are made available to the ClassLoader before the groovy code relies on the code. A couple of typical calls may appear as follows:

import groovy.grape.Grape
// random maven library
Grape.grab(group:'com.jidesoft', module:'jide-oss', version:'[2.2.0,)')
Grape.grab([group:'org.apache.ivy', module:'ivy', version:'2.0.0-beta1', conf:['default', 'optional']],
     [group:'org.apache.ant', module:'ant', version:'1.7.0'])

// endorsed Groovy Module
// FUTURE grab('Scriptom')
  • Multiple calls to grab in the same context with the same parameters should be idempotent. However, if the same code is called with a different ClassLoader context then resolution may be re-run.

  • If the args map passed into the grab call has an attribute noExceptions that evaluates true no exceptions will be thrown.

  • grab requires that a RootLoader or GroovyClassLoader be specified or be in the ClassLoader chain of the calling class. By default failure to have such a ClassLoader available will result in module resolution and an exception being thrown

    • The ClassLoader passed in via the classLoader: argument and it’s parent classloaders.

    • The ClassLoader of the object passed in as the referenceObject: argument, and it’s parent classloaders.

    • The ClassLoader of the class issuing the call to grab

grab(HashMap) Parameters
  • group: - <String> - Which module group the module comes from. Translates directly to a Maven groupId. Any group matching /groovy(|\..|x|x\..)/ is reserved and may have special meaning to the groovy endorsed modules.

  • module: - <String> - The name of the module to load. Translated directly to a Maven artifactId.

  • version: - <String> and possibly <Range> - The version of the module to use. Either a literal version ‘1.1-RC3’ or an Ivy Range ‘[2.2.1,)’ meaning 2.2.1 or any greater version).

  • classifier: - <String> - The Maven classifier to resolve by.

  • conf: - <String>, default default' - The configuration or scope of the module to download. The default conf is `default: which maps to the maven runtime and master scopes.

  • force:- <boolean>, defaults true - Used to indicate that this revision must be used in case of conflicts, independently of

  • conflicts manager

  • changing: - <boolean>, default false - Whether the artifact can change without it’s version designation changing.

  • transitive: - <boolean>, default true - Whether to resolve other dependencies this module has or not.

There are two principal variants of grab, one with a single Map and one with an arguments Map and multiple dependencies map. A call to the single map grab is the same as calling grab with the same map passed in twice, so grab arguments and dependencies can be mixed in the same map, and grab can be called as a single method with named parameters.

There are synonyms for these parameters. Submitting more than one is a runtime exception.

  • group:, groupId:, organisation:, organization:, org:

  • module:, artifactId:, artifact:

  • version:, revision:, rev:

  • conf:, scope:, configuration:

Arguments Map arguments
  • classLoader: - <GroovyClassLaoder> or <RootClassLoader> - The ClassLoader to add resolved Jars to

  • refObject: - <Object> - The closest parent ClassLoader for the object’s class will be treated as though it were passed in as classLoader:

  • validate: - <boolean>, default false - Should poms or ivy files be validated (true), or should we trust the cache (false).

  • noExceptions: - <boolean>, default false - If ClassLoader resolution or repository querying fails, should we throw an exception (false) or fail silently (true).

Command Line Tool

Grape added a command line executable ‘grape’ that allows for the inspection and management of the local grape cache.

grape install <groupId> <artifactId> [<version>]

This installs the specified groovy module or maven artifact. If a version is specified that specific version will be installed, otherwise the most recent version will be used (as if ‘*’ we passed in).

grape list

Lists locally installed modules (with their full maven name in the case of groovy modules) and versions.

grape resolve (<groupId> <artifactId> <version>)+

This returns the file locations of the jars representing the artifcats for the specified module(s) and the respective transitive dependencies. You may optionally pass in -ant, -dos, or -shell to get the dependencies expressed in a format applicable for an ant script, windows batch file, or unix shell script respectively. -ivy may be passed to see the dependencies expressed in an ivy like format.

Advanced configuration
Repository Directory

If you need to change the directory grape uses for downloading libraries you can specify the grape.root system property to change the default (which is ~/.groovy/grape)

groovy -Dgrape.root=/repo/grape yourscript.groovy
Customize Ivy settings

You can customize the ivy settings that Grape uses by creating a ~/.groovy/grapeConfig.xml file. If no such file exists, here are the default settings used by Grape:

<ivysettings>
  <settings defaultResolver="downloadGrapes"/>
  <resolvers>
    <chain name="downloadGrapes">
      <filesystem name="cachedGrapes">
        <ivy pattern="${user.home}/.groovy/grapes/[organisation]/[module]/ivy-[revision].xml"/>
        <artifact pattern="${user.home}/.groovy/grapes/[organisation]/[module]/[type]s/[artifact]-[revision].[ext]"/>
      </filesystem>
      <!-- todo add 'endorsed groovy extensions' resolver here -->
      <ibiblio name="codehaus" root="http://repository.codehaus.org/" m2compatible="true"/>
      <ibiblio name="ibiblio" m2compatible="true"/>
      <ibiblio name="java.net2" root="http://download.java.net/maven/2/" m2compatible="true"/>
    </chain>
  </resolvers>
</ivysettings>

For more information on how to customize these settings, please refer to the Ivy documentation.

Add your local Maven2 repository

If you find yourself wanting to reuse artifacts that you already have locally in your Maven2 repository, then you can add this line to your ~/.groovy/grapeConfig.xml:

<ibiblio name="local" root="file:${user.home}/.m2/repository/" m2compatible="true"/>

And further customize your Grape configuration:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<ivysettings>
    <settings defaultResolver="downloadGrapes"/>
    <resolvers>
        <chain name="downloadGrapes">
            <!-- todo add 'endorsed groovy extensions' resolver here -->
            <ibiblio name="local" root="file:${user.home}/.m2/repository/" m2compatible="true"/>
            <filesystem name="cachedGrapes">
                <ivy pattern="${user.home}/.groovy/grapes/[organisation]/[module]/ivy-[revision].xml"/>
                <artifact pattern="${user.home}/.groovy/grapes/[organisation]/[module]/[type]s/[artifact]-[revision].[ext]"/>
            </filesystem>
            <ibiblio name="codehaus" root="http://repository.codehaus.org/" m2compatible="true"/>
            <ibiblio name="ibiblio" m2compatible="true"/>
            <ibiblio name="java.net2" root="http://download.java.net/maven/2/" m2compatible="true"/>
        </chain>
    </resolvers>
</ivysettings>
More Examples

Using Apache Commons Collections:

// create and use a primitive array
import org.apache.commons.collections.primitives.ArrayIntList

@Grab(group='commons-primitives', module='commons-primitives', version='1.0')
def createEmptyInts() { new ArrayIntList() }

def ints = createEmptyInts()
ints.add(0, 42)
assert ints.size() == 1
assert ints.get(0) == 42

Using TagSoup:

// find the PDF links in the Java 1.5.0 documentation
@Grab(group='org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup', module='tagsoup', version='0.9.7')
def getHtml() {
    def parser = new XmlParser(new org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup.Parser())
    parser.parse("http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/download-pdf.html")
}
html.body.'**'.a.@href.grep(~/.*\.pdf/).each{ println it }

Using Google Collections:

// Google Collections example


import com.google.common.collect.HashBiMap
@Grab(group='com.google.code.google-collections', module='google-collect', version='snapshot-20080530')
def getFruit() { [grape:'purple', lemon:'yellow', orange:'orange'] as HashBiMap }
assert fruit.lemon == 'yellow'
assert fruit.inverse().yellow == 'lemon'

Launching a Jetty server to serve Groovy templates:

@Grapes([
    @Grab(group='org.eclipse.jetty.aggregate', module='jetty-server', version='8.1.7.v20120910'),
    @Grab(group='org.eclipse.jetty.aggregate', module='jetty-servlet', version='8.1.7.v20120910'),
    @Grab(group='javax.servlet', module='javax.servlet-api', version='3.0.1')])

import org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server
import org.eclipse.jetty.servlet.*
import groovy.servlet.*

def runServer(duration) {
    def server = new Server(8080)
    def context = new ServletContextHandler(server, "/", ServletContextHandler.SESSIONS);
    context.resourceBase = "."
    context.addServlet(TemplateServlet, "*.gsp")
    server.start()
    sleep duration
    server.stop()
}

runServer(10000)

Grape will download Jetty and its dependencies on first launch of this script, and cache them. We’re creating a new Jetty Server on port 8080, then expose Groovy’s TemplateServlet at the root of the context — Groovy comes with its own powerful template engine mechanism. We start the server and let it run for a certain duration. Each time someone will hit http://localhost:8080/somepage.gsp, it will display the somepage.gsp template to the user — those template pages should be situated in the same directory as this server script.

3.6. Testing Guide

3.6.1. Introduction

The Groovy programming language comes with great support for writing tests. In addition to the language features and test integration with state-of-the-art testing libraries and frameworks, the Groovy ecosystem has born a rich set of testing libraries and frameworks.

This chapter will start with language specific testing features and continue with a closer look at JUnit integration, Spock for specifications and Geb for functional tests. Finally, we an overview of other testing libraries known to be working with Groovy.

3.6.2. Language Features

Besides integrated support for JUnit, the Groovy programming language comes with features that have proven to be very valuable for test-driven development. This section gives insight on them.

Power Assertions

Writing tests means formulating assumptions by using assertions. In Java this can be done by using the assert keyword that has been added in J2SE 1.4. In Java, assert statements can be enabled via the JVM parameters -ea (or -enableassertions) and -da (or -disableassertions). Assertion statements in Java are disabled by default.

Groovy comes with a rather powerful variant of assert also known as power assertion statement. Groovy’s power assert differs from the Java version in its output given the boolean expression validates to false:

def x = 1
assert x == 2

// Output:             (1)
//
// Assertion failed:
// assert x == 2
//        | |
//        1 false
1 This section shows the std-err output

The java.lang.AssertionError that is thrown whenever the assertion can not be validated successfully, contains an extended version of the original exception message. The power assertion output shows evaluation results from the outer to the inner expression.

The power assertion statements true power unleashes in complex Boolean statements, or statements with collections or other toString-enabled classes:

def x = [1,2,3,4,5]
assert (x << 6) == [6,7,8,9,10]

// Output:
//
// Assertion failed:
// assert (x << 6) == [6,7,8,9,10]
//         | |     |
//         | |     false
//         | [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
//         [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Another important difference from Java is that in Groovy assertions are enabled by default. It has been a language design decision to remove the possibility to deactivate assertions. Or, as Bertrand Meyer stated, ``it makes no sense to take off your swim ring if you put your feet into real water``.

One thing to be aware of are methods with side-effects inside Boolean expressions in power assertion statements. As the internal error message construction mechanism does only store references to instances under target, it happens that the error message text is invalid at rendering time in case of side-effecting methods involved:

assert [[1,2,3,3,3,3,4]].first().unique() == [1,2,3]

// Output:
//
// Assertion failed:
// assert [[1,2,3,3,3,3,4]].first().unique() == [1,2,3]
//                          |       |        |
//                          |       |        false
//                          |       [1, 2, 3, 4]
//                          [1, 2, 3, 4]           (1)
1 The error message shows the actual state of the collection, not the state before the unique method was applied
If you choose to provide a custom assertion error message this can be done by using the Java syntax assert expression1 : expression2 where expression1 is the Boolean expression and expression2 is the custom error message. Be aware though that this will disable the power assert and will fully fallback to custom error messages on assertion errors.
Mocking and Stubbing

Groovy has excellent built-in support for a range of mocking and stubbing alternatives. When using Java, dynamic mocking frameworks are very popular. A key reason for this is that it is hard work creating custom hand-crafted mocks using Java. Such frameworks can be used easily with Groovy if you choose but creating custom mocks is much easier in Groovy. You can often get away with simple maps or closures to build your custom mocks.

The following sections show ways to create mocks and stubs with Groovy language features only.

Map Coercion

By using maps or expandos, we can incorporate desired behaviour of a collaborator very easily as shown here:

class TranslationService {
    String convert(String key) {
        return "test"
    }
}

def service = [convert: { String key -> 'some text' }] as TranslationService
assert 'some text' == service.convert('key.text')

The as operator can be used to coerce a map to a particular class. The given map keys are interpreted as method names and the values, being groovy.lang.Closure blocks, are interpreted as method code blocks.

Be aware that map coercion can get into the way if you deal with custom java.util.Map descendant classes in combination with the as operator. The map coercion mechanism is targeted directly at certain collection classes, it doesn’t take custom classes into account.
Closure Coercion

The as operator can be used with closures in a neat way which is great for developer testing in simple scenarios. We haven’t found this technique to be so powerful that we want to do away with dynamic mocking, but it can be very useful in simple cases none-the-less.

Classes or interfaces holding a single method, including SAM (single abstract method) classes, can be used to coerce a closure block to be an object of the given type. Be aware that for doing this, Groovy internally create a proxy object descending for the given class. So the object will not be a direct instance of the given class. This important if, for example, the generated proxy object’s meta-class is altered afterwards.

Let’s have an example on coercing a closure to be of a specific type:

def service = { String key -> 'some text' } as TranslationService
assert 'some text' == service.convert('key.text')

Groovy supports a feature called implicit SAM coercion. This means that the as operator is not necessary in situations where the runtime can infer the target SAM type. This type of coercion might be useful in tests to mock entire SAM classes:

abstract class BaseService {
    abstract void doSomething()
}

BaseService service = { -> println 'doing something' }
service.doSomething()
MockFor and StubFor

The Groovy mocking and stubbing classes can be found in the groovy.mock.interceptor package.

The MockFor class supports (typically unit) testing of classes in isolation by allowing a strictly ordered expectation of the behavior of collaborators to be defined. A typical test scenario involves a class under test and one or more collaborators. In such a scenario it is often desirable to just test the business logic of the class under test. One strategy for doing that is to replace the collaborator instances with simplified mock objects to help isolate out the logic in the test target. MockFor allows such mocks to be created using meta-programming. The desired behavior of collaborators is defined as a behavior specification. The behavior is enforced and checked automatically.

Let’s assume our target classes looked like this:

class Person {
    String first, last
}

class Family {
    Person father, mother
    def nameOfMother() { "$mother.first $mother.last" }
}

With MockFor, a mock expectation is always sequence dependent and its use automatically ends with a call to verify:

def mock = new MockFor(Person)      (1)
mock.demand.getFirst{ 'dummy' }
mock.demand.getLast{ 'name' }
mock.use {                          (2)
    def mary = new Person(first:'Mary', last:'Smith')
    def f = new Family(mother:mary)
    assert f.nameOfMother() == 'dummy name'
}
mock.expect.verify()                (3)
1 a new mock is created by a new instance of MockFor
2 a Closure is passed to use which enables the mocking functionality
3 a call to verify checks whether the sequence and number of method calls is as expected

The StubFor class supports (typically unit) testing of classes in isolation by allowing a loosely-ordered expectation of the behavior of collaborators to be defined. A typical test scenario involves a class under test and one or more collaborators. In such a scenario it is often desirable to just test the business logic of the CUT. One strategy for doing that is to replace the collaborator instances with simplified stub objects to help isolate out the logic in the target class. StubFor allows such stubs to be created using meta-programming. The desired behavior of collaborators is defined as a behavior specification.

In contrast to MockFor the stub expectation checked with verify is sequence independent and its use is optional:

def stub = new StubFor(Person)      (1)
stub.demand.with {                  (2)
    getLast{ 'name' }
    getFirst{ 'dummy' }
}
stub.use {                          (3)
    def john = new Person(first:'John', last:'Smith')
    def f = new Family(father:john)
    assert f.father.first == 'dummy'
    assert f.father.last == 'name'
}
stub.expect.verify()                (4)
1 a new stub is created by a new instance of StubFor
2 the with method is used for delegating all calls inside the closure to the StubFor instance
3 a Closure is passed to use which enables the stubbing functionality
4 a call to verify (optional) checks whether the number of method calls is as expected

MockFor and StubFor can not be used to test statically compiled classes e.g for Java classes or Groovy classes that make use of @CompileStatic. To stub and/or mock these classes you can use Spock or one of the Java mocking libraries.

Expando Meta-Class (EMC)

Groovy includes a special MetaClass the so-called ExpandoMetaClass (EMC). It allows to dynamically add methods, constructors, properties and static methods using a neat closure syntax.

Every java.lang.Class is supplied with a special metaClass property that will give a reference to an ExpandoMetaClass instance. The expando meta-class is not restricted to custom classes, it can be used for JDK classes like for example java.lang.String as well:

String.metaClass.swapCase = {->
    def sb = new StringBuffer()
    delegate.each {
        sb << (Character.isUpperCase(it as char) ? Character.toLowerCase(it as char) :
            Character.toUpperCase(it as char))
    }
    sb.toString()
}

def s = "heLLo, worLD!"
assert s.swapCase() == 'HEllO, WORld!'

The ExpandoMetaClass is a rather good candidate for mocking functionality as it allows for more advanced stuff like mocking static methods

class Book {
    String title
}

Book.metaClass.static.create << { String title -> new Book(title:title) }

def b = Book.create("The Stand")
assert b.title == 'The Stand'

or even constructors

Book.metaClass.constructor << { String title -> new Book(title:title) }

def b = new Book("The Stand")
assert b.title == 'The Stand'
Mocking constructors might seem like a hack that’s better not even to be considered but even there might be valid use cases. An example can be found in Grails where domain class constructors are added at run-time with the help of ExpandoMetaClass. This lets the domain object register itself in the Spring application context and allows for injection of services or other beans controlled by the dependency-injection container.

If you want to change the metaClass property on a per test method level you need to remove the changes that were done to the meta-class, otherwise those changes would be persistent across test method calls. Changes are removed by replacing the meta-class in the GroovyMetaClassRegistry:

GroovySystem.metaClassRegistry.setMetaClass(java.lang.String, null)

Another alternative is to register a MetaClassRegistryChangeEventListener, track the changed classes and remove the changes in the cleanup method of your chosen testing runtime. A good example can be found in the Grails web development framework.

Besides using the ExpandoMetaClass on a class-level, there is also support for using the meta-class on a per-object level:

def b = new Book(title: "The Stand")
b.metaClass.getTitle {-> 'My Title' }

assert b.title == 'My Title'

In this case the meta-class change is related to the instance only. Depending on the test scenario this might be a better fit than the global meta-class change.

GDK Methods

The following section gives a brief overview on GDK methods that can be leveraged in test case scenarios, for example for test data generation.

Iterable#combinations

The combinations method that is added on java.lang.Iterable compliant classes can be used to get a list of combinations from a list containing two or more sub-lists:

void testCombinations() {
    def combinations = [[2, 3],[4, 5, 6]].combinations()
    assert combinations == [[2, 4], [3, 4], [2, 5], [3, 5], [2, 6], [3, 6]]
}

The method could be used in test case scenarios to generate all possible argument combinations for a specific method call.

Iterable#eachCombination

The eachCombination method that is added on java.lang.Iterable can be used to apply a function (or in this case a groovy.lang.Closure) to each if the combinations that has been built by the combinations method:

eachCombination is a GDK method that is added to all classes conforming to the java.lang.Iterable interface. It applies a function on each combination of the input lists:

void testEachCombination() {
    [[2, 3],[4, 5, 6]].eachCombination { println it[0] + it[1] }
}

The method could be used in the testing context to call methods with each of the generated combinations.

Tool Support
Test Code Coverage

Code coverage is a useful measure of the effectiveness of (unit) tests. A program with high code coverage has a lower chance to hold critical bugs than a program with no or low coverage. To get code coverage metrics, the generated byte-code usually needs to be instrumented before the tests are executed. One tool with Groovy support for this task is Cobertura.

Various frameworks and build tools come with Cobertura integration. For Grails, there is the code coverage plugin based on Cobertura, for Gradle there is the gradle-cobertura plugin, to name only two of them.

The following code listing shows an example on how to enable Cobertura test coverage reports in a Gradle build script from a Groovy project:

def pluginVersion = '<plugin version>'
def groovyVersion = '<groovy version>'
def junitVersion = '<junit version>'

buildscript {
    repositories {
        mavenCentral()
    }
    dependencies {
        classpath 'com.eriwen:gradle-cobertura-plugin:${pluginVersion}'
    }
}

apply plugin: 'groovy'
apply plugin: 'cobertura'

repositories {
    mavenCentral()
}

dependencies {
    compile "org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-all:${groovyVersion}"
    testCompile "junit:junit:${junitVersion}"
}

cobertura {
    format = 'html'
    includes = ['**/*.java', '**/*.groovy']
    excludes = ['com/thirdparty/**/*.*']
}

Several output formats can be chosen for Cobertura coverage reports and test code coverage reports can be added to continuous integration build tasks.

3.6.3. Unit Tests with JUnit 3 and 4

Groovy simplifies JUnit testing, making it more Groovy. In the following sections we will have a closer look at JUnit 3/4 Groovy integration.

JUnit 3

Maybe one of the most prominent Groovy classes supporting JUnit 3 tests is the GroovyTestCase class. Being derived from junit.framework.TestCase it offers a bunch of additional methods that make testing in Groovy a breeze.

Although GroovyTestCase inherits from TestCase doesn’t mean you can’t use JUnit 4 features in your project. In fact, the most recent Groovy versions come with a bundled JUnit 4 and that comes with a backwards compatible TestCase implementation. There have been some discussion on the Groovy mailing-list on whether to use GroovyTestCase or JUnit 4 with the result that it is mostly a matter of taste, but with GroovyTestCase you get a bunch of methods for free that make certain types of tests easier to write.

In this section, we will have a look at some of the methods provided by GroovyTestCase. A full list of these can be found in the JavaDoc documentation for groovy.util.GroovyTestCase, don’t forget it is inherited from junit.framework.TestCase which inherits all the assert* methods.

Assertion Methods

GroovyTestCase is inherited from junit.framework.TestCase therefore it inherits a large number of assertion methods being available to be called in every test method:

class MyTestCase extends GroovyTestCase {

    void testAssertions() {
        assertTrue(1 == 1)
        assertEquals("test", "test")

        def x = "42"
        assertNotNull "x must not be null", x
        assertNull null

        assertSame x, x
    }

}

As can be seen above, in contrast to Java it is possible to leave out the parenthesis in most situations which leads to even more readability of JUnit assertion method call expressions.

An interesting assertion method that is added by GroovyTestCase is assertScript. It ensures that the given Groovy code string succeeds without any exception:

void testScriptAssertions() {
    assertScript '''
        def x = 1
        def y = 2

        assert x + y == 3
    '''
}
shouldFail Methods

shouldFail can be used to check whether the given code block fails or not. In case it fails, the assertion does hold, otherwise the assertion fails:

void testInvalidIndexAccess1() {
    def numbers = [1,2,3,4]
    shouldFail {
        numbers.get(4)
    }
}

The example above uses the basic shouldFail method interface that takes a groovy.lang.Closure as a single argument. The Closure instance holds the code that is supposed to be breaking during run-time.

If we wanted to assert shouldFail on a specific java.lang.Exception type we could have done so by using the shouldFail implementation that takes the Exception class as first argument and the Closure as second argument:

void testInvalidIndexAccess2() {
    def numbers = [1,2,3,4]
    shouldFail IndexOutOfBoundsException, {
        numbers.get(4)
    }
}

If anything other than IndexOutOfBoundsException (or a descendant class of it) is thrown, the test case will fail.

A pretty nice feature of shouldFail hasn’t been visible so far: it returns the exception message. This is really useful if you want to assert on the exception error message:

void testInvalidIndexAccess3() {
    def numbers = [1,2,3,4]
    def msg = shouldFail IndexOutOfBoundsException, {
        numbers.get(4)
    }
    assert msg.contains('Index: 4, Size: 4')
}
notYetImplemented Method

The notYetImplemented method has been greatly influenced by HtmlUnit. It allows to write a test method but mark it as not yet implemented. As long as the test method fails and is marked with notYetImplemented the test goes green:

void testNotYetImplemented1() {
    if (notYetImplemented()) return   (1)

    assert 1 == 2                     (2)
}
1 a call to notYetImplemented is necessary for GroovyTestCase to get the current method stack.
2 as long as the test evaluates to false the test execution will be successful.

An alternative to the notYetImplemented method is the @NotYetImplemented annotation. It allows for annotating a method as not yet implemented, with the exact same behavior as GroovyTestCase#notYetImplemented but without the need for the notYetImplemented method call:

@NotYetImplemented
void testNotYetImplemented2() {
    assert 1 == 2
}
JUnit 4

Groovy can be used to write JUnit 4 test cases without any restrictions. The groovy.test.GroovyAssert holds various static methods that can be used as replacement for the GroovyTestCase methods in JUnit 4 tests:

import org.junit.Test

import static groovy.test.GroovyAssert.shouldFail

class JUnit4ExampleTests {

    @Test
    void indexOutOfBoundsAccess() {
        def numbers = [1,2,3,4]
        shouldFail {
            numbers.get(4)
        }
    }
}

As can be seen in the example above, the static methods found in GroovyAssert are imported at the beginning of the class definition thus shouldFail can be used the same way it can be used in a GroovyTestCase.

groovy.test.GroovyAssert descends from org.junit.Assert that means it inherits all JUnit assertion methods. However, with the introduction of the power assertion statement, it turned out to be good practice to rely on assertion statements instead of using the JUnit assertion methods with the improved message being the main reason.

3.6.4. Testing with Spock

Spock is a testing and specification framework for Java and Groovy applications. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its beautiful and highly expressive specification DSL. In practice, Spock specifications are written as Groovy classes. Although written in Groovy they can be used to test Java classes. Spock can be used for unit, integration or BDD (behavior-driven-development) testing, it doesn’t put itself into a specific category of testing frameworks or libraries.

Beside these awesome features Spock is a good example on how to leverage advanced Groovy programming language features in third party libraries, for example, by using Groovy AST transformations.
This section should not serve as detailed guide on how to use Spock, it should rather give an impression what Spock is about and how it can be leveraged for unit, integration, functional or any other type of testing.

The next section we will have an first look at the anatomy of a Spock specification. It should give a pretty good feeling on what Spock is up to.

Specifications

Spock lets you write specifications that describe features (properties, aspects) exhibited by a system of interest. The "system" can be anything between a single class and an entire application, a more advanced term for it is system under specification. The feature description starts from a specific snapshot of the system and its collaborators, this snapshot is called the feature’s fixture.

Spock specification classes are derived from spock.lang.Specification. A concrete specification class might consist of fields, fixture methods, features methods and helper methods.

Let’s have a look at a simple specification with a single feature method for an imaginary Stack class:

class StackSpec extends Specification {

    def "adding an element leads to size increase"() {  (1)
        setup: "a new stack instance is created"        (2)
            def stack = new Stack()

        when:                                           (3)
            stack.push 42

        then:                                           (4)
            stack.size() == 1
    }
}
1 Feature method, is by convention named with a String literal.
2 Setup block, here is where any setup work for this feature needs to be done.
3 When block describes a stimulus, a certain action under target by this feature specification.
4 Then block any expressions that can be used to validate the result of the code that was triggered by the when block.

Spock feature specifications are defined as methods inside a spock.lang.Specification class. They describe the feature by using a String literal instead of a method name.

A feature method holds multiple blocks, in our example we used setup, when and then. The setup block is special in that it is optional and allows to configure local variables visible inside the feature method. The when block defines the stimulus and is a companion of the then block which describes the response to the stimulus.

Note that the setup method in the StackSpec above additionally has a description String. Description Strings are optional and can be added after block labels (like setup, when, then).

More Spock

Spock provides much more features like data tables or advanced mocking capabilities. Feel free to consult the Spock GitHub page for more documentation and download information.

3.6.5. Functional Tests with Geb

Geb is a functional web testing and scraper library that integrates with JUnit and Spock. It is based upon the Selenium web drivers and, like Spock, provides a Groovy DSL to write functional tests for web applications.

Geb has great features that make it a good fit for a functional testing library:

  • DOM access via a JQuery-like $ function

  • implements the page pattern

  • support for modularization of certain web components (e.g. menu-bars, etc.) with modules

  • integration with JavaScript via the JS variable

This section should not serve as detailed guide on how to use Geb, it should rather give an impression what Geb is about and how it can be leveraged functional testing.

The next section will give an example on how Geb can be used to write a functional test for a simple web page with a single search field.

A Geb Script

Although Geb can be used standalone in a Groovy script, in many scenarios it’s used in combination with other testing frameworks. Geb comes with various base classes that can be used in JUnit 3, 4, TestNG or Spock tests. The base classes are part of additional Geb modules that need to be added as a dependency.

For example, the following @Grab dependencies have to be used to run Geb with the Selenium Firefox driver in JUnit4 tests. The module that is needed for JUnit 3/4 support is geb-junit:

@Grapes([
    @Grab("org.gebish:geb-core:0.9.2"),
    @Grab("org.gebish:geb-junit:0.9.2"),
    @Grab("org.seleniumhq.selenium:selenium-firefox-driver:2.26.0"),
    @Grab("org.seleniumhq.selenium:selenium-support:2.26.0")
])

The central class in Geb is the geb.Browser class. As its name implies it is used to browse pages and access DOM elements:

def browser = new Browser(driver: new FirefoxDriver(), baseUrl: 'http://myhost:8080/myapp')  (1)
browser.drive {
    go "/login"                        (2)

    $("#username").text = 'John'       (3)
    $("#password").text = 'Doe'

    $("#loginButton").click()

    assert title == "My Application - Dashboard"
}
1 A new Browser instance is created. In this case it uses the Selenium FirefoxDriver and sets the baseUrl.
2 go is used to navigate to an URL or relative URI
3 $ together with CSS selectors is used to access the username and password DOM fields.

The Browser class comes with a drive method that delegates all method/property calls to the current browser instance. The Browser configuration must not be done inline, it can also be externalized in a GebConfig.groovy configuration file for example. In practice, the usage of the Browser class is mostly hidden by Geb test base classes. They delegate all missing properties and method calls to the current browser instance that exists in the background:

class SearchTests extends geb.junit4.GebTest {

    @Test
    void executeSeach() {
        go 'http://somehost/mayapp/search'              (1)
        $('#searchField').text = 'John Doe'             (2)
        $('#searchButton').click()                      (3)

        assert $('.searchResult a').first().text() == 'Mr. John Doe' (4)
    }
}
1 Browser#go takes a relative or absolute link and calls the page.
2 Browser#$ is used to access DOM content. Any CSS selectors supported by the underlying Selenium drivers are allowed
3 click is used to click a button.
4 $ is used to get the first link out of the searchResult block

The example above shows a simple Geb web test with the JUnit 4 base class geb.junit4.GebTest. Note that in this case the Browser configuration is externalized. GebTest delegates methods like go and $ to the underlying browser instance.

More Geb

In the previous section we only scratched the surface of the available Geb features. More information on Geb can be found at the project homepage.

3.6.6. Other Testing Libraries and Frameworks

TestNG

TestNG is a testing framework inspired from JUnit and NUnit but with new functionality to make it more powerful and easier to use. Features include:

  • JDK 5 Annotations

  • Flexible test configuration

  • Support for data-driven testing (with @DataProvider)

  • Support for parameters

  • Allows distribution of tests on slave machines

  • Powerful execution model (no more TestSuite)

  • Supported by a variety of tools and plug-ins (Eclipse, IDEA, Maven, etc…)

  • Embeds BeanShell for further flexibility

  • Default JDK functions for runtime and logging (no dependencies)

  • Dependent methods for application server testing

Mockito

Mockito is a Java mocking library. It has very slim API, almost no time is needed to start mocking. Features include:

  • Mocks concrete classes as well as interfaces

  • Little annotation syntax sugar - @Mock

  • Verification errors are clean - click on stack trace to see failed verification in test; click on exception’s cause to navigate to actual interaction in code. Stack trace is always clean.

  • Allows flexible verification in order (e.g: verify in order what you want, not every single interaction)

  • Supports exact-number-of-times and at-least-once verification

  • Flexible verification or stubbing using argument matchers (anyObject(), anyString() or refEq() for reflection-based equality matching)

  • Allows creating custom argument matchers or using existing Hamcrest matchers

EasyMock

EasyMock is a mocking library for Java. Features include:

  • Hand-writing classes for Mock Objects is not needed.

  • Supports refactoring-safe Mock Objects: test code will not break at runtime when renaming methods or reordering method parameters

  • Supports return values and exceptions.

  • Supports checking the order of method calls, for one or more Mock Objects.

JBehave

JBehave is a framework for Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD). BDD is an evolution of test-driven development and acceptance-test driven design, and is intended to make these practices more accessible and intuitive to newcomers and experts alike. It shifts the vocabulary from being test-based to behaviour-based, and positions itself as a design philosophy.

JMockit

jmockit is a mocking library for Java. :leveloffset: 0

3.7. Processing JSON (TBD)

3.8. Interacting with a SQL database (TBD)

3.9. Processing XML (TBD)

3.10. Scripting Ant tasks (TBD)

3.11. Template engines

3.11.1. Introduction

Groovy supports multiple ways to generate text dynamically including GStrings, printf if you are using Java 5, and MarkupBuilder just to name a few. In addition to these, there is a dedicated template framework which is well-suited to applications where the text to be generated follows the form of a static template.

3.11.2. Template framework

The template framework in Groovy consists of a TemplateEngine abstract base class that engines must implement and a Template interface that the resulting templates they generate must implement.

Included with Groovy are several template engines:

  • SimpleTemplateEngine - for basic templates

  • GStringTemplateEngine - stores the template as writable closures (useful for streaming scenarios)

  • XmlTemplateEngine - works well when the template and output are valid XML

  • MarkupTemplateEngine - a very complete, optimized, template engine

3.11.3. SimpleTemplateEngine

Shown here is the SimpleTemplateEngine that allows you to use JSP-like scriptlets (see example below), script, and EL expressions in your template in order to generate parameterized text. Here is an example of using the system:

def text = 'Dear "$firstname $lastname",\nSo nice to meet you in <% print city %>.\nSee you in ${month},\n${signed}'

def binding = ["firstname":"Sam", "lastname":"Pullara", "city":"San Francisco", "month":"December", "signed":"Groovy-Dev"]

def engine = new groovy.text.SimpleTemplateEngine()
def template = engine.createTemplate(text).make(binding)

def result = 'Dear "Sam Pullara",\nSo nice to meet you in San Francisco.\nSee you in December,\nGroovy-Dev'

assert result == template.toString()

While it is generally not deemed good practice to mix processing logic in your template (or view), sometimes very simple logic can be useful. E.g. in the example above, we could change this:

$firstname

to this (assuming we have set up a static import for capitalize inside the template):

${firstname.capitalize()}

or this:

<% print city %>

to this:

<% print city == "New York" ? "The Big Apple" : city %>
Advanced Usage Note

If you happen to be embedding your template directly in your script (as we did above) you have to be careful about backslash escaping. Because the template string itself will be parsed by Groovy before it is passed to the the templating framework, you have to escape any backslashes inside GString expressions or scriptlet code that are entered as part of a Groovy program. E.g. if we wanted quotes around The Big Apple above, we would use:

<% print city == "New York" ? "\\"The Big Apple\\"" : city %>

Similarly, if we wanted a newline, we would use:

\\n

in any GString expression or scriptlet 'code' that appears inside a Groovy script. A normal "\n" is fine within the static template text itself or if the entire template itself is in an external template file. Similarly, to represent an actual backslash in your text you would need

\\\\

in an external file or

\\\\

in any GString expression or scriptlet 'code'. (Note: the necessity to have this extra slash may go away in a future version of Groovy if we can find an easy way to support such a change.)

3.11.4. GStringTemplateEngine

As an example of using the GStringTemplateEngine, here is the example above done again (with a few changes to show some other options). First we will store the template in a file this time:

test.template
Dear "$firstname $lastname",
So nice to meet you in <% out << (city == "New York" ? "\\"The Big Apple\\"" : city) %>.
See you in ${month},
${signed}

Note that we used out instead of print to support the streaming nature of GStringTemplateEngine. Because we have the template in a separate file, there is no need to escape the backslashes. Here is how we call it:

def f = new File('test.template')
def engine = new groovy.text.GStringTemplateEngine()
def template = engine.createTemplate(f).make(binding)
println template.toString()

and here is the output:

Dear "Sam Pullara",
So nice to meet you in "The Big Apple".
See you in December,
Groovy-Dev

3.11.5. XmlTemplateEngine

XmlTemplateEngine for use in templating scenarios where both the template source and the expected output are intended to be XML. Templates may use the normal ${expression} and $variable notations to insert an arbitrary expression into the template. In addition, support is also provided for special tags: <gsp:scriptlet> (for inserting code fragments) and <gsp:expression> (for code fragments which produce output).

Comments and processing instructions will be removed as part of processing and special XML characters such as <, >, " and ' will be escaped using the respective XML notation. The output will also be indented using standard XML pretty printing.

The xmlns namespace definition for gsp: tags will be removed but other namespace definitions will be preserved (but may change to an equivalent position within the XML tree).

Normally, the template source will be in a file but here is a simple example providing the XML template as a string:

def binding = [firstname: 'Jochen', lastname: 'Theodorou', nickname: 'blackdrag', salutation: 'Dear']
def engine = new groovy.text.XmlTemplateEngine()
def text = '''\
    <document xmlns:gsp='http://groovy.codehaus.org/2005/gsp' xmlns:foo='baz' type='letter'>
        <gsp:scriptlet>def greeting = "${salutation}est"</gsp:scriptlet>
        <gsp:expression>greeting</gsp:expression>
        <foo:to>$firstname "$nickname" $lastname</foo:to>
        How are you today?
    </document>
'''
def template = engine.createTemplate(text).make(binding)
println template.toString()

This example will produce this output:

<document type='letter'>
  Dearest
  <foo:to xmlns:foo='baz'>
    Jochen &quot;blackdrag&quot; Theodorou
  </foo:to>
  How are you today?
</document>

3.11.6. The MarkupTemplateEngine

This template engine is a template engine primarily aimed at generating XML-like markup (XML, XHTML, HTML5, …). Unlike traditional template engines, this one relies on a DSL that uses the builder syntax. Here is a sample template:

xmlDeclaration()
cars {
   cars.each {
       car(make: it.make, model: it.model)
   }
}

If you feed it with the following model:

model = [cars: [new Car(make: 'Peugeot', model: '508'), new Car(make: 'Toyota', model: 'Prius')]]

It would be rendered as:

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<cars><car make='Peugeot' model='508'/><car make='Toyota' model='Prius'/></cars>

The key features of this template engine are:

  • a markup builder like syntax

  • templates are compiled into bytecode

  • fast rendering

  • optional type checking of the model

  • includes

  • internationalization support

The template format
Basics

Templates consist of Groovy code. Let’s explore the first example more throughfully:

xmlDeclaration()                                (1)
cars {                                          (2)
   cars.each {                                  (3)
       car(make: it.make, model: it.model)      (4)
   }                                            (5)
}
1 renders the XML declaration string.
2 opens a cars tag
3 cars is a variable found in the template model, which is a list of Car instances
4 for each item, we create a car tag with the attributes from the Car instance
5 closes the cars tag

As you can see, regular Groovy code can be used in the template. Here, we are calling each on a list (retrieved from the model), allowing us to render one car tag per entry.

In a similar fashion, rendering HTML code is as simple as this:

yieldUnescaped '<!DOCTYPE html>'                                                    (1)
html(lang:'en') {                                                                   (2)
    head {                                                                          (3)
        meta('http-equiv':'"Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"')      (4)
        title('My page')                                                            (5)
    }                                                                               (6)
    body {                                                                          (7)
        p('This is an example of HTML contents')                                    (8)
    }                                                                               (9)
}                                                                                   (10)
1 renders the HTML doctype special tag
2 opens the html tag with an attribute
3 opens the head tag
4 renders a meta tag with one http-equiv attribute
5 renders the title tag
6 closes the head tag
7 opens the body tag
8 renders a p tag
9 closes the body tag
10 closes the html tag

The output is straightforward:

<!DOCTYPE html><html lang='en'><head><meta http-equiv='"Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"'/><title>My page</title></head><body><p>This is an example of HTML contents</p></body></html>
With some configuration, you can have the output pretty printed, with newlines and indent automatically added.
Support methods

In the previous example, the doctype declaration was rendered using the yieldUnescaped method. We have also seen the xmlDeclaration method. The template engine provides several support methods that will help you render contents appropriately:

Method Description Example

yield

Renders contents, but escapes it before rendering

Template:

yield 'Some text with <angle brackets>'

Output:

Some text with &lt;angle brackets&gt;

yieldUnescaped

Renders raw contents. The argument is rendered as is, without escaping.

Template:

yieldUnescaped 'Some text with <angle brackets>'

Output:

Some text with <angle brackets>

xmlDeclaration

Renders an XML declaration String. If the encoding is specified in the configuration, it is written in the declaration.

Template:

xmlDeclaration()

Output:

<?xml version='1.0'?>

If TemplateConfiguration#getDeclarationEncoding is not null:

Output:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>

comment

Renders raw contents inside an XML comment

Template:

comment 'This is <a href="foo.html">commented out</a>'

Output:

<!--This is <a href="foo.html">commented out</a>-->

newLine

Renders a new line. See also TemplateConfiguration#setAutoNewLine and TemplateConfiguration#setNewLineString.

Template:

p('text')
newLine()
p('text on new line')

Output:

<p>text</p>
<p>text on new line</p>

pi

Renders an XML processing instruction.

Template:

pi("xml-stylesheet":[href:"mystyle.css", type:"text/css"])

Output:

<?xml-stylesheet href='mystyle.css' type='text/css'?>

tryEscape

Returns an escaped string for an object, if it is a String (or any type derived from CharSequence). Otherwise returns the object itself.

Template:

yieldUnescaped tryEscape('Some text with <angle brackets>')

Output:

Some text with &lt;angle brackets&gt;
Includes

The MarkupTemplateEngine supports inclusion of contents from another file. Included contents may be:

  • another template

  • raw contents

  • contents to be escaped

Including another template can be done using:

include template: 'other_template.tpl'

Including a file as raw contents, without escaping it, can be done like this:

include unescaped: 'raw.txt'

Eventually, inclusion of text that should be escaped before rendering can be done using:

include escaped: 'to_be_escaped.txt'

Alternatively, you can use the following helper methods instead:

  • includeGroovy(<name>) to include another template

  • includeEscaped(<name>) to include another file with escaping

  • includeUnescaped(<name>) to include another file without escaping

Calling those methods instead of the include xxx: syntax can be useful if the name of the file to be included is dynamic (stored in a variable for example). Files to be included (independently of their type, template or text) are found on classpath. This is one of the reasons why the MarkupTemplateEngine takes an optional ClassLoader as constructor argument (the other reason being that you can include code referencing other classes in a template).

If you don’t want your templates to be on classpath, the MarkupTemplateEngine accepts a convenient constructor that lets you define the directory where templates are to be found.

Rendering contents
Creation of a template engine

On the server side, rendering templates require an instance of groovy.text.markup.MarkupTemplateEngine and a groovy.text.markup.TemplateConfiguration:

TemplateConfiguration config = new TemplateConfiguration();         (1)
MarkupTemplateEngine engine = new MarkupTemplateEngine(config);     (2)
Template template = engine.createTemplate("p('test template')");    (3)
Map<String, Object> model = new HashMap<>();                        (4)
Writable output = template.make(model);                             (5)
output.writeTo(writer);                                             (6)
1 creates a template configuration
2 creates a template engine with this configuration
3 creates a template instance from a String
4 creates a model to be used in the template
5 bind the model to the template instance
6 render output

There are several possible options to parse templates:

  • from a String, using createTemplate(String)

  • from a Reader, using createTemplate(Reader)

  • from a URL, using createTemplate(URL)

  • given a template name, using createTemplateByPath(String)

The last version should in general be preferred:

Template template = engine.createTemplateByPath("main.tpl");
Writable output = template.make(model);
output.writeTo(writer);
Configuration options

The behavior of the engine can be tweaked with several configuration options accessible through the TemplateConfiguration class:

Option Default value Description Example

declarationEncoding

null

Determines the value of the encoding to be written when xmlDeclaration is called. It does not influence the writer you are using as output.

Template:

xmlDeclaration()

Output:

<?xml version='1.0'?>

If TemplateConfiguration#getDeclarationEncoding is not null:

Output:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>

expandEmptyElements

false

If true, empty tags are rendered in their expanded form.

Template:

p()

Output:

<p/>

If expandEmptyElements is true:

Output:

<p></p>

useDoubleQuotes

false

If true, use double quotes for attributes instead of simple quotes

Template:

tag(attr:'value')

Output:

<tag attr='value'/>

If useDoubleQuotes is true:

Output:

<tag attr="value"/>

newLineString

System default (system property line.separator)

Allows to choose what string is used when a new line is rendered

Template:

p('foo')
newLine()
p('baz')

If newLineString='BAR':

Output:

<p>foo</p>BAR<p>baz</p>

autoEscape

false

If true, variables from models are automatically escaped before rendering.

autoIndent

false

If true, performs automatic indentation after new lines

autoIndentString

four (4) spaces

The string to be used as indent.

autoNewLine

false

If true, performs automatic insertion of new lines

baseTemplateClass

groovy.text.markup.BaseTemplate

Sets the super class of compiled templates. This can be used to provide application specific templates.

locale

Default locale

Sets the default locale for templates.

Once the template engine has been created, it is unsafe to change the configuration.
Automatic formatting

By default, the template engine will render output without any specific formatting. Some configuration options can improve the situation:

  • autoIndent is responsible for auto-indenting after a new line is inserted

  • autoNewLine is responsible for automatically inserting new lines based on the original formatting of the template source

In general, it is recommanded to set both autoIndent and autoNewLine to true if you want human-readable, pretty printed, output:

config.setAutoNewLine(true);
config.setAutoIndent(true);

Using the following template:

html {
    head {
        title('Title')
    }
}

The output will now be:

<html>
    <head>
        <title>Title</title>
    </head>
</html>

We can slightly change the template so that the title intruction is found on the same line as the head one:

html {
    head { title('Title')
    }
}

And the output will reflect that:

<html>
    <head><title>Title</title>
    </head>
</html>

New lines are only inserted where curly braces for tags are found, and the insertion corresponds to where the nested content is found. This means that tags in the body of another tag will not trigger new lines unless they use curly braces themselves:

html {
    head {
        meta(attr:'value')          (1)
        title('Title')              (2)
        newLine()                   (3)
        meta(attr:'value2')         (4)
    }
}
1 a new line is inserted because meta is not on the same line as head
2 no new line is inserted, because we’re on the same depth as the previous tag
3 we can force rendering of a new line by explicitly calling newLine
4 and this tag will be rendered on a separate line

This time, the output will be:

<html>
    <head>
        <meta attr='value'/><title>Title</title>
        <meta attr='value2'/>
    </head>
</html>

By default, the renderer uses four(4) spaces as indent, but you can change it by setting the TemplateConfiguration#autoIndentString property.

Automatic escaping

By default, contents which is read from the model is rendered as is. If this contents comes from user input, it can be sensible, and you might want to escape it by default, for example to avoid XSS injection. For that, the template configuration provides an option which will automatically escape objects from the model, as long as they inherit from CharSequence (typically, `String`s).

Let’s imagine the following setup:

config.setAutoEscape(false);
model = new HashMap<String,Object>();
model.put("unsafeContents", "I am an <html> hacker.");

and the following template:

html {
    body {
        div(unsafeContents)
    }
}

Then you wouldn’t want the HTML from unsafeContents to be rendered as is, because of potential security issues:

<html><body><div>I am an <html> hacker.</div></body></html>

Automatic escaping will fix this:

config.setAutoEscape(true);

And now the output is properly escaped:

<html><body><div>I am an &lt;html&gt; hacker.</div></body></html>

Note that using automatic escaping doesn’t prevent you from including unescaped contents from the model. To do this, your template should then explicitly mention that a model variable should not be escaped by prefixing it with unescaped., like in this example:

Explicit bypass of automatic escaping
html {
    body {
        div(unescaped.unsafeContents)
    }
}
Internationalization

The template engine has native support for internationalization. For that, when you create the TemplateConfiguration, you can provide a Locale which is the default locale to be used for templates. Each template may have different versions, one for each locale. The name of the template makes the difference:

  • file.tpl: default template file

  • file_fr_FR.tpl: french version of the template

  • file_en_US.tpl: american english version of the template

When a template is rendered or included, then:

  • if the template name or include name explicitly sets a locale, the specific version is included, or the default version if not found

  • if the template name doesn’t include a locale, the version for the TemplateConfiguration locale is used, or the default version if not found

For example, imagine the default locale is set to Locale.ENGLISH and that the main template includes:

Use an explicit locale in include
include template: 'locale_include_fr_FR.tpl'

then the template is rendered using the specific template:

Bypass the template configuration
Texte en français

Using an include without specifying a locale will make the template engine look for a template with the configured locale, and if not, fallback to the default, like here:

Don’t use a locale in include
include template: 'locale_include.tpl'
Fallback to the default template
Default text

However, changing the default locale of the template engine to Locale.FRANCE will change the output, because the template engine will now look for a file with the fr_FR locale:

Don’t fallback to the default template because a locale specific template was found
Texte en français

This strategy lets you translate your templates one by one, by relying on default templates, for which no locale is set in the file name.

Custom template classes

By default, templates created inherit the groovy.text.markup.BaseTemplate class. It may be interesting for an application to provide a different template class, for example to provide additional helper methods which are aware of the application, or customized rendering primitives (for HTML, for example).

The template engine provides this ability by setting an alternative baseTemplateClass in the TemplateConfiguration:

config.setBaseTemplateClass(MyTemplate.class);

The custom base class has to extend BaseClass like in this example:

public abstract class MyTemplate extends BaseTemplate {
    private List<Module> modules
    public MyTemplate(
            final MarkupTemplateEngine templateEngine,
            final Map model,
            final Map<String, String> modelTypes,
            final TemplateConfiguration configuration) {
        super(templateEngine, model, modelTypes, configuration)
    }

    List<Module> getModules() {
        return modules
    }

    void setModules(final List<Module> modules) {
        this.modules = modules
    }

    boolean hasModule(String name) {
        modules?.any { it.name == name }
    }
}

This example shows a class which provides an additional method named hasModule, which can then be used directly in the template:

if (hasModule('foo')) {
    p 'Found module [foo]'
} else {
    p 'Module [foo] not found'
}
Type checked templates
Optional type checking

Even if templates are not type checked, they are statically compiled. This means that once the templates are compiled, performance should be very good. For some applications, it might be good to make sure that templates are valid before they are actually rendered. This means failing template compilation, for example, if a method on a model variable doesn’t exist.

The MarkupTemplateEngine provides such a facility. Templates can be optionally type checked. For that, the developer must provide additional information at template creation time, which is the types of the variables found in the model. Imagine a model exposing a list of pages, where a page is defined as:

Page.groovy
public class Page {

    Long id
    String title
    String body
}

Then a list of pages can be exposed in the model, like this:

Page p = new Page();
p.setTitle("Sample page");
p.setBody("Page body");
List<Page> pages = new LinkedList<>();
pages.add(p);
model = new HashMap<String,Object>();
model.put("pages", pages);

A template can use it easily:

pages.each { page ->                    (1)
    p("Page title: $page.title")        (2)
    p(page.text)                        (3)
}
1 iterate on pages from the model
2 page.title is valid
3 page.text is not (should be page.body)

Without type checking, the compilation of the template succeeds, because the template engine doesn’t know about the model until a page is actually rendered. This means that the problem would only surface at runtime, once the page is rendered:

Runtime error
No such property: text

In some situations, this can be complicated to sort out or even notice. By declaring the type of the pages to the template engine, we’re now capable of failing at compile time:

modelTypes = new HashMap<String,String>();                                          (1)
modelTypes.put("pages", "List<Page>");                                              (2)
Template template = engine.createTypeCheckedModelTemplate("main.tpl", modelTypes)   (3)
1 create a map which will hold the model types
2 declare the type of the pages variables (note the use of a string for the type)
3 use createTypeCheckedModelTemplate instead of createTemplate

This time, when the template is compiled at the last line, an error occurs:

Template compilation time error
[Static type checking] - No such property: text for class: Page

This means that you don’t need to wait for the page to be rendered to see an error. The use of createTypeCheckedModelTemplate is mandatory.

Alternative declaration of types

Alternatively, if the developer is also the one who writes the templates, it is possible to declare the types of the expected variables directly in the template. In this case, even if you call createTemplate, it will be type checked:

Inline declaration of types
modelTypes = {                          (1)
    List<Page> pages                    (2)
}

pages.each { page ->
    p("Page title: $page.title")
    p(page.text)
}
1 types need to be declared in the modelTypes header
2 declare one variable per object in the model
Performance of type checked templates

An additional interest of using type checked models is that performance should improve. By telling the type checker what are the expected types, you also let the compiler generate optimized code for that, so if you are looking for the best performance, consider using type checked templates.

3.11.7. Other solutions

Also, there are other templating solutions that can be used along with Groovy, such as FreeMarker, Velocity, StringTemplate and others.

3.12. Servlet support (TBD)

3.13. Integrating Groovy in a Java application

3.13.1. Groovy integration mechanisms

The Groovy language proposes several ways to integrate itself into applications (Java or even Groovy) at runtime, from the most basic, simple code execution to the most complete, integrating caching and compiler customization.

All the examples written in this section are using Groovy, but the same integration mechanisms can be used from Java.
Eval

The groovy.util.Eval class is the simplest way to execute Groovy dynamically at runtime. This can be done by calling the me method:

import groovy.util.Eval

assert Eval.me('33*3') == 99
assert Eval.me('"foo".toUpperCase()') == 'FOO'

Eval supports multiple variants that accept parameters for simple evaluation:

assert Eval.x(4, '2*x') == 8                (1)
assert Eval.me('k', 4, '2*k') == 8          (2)
assert Eval.xy(4, 5, 'x*y') == 20           (3)
assert Eval.xyz(4, 5, 6, 'x*y+z') == 26     (4)
1 Simple evaluation with one bound parameter named x
2 Same evaluation, with a custom bound parameter named k
3 Simple evaluation with two bound parameters named x and y
4 Simple evaluation with three bound parameters named x, y and z

The Eval class makes it very easy to evaluate simple scripts, but doesn’t scale: there is no caching of the script, and it isn’t meant to evaluate more than one liners.

GroovyShell
Multiple sources

The groovy.lang.GroovyShell class is the preferred way to evaluate scripts with the ability to cache the resulting script instance. Although the Eval class returns the result of the execution of the compiled script, the GroovyShell class offers more options.

def shell = new GroovyShell()                           (1)
def result = shell.evaluate '3*5'                       (2)
def result2 = shell.evaluate(new StringReader('3*5'))   (3)
assert result == result2
def script = shell.parse '3*5'                          (4)
assert script instanceof groovy.lang.Script
assert script.run() == 15                               (5)
1 create a new GroovyShell instance
2 can be used as Eval with direct execution of the code
3 can read from multiple sources (String, Reader, File, InputStream)
4 can defer execution of the script. parse returns a Script instance
5 Script defines a run method
Sharing data between a script and the application

It is possible to share data between the application and the script using a groovy.lang.Binding:

def sharedData = new Binding()                          (1)
def shell = new GroovyShell(sharedData)                 (2)
def now = new Date()
sharedData.setProperty('text', 'I am shared data!')     (3)
sharedData.setProperty('date', now)                     (4)

String result = shell.evaluate('"At $date, $text"')     (5)

assert result == "At $now, I am shared data!"
1 create a new Binding that will contain shared data
2 create a GroovyShell using this shared data
3 add a string to the binding
4 add a date to the binding (you are not limited to simple types)
5 evaluate the script

Note that it is also possible to write from the script into the binding:

def sharedData = new Binding()                          (1)
def shell = new GroovyShell(sharedData)                 (2)

shell.evaluate('foo=123')                               (3)

assert sharedData.getProperty('foo') == 123             (4)
1 create a new Binding instance
2 create a new GroovyShell using that shared data
3 use an undeclared variable to store the result into the binding
4 read the result from the caller

It is important to understand that you need to use an undeclared variable if you want to write into the binding. Using def or an explicit type like in the example below would fail because you would then create a local variable:

def sharedData = new Binding()
def shell = new GroovyShell(sharedData)

shell.evaluate('int foo=123')

try {
    assert sharedData.getProperty('foo')
} catch (MissingPropertyException e) {
    println "foo is defined as a local variable"
}
You must be very careful when using shared data in a multithreaded environment. The Binding instance that you pass to GroovyShell is not thread safe, and shared by all scripts.

It is possible to work around the shared instance of Binding by leveraging the Script instance which is returned by parse:

def shell = new GroovyShell()

def b1 = new Binding(x:3)                       (1)
def b2 = new Binding(x:4)                       (2)
def script = shell.parse('x = 2*x')
script.binding = b1
script.run()
script.binding = b2
script.run()
assert b1.getProperty('x') == 6
assert b2.getProperty('x') == 8
assert b1 != b2
1 will store the x variable inside b1
2 will store the x variable inside b2

However, you must be aware that you are still sharing the same instance of a script. So this technique cannot be used if you have two threads working on the same script. In that case, you must make sure of creating two distinct script instances:

def shell = new GroovyShell()

def b1 = new Binding(x:3)
def b2 = new Binding(x:4)
def script1 = shell.parse('x = 2*x')            (1)
def script2 = shell.parse('x = 2*x')            (2)
assert script1 != script2
script1.binding = b1                            (3)
script2.binding = b2                            (4)
def t1 = Thread.start { script1.run() }         (5)
def t2 = Thread.start { script2.run() }         (6)
[t1,t2]*.join()                                 (7)
assert b1.getProperty('x') == 6
assert b2.getProperty('x') == 8
assert b1 != b2
1 create an instance of script for thread 1
2 create an instance of script for thread 2
3 assign first binding to script 1
4 assign second binding to script 2
5 start first script in a separate thread
6 start second script in a separate thread
7 wait for completion

In case you need thread safety like here, it is more advisable to use the GroovyClassLoader directly instead.

Custom script class

We have seen that the parse method returns an instance of groovy.lang.Script, but it is possible to use a custom class, given that it extends Script itself. It can be used to provide additional behavior to the script like in the example below:

abstract class MyScript extends Script {
    String name

    String greet() {
        "Hello, $name!"
    }
}

The custom class defines a property called name and a new method called greet. This class can be used as the script base class by using a custom configuration:

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilerConfiguration

def config = new CompilerConfiguration()                                    (1)
config.scriptBaseClass = 'MyScript'                                         (2)

def shell = new GroovyShell(this.class.classLoader, new Binding(), config)  (3)
def script = shell.parse('greet()')                                         (4)
assert script instanceof MyScript
script.setName('Michel')
assert script.run() == 'Hello, Michel!'
1 create a CompilerConfiguration instance
2 instruct it to use MyScript as the base class for scripts
3 then use the compiler configuration when you create the shell
4 the script now has access to the new method greet
You are not limited to the sole scriptBaseClass configuration. You can use any of the compiler configuration tweaks, including the compilation customizers.
GroovyClassLoader

In the previous section, we have shown that GroovyShell was an easy tool to execute scripts, but it makes it complicated to compile anything but scripts. Internally, it makes use of the groovy.lang.GroovyClassLoader, which is at the heart of the compilation and loading of classes at runtime.

By leveraging the GroovyClassLoader instead of GroovyShell, you will be able to load classes, instead of instances of scripts:

import groovy.lang.GroovyClassLoader

def gcl = new GroovyClassLoader()                                           (1)
def clazz = gcl.parseClass('class Foo { void doIt() { println "ok" } }')    (2)
assert clazz.name == 'Foo'                                                  (3)
def o = clazz.newInstance()                                                 (4)
o.doIt()                                                                    (5)
1 create a new GroovyClassLoader
2 parseClass will return an instance of Class
3 you can check that the class which is returns is really the one defined in the script
4 and you can create a new instance of the class, which is not a script
5 then call any method on it
A GroovyClassLoader keeps a reference of all the classes it created, so it is easy to create a memory leak. In particular, if you execute the same script twice, if it is a String, then you obtain two distinct classes!
import groovy.lang.GroovyClassLoader

def gcl = new GroovyClassLoader()
def clazz1 = gcl.parseClass('class Foo { }')                                (1)
def clazz2 = gcl.parseClass('class Foo { }')                                (2)
assert clazz1.name == 'Foo'                                                 (3)
assert clazz2.name == 'Foo'
assert clazz1 != clazz2                                                     (4)
1 dynamically create a class named "Foo"
2 create an identical looking class, using a separate parseClass call
3 make sure both classes have the same name
4 but they are actually different!

The reason is that a GroovyClassLoader doesn’t keep track of the source text. If you want to have the same instance, then the source must be a file, like in this example:

def gcl = new GroovyClassLoader()
def clazz1 = gcl.parseClass(file)                                           (1)
def clazz2 = gcl.parseClass(new File(file.absolutePath))                    (2)
assert clazz1.name == 'Foo'                                                 (3)
assert clazz2.name == 'Foo'
assert clazz1 == clazz2                                                     (4)
1 parse a class from a File
2 parse a class from a distinct file instance, but pointing to the same physical file
3 make sure our classes have the same name
4 but now, they are the same instance

Using a File as input, the GroovyClassLoader is capable of caching the generated class file, which avoids creating multiple classes at runtime for the same source.

GroovyScriptEngine

The groovy.util.GroovyScriptEngine class provides a flexible foundation for applications which rely on script reloading and script dependencies. While GroovyShell focuses on standalone Script`s and `GroovyClassLoader handles dynamic compilation and loading of any Groovy class, the GroovyScriptEngine will add a layer on top of GroovyClassLoader to handle both script dependencies and reloading.

To illustrate this, we will create a script engine and execute code in an infinite loop. First of all, you need to create a directory with the following script inside:

ReloadingTest.groovy
class Greeter {
    String sayHello() {
        def greet = "Hello, world!"
        greet
    }
}

new Greeter()

then you can execute this code using a GroovyScriptEngine:

def binding = new Binding()
def engine = new GroovyScriptEngine([tmpDir.toURI().toURL()] as URL[])          (1)

while (true) {
    def greeter = engine.run('ReloadingTest.groovy', binding)                   (2)
    println greeter.sayHello()                                                  (3)
    Thread.sleep(1000)
}
1 create a script engine which will look for sources into our source directory
2 execute the script, which will return an instance of Greeter
3 print the greeting message

At this point, you should see a message printed every second:

Hello, world!
Hello, world!
...

Without interrupting the script execution, now replace the contents of the ReloadingTest file with:

ReloadingTest.groovy
class Greeter {
    String sayHello() {
        def greet = "Hello, Groovy!"
        greet
    }
}


new Greeter()

And the message should change to:

Hello, world!
...
Hello, Groovy!
Hello, Groovy!
...

But it is also possible to have a dependency on another script. To illustrate this, create the following file into the same directory, without interrupting the executing script:

Depencency.groovy
class Dependency {
    String message = 'Hello, dependency 1'
}

and update the ReloadingTest script like this:

ReloadingTest.groovy
import Dependency

class Greeter {
    String sayHello() {
        def greet = new Dependency().message
        greet
    }
}

new Greeter()

And this time, the message should change to:

Hello, Groovy!
...
Hello, dependency 1!
Hello, dependency 1!
...

And as a last test, you can update the Dependency.groovy file without touching the ReloadingTest file:

Depencency.groovy
class Dependency {
    String message = 'Hello, dependency 2'
}

And you should observe that the dependent file was reloaded:

Hello, dependency 1!
...
Hello, dependency 2!
Hello, dependency 2!
CompilationUnit

Ultimately, it is possible to perform more operations during compilation by relying directly on the org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilationUnit class. This class is responsible for determining the various steps of compilation and would let you introduce new steps or even stop compilation at various phases. This is for example how stub generation is done, for the joint compiler.

However, overriding CompilationUnit is not recommanded and should only be done if no other standard solution works.

3.13.2. Bean Scripting Framework

The Bean Scripting Framework is an attempt to create an API to allow calling scripting languages from Java. It hasn’t been updated for long and abandonned in favor of the standard JSR-223 API.

The BSF engine for Groovy is implemented by the org.codehaus.groovy.bsf.GroovyEngine class. However, that fact is normally hidden away by the BSF APIs. You just treat Groovy like any of the other scripting languages via the BSF API.

Since Groovy has its own native support for integration with Java, you only need to worry about BSF if you also want to also be able to call other languages, e.g. JRuby or if you want to remain very loosely coupled from your scripting language.
Getting started

Provided you have Groovy and BSF jars in your classpath, you can use the following Java code to run a sample Groovy script:

String myScript = "println('Hello World')\n  return [1, 2, 3]";
BSFManager manager = new BSFManager();
List answer = (List) manager.eval("groovy", "myScript.groovy", 0, 0, myScript);
assertEquals(3, answer.size());
Passing in variables

BSF lets you pass beans between Java and your scripting language. You can register/unregister beans which makes them known to BSF. You can then use BSF methods to lookup beans as required. Alternatively, you can declare/undeclare beans. This will register them but also make them available for use directly in your scripting language. This second approach is the normal approach used with Groovy. Here is an example:

BSFManager manager = new BSFManager();
manager.declareBean("xyz", 4, Integer.class);
Object answer = manager.eval("groovy", "test.groovy", 0, 0, "xyz + 1");
assertEquals(5, answer);
Other calling options

The previous examples used the eval method. BSF makes multiple methods available for your use (see the BSF documentation for more details). One of the other available methods is apply. It allows you to define an anonymous function in your scripting language and apply that function to arguments. Groovy supports this function using closures. Here is an example:

BSFManager manager = new BSFManager();
Vector<String> ignoreParamNames = null;
Vector<Integer> args = new Vector<Integer>();
args.add(2);
args.add(5);
args.add(1);
Integer actual = (Integer) manager.apply("groovy", "applyTest", 0, 0,
        "def summer = { a, b, c -> a * 100 + b * 10 + c }", ignoreParamNames, args);
assertEquals(251, actual.intValue());
Access to the scripting engine

Although you don’t normally need it, BSF does provide a hook that lets you get directly to the scripting engine. One of the functions which the engine can perform is to invoke a single method call on an object. Here is an example:

BSFManager manager = new BSFManager();
BSFEngine bsfEngine = manager.loadScriptingEngine("groovy");
manager.declareBean("myvar", "hello", String.class);
Object myvar = manager.lookupBean("myvar");
String result = (String) bsfEngine.call(myvar, "reverse", new Object[0]);
assertEquals("olleh", result);

3.13.3. JSR 223 javax.script API (TBD)

JSR-223 is a standard API for calling scripting frameworks in Java. It is available since Java 6 and aims at providing a common framework for calling multiple languages from Java. Groovy provides its own richer integration mechanisms, and if you don’t plan to use multiple languages in the same application, it is recommanded that you use the Groovy integration mechanisms instead of the limited JSR-223 API.

Here is how you need to initialize the JSR-223 engine to talk to Groovy from Java:

import javax.script.ScriptEngine;
import javax.script.ScriptEngineManager;
import javax.script.ScriptException;
...
ScriptEngineManager factory = new ScriptEngineManager();
ScriptEngine engine = factory.getEngineByName("groovy");

Then you can execute Groovy scripts easily:

Integer sum = (Integer) engine.eval("(1..10).sum()");
assertEquals(new Integer(55), sum);

It is also possible to share variables:

engine.put("first", "HELLO");
engine.put("second", "world");
String result = (String) engine.eval("first.toLowerCase() + ' ' + second.toUpperCase()");
assertEquals("hello WORLD", result);

This next example illustrates calling an invokable function:

import javax.script.Invocable;
...
ScriptEngineManager factory = new ScriptEngineManager();
ScriptEngine engine = factory.getEngineByName("groovy");
String fact = "def factorial(n) { n == 1 ? 1 : n * factorial(n - 1) }";
engine.eval(fact);
Invocable inv = (Invocable) engine;
Object[] params = {5};
Object result = inv.invokeFunction("factorial", params);
assertEquals(new Integer(120), result);

The engine keeps per default hard references to the script functions. To change this you should set a engine level scoped attribute to the script context of the name #jsr223.groovy.engine.keep.globals with a String being phantom to use phantom references, weak to use weak references or soft to use soft references - casing is ignored. Any other string will cause the use of hard references.

3.14. Domain-Specific Languages

3.14.1. Command chains

Groovy lets you omit parentheses around the arguments of a method call for top-level statements. “command chain” feature extends this by allowing us to chain such parentheses-free method calls, requiring neither parentheses around arguments, nor dots between the chained calls. The general idea is that a call like a b c d will actually be equivalent to a(b).c(d). This also works with multiple arguments, closure arguments, and even named arguments. Furthermore, such command chains can also appear on the right-hand side of assignments. Let’s have a look at some examples supported by this new syntax:

// equivalent to: turn(left).then(right)
turn left then right

// equivalent to: take(2.pills).of(chloroquinine).after(6.hours)
take 2.pills of chloroquinine after 6.hours

// equivalent to: paint(wall).with(red, green).and(yellow)
paint wall with red, green and yellow

// with named parameters too
// equivalent to: check(that: margarita).tastes(good)
check that: margarita tastes good

// with closures as parameters
// equivalent to: given({}).when({}).then({})
given { } when { } then { }

It is also possible to use methods in the chain which take no arguments, but in that case, the parentheses are needed:

// equivalent to: select(all).unique().from(names)
select all unique() from names

If your command chain contains an odd number of elements, the chain will be composed of method / arguments, and will finish by a final property access:

// equivalent to: take(3).cookies
// and also this: take(3).getCookies()
take 3 cookies

This command chain approach opens up interesting possibilities in terms of the much wider range of DSLs which can now be written in Groovy.

The above examples illustrate using a command chain based DSL but not how to create one. There are various strategies that you can use, but to illustrate creating such a DSL, we will show a couple of examples - first using maps and Closures:

show = { println it }
square_root = { Math.sqrt(it) }

def please(action) {
  [the: { what ->
    [of: { n -> action(what(n)) }]
  }]
}

// equivalent to: please(show).the(square_root).of(100)
please show the square_root of 100
// ==> 10.0

As a second example, consider how you might write a DSL for simplifying one of your existing APIs. Maybe you need to put this code in front of customers, business analysts or testers who might be not hard-core Java developers. We’ll use the Splitter from the Google Guava libraries project as it already has a nice Fluent API. Here is how we might use it out of the box:

@Grab('com.google.guava:guava:r09')
import com.google.common.base.*
def result = Splitter.on(',').trimResults(CharMatcher.is('_' as char)).split("_a ,_b_ ,c__").iterator().toList()

It reads fairly well for a Java developer but if that is not your target audience or you have many such statements to write, it could be considered a little verbose. Again, there are many options for writing a DSL. We’ll keep it simple with Maps and Closures. We’ll first write a helper method:

@Grab('com.google.guava:guava:r09')
import com.google.common.base.*
def split(string) {
  [on: { sep ->
    [trimming: { trimChar ->
      Splitter.on(sep).trimResults(CharMatcher.is(trimChar as char)).split(string).iterator().toList()
    }]
  }]
}

now instead of this line from our original example:

def result = Splitter.on(',').trimResults(CharMatcher.is('_' as char)).split("_a ,_b_ ,c__").iterator().toList()

we can write this:

def result = split "_a ,_b_ ,c__" on ',' trimming '_\'

3.14.2. Operator overloading (TBD)

3.14.3. Script base classes (TBD)

3.14.4. Adding properties to numbers (TBD)

3.14.5. @DelegatesTo

Explaining delegation strategy at compile time

@groovy.lang.DelegatesTo is a documentation and compile-time annotation aimed at:

  • documenting APIs that use closures as arguments

  • providing type information for the static type checker and compiler

The Groovy language is a platform of choice for building DSLs. Using closures, it’s quite easy to create custom control structures, as well as it is simple to create builders. Imagine that you have the following code:

email {
    from 'dsl-guru@mycompany.com'
    to 'john.doe@waitaminute.com'
    subject 'The pope has resigned!'
    body {
        p 'Really, the pope has resigned!'
    }
}

One way of implementing this is using the builder strategy, which implies a method, named email which accepts a closure as an argument. The method may delegate subsequent calls to an object that implements the fromtosubject and body methods. Again, body is a method which accepts a closure as an argument and that uses the builder strategy.

Implementing such a builder is usually done the following way:

def email(Closure cl) {
    def email = new EmailSpec()
    def code = cl.rehydrate(email, this, this)
    code.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY
    code()
}

the EmailSpec class implements the fromto, … methods. By calling rehydrate, we’re creating a copy of the closure for which we set the delegateowner and thisObject values. Setting the owner and the this object is not very important here since we will use the DELEGATE_ONLY strategy which says that the method calls will be resolved only against the delegate of the closure.

class EmailSpec {
    void from(String from) { println "From: $from"}
    void to(String... to) { println "To: $to"}
    void subject(String subject) { println "Subject: $subject"}
    void body(Closure body) {
        def bodySpec = new BodySpec()
        def code = body.rehydrate(bodySpec, this, this)
        code.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY
        code()
    }
}

The EmailSpec class has itself a body method accepting a closure that is cloned and executed. This is what we call the builder pattern in Groovy.

One of the problems with the code that we’ve shown is that the user of the email method doesn’t have any information about the methods that he’s allowed to call inside the closure. The only possible information is from the method documentation. There are two issues with this: first of all, documentation is not always written, and if it is, it’s not always available (javadoc not downloaded, for example). Second, it doesn’t help IDEs. What would be really interesting, here, is for IDEs to help the developer by suggesting, once they are in the closure body, methods that exist on the email class.

Moreover, if the user calls a method in the closure which is not defined by the EmailSpec class, the IDE should at least issue a warning (because it’s very likely that it will break at runtime).

One more problem with the code above is that it is not compatible with static type checking. Type checking would let the user know if a method call is authorized at compile time instead of runtime, but if you try to perform type checking on this code:

email {
    from 'dsl-guru@mycompany.com'
    to 'john.doe@waitaminute.com'
    subject 'The pope has resigned!'
    body {
        p 'Really, the pope has resigned!'
    }
}

Then the type checker will know that there’s an email method accepting a Closure, but it will complain for every method call inside the closure, because from, for example, is not a method which is defined in the class. Indeed, it’s defined in the EmailSpec class and it has absolutely no hint to help it knowing that the closure delegate will, at runtime, be of type EmailSpec:

@groovy.transform.TypeChecked
void sendEmail() {
    email {
        from 'dsl-guru@mycompany.com'
        to 'john.doe@waitaminute.com'
        subject 'The pope has resigned!'
        body {
            p 'Really, the pope has resigned!'
        }
    }
}

will fail compilation with errors like this one:

[Static type checking] - Cannot find matching method MyScript#from(java.lang.String). Please check if the declared type is right and if the method exists.
 @ line 31, column 21.
                       from 'dsl-guru@mycompany.com'
@DelegatesTo

For those reasons, Groovy 2.1 introduced a new annotation named @DelegatesTo. The goal of this annotation is to solve both the documentation issue, that will let your IDE know about the expected methods in the closure body, and it will also solve the type checking issue, by giving hints to the compiler about what are the potential receivers of method calls in the closure body.

The idea is to annotate the Closure parameter of the email method:

def email(@DelegatesTo(EmailSpec) Closure cl) {
    def email = new EmailSpec()
    def code = cl.rehydrate(email, this, this)
    code.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY
    code()
}

What we’ve done here is telling the compiler (or the IDE) that when the method will be called with a closure, the delegate of this closure will be set to an object of type email. But there is still a problem: the defaut delegation strategy is not the one which is used in our method. So we will give more information and tell the compiler (or the IDE) that the delegation strategy is also changed:

def email(@DelegatesTo(strategy=Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY, value=EmailSpec) Closure cl) {
    def email = new EmailSpec()
    def code = cl.rehydrate(email, this, this)
    code.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY
    code()
}

Now, both the IDE and the type checker (if you are using @TypeChecked) will be aware of the delegate and the delegation strategy. This is very nice because it will both allow the IDE to provide smart completion, but it will also remove errors at compile time that exist only because the behaviour of the program is normally only known at runtime!

The following code will now pass compilation:

@TypeChecked
void doEmail() {
    email {
        from 'dsl-guru@mycompany.com'
        to 'john.doe@waitaminute.com'
        subject 'The pope has resigned!'
        body {
            p 'Really, the pope has resigned!'
        }
    }
}
DelegatesTo modes

@DelegatesTo supports multiple modes that we will describe with examples in this section.

Simple delegation

In this mode, the only mandatory parameter is the value which says to which class we delegate calls. Nothing more. We’re telling the compiler that the type of the delegate will always be of the type documented by @DelegatesTo (note that it can be a subclass, but if it is, the methods defined by the subclass will not be visible to the type checker).

void body(@DelegatesTo(BodySpec) Closure cl) {
    // ...
}
Delegation strategy

In this mode, you must specify both the delegate class and a delegation strategy. This must be used if the closure will not be called with the default delegation strategy, which is Closure.OWNER_FIRST.

void body(@DelegatesTo(strategy=Closure.DELEGATE_ONLY, value=BodySpec) Closure cl) {
    // ...
}
Delegate to parameter

In this variant, we will tell the compiler that we are delegating to another parameter of the method. Take the following code:

def exec(Object target, Closure code) {
   def clone = code.rehydrate(target, this, this)
   clone()
}

Here, the delegate which will be used is not created inside the exec method. In fact, we take an argument of the method and delegate to it. Usage may look like this:

def email = new Email()
exec(email) {
   from '...'
   to '...'
   send()
}

Each of the method calls are delegated to the email parameter. This is a widely used pattern which is also supported by @DelegatesTo using a companion annotation:

def exec(@DelegatesTo.Target Object target, @DelegatesTo Closure code) {
   def clone = code.rehydrate(target, this, this)
   clone()
}

A closure is annotated with @DelegatesTo, but this time, without specifying any class. Instead, we’re annotating another parameter with @DelegatesTo.Target. The type of the delegate is then determined at compile time. One could think that we are using the parameter type, which in this case is Object but this is not true. Take this code:

class Greeter {
   void sayHello() { println 'Hello' }
}
def greeter = new Greeter()
exec(greeter) {
   sayHello()
}

Remember that this works out of the box without having to annotate with @DelegatesTo. However, to make the IDE aware of the delegate type, or the type checker aware of it, we need to add @DelegatesTo. And in this case, it will now that the Greeter variable is of type Greeter, so it will not report errors on the sayHello method even if the exec method doesn’t explicitely define the target as of type Greeter. This is a very powerful feature, because it prevents you from writing multiple versions of the same exec method for different receiver types!

In this mode, the @DelegatesTo annotation also supports the strategy parameter that we’ve described upper.

Multiple closures

In the previous example, the exec method accepted only one closure, but you may have methods that take multiple closures:

void fooBarBaz(Closure foo, Closure bar, Closure baz) {
    ...
}

Then nothing prevents you from annotating each closure with @DelegatesTo:

class Foo { void foo(String msg) { println "Foo ${msg}!" } }
class Bar { void bar(int x) { println "Bar ${x}!" } }
class Baz { void baz(Date d) { println "Baz ${d}!" } }

void fooBarBaz(@DelegatesTo(Foo) Closure foo, @DelegatesTo(Bar) Closure bar, @DelegatesTo(Baz) Closure baz) {
   ...
}

But more importantly, if you have multiple closures and multiple arguments, you can use several targets:

void fooBarBaz(
    @DelegatesTo.Target('foo') foo,
    @DelegatesTo.Target('bar') bar,
    @DelegatesTo.Target('baz') baz,

    @DelegatesTo(target='foo') Closure cl1,
    @DelegatesTo(target='bar') Closure cl2,
    @DelegatesTo(target='baz') Closure cl3) {
    cl1.rehydrate(foo, this, this).call()
    cl2.rehydrate(bar, this, this).call()
    cl3.rehydrate(baz, this, this).call()
}

def a = new Foo()
def b = new Bar()
def c = new Baz()
fooBarBaz(
    a, b, c,
    { foo('Hello') },
    { bar(123) },
    { baz(new Date()) }
)
At this point, you may wonder why we don’t use the parameter names as references. The reason is that the information (the parameter name) is not always available (it’s a debug-only information), so it’s a limitation of the JVM.
Delegating to a generic type

In some situations, it is interesting to instruct the IDE or the compiler that the delegate type will not be a parameter but a generic type. Imagine a configurator that runs on a list of elements:

public <T> void configure(List<T> elements, Closure configuration) {
   elements.each { e->
      def clone = configuration.rehydrate(e, this, this)
      clone.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_FIRST
      clone.call()
   }
}

Then this method can be called with any list like this:

@groovy.transform.ToString
class Realm {
   String name
}
List<Realm> list = []
3.times { list << new Realm() }
configure(list) {
   name = 'My Realm'
}
assert list.every { it.name == 'My Realm' }

To let the type checker and the IDE know that the configure method calls the closure on each element of the list, you need to use @DelegatesTo differently:

public <T> void configure(
    @DelegatesTo.Target List<T> elements,
    @DelegatesTo(strategy=Closure.DELEGATE_FIRST, genericTypeIndex=0) Closure configuration) {
   def clone = configuration.rehydrate(e, this, this)
   clone.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_FIRST
   clone.call()
}

@DelegatesTo takes an optional genericTypeIndex argument that tells what is the index of the generic type that will be used as the delegate type. This must be used in conjunction with @DelegatesTo.Target and the index starts at 0. In the example above, that means that the delegate type is resolved against List<T>, and since the generic type at index 0 is T and inferred as a Realm, the type checker infers that the delegate type will be of type Realm.

We’re using a genericTypeIndex instead of a placeholder (T) because of JVM limitations.

3.14.6. Compilation customizers

Introduction

Whether you are using groovyc to compile classes or a GroovyShell, for example, to execute scripts, under the hood, a compiler configuration is used. This configuration holds information like the source encoding or the classpath but it can also be used to perform more operations like adding imports by default, applying AST transformations transparently or disabling global AST transformations.

The goal of compilation customizers is to make those common tasks easy to implement. For that, the CompilerConfiguration class is the entry point. The general schema will always be based on the following code:

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilerConfiguration
// create a configuration
def config = new CompilerConfiguration()
// tweak the configuration
config.addCompilationCustomizers(...)
// run your script
def shell = new GroovyShell(config)
shell.evaluate(script)

Compilation customizers must extend the org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.CompilationCustomizer class. A customizer works:

  • on a specific compilation phase

  • on every class node being compiled

You can implement your own compilation customizer but Groovy includes some of the most common operations.

Import customizer

Using this compilation customizer, your code will have imports added transparently. This is in particular useful for scripts implementing a DSL where you want to avoid users from having to write imports. The import customizer will let you add all the variants of imports the Groovy language allows, that is:

  • class imports, optionally aliased

  • star imports

  • static imports, optionally aliased

  • static star imports

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ImportCustomizer

def icz = new ImportCustomizer()
// "normal" import
icz.addImports('java.util.concurrent.atomic.AtomicInteger', 'java.util.concurrent.ConcurrentHashMap')
// "aliases" import
icz.addImport('CHM', 'java.util.concurrent.ConcurrentHashMap')
// "static" import
icz.addStaticImport('java.lang.Math', 'PI') // import static java.lang.Math.Pi
// "aliased static" import
icz.addStaticImport('pi', 'java.lang.Math', 'PI') // import static java.lang.Math.PI as pi
// "star" import
icz.addStarImports 'java.util.concurrent' // import java.util.concurrent.*
// "static star" import
icz.addStaticStars 'java.lang.Math' // import static java.lang.Math.*

A detailed description of all shortcuts can be found in org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ImportCustomizer

AST transformation customizer

The AST transformation customizer is meant to apply AST transformations transparently. Unlike global AST transformations that apply on every class beeing compiled as long as the transform is found on classpath (which has drawbacks like increasing the compilation time or side effects due to transformations applied where they should not), the customizer will allow you to selectively apply a transform only for specific scripts or classes.

As an example, let’s say you want to be able to use @Log in a script. The problem is that @Log is normally applied on a class node and a script, by definition, doesn’t require one. But implementation wise, scripts are classes, it’s just that you cannot annotate this implicit class node with @Log. Using the AST customizer, you have a workaround to do it:

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ASTTransformationCustomizer
import groovy.util.logging.Log

def acz = new ASTTransformationCustomizer(Log)
config.addCompilationCustomizers(acz)

That’s all! Internally, the @Log AST transformation is applied to every class node in the compilation unit. This means that it will be applied to the script, but also to classes defined within the script.

If the AST transformation that you are using accepts parameters, you can use parameters in the constructor too:

def acz = new ASTTransformationCustomizer(Log, value: 'LOGGER')
// use name 'LOGGER' instead of the default 'log'
config.addCompilationCustomizers(acz)

As the AST transformation customizers works with objects instead of AST nodes, not all values can be converted to AST transformation parameters. For example, primitive types are converted to ConstantExpression (that is LOGGER is converted to new ConstantExpression('LOGGER'), but if your AST transformation takes a closure as an argument, then you have to give it a ClosureExpression, like in the following example:

def configuration = new CompilerConfiguration()
def expression = new AstBuilder().buildFromCode(CompilePhase.CONVERSION) { -> true }.expression[0]
def customizer = new ASTTransformationCustomizer(ConditionalInterrupt, value: expression, thrown: SecurityException)
configuration.addCompilationCustomizers(customizer)
def shell = new GroovyShell(configuration)
shouldFail(SecurityException) {
    shell.evaluate("""
        // equivalent to adding @ConditionalInterrupt(value={true}, thrown: SecurityException)
        class MyClass {
            void doIt() { }
        }
        new MyClass().doIt()
    """)
}

For a complete list of options, please refer to org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ASTTransformationCustomizer

Secure AST customizer

This customizer will allow the developer of a DSL to restrict the grammar of the language, to prevent users from using some constructs, for example. It is only “secure” in that sense only and it is very important to understand that it does not replace a security manager. The only reason for it to exist is to limit the expressiveness of the language. This customizer only works at the AST (abstract syntax tree) level, not at runtime! It can be strange at first glance, but it makes much more sense if you think of Groovy as a platform to build DSLs. You may not want a user to have a complete language at hand. In the example below, we will demonstrate it using an example of language that only allows arithmetic operations, but this customizer allows you to:

  • allow/disallow creation of closures

  • allow/disallow imports

  • allow/disallow package definition

  • allow/disallow definition of methods

  • restrict the receivers of method calls

  • restrict the kind of AST expressions a user can use

  • restrict the tokens (grammar-wise) a user can use

  • restrict the types of the constants that can be used in code

For all those features, the secure AST customizer works using either a whitelist (list of elements that are allowed) or a blacklist (list of elements that are disallowed). For each type of feature (imports, tokens, …) you have the choice to use either a whitelist or a blacklist, but you can mix whitelists and blacklists for distinct features. In general, you will choose whitelists (disallow all, allow selected).

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.SecureASTCustomizer
import static org.codehaus.groovy.syntax.Types.* (1)

def scz = new SecureASTCustomizer()
scz.with {
    closuresAllowed = false // user will not be able to write closures
    methodDefinitionAllowed = false // user will not be able to define methods
    importsWhitelist = [] // empty whitelist means imports are disallowed
    staticImportsWhitelist = [] // same for static imports
    staticStarImportsWhitelist = ['java.lang.Math'] // only java.lang.Math is allowed
    // the list of tokens the user can find
    // constants are defined in org.codehaus.groovy.syntax.Types
    tokensWhitelist = [ (1)
            PLUS,
            MINUS,
            MULTIPLY,
            DIVIDE,
            MOD,
            POWER,
            PLUS_PLUS,
            MINUS_MINUS,
            COMPARE_EQUAL,
            COMPARE_NOT_EQUAL,
            COMPARE_LESS_THAN,
            COMPARE_LESS_THAN_EQUAL,
            COMPARE_GREATER_THAN,
            COMPARE_GREATER_THAN_EQUAL,
    ].asImmutable()
    // limit the types of constants that a user can define to number types only
    constantTypesClassesWhiteList = [ (2)
            Integer,
            Float,
            Long,
            Double,
            BigDecimal,
            Integer.TYPE,
            Long.TYPE,
            Float.TYPE,
            Double.TYPE
    ].asImmutable()
    // method calls are only allowed if the receiver is of one of those types
    // be careful, it's not a runtime type!
    receiversClassesWhiteList = [ (2)
            Math,
            Integer,
            Float,
            Double,
            Long,
            BigDecimal
    ].asImmutable()
}
1 use for token types from org.codehaus.groovy.syntax.Types
2 you can use class literals here

If what the secure AST customizer provides out of the box isn’t enough for your needs, before creating your own compilation customizer, you might be interested in the expression and statement checkers that the AST customizer supports. Basically, it allows you to add custom checks on the AST tree, on expressions (expression checkers) or statements (statement checkers). For this, you must implement org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.SecureASTCustomizer.StatementChecker or org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.SecureASTCustomizer.ExpressionChecker.

Those interfaces define a single method called isAuthorized, returning a boolean, and taking a Statement (or Expression) as a parameter. It allows you to perform complex logic over expressions or statements to tell if a user is allowed to do it or not.

For example, there’s no predefined configuration flag in the customizer which will let you prevent people from using an attribute expression. Using a custom checker, it is trivial:

def scz = new SecureASTCustomizer()
def checker = { expr ->
    !(expr instanceof AttributeExpression)
} as SecureASTCustomizer.ExpressionChecker
scz.addExpressionCheckers(checker)

Then we can make sure that this works by evaluating a simple script:

new GroovyShell(config).evaluate '''
    class A {
        int val
    }
    
    def a = new A(val: 123)
    a.@val (1)
'''
1 will fail compilation
Source aware customizer

This customizer may be used as a filter on other customizers. The filter, in that case, is the org.codehaus.groovy.control.SourceUnit. For this, the source aware customizer takes another customizer as a delegate, and it will apply customization of that delegate only and only if predicates on the source unit match.

SourceUnit gives you access to multiple things but in particular the file being compiled (if compiling from a file, of course). It gives you the potential to perform operation based on the file name, for example. Here is how you would create a source aware customizer:

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.SourceAwareCustomizer
import org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.ImportCustomizer

def delegate = new ImportCustomizer()
def sac = new SourceAwareCustomizer(delegate)

Then you can use predicates on the source aware customizer:

// the customizer will only be applied to classes contained in a file name ending with 'Bean'
sac.baseNameValidator = { baseName ->
    baseName.endsWith 'Bean'
}

// the customizer will only be applied to files which extension is '.spec'
sac.extensionValidator = { ext -> ext == 'spec' }

// source unit validation
// allow compilation only if the file contains at most 1 class
sac.sourceUnitValidator = { SourceUnit sourceUnit -> sourceUnit.AST.classes.size() == 1 }

// class validation
// the customizer will only be applied to classes ending with 'Bean'
sac.classValidator = { ClassNode cn -> cn.endsWith('Bean') }
Customizer builder

If you are using compilation customizers in Groovy code (like the examples above) then you can use an alternative syntax to customize compilation. A builder (org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.builder.CompilerCustomizationBuilder) simplifies the creation of customizers using a hierarchical DSL.

import org.codehaus.groovy.control.CompilerConfiguration
import static org.codehaus.groovy.control.customizers.builder.CompilerCustomizationBuilder.withConfig (1)

def conf = new CompilerConfiguration()
withConfig(conf) {
    // ... (2)
}
1 static import of the builder method
2 configuration goes here

The code sample above shows how to use the builder. A static method, withConfig, takes a closure corresponding to the builder code, and automatically registers compilation customizers to the configuration. Every compilation customizer available in the distribution can be configured this way:

Import customizer
withConfig(configuration) {
   imports { // imports customizer
      normal 'my.package.MyClass' // a normal import
      alias 'AI', 'java.util.concurrent.atomic.AtomicInteger' // an aliased import
      star 'java.util.concurrent' // star imports
      staticMember 'java.lang.Math', 'PI' // static import
      staticMember 'pi', 'java.lang.Math', 'PI' // aliased static import
   }
}
AST transformation customizer
withConfig(conf) {
   ast(Log) (1)
}

withConfig(conf) {
   ast(Log, value: 'LOGGER') (2)
}
1 apply @Log transparently
2 apply @Log with a different name for the logger
Secure AST customizer
withConfig(conf) {
   secureAst {
       closuresAllowed = false
       methodDefinitionAllowed = false
   }
}
Source aware customizer
withConfig(configuration){
    source(extension: 'sgroovy') {
        ast(CompileStatic) (1)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration){
    source(extensions: ['sgroovy','sg']) {
        ast(CompileStatic) (2)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration) {
    source(extensionValidator: { it.name in ['sgroovy','sg']}) {
        ast(CompileStatic) (2)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration) {
    source(basename: 'foo') {
        ast(CompileStatic) (3)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration) {
    source(basenames: ['foo', 'bar']) {
        ast(CompileStatic) (4)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration) {
    source(basenameValidator: { it in ['foo', 'bar'] }) {
        ast(CompileStatic) (4)
    }
}

withConfig(configuration) {
    source(unitValidator: { unit -> !unit.AST.classes.any { it.name == 'Baz' } }) {
        ast(CompileStatic) (5)
    }
}
1 apply CompileStatic AST annotation on .sgroovy files
2 apply CompileStatic AST annotation on .sgroovy or .sg files
3 apply CompileStatic AST annotation on files whose name is foo
4 apply CompileStatic AST annotation on files whose name is foo or bar
5 apply CompileStatic AST annotation on files that do not contain a class named Baz
Inlining a customizer

Inlined customizer allows you to write a compilation customizer directly, without having to create a class for it.

withConfig(configuration) {
    inline(phase:'CONVERSION') { source, context, classNode ->  (1)
        println "visiting $classNode"                           (2)
    }
}
1 define an inlined customizer which will execute at the CONVERSION phase
2 prints the name of the class node being compiled
Multiple customizers

Of course, the builder allows you to define multiple customizers at once:

withConfig(configuration) {
   ast(ToString)
   ast(EqualsAndHashCode)
}
Config script flag

So far, we have described how you can customize compilation using a CompilationConfiguration class, but this is only possible if you embed Groovy and that you create your own instances of CompilerConfiguration (then use it to create a GroovyShellGroovyScriptEngine, …).

If you want it to be applied on the classes you compile with the normal Groovy compiler (that is to say with  groovycant or gradle, for example), it is possible to use a compilation flag named configscript that takes a Groovy configuration script as argument.

This script gives you access to the CompilerConfiguration instance before the files are compiled (exposed into the configuration script as a variable named configuration), so that you can tweak it.

It also transparently integrates the compiler configuration builder above. As an example, let’s see how you would activate static compilation by default on all classes.

Static compilation by default

Normally, classes in Groovy are compiled with a dynamic runtime. You can activate static compilation by placing an annotation named @CompileStatic on any class. Some people would like to have this mode activated by default, that is to say not having to annotated classes. Using configscript, this is possible. First of all, you need to create a file named config.groovy into src/conf with the following contents:

withConfig(configuration) { (1)
   ast(groovy.transform.CompileStatic)
}
1 configuration references a CompilerConfiguration instance

That is actually all you need. You don’t have to import the builder, it’s automatically exposed in the script. Then, compile your files using the following command line:

groovyc -configscript src/conf/config.groovy src/main/groovy/MyClass.groovy

We strongly recommand you to separate configuration files from classes, hence why we suggest using the src/main and src/conf directories above.

AST transformations (TBD)

3.14.7. Custom type checking extensions (TBD)

3.14.8. Builders (TBD)

Creating a builder (TBD)
BuilderSupport (TBD)
FactoryBuilderSupport (TBD)
Existing builders (TBD)
MarkupBuilder (TBD)
StreamingMarkupBuilder (TBD)
SaxBuilder (TBD)
StaxBuilder (TBD)
DomBuilder (TBD)
NodeBuilder (TBD)
JsonBuilder (TBD)
StreamingJsonBuilder (TBD)
SwingBuilder (TBD)
AntBuilder (TBD)
CliBuilder (TBD)
ObjectGraphBuilder (TBD)

3.15. Working with JMX

3.15.1. Introduction

Given that Groovy sits directly on top of Java, Groovy can leverage the tremendous amount of work already done for JMX with Java. In addition, Groovy provides a GroovyMBean class which makes an MBean look like a normal Groovy object. This simplifies Groovy code for interacting with MBeans. For example, the following code:

println server.getAttribute(beanName, 'Age')
server.setAttribute(beanName, new Attribute('Name', 'New name'))
Object[] params = [5, 20]
String[] signature = [Integer.TYPE, Integer.TYPE]
println server.invoke(beanName, 'add', params, signature)

can be simplified to:

def mbean = new GroovyMBean(server, beanName)
println mbean.Age
mbean.Name = 'New name'
println mbean.add(5, 20)

The remainder of this page shows you how to:

  • Monitor the JVM using MXBeans

  • Monitor Apache Tomcat and display statistics

  • Monitor Oracle OC4J and display information

  • Monitor BEA WebLogic and display information

  • Leverage Spring’s MBean annotation support to export your Groovy beans as MBeans

Note: many of the examples on this page use Java 5 which incorporates JMX 1.2 (more recent versions if JMX or Java will also work). In some cases, you can run some of these examples using Java 1.4 by including a version of JMX on your CLASSPATH. MX4J is bundled with the full distribution of Groovy. In most cases, you can delete this jar from your distribution lib directory if you are running with Java 5 or above (in fact you might have to - see the Troubleshooting section below).

3.15.2. Monitoring the JVM

MBeans are not accessed directly by an application but are managed by a repository called an MBean server. Java 5 and above includes a special MBean server called the platform MBean server, which is built into the JVM. Platform MBeans are registered in this server using unique names.

You can monitor the JVM through its platform MBeans with the following code:

import java.lang.management.*

def os = ManagementFactory.operatingSystemMXBean
println """OPERATING SYSTEM:
\tarchitecture = $os.arch
\tname = $os.name
\tversion = $os.version
\tprocessors = $os.availableProcessors
"""

def rt = ManagementFactory.runtimeMXBean
println """RUNTIME:
\tname = $rt.name
\tspec name = $rt.specName
\tvendor = $rt.specVendor
\tspec version = $rt.specVersion
\tmanagement spec version = $rt.managementSpecVersion
"""

def cl = ManagementFactory.classLoadingMXBean
println """CLASS LOADING SYSTEM:
\tisVerbose = ${cl.isVerbose()}
\tloadedClassCount = $cl.loadedClassCount
\ttotalLoadedClassCount = $cl.totalLoadedClassCount
\tunloadedClassCount = $cl.unloadedClassCount
"""

def comp = ManagementFactory.compilationMXBean
println """COMPILATION:
\ttotalCompilationTime = $comp.totalCompilationTime
"""

def mem = ManagementFactory.memoryMXBean
def heapUsage = mem.heapMemoryUsage
def nonHeapUsage = mem.nonHeapMemoryUsage
println """MEMORY:
HEAP STORAGE:
\tcommitted = $heapUsage.committed
\tinit = $heapUsage.init
\tmax = $heapUsage.max
\tused = $heapUsage.used
NON-HEAP STORAGE:
\tcommitted = $nonHeapUsage.committed
\tinit = $nonHeapUsage.init
\tmax = $nonHeapUsage.max
\tused = $nonHeapUsage.used
"""

ManagementFactory.memoryPoolMXBeans.each { mp ->
    println "\tname: " + mp.name
    String[] mmnames = mp.memoryManagerNames
    mmnames.each{ mmname ->
        println "\t\tManager Name: $mmname"
    }
    println "\t\tmtype = $mp.type"
    println "\t\tUsage threshold supported = " + mp.isUsageThresholdSupported()
}
println()

def td = ManagementFactory.threadMXBean
println "THREADS:"
td.allThreadIds.each { tid ->
    println "\tThread name = ${td.getThreadInfo(tid).threadName}"
}
println()

println "GARBAGE COLLECTION:"
ManagementFactory.garbageCollectorMXBeans.each { gc ->
    println "\tname = $gc.name"
    println "\t\tcollection count = $gc.collectionCount"
    println "\t\tcollection time = $gc.collectionTime"
    String[] mpoolNames = gc.memoryPoolNames
    mpoolNames.each { mpoolName ->
        println "\t\tmpool name = $mpoolName"
    }
}

When run, you will see something like this:

OPERATING SYSTEM:
	architecture = x86
	name = Windows XP
	version = 5.1
	processors = 2

RUNTIME:
	name = 620@LYREBIRD
	spec name = Java Virtual Machine Specification
	vendor = Sun Microsystems Inc.
	spec version = 1.0
	management spec version = 1.0

CLASS LOADING SYSTEM:
	isVerbose = false
	loadedClassCount = 919
	totalLoadedClassCount = 919
	unloadedClassCount = 0

COMPILATION:
	totalCompilationTime = 91

MEMORY:
HEAP STORAGE:
	committed = 3108864
	init = 0
	max = 66650112
	used = 1994728
NON-HEAP STORAGE:
	committed = 9240576
	init = 8585216
	max = 100663296
	used = 5897880

	name: Code Cache
		Manager Name: CodeCacheManager
		mtype = Non-heap memory
		Usage threshold supported = true
	name: Eden Space
		Manager Name: MarkSweepCompact
		Manager Name: Copy
		mtype = Heap memory
		Usage threshold supported = false
	name: Survivor Space
		Manager Name: MarkSweepCompact
		Manager Name: Copy
		mtype = Heap memory
		Usage threshold supported = false
	name: Tenured Gen
		Manager Name: MarkSweepCompact
		mtype = Heap memory
		Usage threshold supported = true
	name: Perm Gen
		Manager Name: MarkSweepCompact
		mtype = Non-heap memory
		Usage threshold supported = true

THREADS:
	Thread name = Monitor Ctrl-Break
	Thread name = Signal Dispatcher
	Thread name = Finalizer
	Thread name = Reference Handler
	Thread name = main

GARBAGE COLLECTION:
	name = Copy
		collection count = 60
		collection time = 141
		mpool name = Eden Space
		mpool name = Survivor Space
	name = MarkSweepCompact
		collection count = 0
		collection time = 0
		mpool name = Eden Space
		mpool name = Survivor Space
		mpool name = Tenured Gen
		mpool name = Perm Gen

3.15.3. Monitoring Tomcat

First start up Tomcat with JMX monitoring enabled by setting the following:

set JAVA_OPTS=-Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.port=9004\
 -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.authenticate=false -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.ssl=false

You can do this in your startup script and may choose any available port, we used 9004.

The following code uses JMX to discover the available MBeans in the running Tomcat, determine which are web modules, extract the processing time for each web module and displays the result in a graph using JFreeChart:

import groovy.swing.SwingBuilder

import javax.management.ObjectName
import javax.management.remote.JMXConnectorFactory as JmxFactory
import javax.management.remote.JMXServiceURL as JmxUrl
import javax.swing.WindowConstants as WC

import org.jfree.chart.ChartFactory
import org.jfree.data.category.DefaultCategoryDataset as Dataset
import org.jfree.chart.plot.PlotOrientation as Orientation

def serverUrl = 'service:jmx:rmi:///jndi/rmi://localhost:9004/jmxrmi'
def server = JmxFactory.connect(new JmxUrl(serverUrl)).MBeanServerConnection
def serverInfo = new GroovyMBean(server, 'Catalina:type=Server').serverInfo
println "Connected to: $serverInfo"

def query = new ObjectName('Catalina:*')
String[] allNames = server.queryNames(query, null)
def modules = allNames.findAll { name ->
    name.contains('j2eeType=WebModule')
}.collect{ new GroovyMBean(server, it) }

println "Found ${modules.size()} web modules. Processing ..."
def dataset = new Dataset()

modules.each { m ->
    println m.name()
    dataset.addValue m.processingTime, 0, m.path
}

def labels = ['Time per Module', 'Module', 'Time']
def options = [false, true, true]
def chart = ChartFactory.createBarChart(*labels, dataset,
                Orientation.VERTICAL, *options)
def swing = new SwingBuilder()
def frame = swing.frame(title:'Catalina Module Processing Time', defaultCloseOperation:WC.EXIT_ON_CLOSE) {
    panel(id:'canvas') { rigidArea(width:600, height:250) }
}
frame.pack()
frame.show()
chart.draw(swing.canvas.graphics, swing.canvas.bounds)

When run, we will see a trace of progress being made:

Connected to: Apache Tomcat/6.0.13
Found 5 web modules. Processing ...
Catalina:j2eeType=WebModule,name=//localhost/,J2EEApplication=none,J2EEServer=none
Catalina:j2eeType=WebModule,name=//localhost/host-manager,J2EEApplication=none,J2EEServer=none
Catalina:j2eeType=WebModule,name=//localhost/docs,J2EEApplication=none,J2EEServer=none
Catalina:j2eeType=WebModule,name=//localhost/examples,J2EEApplication=none,J2EEServer=none
Catalina:j2eeType=WebModule,name=//localhost/manager,J2EEApplication=none,J2EEServer=none

The output will look like this:

catalina

Note: if you get errors running this script, see the Troubleshooting section below.

3.15.4. OC4J Example

Here is a script to access OC4J and print out some information about the server, its runtime and (as an example) the configured JMS destinations:

import javax.management.remote.*
import oracle.oc4j.admin.jmx.remote.api.JMXConnectorConstant

def serverUrl = new JMXServiceURL('service:jmx:rmi://localhost:23791')
def serverPath = 'oc4j:j2eeType=J2EEServer,name=standalone'
def jvmPath = 'oc4j:j2eeType=JVM,name=single,J2EEServer=standalone'
def provider = 'oracle.oc4j.admin.jmx.remote'
def credentials = [
    (JMXConnectorConstant.CREDENTIALS_LOGIN_KEY): 'oc4jadmin',
    (JMXConnectorConstant.CREDENTIALS_PASSWORD_KEY): 'admin'
]
def env = [
    (JMXConnectorFactory.PROTOCOL_PROVIDER_PACKAGES): provider,
    (JMXConnector.CREDENTIALS): credentials
]
def server = JmxFactory.connect(serverUrl, env).MBeanServerConnection
def serverInfo = new GroovyMBean(server, serverPath)
def jvmInfo = new GroovyMBean(server, jvmPath)
println """Connected to $serverInfo.node. \
Server started ${new Date(serverInfo.startTime)}.
OC4J version:  $serverInfo.serverVersion from $serverInfo.serverVendor
JVM version:   $jvmInfo.javaVersion from $jvmInfo.javaVendor
Memory usage:  $jvmInfo.freeMemory bytes free, \
$jvmInfo.totalMemory bytes total
"""

def query = new javax.management.ObjectName('oc4j:*')
String[] allNames = server.queryNames(query, null)
def dests = allNames.findAll { name ->
    name.contains('j2eeType=JMSDestinationResource')
}.collect { new GroovyMBean(server, it) }

println "Found ${dests.size()} JMS destinations. Listing ..."
dests.each { d -> println "$d.name: $d.location" }

Here is the result of running this script:

Connected to LYREBIRD. Server started Thu May 31 21:04:54 EST 2007.
OC4J version:  11.1.1.0.0 from Oracle Corp.
JVM version:   1.6.0_01 from Sun Microsystems Inc.
Memory usage:  8709976 bytes free, 25153536 bytes total

Found 5 JMS destinations. Listing ...
Demo Queue: jms/demoQueue
Demo Topic: jms/demoTopic
jms/Oc4jJmsExceptionQueue: jms/Oc4jJmsExceptionQueue
jms/RAExceptionQueue: jms/RAExceptionQueue
OracleASRouter_store: OracleASRouter_store

As a slight variation, this script displays a pie chart of memory usage using JFreeChart:

import org.jfree.chart.ChartFactory
import javax.swing.WindowConstants as WC
import javax.management.remote.*
import oracle.oc4j.admin.jmx.remote.api.JMXConnectorConstant

def url = 'service:jmx:rmi://localhost:23791'
def credentials = [:]
credentials[JMXConnectorConstant.CREDENTIALS_LOGIN_KEY] = "oc4jadmin"
credentials[JMXConnectorConstant.CREDENTIALS_PASSWORD_KEY] = "password"
def env = [:]
env[JMXConnectorFactory.PROTOCOL_PROVIDER_PACKAGES] = "oracle.oc4j.admin.jmx.remote"
env[JMXConnector.CREDENTIALS] = credentials
def server = JMXConnectorFactory.connect(new JMXServiceURL(url), env).MBeanServerConnection
def jvmInfo = new GroovyMBean(server, 'oc4j:j2eeType=JVM,name=single,J2EEServer=standalone')

def piedata = new org.jfree.data.general.DefaultPieDataset()
piedata.setValue "Free", jvmInfo.freeMemory
piedata.setValue "Used", jvmInfo.totalMemory - jvmInfo.freeMemory

def options = [true, true, true]
def chart = ChartFactory.createPieChart('OC4J Memory Usage', piedata, *options)
chart.backgroundPaint = java.awt.Color.white
def swing = new groovy.swing.SwingBuilder()
def frame = swing.frame(title:'OC4J Memory Usage', defaultCloseOperation:WC.EXIT_ON_CLOSE) {
    panel(id:'canvas') { rigidArea(width:350, height:250) }
}
frame.pack()
frame.show()
chart.draw(swing.canvas.graphics, swing.canvas.bounds)

Which looks like:

oc4jpie

3.15.5. WebLogic Example

This script prints out information about the server followed by information about JMS Destinations (as an example). Many other mbeans are available.

import javax.management.remote.*
import javax.management.*
import javax.naming.Context

def urlRuntime = '/jndi/weblogic.management.mbeanservers.runtime'
def urlBase = 'service:jmx:t3://localhost:7001'

def serviceURL = new JMXServiceURL(urlBase + urlRuntime)
def h = new Hashtable()
h.put(Context.SECURITY_PRINCIPAL, 'weblogic')
h.put(Context.SECURITY_CREDENTIALS, 'weblogic')
h.put(JMXConnectorFactory.PROTOCOL_PROVIDER_PACKAGES, 'weblogic.management.remote')
def server = JMXConnectorFactory.connect(serviceURL, h).MBeanServerConnection
def domainName = new ObjectName('com.bea:Name=RuntimeService,Type=weblogic.management.mbeanservers.runtime.RuntimeServiceMBean')
def rtName = server.getAttribute(domainName, 'ServerRuntime')
def rt = new GroovyMBean(server, rtName)
println "Server: name=$rt.Name, state=$rt.State, version=$rt.WeblogicVersion"
def destFilter = Query.match(Query.attr('Type'), Query.value('JMSDestinationRuntime'))
server.queryNames(new ObjectName('com.bea:*'), destFilter).each { name ->
    def jms = new GroovyMBean(server, name)
    println "JMS Destination: name=$jms.Name, type=$jms.DestinationType, messages=$jms.MessagesReceivedCount"
}

Here is the output:

Server: name=examplesServer, state=RUNNING, version=WebLogic Server 10.0  Wed May 9 18:10:27 EDT 2007 933139
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!exampleTopic, type=Topic, messages=0
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!exampleQueue, type=Queue, messages=0
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!jms/MULTIDATASOURCE_MDB_QUEUE, type=Queue, messages=0
JMS Destination: name=examplesJMSServer!examplesJMSServer.TemporaryQueue0, type=Queue, messages=68
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!quotes, type=Topic, messages=0
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!weblogic.wsee.wseeExamplesDestinationQueue, type=Queue, messages=0
JMS Destination: name=examples-jms!weblogic.examples.ejb30.ExampleQueue, type=Queue, messages=0

3.15.6. Spring Example

You can also use Spring to automatically register beans as JMX aware.

Here is an example class (Calculator.groovy):

import org.springframework.jmx.export.annotation.*

@ManagedResource(objectName="bean:name=calcMBean", description="Calculator MBean")
public class Calculator {

    private int invocations

    @ManagedAttribute(description="The Invocation Attribute")
    public int getInvocations() {
        return invocations
    }

    private int base = 10

    @ManagedAttribute(description="The Base to use when adding strings")
    public int getBase() {
        return base
    }

    @ManagedAttribute(description="The Base to use when adding strings")
    public void setBase(int base) {
        this.base = base
    }

    @ManagedOperation(description="Add two numbers")
    @ManagedOperationParameters([
        @ManagedOperationParameter(name="x", description="The first number"),
        @ManagedOperationParameter(name="y", description="The second number")])
    public int add(int x, int y) {
        invocations++
        return x + y
    }

    @ManagedOperation(description="Add two strings representing numbers of a particular base")
    @ManagedOperationParameters([
        @ManagedOperationParameter(name="x", description="The first number"),
        @ManagedOperationParameter(name="y", description="The second number")])
    public String addStrings(String x, String y) {
        invocations++
        def result = Integer.valueOf(x, base) + Integer.valueOf(y, base)
        return Integer.toString(result, base)
    }
}

Here is the Spring configuration file (beans.xml):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
       xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
       xsi:schemaLocation="
http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd">
    <bean id="mbeanServer"
          class="org.springframework.jmx.support.MBeanServerFactoryBean">
        <property name="locateExistingServerIfPossible" value="true"/>
    </bean>

    <bean id="exporter"
          class="org.springframework.jmx.export.MBeanExporter">
        <property name="assembler" ref="assembler"/>
        <property name="namingStrategy" ref="namingStrategy"/>
        <property name="beans">
            <map>
                <entry key="bean:name=defaultCalcName" value-ref="calcBean"/>
            </map>
        </property>
        <property name="server" ref="mbeanServer"/>
        <property name="autodetect" value="true"/>
    </bean>

    <bean id="jmxAttributeSource"
          class="org.springframework.jmx.export.annotation.AnnotationJmxAttributeSource"/>

    <!-- will create management interface using annotation metadata -->
    <bean id="assembler"
          class="org.springframework.jmx.export.assembler.MetadataMBeanInfoAssembler">
        <property name="attributeSource" ref="jmxAttributeSource"/>
    </bean>

    <!-- will pick up the ObjectName from the annotation -->
    <bean id="namingStrategy"
          class="org.springframework.jmx.export.naming.MetadataNamingStrategy">
        <property name="attributeSource" ref="jmxAttributeSource"/>
    </bean>

    <bean id="calcBean"
          class="Calculator">
        <property name="base" value="10"/>
    </bean>
</beans>

Here is a script which uses this bean and configuration:

import org.springframework.context.support.ClassPathXmlApplicationContext
import java.lang.management.ManagementFactory
import javax.management.ObjectName
import javax.management.Attribute

// get normal bean
def ctx = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("beans.xml")
def calc = ctx.getBean("calcBean")

Thread.start {
    // access bean via JMX, use a separate thread just to
    // show that we could access remotely if we wanted
    def server = ManagementFactory.platformMBeanServer
    def mbean = new GroovyMBean(server, 'bean:name=calcMBean')
    sleep 1000
    assert 8 == mbean.add(7, 1)
    mbean.Base = 8
    assert '10' == mbean.addStrings('7', '1')
    mbean.Base = 16
    sleep 2000
    println "Number of invocations: $mbean.Invocations"
    println mbean
}

assert 15 == calc.add(9, 6)
assert '11' == calc.addStrings('10', '1')
sleep 2000
assert '20' == calc.addStrings('1f', '1')

And here is the resulting output:

Number of invocations: 5
MBean Name:
  bean:name=calcMBean

Attributes:
  (rw) int Base
  (r) int Invocations
Operations:
  int add(int x, int y)
  java.lang.String addStrings(java.lang.String x, java.lang.String y)
  int getInvocations()
  int getBase()
  void setBase(int p1)

You can even attach to the process while it is running with jconsole. It will look something like:

jconsole

We started the Groovy application with the -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote JVM argument using a Java 5 JVM.

See also:

3.15.7. Troubleshooting

groovy.lang.MissingMethodException or groovy.lang.GroovyRuntimeException

If you get an error like this:

groovy.lang.MissingMethodException: No signature of method:
javax.management.remote.rmi.RMIConnector$RemoteMBeanServerConnection.queryMBeans()
is applicable for argument types: (javax.management.ObjectName, null)
values: {Catalina:*, null}

or like this:

Caught: groovy.lang.GroovyRuntimeException: Could not find matching constructor for: groovy.util.GroovyMBean(javax.management.remote.rmi.RMIConnector$RemoteMBeanServerConnection, java.lang.String)

you have to move away or delete "mx4j-*.jar" from $GROOVY_HOME/lib. MX4J is designed to add javax.management classes to 1.4 JVMs. If you already have a newer JMX jar on your classpath or are using a Java 5 or higher JVM, the MX4J classes will be incompatible with the ones from the newer Sun JVMs or newer versions of JMX.

java.lang.SecurityException

If you get the following error, your container’s JMX access is password protected:

java.lang.SecurityException: Authentication failed! Credentials required

To fix that, add an environment with the credentials when connecting, like this (password has to be set before that):

def jmxEnv = null
if (password != null) {
    jmxEnv = [(JMXConnector.CREDENTIALS): (String[])["monitor", password]]
}
def connector = JMXConnectorFactory.connect(new JMXServiceURL(serverUrl), jmxEnv)

Details for the software you are trying to monitor/manage may differ slightly. Check out the other examples using credentials above if appropriate (e.g. OC4J and WebLogic). If you still have troubles, you will have to consult the documentation for the software you are trying to monitor/manage for details on how to provide credentials.

3.15.8. JmxBuilder

JmxBuilder is a Groovy-based domain specific language for the Java Management Extension (JMX) API. It uses the builder pattern (FactoryBuilder) to create an internal DSL that facilitates the exposure of POJO’s and Groovy beans as management components via the MBean server. JmxBuilder hides the complexity of creating and exporting management beans via the JMX API and provides a set of natural Groovy constructs to interact with the JMX infrastructure.

Instantiating JmxBuilder

To start using JmxBuilder, simply make sure the jar file is on your class path. Then you can do the following in your code:

def jmx = new JmxBuilder()

That’s it! You are now ready to use the JmxBuilder.

NOTE

  • You can pass in an instance of your own MBeanServer to the builder (JmxBuilder(MBeanServer))

  • If no MBeanServer is specified, the builder instance will default to the underlying platform MBeanServer.

Once you have an instance of JmxBuilder, you are now ready to invoke any of its builder nodes.

JMX Connectors

Remote connectivity is a crucial part of the JMX architecture. JmxBuilder facilitates the creation of connector servers and connector clients with nimimal amount of coding.

Connector Server

JmxBuilder.connectoServer() supports the full Connector api syntax and will let you specify properties, override the URL, specify your own host, etc.

Syntax

jmx.connectorServer(
    protocol:"rmi",
    host:"...",
    port:1099,
    url:"...",
    properties:[
        "authenticate":true|false,
        "passwordFile":"...",
        "accessFile":"...",
        "sslEnabled" : true | false
        // any valid connector property
    ]
)

Note that the serverConnector node will accept four ServerConnector property aliases (authenticate, passwordFile,accessFile, and sslEnabled). You can use these aliases or provided any of the RMI-supported properties.

Example - Connector Server (see correction below)

jmx.connectorServer(port: 9000).start()

The snippet above returns an RMI connector that will start listening on port 9000. By default, the builder will internally generate URL "service:jmx:rmi:///jndi/rmi://localhost:9000/jmxrmi".

NOTE: Sadly you are as likely to get something like the following when attempting to run the previous snippet of code (example is incomplete, see below):

Caught: java.io.IOException: Cannot bind to URL [rmi://localhost:9000/jmxrmi]: javax.naming.ServiceUnavailableException [Root exception is java.rmi.ConnectException: Connection refused to host: localhost; nested exception is:
?????? java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused]
??

This occurs on Mac and Linux (CentOS 5) with Groovy 1.6 installed. Perhaps there were assumptions made about the configuration of the /etc/hosts file?

The correct example is shown below.

Connector Example (Corrected) - Connector Server

The example above does not create the RMI registry. So, in order to export, you have to first export the RMI object registry (make sure to import java.rmi.registry.LocateRegistry).

import java.rmi.registry.LocateRegistry
//...

LocateRegistry.createRegistry(9000)
jmx.connectorServer(port: 9000).start()
Connector Client

JmxBuilder.connectorClient() node lets you create JMX connector client object to connect to a JMX MBean Server.

Syntax

jmx.connectorClient (
    protocol:"rmi",
    host:"...",
    port:1099,
    url:"...",
)

Example - Client Connector

Creating a connector client can be done just as easily. With one line of code, you can create an instance of a JMX Connector Client as shown below.

def client = jmx.connectorClient(port: 9000)
client.connect()

You can then access the MBeanServerConnection associated with the connector using:

client.getMBeanServerConnection()
JmxBuilder MBean Export

You can export a Java object or a Groovy object with minimal coding. JmxBuilder will even find and export dynamic Groovy methods injected at runtime.

Implicit vs Explicit Descriptors

When using the builder, you can let JmxBuilder implicitly generate all of your MBean descriptor info. This is useful when you want to write minimal code to quickly export your beans. You can also explicitly declare all descriptor info for the bean. This gives you total control on how you want to describe every piece of information that you want to export for the underlying bean.

The JmxBuilder.export() Node

The JmxBuilder.export() node provides a container where all management entities to be exported to the MBeanServer are placed. You can place one or more bean() or timer() nodes as children of the export() node. JmxBuilder will automatically batch export the entities described by the nodes to the MBean server for management (see example below).

def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(new Foo())
    bean(new Bar())
    bean(new SomeBar())
}

In the code snippet above, JmxBuilder.export() will export three management beans to the MBean server.

JmxBuilder.export() Syntax

JmxBuilder.export() node supports the registrationPolicy parameter to specify how JmxBuilder will behave to resolve bean name collision during MBean registration:

jmx.export(policy:"replace|ignore|error")
or
jmx.export(regPolicy:"replace|ignore|error")
  • replace - JmxBuilder.export() will replance any bean already registered with the MBean during export.

  • ignore - The bean being exported will be ignored if the same bean is already registered.

  • error - JmxBuilder.export() throws an error upon bean name collision during registration.

Integration with GroovyMBean Class

When you export an MBean to the MBeanServer, JmxBuilder will return an instance of GroovyMBean representing the management bean that have been exported by the builder. Nodes such as bean() and timer() will return an instances of GroovyMBean when they are invoked. The export() node returns an array of all of GroovyMBean[] representing all managed objects exported to the MBean server.

MBean Registration with JmxBuilder.bean()

This portion of this reference uses class RequestController to illustrate how to use JmxBuilder to export runtime management beans. The class is for illustration purpose and can be a POJO or a Groovy bean.

RequestController

class RequestController {
    // constructors
    RequestController() { super() }
    RequestController(Map resource) { }

    // attributes
    boolean isStarted() { true }
    int getRequestCount() { 0 }
    int getResourceCount() { 0 }
    void setRequestLimit(int limit) { }
    int getRequestLimit() { 0 }

    // operations
    void start() { }
    void stop() { }
    void putResource(String name, Object resource) { }
    void makeRequest(String res) { }
    void makeRequest() { }
}
Implicit Export

As mentioned earlier, you can use JmxBuilder’s flexible syntax to export any POJO/POGO with no descriptor. The builder can automatically describe all aspects of the management beans using implicit defaults. These default values can easily be overridden as we’ll see in this in the next section.

The simplest way to export a POJO or POGO is listed below.

jmx.export {
    bean(new RequestController(resource: "Hello World"))
}

What this does:

  • First, the JmxBuilder.export() node will export an MBean to the MBeanServer representing the declared POJO instance.

  • The builder will generate a default ObjectName for the MBean and all other MBean descriptor information.

  • JmxBuilder will automatically export all declared attributes (MBean getter/setters), constructors, and operations on the instance.

  • The exported attributes will have read-only visibility.

Remember, JmxBuilder.export() returns an array of GroovyMBean[] objects for all exported instances. So, once you call JmxBuilder.export(), you have immediate access to the underlying MBean proxy (via GroovyMBean).

JConsole view of Exported Bean

jconsole-implicit-export

JmxBuilder.bean() Syntax

The JmxBuilder.bean() node supports an extensive set of descriptors to describe your bean for management. The JMX MBeanServer uses these descriptors to expose meta data about the bean exposed for management.

jmx.export {
    bean(
        target:bean instance,
        name:ObjectName,
        desc:"...",
        attributes:"*",
        attributes:[]
        attributes:[ "AttrubuteName1","AttributeName2",...,"AttributeName_n" ]
        attributes:[
            "AttributeName":"*",
            "AttributeName":[
                desc:"...",
                defaultValue:value,
                writable:true|false,
                editable:true|false,
                onChange:{event-> // event handler}
            ]
        ],

        constructors:"*",
        constructors:[
            "Constructor Name":[],
            "Constructor Name":[ "ParamType1","ParamType2,...,ParamType_n" ],
            "Constructor Name":[
                desc:"...",
                params:[
                    "ParamType1":"*",
                    "ParamType2":[desc:"...", name:"..."],...,
                    "ParamType_n":[desc:"...", name:"..."]
                ]
            ]
        ],

        operations:"*",
        operations:[ "OperationName1", "OperationName2",...,"OperationNameN" ],
        operations:[
            "OperationName1":"*",
            "OperationName2":[ "type1","type2,"type3" ]
            "OperationName3":[
                desc:"...",
                params:[
                    "ParamType1":"*"
                    "ParamType2":[desc:"...", name:"..."],...,
                    "ParamType_n":[desc:"...", name:"..."]
                ],
                onInvoked:{event-> JmxBuilder.send(event:"", to:"")}
            ]
        ],

        listeners:[
            "ListenerName1":[event: "...", from:ObjectName, call:{event->}],
            "ListenerName2":[event: "...", from:ObjectName, call:&methodPointer]
        ]

    )
}

Instead of describing the entire node, the following section explore each attribute separately.

Bean() Node - Specifying MBean ObjectName

Using the bean() node descriptors, you can specify your own MBean ObjectName.

def ctrl = new RequestController(resource:"Hello World")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(target: ctrl, name: "jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
}

The ObjectName can be specified as a String or an instance of the ObjectName.

Bean() Node - Attribute Export

JMX attributes are the setters and getters on the underlying bean. The JmxBuilder.bean() node provides several ways to flexibly describe and export MBean attributes. You can combine them however you want to achieve any level of attribute visibility. Let’s take a look.

Export All Attributes with Wildcard "*"

The following code snippet will describe and export all attributes on the bean as read-only. JmxBuilder will use default values to describe the attributes that exported for management.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(target: new RequestController(),
    name: objName,
    attributes: "*")
}
Export Attribute List

JmxBuilder will let you specify a list of attributes to export.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        attributes: ["Resource", "RequestCount"]
    )
}

In the snippet above, only the "Resource" and "RequestCount" attributes will be exported. Again, since no descriptors are provided, JmxBuilder will use sensible defaults to describe the exported attributes.

Export Attribute with Explicit Descriptors

One of the strengths of JmxBuilder is its flexibility in describing MBean. With the builder you can describe all aspects of the MBeans attribute that you want to export to the MBeanServer (see syntax above).

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        attributes: [
            "Resource": [desc: "The resource to request.", readable: true, writable: true, defaultValue: "Hello"],
            "RequestCount": "*"
        ]
    )
}

In the snippet above, attribute "Resource" is fully-described using all supported descriptors (i.e. desc, readable, writable, defaultValue) for a JMX attribute. However, we use the wildcard to describe attribute RequestCount and it will be exported and described using defaults.

Bean() Node - Constructor Export

JmxBuilder supports the explicit description and export of constructors defined in the underlying bean. There are several options available when exporting constructors. You can combine them however you want to achieve the desired level of manageability.

Export all Constructors with "*"

You can use the builder’s special "" notation to *export all constructors declared on the underlying bean. The builder will use default values to describe the MBean constructors.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        constructors: "*"
    )
}
Export Constructors using Parameter Descriptor

JmxBuilder lets you target specific constructor to export by describing the parameter signature. This is useful when you have several constructors with different parameter signature and you want to export specific constructors.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        constructors: [
            "RequestController": ["Object"]
        ]
    )
}

Here, JmxBuilder will export a constructor that takes one parameter of type "Object". Again, JmxBuilder will use default values to fill in the description of the constructor and the parameters.

Export Constructor with Explicit Descriptors

JmxBuilder allows you to fully-describe the constructor that you want to target for export (see syntax above).

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(target: new RequestController(), name: objName,
        constructors: [
            "RequestController": [
                desc: "Constructor takes param",
                params: ["Object" : [name: "Resource", desc: "Resource for controller"]]
            ]
        ]
    )
}

In the code above, JmxBuilder will target a constructor that takes one parameter for export to the MBeanServer. Notice how the constructor can be fully-described using all optional descriptor keys including parameter descriptors.

Bean() Node - Operation Export

Similar to constructors, JmxBuilder supports the description and export of MBean operations using a flexible notation (see above for syntax). You can combine these notations however you want to achieve the level of operation manageability desired.

Export All Operations with "*"

You can use the builder’s special ""' notation to *export all operations defined on the bean to be exposed for management. The builder will use default descriptor values for the operations being exported.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        operations: "*"
    )
}

In this snippet, JmxBuilder will export all bean operations and will use default values to describe them in the MBeanServer.

Export Operation List

JmxBuilder has a shorthand notation that lets you quickly target operations to be exported by providing a list of methods to export.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        operations: ["start", "stop"]
    )
}

In the snippet above, the builder will only export methods start() and stop(). All other methods will be ignored. JmxBuilder will use default descriptor values to describe the operations being exported.

Export Operations by Signature

Using JmxBuilder, you can target methods to export for management using the methods’s parameter signature. This is useful when you want to distinguish methods with the same name that you want to export (i.e. stop() instead of stop(boolean)).

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(),
        name: objName,
        operations: [
            "makeRequest": ["String"]
        ]
    )
}

In the snipet above, JmxBuilder would select method makeRequest(String) to be exported instead of the other version makeRequest() which takes no parameter. In this shorthand context, the signature is specified as a list of type (i.e. "String").

Export Operations with Explicit Descriptors

JmxBuilder supports detailed descriptors for bean operations. You can supply deep descriptor info about any operation on your bean including a name, description, method parameters, parameter type, and parameter description.

def objName = new ObjectName("jmx.tutorial:type=Object")
def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(target: new RequestController(), name: objName,
        operations: [
            "start": [desc: "Starts request controller"],
            "stop": [desc: "Stops the request controller"],
            "setResource": [params: ["Object"]],
            "makeRequest": [
                desc: "Executes the request.",
                params: [
                    "String": [name: "Resource", desc: "The resource to request"]
                ]
            ]
        ]
    )
}

The snippet above shows all of the ways JmxBuilder allows you to describe an operation targeted for management:

  • Operations start() and stop() are described by the "desc" key (this is enough since there are no params).

  • In operation setResource() uses of a shorthand version of params: to describe the parameters for the method.

  • makeRequest() uses the the extended descriptor syntax to describe all aspects of the operation.

Embedding Descriptor

JmxBuilder supports the ability to embed descriptors directly in your Groovy class. So, instead of wrapping your description around the declared object (as we’ve seen here), you can ebmed your JMX descriptors directly in your class.

RequestControllerGroovy

class RequestControllerGroovy {
    // attributes
    boolean started
    int requestCount
    int resourceCount
    int requestLimit
    Map resources

    // operations
    void start() { }
    void stop(){ }
    void putResource(String name, Object resource) { }
    void makeRequest(String res) { }
    void makeRequest() { }

    static descriptor = [
        name: "jmx.builder:type=EmbeddedObject",
        operations: ["start", "stop", "putResource"],
        attributes: "*"
    ]
}

// export
jmx.export(
    bean(new RequestControllerGroovy())
)

There are two things going on in the code above:

  • Groovy class RequestControllerGroovy is defined and includes a static descriptor member. That member is used to declare a JmxBuilder descriptor to describe member of the class targeted for JMX export.

  • The second part of the code shows how to use JmxBuilder to export that class for management.

Timer Export

JMX standards mandate that the implementation of the API makes available a timer service. Since JMX is a component-based architecture, timers provide an excellent signaling mechanism to communicate to registered listener components in the MBeanServer. JmxBuilder supports the creation and export of timers using the same easy syntax we’ve seen so far.

Timer Node Syntax
timer(
    name:ObjectName,
    event:"...",
    message:"...",
    data:dataValue
    startDate:"now"|dateValue
    period:"99d"|"99h"|"99m"|"99s"|99
    occurences:long
)

The timer() node supports several attributes:

  • name: - Required The qualified JMX ObjectName instance (or String) for the timer.

  • event: - The JMX event type string that will be broadcast with every timing signal (default "jmx.builder.event").

  • message: - An optional string value that can be sent to listneners.

  • data: - An optional object that can be sent to listeners of timing signal.

  • startDate: - When to start timer. Set of valid values [ "now", date object ]. Default is "now"

  • period: - A timer’s period expressed as either a number of millisecond or time unit (day, hour, minute, second). See description below.

  • occurences: - A number indicating the number of time to repeat timer. Default is forever.

Exporting a Timer
def timer = jmx.timer(name: "jmx.builder:type=Timer", event: "heartbeat", period: "1s")
timer.start()

This snippet above describes, creates, and exports a standard JMX Timer component. Here, the timer() node returns a GroovyMBean that represents the registered timer MBean in the MBeanServer.

An alternative way of exporting timers is within the JmxBuilder.export() node.

def beans = jmx.export {
    timer(name: "jmx.builder:type=Timer1", event: "event.signal", period: "1s")
    timer(name: "jmx.builder:type=Timer2", event: "event.log", period: "1s")
}
beans[0].start()
beans[1].start()
Timer Period

The timer() node supports a flexible notation for specifying the timer period values. You can specify the time in second, minutes, hour, and day. The default is millisecond.

  • timer(period: 100) = 100 millisecond

  • timer(period: "1s") = 1 second

  • timer(period: "1m") = 1 minute

  • timer(period: "1h") = 1 hour

  • timer(period: "1d") = 1 day

The node will automatically translate.

JmxBuilder and Events

An integral part of JMX is its event model. Registered management beans can communicate with each other by broadcasting events on the MBeanServer’s event bus. JmxBuilder provides several ways to easily listen and react to events broadcasted on the MBeanServer’s event bus. Developers can capture any event on the bus or throw their own to be consumed by other components registered on the MBeanServer.

Event Handling Closures

JmxBuilder leverages Groovy’s use of closures to provide simple, yet elegant, mean of reacting to JMX events. JmxBuilder supports two closure signatures:

Parameterless
callback = { ->
    // event handling code here.
}

JmxBuilder executes the closure and passes no information about the event that was captured on the bus.

With Event Parameter
callback = { event ->
    // event handling code
}

JmxBuilder will pass an "event" object to the closure using this format. The event object contains information about the event was intercepted so that it can be handled by the handler. The parameter will contain different set of info depending on the event that was captured.

Handling Attribute onChange Event

When describing attributes (see bean() node section above), you can provide a closure (or method pointer) for callback to be executed when the value of the attribute is updated on the exported MBean. This gives developers an opportunity to listen to and react to state changes on the MBean.

jmx.export {
    bean(
        target: new RequestController(), name: "jmx.tutorial:type=Object",
        attributes: [
            "Resource": [
                readable: true, writable: true,
                onChange: { e ->
                    println e.oldValue
                    println e.newValue
                }
            ]
        ]
    )
}

The sample snippet above shows how to specify an "onChange" callback closure when describing MBean attributes. In this sample code, whenever attribute "Resource" is updated via the exported MBean, the onChange event will be executed.

Attribute onChange Event Object

When handling the attribute onChange event, the handler closure will receive an event object with the following info:

  • event.oldValue - the previous attribute value before the change event.

  • event.newValue - the new value of the attribute after the change.

  • event.attribute - the name of the attribute on which the event occured.

  • event.attributeType - the data type of the attribute that causes the event.

  • event.sequenceNumber - a numeric value representing the sequence number of event.

  • event.timeStamp - a time stamp for the event occurence.

Handling Operation onCall Event

Similar to mbean attributes, JmxBuilder affords developers the ability to listen for operation invokation on an MBean registered in the MBeaServer. JmxBuilder accepts a callback closure that will be executed after the MBean method has invoked.

class EventHandler {
    void handleStart(e){
        println e
    }
}
def handler = new EventHandler()

def beans = jmx.export {
    bean(target: new RequestController(), name: "jmx.tutorial:type=Object",
        operations: [
            "start": [
                desc:"Starts request controller",
                onCall:handler.&handleStart
            ]
        ]
    )
}

The snippet above shows how to declare an "onCall" closure to be used as listener when operation "start()" is invoked on the MBean. This sample uses the method pointer syntax to illustrate the versatility of JmxBuilder.

Operation onCall Event Object

When handling the operation onCall event, the callback closure will receive an event object with the following info:

  • event.event - the event type string that was broadcasted.

  • event.source - The object on which the method was invoked.

  • event.data - the data type of the attribute that causes the event.

  • event.sequenceNumber - a numeric value representing the sequence number of event.

  • event.timeStamp - a time stamp for the event occurence.

Listener MBean

When you export an MBean with the bean() node, you can define events the MBean can listen and react to. The bean() node provides a "listeners:" attribute that lets you define event listeners that your bean can react to.

def beans = jmx.export {
    timer(name: "jmx.builder:type=Timer", event: "heartbeat", period: "1s").start()
    bean(target: new RequestController(), name: "jmx.tutorial:type=Object",
        operations: "*",
        listeners: [
            heartbeat: [
                from: "jmx.builder:type=Timer",
                call: { e ->
                    println e
                }
            ]
        ]
    )
}

In the sample above, we see the syntax for adding listeners to an exported MBean.

  • Fist, a timer is exported and started.

  • Then an MBean is declared that will listen to the timer event and do something meaningful.

  • The "heartbeat:" name is arbitrary and has no correlation to the timer declared above.

  • The source of the event is specified using the "from:" attribute.

You can also specify an event type you are interested in receiving from a broadcaster (since a broadcaster can be emitting multiple events).

Listening to JMX Events

In some cases, you will want to create stand-alone event listensers (not attached to exported MBeans). JmxBuilder provides the Listener() node to let you create JMX listeners that can listen to MBeanServer events. This is useful when creating JMX client applications to monitor/manage JMX agents on remote JMX MBeanServers.

Listener Node Syntax
jmx.listener(
    event: "...",
    from: "object name" | ObjectName,
    call: { event-> }
)

Here is the description of the lisetener() node attributes:

  • event: An optional string that identifies the JMX event type to listen for.

  • from (required): The JMX ObjectName of the component to listen to. This can be specified as a string or an instance of ObjectName

  • call: The closure to execute when the event is captured. This can also be specified as a Groovy method pointer.

Here is an example of JmxBuilder’s listener node:

jmx.timer(name: "jmx.builder:type=Timer", period: "1s").start()

jmx.listener(
    from: "jmx.builder:type=Timer",
    call: { e ->
        println "beep..."
    }
)

This example shows how you can use a stand alone listener (outside of an MBean export). Here, we export a timer with a 1 second resolution. Then, we specify a listener to that timer that will print "beep" every second.

Emitting JMX Events

JmxBuilder provides the tools needed to broadcast your own events on the MBeanServer’s event bus. There are no restrictions on the event type you can broadcast. You simply declare your emitter and the event type that you want to send, then broadcast your event at any time. Any registered component in the MBeanServer can register themselves to listen to your events.

Emitter Syntax
jmx.emitter(name:"Object:Name", event:"type")

The attributes for the node Emitter() can be summarized as follows:

  • name: an optional JMX ObjectName used to register your emitter in the MBeanServer. Default is jmx.builder:type=Emitter,name=Emitter@OBJECT_HASH_VALUE

  • event: an option string value that describes the JMX event type. Default is "jmx.builder.event.emitter".

Declare the Emitter
def emitter = jmx.emitter()

The snippet declares the emitter using implicit descriptor syntax. JmxBuilder will do the followings:

  • Create and register an emitter MBean with a default ObjectName.

  • Setup a default event type with value "jmx.builder.event.emitter".

  • Return a GroovyMBean representing the emitter.

As with other nodes in the builder, you can override all keys in the emitter() node. You can specify the ObjectName and the event type.

Broadcast Event

Once you have declared your emitter, you can broadcast your event.

emitter.send()

The sample above shows the emitter sending an event, once it has been declared. Any JMX component registered in the MBeanServer can register to receive message from this emitter.

Sending Event Objects

You can optionally pass data to the receiver when you send the message.

emitter.send("Hello!")

If you use an event listener closure (see above) that accpets a parameter, you can access that value.

3.16. Design patterns in Groovy

Using design patterns with Java is a well-established topic. Design patterns also apply to Groovy:

  • some patterns carry over directly (and can make use of normal Groovy syntax improvements for greater readability)

  • some patterns are no longer required because they are built right into the language or because Groovy supports a better way of achieving the intent of the pattern

  • some patterns that have to be expressed at the design level in other languages can be implemented directly in Groovy (due to the way Groovy can blur the distinction between design and implementation)

3.16.1. Patterns

Abstract Factory Pattern

The Abstract Factory Pattern provides a way to encapsulate a group of individual factories that have a common theme. It embodies the intent of a normal factory, i.e. remove the need for code using an interface to know the concrete implementation behind the interface, but applies to a set of interfaces and selects an entire family of concrete classes which implement those interfaces.

As an example, I might have interfaces Button, TextField and Scrollbar. I might have WindowsButton, MacButton, FlashButton as concrete classes for Button. I might have WindowsScrollBar, MacScrollBar and FlashScrollBar as concrete implementations for ScrollBar. Using the Abstract Factory Pattern should allow me to select which windowing system (i.e. Windows, Mac, Flash) I want to use once and from then on should be able to write code that references the interfaces but is always using the appropriate concrete classes (all from the one windowing system) under the covers.

Example

Suppose we want to write a game system. We might note that many games have very similar features and control.

We decide to try to split the common and game-specific code into separate classes.

First let’s look at the game-specific code for a Two-up game:

class TwoupMessages {
    def welcome = 'Welcome to the twoup game, you start with $1000'
    def done = 'Sorry, you have no money left, goodbye'
}

class TwoupInputConverter {
    def convert(input) { input.toInteger() }
}

class TwoupControl {
    private money = 1000
    private random = new Random()
    private tossWasHead() {
        def next = random.nextInt()
        return next % 2 == 0
    }
    def moreTurns() {
        if (money > 0) {
            println "You have $money, how much would you like to bet?"
            return true
        }

        false
    }
    def play(amount) {
        def coin1 = tossWasHead()
        def coin2 = tossWasHead()
        if (coin1 && coin2) {
            money += amount
            println 'You win'
        } else if (!coin1 && !coin2) {
            money -= amount
            println 'You lose'
        } else {
            println 'Draw'
        }
    }
}

Now, let’s look at the game-specific code for a number guessing game:

class GuessGameMessages {
    def welcome = 'Welcome to the guessing game, my secret number is between 1 and 100'
    def done = 'Correct'
}

class GuessGameInputConverter {
    def convert(input) { input.toInteger() }
}

class GuessGameControl {
    private lower = 1
    private upper = 100
    private guess = new Random().nextInt(upper - lower) + lower
    def moreTurns() {
        def done = (lower == guess || upper == guess)
        if (!done) {
            println "Enter a number between $lower and $upper"
        }

        !done
    }
    def play(nextGuess) {
        if (nextGuess <= guess) {
            lower = [lower, nextGuess].max()
        }
        if (nextGuess >= guess) {
            upper = [upper, nextGuess].min()
        }
    }
}

Now, let’s write our factory code:

def guessFactory = [messages: GuessGameMessages, control: GuessGameControl, converter: GuessGameInputConverter]
def twoupFactory = [messages: TwoupMessages, control: TwoupControl, converter: TwoupInputConverter]

class GameFactory {
    def static factory
    def static getMessages() { return factory.messages.newInstance() }
    def static getControl() { return factory.control.newInstance() }
    def static getConverter() { return factory.converter.newInstance() }
}

The important aspect of this factory is that it allows selection of an entire family of concrete classes.

Here is how we would use the factory:

GameFactory.factory = twoupFactory
def messages = GameFactory.messages
def control = GameFactory.control
def converter = GameFactory.converter
println messages.welcome
def reader = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(System.in))
while (control.moreTurns()) {
    def input = reader.readLine().trim()
    control.play(converter.convert(input))
}
println messages.done

Note that the first line configures which family of concrete game classes we will use. It’s not important that we selected which family to use by using the factory property as shown in the first line. Other ways would be equally valid examples of this pattern. For example, we may have asked the user which game they wanted to play or determined which game from an environment setting.

With the code as shown, the game might look like this when run:

Welcome to the twoup game, you start with $1000
You have 1000, how much would you like to bet?
300
Draw
You have 1000, how much would you like to bet?
700
You win
You have 1700, how much would you like to bet?
1700
You lose
Sorry, you have no money left, goodbye

If we change the first line of the script to GameFactory.factory = guessFactory, then the sample run might look like this:

Welcome to the guessing game, my secret number is between 1 and 100
Enter a number between 1 and 100
75
Enter a number between 1 and 75
35
Enter a number between 1 and 35
15
Enter a number between 1 and 15
5
Enter a number between 5 and 15
10
Correct
Adapter Pattern

The Adapter Pattern (sometimes called the wrapper pattern) allows objects satisfying one interface to be used where another type of interface is expected. There are two typical flavours of the pattern: the delegation flavour and the inheritance flavour.

Delegation Example

Suppose we have the following classes:

class SquarePeg {
    def width
}

class RoundPeg {
    def radius
}

class RoundHole {
    def radius
    def pegFits(peg) {
        peg.radius <= radius
    }
    String toString() { "RoundHole with radius $radius" }
}

We can ask the RoundHole class if a RoundPeg fits in it, but if we ask the same question for a SquarePeg, then it will fail because the SquarePeg class doesn’t have a radius property (i.e. doesn’t satisfy the required interface).

To get around this problem, we can create an adapter to make it appear to have the correct interface. It would look like this:

class SquarePegAdapter {
    def peg
    def getRadius() {
        Math.sqrt(((peg.width / 2) ** 2) * 2)
    }
    String toString() {
        "SquarePegAdapter with peg width $peg.width (and notional radius $radius)"
    }
}

We can use the adapter like this:

def hole = new RoundHole(radius: 4.0)
(4..7).each { w ->
    def peg = new SquarePegAdapter(peg: new SquarePeg(width: w))
    if (hole.pegFits(peg)) {
        println "peg $peg fits in hole $hole"
    } else {
        println "peg $peg does not fit in hole $hole"
    }
}

Which results in the following output:

peg SquarePegAdapter with peg width 4 (and notional radius 2.8284271247461903) fits in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with peg width 5 (and notional radius 3.5355339059327378) fits in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with peg width 6 (and notional radius 4.242640687119285) does not fit in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with peg width 7 (and notional radius 4.949747468305833) does not fit in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
Inheritance Example

Let’s consider the same example again using inheritance. First, here are the original classes (unchanged):

class SquarePeg {
    def width
}

class RoundPeg {
    def radius
}

class RoundHole {
    def radius
    def pegFits(peg) {
        peg.radius <= radius
    }
    String toString() { "RoundHole with radius $radius" }
}

An adapter using inheritance:

class SquarePegAdapter extends SquarePeg {
    def getRadius() {
        Math.sqrt(((width / 2) ** 2) * 2)
    }
    String toString() {
        "SquarePegAdapter with width $width (and notional radius $radius)"
    }
}

Using the adapter:

def hole = new RoundHole(radius: 4.0)
(4..7).each { w ->
    def peg = new SquarePegAdapter(peg: new SquarePeg(width: w))
    if (hole.pegFits(peg)) {
        println "peg $peg fits in hole $hole"
    } else {
        println "peg $peg does not fit in hole $hole"
    }
}

The output:

peg SquarePegAdapter with width 4 (and notional radius 2.8284271247461903) fits in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with width 5 (and notional radius 3.5355339059327378) fits in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with width 6 (and notional radius 4.242640687119285) does not fit in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
peg SquarePegAdapter with width 7 (and notional radius 4.949747468305833) does not fit in hole RoundHole with radius 4.0
Adapting using Closures

As a variation of the previous examples, we could instead define the following interface:

interface RoundThing {
    def getRadius()
}

We can then define an adapter as a closure as follows:

def adapter = {
    p -> [getRadius: { Math.sqrt(((p.width / 2) ** 2) * 2) }] as RoundThing
}

And use it like this:

def peg = new SquarePeg(width: 4)
if (hole.pegFits(adapter(peg))) {
    // ... as before
}
Adapting using the ExpandoMetaClass

As of Groovy 1.1, there is a built-in MetaClass which can automatically add properties and methods dynamically.

Here is how the example would work using that feature:

def peg = new SquarePeg(width: 4)
peg.metaClass.radius = Math.sqrt(((peg.width / 2) ** 2) * 2)

After you create a peg object, you can simply add a property to it on the fly. No need to change the original class and no need for an adapter class.

Bouncer Pattern

The Bouncer Pattern describes usage of a method whose sole purpose is to either throw an exception (when particular conditions hold) or do nothing. Such methods are often used to defensively guard pre-conditions of a method.

When writing utility methods, you should always guard against faulty input arguments. When writing internal methods, you may be able to ensure that certain pre-conditions always hold by having sufficient unit tests in place. Under such circumstances, you may reduce the desirability to have guards on your methods.

Groovy differs from other languages in that you frequently use the assert method within your methods rather than having a large number of utility checker methods or classes.

Null Checking Example

We might have a utility method such as:

class NullChecker {
    static check(name, arg) {
        if (arg == null) {
            throw new IllegalArgumentException(name + ' is null')
        }
    }
}

And we would use it like this:

void doStuff(String name, Object value) {
    NullChecker.check('name', name)
    NullChecker.check('value', value)
    // do stuff
}

But a more Groovy way to do this would simply be like this:

void doStuff(String name, Object value) {
    assert name != null, 'name should not be null'
    assert value != null, 'value should not be null'
    // do stuff
}
Validation Example

As an alternative example, we might have this utility method:

class NumberChecker {
    static final String NUMBER_PATTERN = "\\\\d+(\\\\.\\\\d+(E-?\\\\d+)?)?"
    static isNumber(str) {
        if (!str ==~ NUMBER_PATTERN) {
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("Argument '$str' must be a number")
        }
    }
    static isNotZero(number) {
        if (number == 0) {
            throw new IllegalArgumentException('Argument must not be 0')
        }
    }
}

And we would use it like this:

def stringDivide(String dividendStr, String divisorStr) {
    NumberChecker.isNumber(dividendStr)
    NumberChecker.isNumber(divisorStr)
    def dividend = dividendStr.toDouble()
    def divisor = divisorStr.toDouble()
    NumberChecker.isNotZero(divisor)
    dividend / divisor
}

println stringDivide('1.2E2', '3.0')
// => 40.0

But with Groovy we could just as easily use:

def stringDivide(String dividendStr, String divisorStr) {
    assert dividendStr =~ NumberChecker.NUMBER_PATTERN
    assert divisorStr =~ NumberChecker.NUMBER_PATTERN
    def dividend = dividendStr.toDouble()
    def divisor = divisorStr.toDouble()
    assert divisor != 0, 'Divisor must not be 0'
    dividend / divisor
}
Chain of Responsibility Pattern

In the Chain of Responsibility Pattern, objects using and implementing an interface (one or more methods) are intentionally loosely coupled. A set of objects that implement the interface are organised in a list (or in rare cases a tree). Objects using the interface make requests from the first implementor object. It will decide whether to perform any action itself and whether to pass the request further down the line in the list (or tree). Sometimes a default implementation for some request is also coded into the pattern if none of the implementors respond to the request.

Example

In this example, the script sends requests to the lister object. The lister points to a UnixLister object. If it can’t handle the request, it sends the request to the WindowsLister. If it can’t handle the request, it sends the request to the DefaultLister.

class UnixLister {
    private nextInLine
    UnixLister(next) { nextInLine = next }
    def listFiles(dir) {
        if (System.getProperty('os.name') == 'Linux') {
            println "ls $dir".execute().text
        } else {
            nextInLine.listFiles(dir)
        }
    }
}

class WindowsLister {
    private nextInLine
    WindowsLister(next) { nextInLine = next }
    def listFiles(dir) {
        if (System.getProperty('os.name') == 'Windows XP') {
            println "cmd.exe /c dir $dir".execute().text
        } else {
            nextInLine.listFiles(dir)
        }
    }
}

class DefaultLister {
    def listFiles(dir) {
        new File(dir).eachFile { f -> println f }
    }
}

def lister = new UnixLister(new WindowsLister(new DefaultLister()))

lister.listFiles('Downloads')

The output will be a list of files (with slightly different format depending on the operating system).

Here is a UML representation:

ChainOfResponsibilityClasses

Variations to this pattern:

  • we could have an explicit interface, e.g. Lister, to statically type the implementations but because of duck-typing this is optional

  • we could use a chain tree instead of a list, e.g. if (animal.hasBackbone()) delegate to VertebrateHandler else delegate to InvertebrateHandler

  • we could always pass down the chain even if we processed a request

  • we could decide at some point to not respond and not pass down the chain

  • we could use Groovy’s meta-programming capabilities to pass unknown methods down the chain

Composite Pattern

The Composite Pattern allows you to treat single instances of an object the same way as a group of objects. The pattern is often used with hierarchies of objects. Typically, one or more methods should be callable in the same way for either leaf or composite nodes within the hierarchy. In such a case, composite nodes typically invoke the same named method for each of their children nodes.

Example

Consider this usage of the composite pattern where we want to call toString() on either Leaf or Composite objects.

CompositeClasses

In Java, the Component class is essential as it provides the type used for both leaf and composite nodes. In Groovy, because of duck-typing, we don’t need it for that purpose, however, it can still server as a useful place to place common behaviour between the leaf and composite nodes.

For our purposes, we will assemble the following hierarchy of components.

CompositeComponents

Here is the code:

abstract class Component {
    def name
    def toString(indent) {
        ("-" * indent) + name
    }
}

class Composite extends Component {
    private children = []
    def toString(indent) {
        def s = super.toString(indent)
        children.each { child ->
            s += "\\n" + child.toString(indent + 1)
        }
        s
    }
    def leftShift(component) {
        children << component
    }
}

class Leaf extends Component { }

def root = new Composite(name: "root")
root << new Leaf(name: "leaf A")
def comp = new Composite(name: "comp B")
root << comp
root << new Leaf(name: "leaf C")
comp << new Leaf(name: "leaf B1")
comp << new Leaf(name: "leaf B2")
println root.toString(0)

Here is the resulting output:

root
-leaf A
-comp B
--leaf B1
--leaf B2
-leaf C
Decorator Pattern

The Decorator Pattern provides a mechanism to embellish the behaviour of an object without changing its essential interface. A decorated object should be able to be substituted wherever the original (non-decorated) object was expected. Decoration typically does not involve modifying the source code of the original object and decorators should be able to be combined in flexible ways to produce objects with several embellishments.

Traditional Example

Suppose we have the following Logger class.

class Logger {
    def log(String message) {
        println message
    }
}

There might be times when it is useful to timestamp a log message, or times when we might want to change the case of the message. We could try to build all of this functionality into our Logger class. If we did that, the Logger class would start to be very complex. Also, everyone would obtain all of features even when they might not want a small subset of the features. Finally, feature interaction would become quite difficult to control.

To overcome these drawbacks, we instead define two decorator classes. Uses of the Logger class are free to embellish their base logger with zero or more decorator classes in whatever order they desire. The classes look like this:

class TimeStampingLogger extends Logger {
    private Logger logger
    TimeStampingLogger(logger) {
        this.logger = logger
    }
    def log(String message) {
        def now = Calendar.instance
        logger.log("$now.time: $message")
    }
}

class UpperLogger extends Logger {
    private Logger logger
    UpperLogger(logger) {
        this.logger = logger
    }
    def log(String message) {
        logger.log(message.toUpperCase())
    }
}

We can use the decorators like so:

def logger = new UpperLogger(new TimeStampingLogger(new Logger()))
logger.log("G'day Mate")
// => Tue May 22 07:13:50 EST 2007: G'DAY MATE

You can see that we embellish the logger behaviour with both decorators. Because of the order we chose to apply the decorators, our log message comes out capitalised and the timestamp is in normal case. If we swap the order around, let’s see what happens:

logger = new TimeStampingLogger(new UpperLogger(new Logger()))
logger.log('Hi There')
// => TUE MAY 22 07:13:50 EST 2007: HI THERE

Now the timestamp itself has also been changed to be uppercase.

A touch of dynamic behaviour

Our previous decorators were specific to Logger objects. We can use Groovy’s Meta-Object Programming capabilities to create a decorator which is far more general purpose in nature. Consider this class:

class GenericLowerDecorator {
    private delegate
    GenericLowerDecorator(delegate) {
        this.delegate = delegate
    }
    def invokeMethod(String name, args) {
        def newargs = args.collect { arg ->
            if (arg instanceof String) {
                return arg.toLowerCase()
            } else {
                return arg
            }
        }
        delegate.invokeMethod(name, newargs)
    }
}

It takes any class and decorates it so that any String method parameter will automatically be changed to lower case.

logger = new GenericLowerDecorator(new TimeStampingLogger(new Logger()))
logger.log('IMPORTANT Message')
// => Tue May 22 07:27:18 EST 2007: important message

Just be careful with ordering here. The original decorators were restricted to decorating Logger objects. This decorator work with any object type, so we can’t swap the ordering around, i.e. this won’t work:

// Can't mix and match Interface-Oriented and Generic decorators
// logger = new TimeStampingLogger(new GenericLowerDecorator(new Logger()))

We could overcome this limitation be generating an appropriate Proxy type at runtime but we won’t complicate the example here.

Runtime behaviour embellishment

You can also consider using the ExpandoMetaClass from Groovy 1.1 to dynamically embellish a class with behaviour. This isn’t the normal style of usage of the decorator pattern (it certainly isn’t nearly as flexible) but may help you to achieve similar results in some cases without creating a new class.

Here’s what the code looks like:

// current mechanism to enable ExpandoMetaClass
GroovySystem.metaClassRegistry.metaClassCreationHandle = new ExpandoMetaClassCreationHandle()

def logger = new Logger()
logger.metaClass.log = { String m -> println 'message: ' + m.toUpperCase() }
logger.log('x')
// => message: X

This achieves a similar result to applying a single decorator but we have no way to easily apply and remove embellishments on the fly.

More dynamic decorating

Suppose we have a calculator class (Actually any class would do).

class Calc {
    def add(a, b) { a + b }
}

We might be interested in observing usage of the class over time. If it is buried deep within our codebase, it might be hard to determine when it is being called and with what parameters. Also, it might be hard to know if it is performing well. We can easily make a generic tracing decorator that prints out tracing information whenever any method on the Calc class is called and also provide timing information about how long it took to execute. Here is the code for the tracing decorator:

class TracingDecorator {
    private delegate
    TracingDecorator(delegate) {
        this.delegate = delegate
    }
    def invokeMethod(String name, args) {
        println "Calling $name$args"
        def before = System.currentTimeMillis()
        def result = delegate.invokeMethod(name, args)
        println "Got $result in ${System.currentTimeMillis()-before} ms"
        result
    }
}

Here is how to use the class in a script:

def tracedCalc = new TracingDecorator(new Calc())
assert 15 == tracedCalc.add(3, 12)

And here is what you would see after running this script:

Calling add{3, 12}
Got 15 in 31 ms
Decorating with an Interceptor

The above timing example hooks into the lifecycle of Groovy objects (via invokeMethod). This is such an important style performing meta-programming that Groovy has special support for this style of decorating using interceptors.

Groovy even comes with a built-in TracingInterceptor. We can extend the built-in class like this:

class TimingInterceptor extends TracingInterceptor {
    private beforeTime
    def beforeInvoke(object, String methodName, Object[] arguments) {
        super.beforeInvoke(object, methodName, arguments)
        beforeTime = System.currentTimeMillis()
    }
    Object afterInvoke(Object object, String methodName, Object[] arguments, Object result) {
        super.afterInvoke(object, methodName, arguments, result)
        def duration = System.currentTimeMillis() - beforeTime
        writer.write("Duration: $duration ms\\n")
        writer.flush()
        result
    }
}

Here is an example of using this new class:

def proxy = ProxyMetaClass.getInstance(Calc)
proxy.interceptor = new TimingInterceptor()
proxy.use {
    assert 7 == new Calc().add(1, 6)
}

And here is the output:

before Calc.ctor()
after  Calc.ctor()
Duration: 0 ms
before Calc.add(java.lang.Integer, java.lang.Integer)
after  Calc.add(java.lang.Integer, java.lang.Integer)
Duration: 2 ms
Decorating with java.lang.reflect.Proxy

If you are trying to decorate an object (i.e. just a particular instance of the class, not the class generally), then you can use Java’s java.lang.reflect.Proxy. Groovy makes working with this easier than just Java. Below is a code sample taken out of a grails project that wraps a java.sql.Connection so that it’s close method is a no-op:

protected Sql getGroovySql() {
    final Connection con = session.connection()
    def invoker = { object, method, args ->
        if (method.name == "close") {
            log.debug("ignoring call to Connection.close() for use by groovy.sql.Sql")
        } else {
            log.trace("delegating $method")
            return con.invokeMethod(method.name, args)
        }
    } as InvocationHandler;
    def proxy = Proxy.newProxyInstance( getClass().getClassLoader(), [Connection] as Class[], invoker )
    return new Sql(proxy)
}

If there were many methods to intercept, then this approach could be modified to look up closure in a map by method name and invoke it.

Decorating with Spring

The Spring Framework allows decorators to be applied with interceptors (you may have heard the terms advice or aspect). You can leverage this mechanism from Groovy as well.

First define a class that you want to decorate (we’ll also use an interface as is normal Spring practice):

Here’s the interface:

interface Calc {
    def add(a, b)
}

Here’s the class:

class CalcImpl implements Calc {
    def add(a, b) { a + b }
}

Now, we define our wiring in a file called beans.xml as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
	xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xmlns:lang="http://www.springframework.org/schema/lang"
	xsi:schemaLocation="
		http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd
		http://www.springframework.org/schema/lang http://www.springframework.org/schema/lang/spring-lang.xsd">

    <bean id="performanceInterceptor" autowire="no"
          class="org.springframework.aop.interceptor.PerformanceMonitorInterceptor">
        <property name="loggerName" value="performance"/>
    </bean>
    <bean id="calc" class="util.CalcImpl"/>
    <bean class="org.springframework.aop.framework.autoproxy.BeanNameAutoProxyCreator">
        <property name="beanNames" value="calc"/>
        <property name="interceptorNames" value="performanceInterceptor"/>
    </bean>
</beans>

Now, our script looks like this:

@Grab('org.springframework:spring-context:3.2.2.RELEASE')
import org.springframework.context.support.ClassPathXmlApplicationContext

def ctx = new ClassPathXmlApplicationContext('beans.xml')
def calc = ctx.getBean('calc')
println calc.add(3, 25)

And when we run it, we see the results:

21/05/2007 23:02:35 org.springframework.aop.interceptor.PerformanceMonitorInterceptor invokeUnderTrace
FINEST: StopWatch 'util.Calc.add': running time (millis) = 16

You may have to adjust your logging.properties file for messages at log level FINEST to be displayed.

Asynchronous Decorators using GPars

Using the example code in Panini for inspiration. Here is a Groovy version that avoids using an @AddedBehavior annotation at the expense of not having as general an algorithm for selecting the methods to decorate. This isn’t a limitation of the particular approach chosen but just a simplification for illustrative purposes (but don’t assume below is an exact equivalent).

@Grab('org.codehaus.gpars:gpars:0.10')
import static groovyx.gpars.GParsPool.withPool

interface Document {
    void print()
    String getText()
}

class DocumentImpl implements Document {
    def document
    void print() { println document }
    String getText() { document }
}

def words(String text) {
    text.replaceAll('[^a-zA-Z]', ' ').trim().split("\\\\s+")*.toLowerCase()
}

def avgWordLength = {
    def words = words(it.text)
    sprintf "Avg Word Length: %4.2f", words*.size().sum() / words.size()
}
def modeWord = {
    def wordGroups = words(it.text).groupBy {it}.collectEntries { k, v -> [k, v.size()] }
    def maxSize = wordGroups*.value.max()
    def maxWords = wordGroups.findAll { it.value == maxSize }
    "Mode Word(s): ${maxWords*.key.join(', ')} ($maxSize occurrences)"
}
def wordCount = { d -> "Word Count: " + words(d.text).size() }

def asyncDecorator(Document d, Closure c) {
    ProxyGenerator.INSTANCE.instantiateDelegate([print: {
        withPool {
            def result = c.callAsync(d)
            d.print()
            println result.get()
        }
    }], [Document], d)
}

Document d = asyncDecorator(asyncDecorator(asyncDecorator(
        new DocumentImpl(document:"This is the file with the words in it\\n\\t\\nDo you see the words?\\n"),
//        new DocumentImpl(document: new File('AsyncDecorator.groovy').text),
        wordCount), modeWord), avgWordLength)
d.print()
Delegation Pattern

The Delegation Pattern is a technique where an object’s behavior (public methods) is implemented by delegating responsibility to one or more associated objects.

Groovy allows the traditional style of applying the delegation pattern, e.g. see Replace Inheritance with Delegation.

Implement Delegation Pattern using ExpandoMetaClass

The ExpandoMetaClass allows usage of this pattern to be encapsulated in a library. This allows Groovy to emulate similar libraries available for the Ruby language.

Consider the following library class:

class Delegator {
    private targetClass
    private delegate
    Delegator(targetClass, delegate) {
        this.targetClass = targetClass
        this.delegate = delegate
    }
    def delegate(String methodName) {
        delegate(methodName, methodName)
    }
    def delegate(String methodName, String asMethodName) {
        targetClass.metaClass."$asMethodName" = delegate.&"$methodName"
    }
    def delegateAll(String[] names) {
        names.each { delegate(it) }
    }
    def delegateAll(Map names) {
        names.each { k, v -> delegate(k, v) }
    }
    def delegateAll() {
        delegate.class.methods*.name.each { delegate(it) }
    }
}

With this in your classpath, you can now apply the delegation pattern dynamically as shown in the following examples. First, consider we have the following classes:

class Person {
    String name
}

class MortgageLender {
    def borrowAmount(amount) {
       "borrow \\$$amount"
    }
    def borrowFor(thing) {
       "buy \\$thing"
    }
}

def lender = new MortgageLender()

def delegator = new Delegator(Person, lender)

We can now use the delegator to automatically borrow methods from the lender object to extend the Person class. We can borrow the methods as is or with a rename:

delegator.delegate 'borrowFor'
delegator.delegate 'borrowAmount', 'getMoney'

def p = new Person()

println p.borrowFor('present')   // => buy present
println p.getMoney(50)

The first line above, adds the borrowFor method to the Person class by delegating to the lender object. The second line adds a getMoney method to the Person class by delegating to the lender object’s borrowAmount method.

Alternatively, we could borrow multiple methods like this:

delegator.delegateAll 'borrowFor', 'borrowAmount'

Which adds these two methods to the Person class.

Or if we want all the methods, like this:

delegator.delegateAll()

Which will make all the methods in the delegate object available in the Person class.

Alternatively, we can use a map notation to rename multiple methods:

delegator.delegateAll borrowAmount:'getMoney', borrowFor:'getThing'
Implement Delegation Pattern using @Delegate annotation

Since version 1.6 you can use the built-in delegation mechanism which is based on AST transformation.

This make delegation even easier:

class Person {
    def name
    @Delegate MortgageLender mortgageLender = new MortgageLender()
}

class MortgageLender {
    def borrowAmount(amount) {
       "borrow \\$$amount"
    }
    def borrowFor(thing) {
       "buy $thing"
    }
}

def p = new Person()

assert "buy present" == p.borrowFor('present')
assert "borrow \\$50" == p.borrowAmount(50)
Flyweight Pattern

The Flyweight Pattern is a pattern for greatly reducing memory requirements by not requiring that heavy-weight objects be created in large numbers when dealing with systems that contain many things that are mostly the same. If for instance, a document was modeled using a complex character class that knew about unicode, fonts, positioning, etc., then the memory requirements could be quite large for large documents if each physical character in the document required its own character class instance. Instead, characters themselves might be kept within Strings and we might have one character class (or a small number such as one character class for each font type) that knew the specifics of how to deal with characters.

In such circumstances, we call the state that is shared with many other things (e.g. the character type) instrinsic state. It is captured within the heavy-weight class. The state which distinguishes the physical character (maybe just its ASCII code or Unicode) is called its extrinsic state.

Example

First we are going to model some complex aircraft (the first being a hoax competitor of the second - not that is relevant to the example).

class Boeing797 {
    def wingspan = '80.8 m'
    def capacity = 1000
    def speed = '1046 km/h'
    def range = '14400 km'
    // ...
}
b797 hoax
class Airbus380 {
    def wingspan = '79.8 m'
    def capacity = 555
    def speed = '912 km/h'
    def range = '10370 km'
    // ...
}
a380

If we want to model our fleet, our first attempt might involve using many instances of these heavy-weight objects. It turns out though that only a few small pieces of state (our extrinsic state) change for each aircraft, so we will have singletons for the heavy-weight objects and capture the extrinsic state (bought date and asset number in the code below) separately.

class FlyweightFactory {
    static instances = [797: new Boeing797(), 380: new Airbus380()]
}

class Aircraft {
    private type         // instrinsic state
    private assetNumber  // extrinsic state
    private bought       // extrinsic state
    Aircraft(typeCode, assetNumber, bought) {
        type = FlyweightFactory.instances[typeCode]
        this.assetNumber = assetNumber
        this.bought = bought
    }
    def describe() {
        println """
        Asset Number: $assetNumber
        Capacity: $type.capacity people
        Speed: $type.speed
        Range: $type.range
        Bought: $bought
        """
    }
}

def fleet = [
    new Aircraft(380, 1001, '10-May-2007'),
    new Aircraft(380, 1002, '10-Nov-2007'),
    new Aircraft(797, 1003, '10-May-2008'),
    new Aircraft(797, 1004, '10-Nov-2008')
]

fleet.each { p -> p.describe() }

So here, even if our fleet contained hundreds of planes, we would only have one heavy-weight object for each type of aircraft.

As a further efficiency measure, we might use lazy creation of the flyweight objects rather than create the initial map up front as in the above example.

Running this script results in:

Asset Number: 1001
Capacity: 555 people
Speed: 912 km/h
Range: 10370 km
Bought: 10-May-2007

Asset Number: 1002
Capacity: 555 people
Speed: 912 km/h
Range: 10370 km
Bought: 10-Nov-2007

Asset Number: 1003
Capacity: 1000 people
Speed: 1046 km/h
Range: 14400 km
Bought: 10-May-2008

Asset Number: 1004
Capacity: 1000 people
Speed: 1046 km/h
Range: 14400 km
Bought: 10-Nov-2008
Iterator Pattern

The Iterator Pattern allows sequential access to the elements of an aggregate object without exposing its underlying representation.

Groovy has the iterator pattern built right in to many of its closure operators, e.g. each and eachWithIndex as well as the for .. in loop.

For example:

def printAll(container) {
    for (item in container) { println item }
}

def numbers = [ 1,2,3,4 ]
def months = [ Mar:31, Apr:30, May:31 ]
def colors = [ java.awt.Color.BLACK, java.awt.Color.WHITE ]
printAll numbers
printAll months
printAll colors

Results in the output:

1
2
3
4
May=31
Mar=31
Apr=30
java.awt.Color[r=0,g=0,b=0]
java.awt.Color[r=255,g=255,b=255]

Another example:

colors.eachWithIndex { item, pos ->
    println "Position $pos contains '$item'"
}

Results in:

Position 0 contains 'java.awt.Color[r=0,g=0,b=0]'
Position 1 contains 'java.awt.Color[r=255,g=255,b=255]'

The iterator pattern is also built in to other special operators such as the eachByte, eachFile, eachDir, eachLine, eachObject, eachMatch operators for working with streams, URLs, files, directories and regular expressions matches.

Loan my Resource Pattern

The Loan my Resource pattern ensures that a resource is deterministically disposed of once it goes out of scope.

This pattern is built in to many Groovy helper methods. You should consider using it yourself if you need to work with resources in ways beyond what Groovy supports.

Example

Consider the following code which works with a file. First we might write some line to the file and then print its size:

def f = new File('junk.txt')
f.withPrintWriter { pw ->
    pw.println(new Date())
    pw.println(this.class.name)
}
println f.size()
// => 42

We could also read back the contents of the file a line at a time and print each line out:

f.eachLine { line ->
    println line
}
// =>
// Mon Jun 18 22:38:17 EST 2007
// RunPattern

Note that normal Java Reader and PrintWriter objects were used under the covers by Groovy but the code writer did not have to worry about explicitly creating or closing those resources. The built-in Groovy methods loan the respective reader or writer to the closure code and then tidy up after themselves. So, you are using this pattern without having to do any work.

Sometimes however, you wish to do things slightly differently to what you can get for free using Groovy’s built-in mechanisms. You should consider utilising this pattern within your own resource-handling operations.

Consider how you might process the list of words on each line within the file. We could actually do this one too using Groovy’s built-in functions, but bear with us and assume we have to do some resource handling ourselves. Here is how we might write the code without using this pattern:

def reader = f.newReader()
reader.splitEachLine(' ') { wordList ->
    println wordList
}
reader.close()
// =>
// [ "Mon", "Jun", "18", "22:38:17", "EST", "2007" ]
// [ "RunPattern" ]

Notice that we now have an explicit call to close() in our code. If we didn’t code it just right (here we didn’t surround the code in a try … finally block, we run the risk of leaving the file handle open.

Let’s now apply the loan pattern. First, we’ll write a helper method:

def withListOfWordsForEachLine(File f, Closure c) {
    def r = f.newReader()
    try {
        r.splitEachLine(' ', c)
    } finally {
        r?.close()
    }
}

Now, we can re-write our code as follows:

withListOfWordsForEachLine(f) { wordList ->
    println wordList
}
// =>
// [ "Mon", "Jun", "18", "22:38:17", "EST", "2007" ]
// [ "RunPattern" ]

This is much simpler and has removed the explicit close(). This is now catered for in one spot so we can apply the appropriate level of testing or reviewing in just one spot to be sure we have no problems.

Null Object Pattern

The Null Object Pattern involves using a special object place-marker object representing null. Typically, if you have a reference to null, you can’t invoke reference.field or reference.method(). You receive the dreaded NullPointerException. The null object pattern uses a special object representing null, instead of using an actual null. This allows you to invoke field and method references on the null object. The result of using the null object should semantically be equivalent to doing nothing.

Simple Example

Suppose we have the following system:

class Job {
    def salary
}

class Person {
    def name
    def Job job
}

def people = [
    new Person(name: 'Tom', job: new Job(salary: 1000)),
    new Person(name: 'Dick', job: new Job(salary: 1200)),
]

def biggestSalary = people.collect { p -> p.job.salary }.max()
println biggestSalary

When run, this prints out 1200. Suppose now that we now invoke:

people << new Person(name: 'Harry')

If we now try to calculate biggestSalary again, we receive a null pointer exception.

To overcome this problem, we can introduce a NullJob class and change the above statement to become:

class NullJob extends Job { def salary = 0 }

people << new Person(name: 'Harry', job: new NullJob())
biggestSalary = people.collect { p -> p.job.salary }.max()
println biggestSalary

This works as we require but it’s not always the best way to do this with Groovy. Groovy’s safe-dereference operator (?.) operator and null aware closures often allow Groovy to avoid the need to create a special null object or null class. This is illustrated by examining a groovier way to write the above example:

people << new Person(name:'Harry')
biggestSalary = people.collect { p -> p.job?.salary }.max()
println biggestSalary

Two things are going on here to allow this to work. First of all, max() is 'null aware' so that [300, null, 400].max() == 400. Secondly, with the ?. operator, an expression like p?.job?.salary will be equal to null if salary is equal to null, or if job is equal to null or if p is equal to null. You don’t need to code a complex nested if … then … else to avoid a NullPointerException.

Tree Example

Consider the following example where we want to calculate size, cumulative sum and cumulative product of all the values in a tree structure.

Our first attempt has special logic within the calculation methods to handle null values.

class NullHandlingTree {
    def left, right, value

    def size() {
        1 + (left ? left.size() : 0) + (right ? right.size() : 0)
    }

    def sum() {
       value + (left ? left.sum() : 0) + (right ? right.sum() : 0)
    }

    def product() {
       value * (left ? left.product() : 1) * (right ? right.product() : 1)
    }
}

def root = new NullHandlingTree(
    value: 2,
    left: new NullHandlingTree(
        value: 3,
        right: new NullHandlingTree(value: 4),
        left: new NullHandlingTree(value: 5)
    )
)

println root.size()
println root.sum()
println root.product()

If we introduce the null object pattern (here by defining the NullTree class), we can now simplify the logic in the size(), sum() and product() methods. These methods now much more clearly represent the logic for the normal (and now universal) case. Each of the methods within NullTree returns a value which represents doing nothing.

class Tree {
    def left = new NullTree(), right = new NullTree(), value

    def size() {
        1 + left.size() + right.size()
    }

    def sum() {
       value + left.sum() + right.sum()
    }

    def product() {
       value * left.product() * right.product()
    }
}

class NullTree {
    def size() { 0 }
    def sum() { 0 }
    def product() { 1 }
}

def root = new Tree(
    value: 2,
    left: new Tree(
        value: 3,
        right: new Tree(value: 4),
        left: new Tree(value: 5)
    )
)

println root.size()
println root.sum()
println root.product()

The result of running either of these examples is:

4
14
120

Note: a slight variation with the null object pattern is to combine it with the singleton pattern. So, we wouldn’t write new NullTree() wherever we needed a null object as shown above. Instead we would have a single null object instance which we would place within our data structures as needed.

Pimp my Library Pattern

The Pimp my Library Pattern suggests an approach for extending a library that nearly does everything that you need but just needs a little more. It assumes that you do not have source code for the library of interest.

Example

Suppose we want to make use of the built-in Integer facilities in Groovy (which build upon the features already in Java). Those libraries have nearly all of the features we want but not quite everything. We may not have all of the source code to the Groovy and Java libraries so we can’t just change the library. Instead we augment the library. Groovy has a number of ways to do this. One way is to use a Category.

First, we’ll define a suitable category.

class EnhancedInteger {
    static boolean greaterThanAll(Integer self, Object[] others) {
        greaterThanAll(self, others)
    }
    static boolean greaterThanAll(Integer self, others) {
        others.every { self > it }
    }
}

We have added two methods which augment the Integer methods by providing the greaterThanAll method. Categories follow conventions where they are defined as static methods with a special first parameter representing the class we wish to extend. The greaterThanAll(Integer self, others) static method becomes the greaterThanAll(other) instance method.

We defined two versions of greaterThanAll. One which works for collections, ranges etc. The other which works with a variable number of Integer arguments.

Here is how you would use the category.

use(EnhancedInteger) {
    assert 4.greaterThanAll(1, 2, 3)
    assert !5.greaterThanAll(2, 4, 6)
    assert 5.greaterThanAll(-4..4)
    assert 5.greaterThanAll([])
    assert !5.greaterThanAll([4, 5])
}

As you can see, using this technique you can effectively enrich an original class without having access to its source code. Moreover, you can apply different enrichments in different parts of the system as well as work with un-enriched objects if we need to.

Proxy Pattern

The Proxy Pattern allows one object to act as a pretend replacement for some other object. In general, whoever is using the proxy, doesn’t realise that they are not using the real thing. The pattern is useful when the real object is hard to create or use: it may exist over a network connection, or be a large object in memory, or be a file, database or some other resource that is expensive or impossible to duplicate.

Example

One common use of the proxy pattern is when talking to remote objects in a different JVM. Here is the client code for creating a proxy that talks via sockets to a server object as well as an example usage:

class AccumulatorProxy {
    def accumulate(args) {
        def result
        def s = new Socket("localhost", 54321)
        s.withObjectStreams { ois, oos ->
            oos << args
            result = ois.readObject()
        }
        s.close()
        return result
    }
}

println new AccumulatorProxy().accumulate([1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10])
// => 55

Here is what your server code might look like (start this first):

class Accumulator {
    def accumulate(args) {
        args.inject(0) { total, arg -> total += arg }
    }
}

def port = 54321
def accumulator = new Accumulator()
def server = new ServerSocket(port)
println "Starting server on port $port"
while(true) {
    server.accept() { socket ->
        socket.withObjectStreams { ois, oos ->
            def args = ois.readObject()
            oos << accumulator.accumulate(args)
        }
    }
}
Singleton Pattern

The Singleton Pattern is used to make sure only one object of a particular class is ever created. This can be useful when when exactly one object is needed to coordinate actions across a system; perhaps for efficiency where creating lots of identical objects would be wasteful, perhaps because a particular algorithm needing a single point of control is required or perhaps when an object is used to interact with a non-shareable resource.

Weaknesses of the Singleton pattern include:

  • It can reduce reuse. For instance, there are issues if you want to use inheritance with Singletons. If SingletonB extends SingletonA, should there be exactly (at most) one instance of each or should the creation of an object from one of the classes prohibit creation from the other. Also, if you decide both classes can have an instance, how do you override the getInstance() method which is static?

  • It is also hard to test singletons in general because of the static methods but Groovy can support that if required.

Example: The Classic Java Singleton

Suppose we wish to create a class for collecting votes. Because getting the right number of votes may be very important, we decide to use the singleton pattern. There will only ever be one VoteCollector object, so it makes it easier for us to reason about that objects creation and use.

class VoteCollector {
    def votes = 0
    private static final INSTANCE = new VoteCollector()
    static getInstance() { return INSTANCE }
    private VoteCollector() { }
    def display() { println "Collector:${hashCode()}, Votes:$votes" }
}

Some points of interest about this code:

  • it has a private constructor, so no VoteCollector objects can be created in our system (except for the INSTANCE we create)

  • the INSTANCE is also private, so it can’t be changed once set

  • we haven’t made the updating of votes thread-safe at this point (it doesn’t add to this example)

  • the vote collector instance is not lazyily created (if we never reference the class, the instance won’t be created; however, as soon as we reference the class, the instance will be created even if not needed initially)

We can use this singleton class in some script code as follows:

def collector = VoteCollector.instance
collector.display()
collector.votes++
collector = null

Thread.start{
    def collector2 = VoteCollector.instance
    collector2.display()
    collector2.votes++
    collector2 = null
}.join()

def collector3 = VoteCollector.instance
collector3.display()

Here we used the instance 3 times. The second usage was even in a different thread (but don’t try this in a scenario with a new class loader).

Running this script yields (your hashcode value will vary):

Collector:15959960, Votes:0
Collector:15959960, Votes:1
Collector:15959960, Votes:2

Variations to this pattern:

  • To support lazy-loading and multi-threading, we could just use the synchronized keyword with the getInstance() method. This has a performance hit but will work.

  • We can consider variations involving double-checked locking and the volatile keyword (for Java 5 and above), but see the limitations of this approach here.

Example: Singleton via MetaProgramming

Groovy’s meta-programming capabilities allow concepts like the singleton pattern to be enacted in a far more fundamental way. This example illustrates a simple way to use Groovy’s meta-programming capabilities to achieve the singleton pattern but not necessarily the most efficient way.

Suppose we want to keep track of the total number of calculations that a calculator performs. One way to do that is to use a singleton for the calculator class and keep a variable in the class with the count.

First we define some base classes. A Calculator class which performs calculations and records how many such calculations it performs and a Client class which acts as a facade to the calculator.

class Calculator {
    private total = 0
    def add(a, b) { total++; a + b }
    def getTotalCalculations() { 'Total Calculations: ' + total }
    String toString() { 'Calc: ' + hashCode() }
}

class Client {
    def calc = new Calculator()
    def executeCalc(a, b) { calc.add(a, b) }
    String toString() { 'Client: ' + hashCode() }
}

Now we can define and register a MetaClass which intercepts all attempts to create a Calculator object and always provides a pre-created instance instead. We also register this MetaClass with the Groovy system:

class CalculatorMetaClass extends MetaClassImpl {
    private final static INSTANCE = new Calculator()
    CalculatorMetaClass() { super(Calculator) }
    def invokeConstructor(Object[] arguments) { return INSTANCE }
}

def registry = GroovySystem.metaClassRegistry
registry.setMetaClass(Calculator, new CalculatorMetaClass())

Now we use instances of our Client class from within a script. The client class will attempt to create new instances of the calculator but will always get the singleton.

def client = new Client()
assert 3 == client.executeCalc(1, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

client = new Client()
assert 4 == client.executeCalc(2, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

Here is the result of running this script (your hashcode values may vary):

Client: 7306473, Calc: 24230857, Total Calculations: 1
Client: 31436753, Calc: 24230857, Total Calculations: 2
Guice Example

We can also implement the Singleton Pattern using Guice. This example relies on annotations. Annotations are a Groovy 1.1 feature and will need to be run on a Java 5 or above JVM.

Consider the Calculator example again.

Guice is a Java-oriented framework that supports Interface-Oriented design. Hence we create a Calculator interface first. We can then create our CalculatorImpl implementation and a Client object which our script will interact with. The Client class isn’t strictly needed for this example but allows us to show that non-singleton instances are the default. Here is the code:

@Grapes([@Grab('aopalliance:aopalliance:1.0'), @Grab('com.google.code.guice:guice:1.0')])
import com.google.inject.*

interface Calculator {
    def add(a, b)
}

class CalculatorImpl implements Calculator {
    private total = 0
    def add(a, b) { total++; a + b }
    def getTotalCalculations() { 'Total Calculations: ' + total }
    String toString() { 'Calc: ' + hashCode() }
}

class Client {
    @Inject Calculator calc
    def executeCalc(a, b) { calc.add(a, b) }
    String toString() { 'Client: ' + hashCode() }
}

def injector = Guice.createInjector (
    [configure: { binding ->
        binding.bind(Calculator)
               .to(CalculatorImpl)
               .asEagerSingleton() } ] as Module
)

def client = injector.getInstance(Client)
assert 3 == client.executeCalc(1, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

client = injector.getInstance(Client)
assert 4 == client.executeCalc(2, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

Note the @Inject annotation in the Client class. We can always tell right in the source code which fields will be injected.

In this example we chose to use an explicit binding. All of our dependencies (ok, only one in this example at the moment) are configured in the binding. The Guide injector knows about the binding and injects the dependencies as required when we create objects. For the singleton pattern to hold, you must always use Guice to create your instances. Nothing shown so far would stop you creating another instance of the calculator manually using new CalculatorImpl() which would of course violate the desired singleton behaviour.

In other scenarios (though probably not in large systems), we could choose to express dependencies using annotations, such as the following example shows:

@Grapes([@Grab('aopalliance:aopalliance:1.0'), @Grab('com.google.code.guice:guice:1.0')])
import com.google.inject.*

@ImplementedBy(CalculatorImpl)
interface Calculator {
    // as before ...
}

@Singleton
class CalculatorImpl implements Calculator {
    // as before ...
}

class Client {
    // as before ...
}

def injector = Guice.createInjector()

// ...

Note the @Singleton annotation on the CalculatorImpl class and the @ImplementedBy annotation in the Calculator interface.

When run, the above example (using either approach) yields (your hashcode values will vary):

Client: 8897128, Calc: 17431955, Total Calculations: 1
Client: 21145613, Calc: 17431955, Total Calculations: 2

You can see that we obtained a new client object whenever we asked for an instance but it was injected with the same calculator object.

Spring Example

We can do the Calculator example again using Spring as follows:

@Grapes([@Grab('org.springframework:spring-core:3.2.2.RELEASE'), @Grab('org.springframework:spring-beans:3.2.2.RELEASE')])
import org.springframework.beans.factory.support.*

interface Calculator {
    def add(a, b)
}

class CalculatorImpl implements Calculator {
    private total = 0
    def add(a, b) { total++; a + b }
    def getTotalCalculations() { 'Total Calculations: ' + total }
    String toString() { 'Calc: ' + hashCode() }
}

class Client {
    Client(Calculator calc) { this.calc = calc }
    def calc
    def executeCalc(a, b) { calc.add(a, b) }
    String toString() { 'Client: ' + hashCode() }
}

// Here we 'wire' up our dependencies through the API. Alternatively,
// we could use XML-based configuration or the Grails Bean Builder DSL.
def factory = new DefaultListableBeanFactory()
factory.registerBeanDefinition('calc', new RootBeanDefinition(CalculatorImpl))
def beanDef = new RootBeanDefinition(Client, false)
beanDef.setAutowireMode(AbstractBeanDefinition.AUTOWIRE_AUTODETECT)
factory.registerBeanDefinition('client', beanDef)

def client = factory.getBean('client')
assert 3 == client.executeCalc(1, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

client = factory.getBean('client')
assert 4 == client.executeCalc(2, 2)
println "$client, $client.calc, $client.calc.totalCalculations"

And here is the result (your hashcode values will vary):

Client: 29418586, Calc: 10580099, Total Calculations: 1
Client: 14800362, Calc: 10580099, Total Calculations: 2
State Pattern

The State Pattern provides a structured approach to partitioning the behaviour within complex systems. The overall behaviour of a system is partitioned into well-defined states. Typically, each state is implemented by a class. The overall system behaviour can be determined firstly by knowing the current state of the system; secondly, by understanding the behaviour possible while in that state (as embodied in the methods of the class corresponding to that state).

Example

Here is an example:

class Client {
    def context = new Context()
    def connect() {
        context.state.connect()
    }
    def disconnect() {
        context.state.disconnect()
    }
    def send_message(message) {
        context.state.send_message(message)
    }
    def receive_message() {
        context.state.receive_message()
    }
}

class Context {
    def state = new Offline(this)
}

class ClientState {
    def context
    ClientState(context) {
        this.context = context
        inform()
    }
}

class Offline extends ClientState {
    Offline(context) {
        super(context)
    }
    def inform() {
        println "offline"
    }
    def connect() {
        context.state = new Online(context)
    }
    def disconnect() {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
    def send_message(message) {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
    def receive_message() {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
}

class Online extends ClientState {
    Online(context) {
        super(context)
    }
    def inform() {
        println "connected"
    }
    def connect() {
        println "error: already connected"
    }
    def disconnect() {
        context.state = new Offline(context)
    }
    def send_message(message) {
        println "\"$message\" sent"
    }
    def receive_message() {
        println "message received"
    }
}

client = new Client()
client.send_message("Hello")
client.connect()
client.send_message("Hello")
client.connect()
client.receive_message()
client.disconnect()

Here is the output:

offline
error: not connected
connected
"Hello" sent
error: already connected
message received
offline

One of the great things about a dynamic language like Groovy though is that we can take this example and express it in many different ways depending on our particular needs. Some potential variations for this example are shown below.

Variation 1: Leveraging Interface-Oriented Design

One approach we could take is to leverage Interface-Oriented Design. To do this, we could introduce the following interface:

interface State {
    def connect()
    def disconnect()
    def send_message(message)
    def receive_message()
}

Then our Client, Online and Offline classes could be modified to implement that interface, e.g.:

class Client implements State {
  // ... as before ...
}

class Online implements State {
  // ... as before ...
}

class Offline implements State {
  // ... as before ...
}

You might ask: Haven’t we just introduced additional boilerplate code? Can’t we rely on duck-typing for this? The answer is yes and no. We can get away with duck-typing but one of the key intentions of the state pattern is to partition complexity. If we know that the client class and each state class all satisfy one interface, then we have placed some key boundaries around the complexity. We can look at any state class in isolation and know the bounds of behaviour possible for that state.

We don’t have to use interfaces for this, but it helps express the intent of this particular style of partitioning and it helps reduce the size of our unit tests (we would have to have additional tests in place to express this intent in languages which have less support for interface-oriented design).

Variation 2: Extract State Pattern Logic

Alternatively, or in combination with other variations, we might decide to extract some of our State Pattern logic into helper classes. For example, we could define the following classes in a state pattern package/jar/script:

abstract class InstanceProvider {
    static def registry = GroovySystem.metaClassRegistry
    static def create(objectClass, param) {
        registry.getMetaClass(objectClass).invokeConstructor([param] as Object[])
    }
}

abstract class Context {
    private context
    protected setContext(context) {
        this.context = context
    }
    def invokeMethod(String name, Object arg) {
        context.invokeMethod(name, arg)
    }
    def startFrom(initialState) {
        setContext(InstanceProvider.create(initialState, this))
    }
}

abstract class State {
    private client

    State(client) { this.client = client }

    def transitionTo(nextState) {
        client.setContext(InstanceProvider.create(nextState, client))
    }
}

This is all quite generic and can be used wherever we want to introduce the state pattern. Here is what our code would look like now:

class Client extends Context {
    Client() {
        startFrom(Offline)
    }
}

class Offline extends State {
    Offline(client) {
        super(client)
        println "offline"
    }
    def connect() {
        transitionTo(Online)
    }
    def disconnect() {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
    def send_message(message) {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
    def receive_message() {
        println "error: not connected"
    }
}

class Online extends State {
    Online(client) {
        super(client)
        println "connected"
    }
    def connect() {
        println "error: already connected"
    }
    def disconnect() {
        transitionTo(Offline)
    }
    def send_message(message) {
        println "\"$message\" sent"
    }
    def receive_message() {
        println "message received"
    }
}

client = new Client()
client.send_message("Hello")
client.connect()
client.send_message("Hello")
client.connect()
client.receive_message()
client.disconnect()

You can see here the startFrom and transitionTo methods begin to give our example code a DSL feel.

Variation 3: Bring on the DSL

Alternatively, or in combination with other variations, we might decide to fully embrace a Domain Specific Language (DSL) approach to this example.

We can define the following generic helper functions (first discussed here):

class Grammar {
    def fsm

    def event
    def fromState
    def toState

    Grammar(a_fsm) {
        fsm = a_fsm
    }

    def on(a_event) {
        event = a_event
        this
    }

    def on(a_event, a_transitioner) {
        on(a_event)
        a_transitioner.delegate = this
        a_transitioner.call()
        this
    }

    def from(a_fromState) {
        fromState = a_fromState
        this
    }

    def to(a_toState) {
        assert a_toState, "Invalid toState: $a_toState"
        toState = a_toState
        fsm.registerTransition(this)
        this
    }

    def isValid() {
        event && fromState && toState
    }

    public String toString() {
        "$event: $fromState=>$toState"
    }
}
class FiniteStateMachine {
    def transitions = [:]

    def initialState
    def currentState

    FiniteStateMachine(a_initialState) {
        assert a_initialState, "You need to provide an initial state"
        initialState = a_initialState
        currentState = a_initialState
    }

    def record() {
        Grammar.newInstance(this)
    }

    def reset() {
        currentState = initialState
    }

    def isState(a_state) {
        currentState == a_state
    }

    def registerTransition(a_grammar) {
        assert a_grammar.isValid(), "Invalid transition ($a_grammar)"
        def transition
        def event = a_grammar.event
        def fromState = a_grammar.fromState
        def toState = a_grammar.toState

        if (!transitions[event]) {
            transitions[event] = [:]
        }

        transition = transitions[event]
        assert !transition[fromState], "Duplicate fromState $fromState for transition $a_grammar"
        transition[fromState] = toState
    }

    def fire(a_event) {
        assert currentState, "Invalid current state '$currentState': passed into constructor"
        assert transitions.containsKey(a_event), "Invalid event '$a_event', should be one of ${transitions.keySet()}"
        def transition = transitions[a_event]
        def nextState = transition[currentState]
        assert nextState, "There is no transition from '$currentState' to any other state"
        currentState = nextState
        currentState
    }
}

Now we can define and test our state machine like this:

class StatePatternDslTest extends GroovyTestCase {
    private fsm

    protected void setUp() {
        fsm = FiniteStateMachine.newInstance('offline')
        def recorder = fsm.record()
        recorder.on('connect').from('offline').to('online')
        recorder.on('disconnect').from('online').to('offline')
        recorder.on('send_message').from('online').to('online')
        recorder.on('receive_message').from('online').to('online')
    }

    void testInitialState() {
        assert fsm.isState('offline')
    }

    void testOfflineState() {
        shouldFail{
            fsm.fire('send_message')
        }
        shouldFail{
            fsm.fire('receive_message')
        }
        shouldFail{
            fsm.fire('disconnect')
        }
        assert 'online' == fsm.fire('connect')
    }

    void testOnlineState() {
        fsm.fire('connect')
        fsm.fire('send_message')
        fsm.fire('receive_message')
        shouldFail{
            fsm.fire('connect')
        }
        assert 'offline' == fsm.fire('disconnect')
    }
}

This example isn’t an exact equivalent of the others. It doesn’t use predefined Online and Offline classes. Instead it defines the entire state machine on the fly as needed. See the previous reference for more elaborate examples of this style.

Strategy Pattern

The Strategy Pattern allows you to abstract away particular algorithms from their usage. This allows you to easily swap the algorithm being used without having to change the calling code. The general form of the pattern is:

StrategyClasses

In Groovy, because of its ability to treat code as a first class object using anonymous methods (which we loosely call Closures), the need for the strategy pattern is greatly reduced. You can simply place algorithms inside Closures.

Example

First let’s look at the traditional way of encapsulating the Strategy Pattern.

interface Calc {
    def execute(n, m)
}

class CalcByMult implements Calc {
    def execute(n, m) { n * m }
}

class CalcByManyAdds implements Calc {
    def execute(n, m) {
        def result = 0
        n.times{
            result += m
        }

        result
    }
}

def sampleData = [
    [3, 4, 12],
    [5, -5, -25]
]

Calc[] multiplicationStrategies = [
    new CalcByMult(),
    new CalcByManyAdds()
]

sampleData.each{ data ->
    multiplicationStrategies.each { calc ->
        assert data[2] == calc.execute(data[0], data[1])
    }
}

Here we have defined an interface Calc which our concrete strategy classes will implement (we could also have used an abstract class). We then defined two algorithms for doing simple multiplication: CalcByMult the normal way, and CalcByManyAdds using only addition (don’t try this one using negative numbers - yes we could fix this but it would just make the example longer). We then use normal polymorphism to invoke the algorithms.

Here is the Groovier way to achieve the same thing using Closures:

def multiplicationStrategies = [
    { n, m -> n * m },
    { n, m -> def result = 0; n.times{ result += m }; result }
]

def sampleData = [
    [3, 4, 12],
    [5, -5, -25]
]

sampleData.each{ data ->
    multiplicationStrategies.each { calc ->
        assert data[2] == calc(data[0], data[1])
    }
}
Template Method Pattern

The Template Method Pattern abstracts away the details of several algorithms. The generic part of an algorithm is contained within a base class. Particular implementation details are captured within base classes. The generic pattern of classes involved looks like this:

TemplateMethodClasses
Example

In this example, Accumulator captures the essence of the accumulation algorithm. The base classes Sum and Product provide particular customised ways to use the generic accumulation algorithm.

abstract class Accumulator {
    protected initial
    abstract doAccumulate(total, v)
    def accumulate(values) {
        def total = initial
        values.each { v -> total = doAccumulate(total, v) }
        total
    }
}

class Sum extends Accumulator {
    def Sum() { initial = 0 }
    def doAccumulate(total, v) { total + v }
}

class Product extends Accumulator {
    def Product() { initial = 1 }
    def doAccumulate(total, v) { total * v }
}

println new Sum().accumulate([1,2,3,4])
println new Product().accumulate([1,2,3,4])

The resulting output is:

10
24

In this particular case, you could use Groovy’s inject method to achieve a similar result using Closures:

Closure addAll = { total, item -> total += item }
def accumulated = [1, 2, 3, 4].inject(0, addAll)
println accumulated    // => 10

Thanks to duck-typing, this would also work with other objects which support an add (plus() in Groovy) method, e.g.:

In this particular case, you could use Groovy’s inject method to achieve a similar result using Closures:

accumulated = [ "1", "2", "3", "4" ].inject("", addAll)
println accumulated    // => "1234"

We could also do the multiplication case as follows:

Closure multAll = { total, item -> total *= item }
accumulated = [1, 2, 3, 4].inject(1, multAll)
println accumulated    // => 24

Using closures this way looks more like the Strategy Pattern but if we realise that the built-in inject method is the generic part of the algorithm for our template method, then the Closures become the customised parts of the template method pattern.

Visitor Pattern

The Visitor Pattern is one of those well-known but not often used patterns. I think this is strange, as it is really a nice thing.

The goal of the pattern is to separate an algorithm from an object structure. A practical result of this separation is the ability to add new operations to existing object structures without modifying those structures.

Simple Example

This example considers how to calculate the bounds of shapes (or collections of shapes). Our first attempt uses the traditional visitor pattern. We will see a more Groovy way to do this shortly.

abstract class Shape { }

class Rectangle extends Shape {
    def x, y, width, height

    Rectangle(x, y, width, height) {
        this.x = x; this.y = y; this.width = width; this.height = height
    }

    def union(rect) {
        if (!rect) return this
        def minx = [rect.x, x].min()
        def maxx = [rect.x + width, x + width].max()
        def miny = [rect.y, y].min()
        def maxy = [rect.y + height, y + height].max()
        new Rectangle(minx, miny, maxx - minx, maxy - miny)
    }

    def accept(visitor) {
        visitor.visit_rectangle(this)
    }
}

class Line extends Shape {
    def x1, y1, x2, y2

    Line(x1, y1, x2, y2) {
        this.x1 = x1; this.y1 = y1; this.x2 = x2; this.y2 = y2
    }

    def accept(visitor){
        visitor.visit_line(this)
    }
}

class Group extends Shape {
    def shapes = []
    def add(shape) { shapes += shape }
    def remove(shape) { shapes -= shape }
    def accept(visitor) {
        visitor.visit_group(this)
    }
}

class BoundingRectangleVisitor {
    def bounds

    def visit_rectangle(rectangle) {
        if (bounds)
            bounds = bounds.union(rectangle)
        else
            bounds = rectangle
    }

    def visit_line(line) {
        def line_bounds = new Rectangle(line.x1, line.y1, line.x2-line.y1, line.x2-line.y2)
        if (bounds)
            bounds = bounds.union(line_bounds)
        else
            bounds = line_bounds
    }

    def visit_group(group) {
        group.shapes.each { shape -> shape.accept(this) }
    }
}

def group = new Group()
group.add(new Rectangle(100, 40, 10, 5))
group.add(new Rectangle(100, 70, 10, 5))
group.add(new Line(90, 30, 60, 5))
def visitor = new BoundingRectangleVisitor()
group.accept(visitor)
bounding_box = visitor.bounds
println bounding_box.dump()

That took quite a bit of code.

We can improve the clarity of our code (and make it about half the size) by making use of Groovy Closures as follows:

abstract class Shape {
    def accept(Closure yield) { yield(this) }
}

class Rectangle extends Shape {
    def x, y, w, h
    def bounds() { this }
    def union(rect) {
        if (!rect) return this
        def minx = [ rect.x, x ].min()
        def maxx = [ rect.x + w, x + w ].max()
        def miny = [ rect.y, y ].min()
        def maxy = [ rect.y + h, y + h ].max()
        new Rectangle(x:minx, y:miny, w:maxx - minx, h:maxy - miny)
    }
}

class Line extends Shape {
    def x1, y1, x2, y2
    def bounds() {
        new Rectangle(x:[x1, x2].min(), y:[y1, y2].min(), w:(x2 - x1).abs(), h:(y2 - y1).abs())
    }
}

class Group {
    def shapes = []
    def leftShift(shape) { shapes += shape }
    def accept(Closure yield) { shapes.each{it.accept(yield)} }
}

def group = new Group()
group << new Rectangle(x:100, y:40, w:10, h:5)
group << new Rectangle(x:100, y:70, w:10, h:5)
group << new Line(x1:90, y1:30, x2:60, y2:5)
def bounds
group.accept{ bounds = it.bounds().union(bounds) }
println bounds.dump()
Advanced Example
interface Visitor {
    void visit(NodeType1 n1)
    void visit(NodeType2 n2)
}

interface Visitable {
    void accept(Visitor visitor)
}

class NodeType1 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = new Visitable[0]
    void accept(Visitor visitor) {
        visitor.visit(this)
        for(int i = 0; i < children.length; ++i) {
            children[i].accept(visitor)
        }
    }
}

class NodeType2 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = new Visitable[0]
    void accept(Visitor visitor) {
        visitor.visit(this)
        for(int i = 0; i < children.length; ++i) {
            children[i].accept(visitor)
        }
    }
}

class NodeType1Counter implements Visitor {
    int count = 0
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        count++
    }
    void visit(NodeType2 n2){}
}

If we now use NodeType1Counter on a tree like this:

NodeType1 root = new NodeType1()
root.children = new Visitable[2]
root.children[0] = new NodeType1()
root.children[1] = new NodeType2()

Then we have one NodeType1 object as root and one of the children is also a NodeType1 instance. The other child is a NodeType2 instance. That means using NodeType1Counter here should count 2 NodeType1 objects.

Why to use this

As you can see here very good we have a visitor that has a state while the tree of objects is not changed. That’s pretty useful in different areas, for example you could have a visitor counting all node types, or how many different types are used, or you could use methods special to the node to gather information about the tree and much more.

What happens if we add a new type?

In this case we have to do much work.. we have to change Visitor to accept the new type, we have to write the new type itself of course and we have to change every Visitor we have already implemented. After very few changes you will modify all your Visitors to extend a default implementation of the visitor, so you don’t need to change every Visitor each time you add a new type.

What if we want to have different iteration patterns?

Then you have a problem. since the node describes how to iterate, you have no influence and stop iteration at a point or change the order. So maybe we should change this a little to this:

interface Visitor {
    void visit(NodeType1 n1)
    void visit(NodeType2 n2)
}

class DefaultVisitor implements Visitor{
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        for(int i = 0; i < n1.children.length; ++i) {
            n1.children[i].accept(this)
        }
    }
    void visit(NodeType2 n2) {
        for(int i = 0; i < n2.children.length; ++i) {
            n2.children[i].accept(this)
        }
    }
}

interface Visitable {
    void accept(Visitor visitor)
}

class NodeType1 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = new Visitable[0]
    void accept(Visitor visitor) {
        visitor.visit(this)
    }
}

class NodeType2 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = new Visitable[0];
    void accept(Visitor visitor) {
        visitor.visit(this)
    }
}

class NodeType1Counter extends DefaultVisitor {
    int count = 0
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        count++
        super.visit(n1)
    }
}

Some small changes but with big effect… the visitor is now recursive and tells me how to iterate. The implementation in the Nodes is minimized to visitor.visit(this), DefaultVisitor is now able to catch the new types, we can stop iteration by not delegating to super. Of course the big disadvantage now is that it is no longer iterative, but you can’t get all the benefits.

Make it Groovy

The question now is how to make that a bit more Groovy. Didn’t you find this visitor.visit(this) strange? Why is it there? The answer is to simulate double dispatch. In Java the compile time type is used, so when I visitor.visit(children[i]) then the compiler won’t be able to find the correct method, because Visitor does not contain a method visit(Visitable). And even if it would, we would like to visit the more special methods with NodeType1 or NodeType2.

Now Groovy is not using the static type, Groovy uses the runtime type. This means I could do visitor.visit(children[i]) directly. Hmm.. since we minimized the accept method to just do the double dispatch part and since the runtime type system of Groovy will already cover that.. do we need the accept method? I think you can guess that I would answer no. But we can do more. We had the disadvantage of not knowing how to handle unknown tree elements. We had to extends the interface Visitor for that, resulting in changes to DefaultVisitor and then we have the task to provide a useful default like iterating the node or not doing anything at all. Now with Groovy we can catch that case by adding a visit(Visitable) method that does nothing. That would be the same in Java btw.

But don’t let us stop here… do we need the Visitor interface? If we don’t have the accept method, then we don’t need the Visitor interface at all. So the new code would be:

class DefaultVisitor {
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        n1.children.each { visit(it) }
    }
    void visit(NodeType2 n2) {
        n2.children.each { visit(it) }
    }
    void visit(Visitable v) { }
}

interface Visitable { }

class NodeType1 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = []
}

class NodeType2 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = []
}

class NodeType1Counter extends DefaultVisitor {
    int count = 0
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        count++
        super.visit(n1)
    }
}

Looks like we saved a few lines of code here. But we made more. The Visitable nodes now do not refer to any Visitor class or interface. For me this is the best level of separation you could get here. But do we really need to stop here? No. Let us change the Visitable interface a little and let it return the children we want to visit next. This allows us a general iteration method.

class DefaultVisitor {
    void visit(Visitable v) {
        doIteraton(v)
    }
    void doIteraton(Visitable v) {
        v.children.each {
            visit(it)
        }
    }
}

interface Visitable {
    Visitable[] getChildren()
}

class NodeType1 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = []
}

class NodeType2 implements Visitable {
    Visitable[] children = []
}

class NodeType1Counter extends DefaultVisitor {
    int count = 0
    void visit(NodeType1 n1) {
        count++
        super.visit(n1)
    }
}

DefaultVisitor now looks a bit different. I added a doIteration method that will get the children it should iterate over and then call visit on each element. Per default this will call visit(Visitable) which then iterates over the children of this child. I changed Visitable to ensure that any node will be able to return children (even if empty). I didn’t have to change the NodeType1 and NodeType2 class, because the way the children filed was defined already made them a property, which means Groovy is so nice to generate a get method for us. No the really interesting part is NodeType1Counter, it is interesting because we have not changed it. super.visit(n1) will now call visit(Visitable) which will call doIteration which will start the next level of iteration. So no change. But visit(it) will call visit(NodeType1) if it is of type NodeType1. In fact we don’t need the doIteration method, we could do that in visit(Visitable) too, but I thought this variant is better, because it allows us to write a new Visitor that overwrites visit(Visitable) for error cases which of course means we must not do super.visit(n1) but doIteration(n1).

Summary

In the end we got ~40% less code, a robust and stable architecture and we completely removed the Visitor from the Visitable. I heard about visitor implementations based on Reflection to get a more generic version. Well, with this you see there is really no need to do such thing. If we add new types we don’t need to change anything. It is said that the visitor pattern doesn’t fit extreme programming techniques very well because you need to make changes to so many classes all the time. I think I proved that this is because of Java not because the pattern is bad or something.

There are variants of the Visitor pattern, like the acyclic visitor pattern, that tries to solve the problem of adding new node types with special visitors. I don’t like that very much, it works with casts, catches the ClassCastException and other nasty things. In the end it tries to solve something we don’t even get with the Groovy version.

One more thing. NodeType1Counter could be implemented in Java as well. Groovy will recognize the visit methods and call them as needed because DefaultVisitor is still Groovy and does all the magic.

3.16.2. References

  1. Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides (1995). Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-63361-2.

    • The canonical reference of design patterns.

  2. Martin Fowler (1999). Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-48567-2.

  3. Joshua Kerievsky (2004). Refactoring To Patterns. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-321-21335-1.

  4. Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates (2004). Head First Design Patterns. O’Reilly. ISBN 0-596-00712-4. *A great book to read, informative as well as amusing.

  5. Dierk Koenig with Andrew Glover, Paul King, Guillaume Laforge and Jon Skeet (2007). Groovy in Action. Manning. ISBN 1-932394-84-2.

    • Discusses Visitor, Builder and other Patterns.

  6. Brad Appleton (1999). Pizza Inversion - a Pattern for Efficient Resource Consumption.

    • One of the most frequently used patterns by many software engineers!

  7. Design Patterns in Dynamic Languages by Neil Ford. Houston Java User’s Group. Examples in Groovy and Ruby. http://www.hjug.org/present/Neal_Ford-Design_Patterns_in_Dynamic_Languages-slides.pdf

4. Acknowledgements

4.1. Contributors

The Groovy team would like to thank the contributors of this documentation (by alphabetical order):

4.2. License

Creative Commons BY-SA