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Groovy 1.8 release notes

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This page is a placeholder for the upcoming release notes for the final release of Groovy 1.8. This page is neither complete nor even finished!

Command chains for nicer Domain-Specific Languages

Groovy is well known for its Domain-Specific Language capabilities, thanks to its flexible syntax, and its compile-time and runtime metaprogramming capabilities. However, we felt that we could improve upon the syntax to get rid of even more punctuation when users chain method calls, to allow DSL implementors to develop language closer to natural sentences.

Before Groovy 1.8, we could omit parentheses around the arguments of a method call for top level statements. But we couldn't chain method calls. The new "command chain" feature allows us to chain such parenthese-free method calls, without 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 is also working 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 of the kind of syntaxes that this allows:

It is also possible to use methods, in the chain, which don't take arguments, but in the case, the parentheses are needed:

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:

This new command chain approach opens up interesting possibilities in terms of DSLs that are now possible to be written. This new feature has been developed thanks to the Google Summer of Code program, where our student, Lidia, helped us modify the Groovy Antlr grammar to extend top-level statements to accept that command chain syntax.

You will be able to find some further examples of "command chains" on the Groovy Web Console.

Performance improvements

In general the goal of these improvements is to bypass the MOP where allowed and possible without altering the original MOP too much.

Groovy 1.8.0 contains several integer based optimizations for basic operations like plus, minus, multiply, increment, decrement and comparisons. This versiondoesn't support the mixed usage of different types and then falls back to the classical way of performing the operation.

This version also contains an optimization for direct method calls. Such a method call is done directly if it is done on "this" and if the argument types are a direct match with the parameter types of the method we may call. Since this is an operation that does not behave too well with a method call logic based on runtime types we select only methods where the primtive types match, the parameter types are final or for methods that take no arguments. Currently methods with variable arguments are not matched in general, unless a fitting array is used for the method call.

Those two optimizations are only the beginning of further similar improvements related to primitive type handline. Upcoming versions of the Groovy 1.8.x branch will see more optimizations coming.

GPars bundled within the Groovy distribution

The GPars project offers developers new intuitive and safe ways to handle Java or Groovy tasks concurrently, asynchronously, and distributed by utilizing the power of the Java platform and the flexibility of the Groovy language. Groovy 1.8 now bundles GPars 0.11 in the libraries of the Groovy installation, so that you can leverage all the features of the library for your concurrent, asynchronous and parallel needs.

To learn more about GPars, head over to the GPars website, or read the detailed online user guide.

Closure enhancements

Closure annotation parameters

Closure functional flavors

Closure composition

Closure memoization

Closure trampoline

Native JSON support

With the ubiquity of JSON as an interchange format for our applications, it is natural that Groovy added support for JSON, in a similar fashion as the support Groovy's always had with XML. So Groovy 1.8 introduces a Json builder and parser.

JSON parser

A JsonSlurper class allows you to parse JSON payloads, and access the nested Map and List data structures representing that content. JSON objects and arrays are indeed simply represented as Maps and Lists, giving you access to all the GPath expression benefits (subscript/property notation, find/findAll/each/inject/groupBy/etc.). Here's an example showing how to find all the recent commit messages on the Grails project:

If you want to see some more examples of the usage of the JSON parser, you can have a look at the JsonSlurper tests in our code base.

JSON builder

Parsing JSON data structures is one thing, but we should also be able to produce JSON content just like we create markup with the MarkupBuilder. The following example:

Will create the JSON output:

You can find some more usages of the JSON builder in our JsonBuilder tests.

Pretty printing JSON content

When given a JSON data sturcture, you may wish to pretty-print it, so that you can more easily inspect it, with a more friendly layout. So for instance, if you want to pretty print the result of the previous example, you could do:

Which would result in the following pretty-printed output:

New AST Transformations

@Log

@Field

@PackageScope enhancements

@Synchronized

@InheritConstructors

@IndexedProperties

@AutoClone

@AutoExternalizable

Controlling the execution of your code

@ThreadInterrupt

@TimedInterrupt

@ConditionalInterrupt

@Canonical

You will find a great write-up on @Canonical, @ToString, @EqualsAndHashCode and @TupleConstructor on John Prystash weblog.

@ToString

@EqualsAndHashCode

@TupleConstructor

@WithReadLock

@WithWriteLock

Alignments with JDK 7

Groovy 1.9 will be the version which will align as much as possible with the upcoming JDK 7, so beyond those aspects already covered in Groovy (like strings in switch and others), most of those "Project Coin" proposals will be in 1.9, except the "diamond operator" which was added in 1.8, as explained in the following paragraph.

Diamond operator

Java 7 will introduce the "diamond" operator in generics type information, so that you can avoid the usual repetition of the parameterized types. Groovy decided to adopt the notation before JDK 7 is actually released. So instead of writing:

You can "omit" the parameterized types and just use the pointy brackets, which now look like a diamond:

Miscelanous

Dollar slashy strings

A new string notation has been introduce: the "dollar slashy" string. This is a multiline GString, with the same escaping as the slashy strings. Here's an example of its usage:

Compilation customizers

Ability to customize the GroovyDoc templates

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