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This is an example of how to replace a MetaClass to adjust the default behavior. Each groovy object has a metaClass that is used to manage the dynamic nature of the language. This class intercepts calls to groovy objects to ensure that the appropriate grooviness can be added. One feature of the invokeConstructor allows us to create groovy objects using a map argument to set the properties of the object (new X([prop1: value1, prop2: value2])).

InvokeHelper Solution 

This technique installs the meta class at runtime using the InvokerHelper to gain access to the registry and switch out the meta class instance that is in use. Note that this is "at runtime" so instances created or used before the replacement are also change. You will have to answer for yourself whether this is a good idea for your particular problem, but, if you choose this method, you will have to design this situation into your system.

This sample code overrides the invokeMethod method to augment the behavior but there are other options that you can choose from like set and getAttribute, invokeStaticMethod and invokeConstructor. The complete list can be found in the Groovy's source release in "src/main/groovy/lang/DelegatingMetaClass.java".

Package Name Convention

This second solution offers a more consistent augmentation of existing classes. There are no risks of unpredictable results from methods. The idea is that any package.class can have a custom meta class loaded at startup time by placing it into a well known package with a well known name.

    groovy.runtime.metaclass.[YOURPACKAGE].[YOURCLASS]MetaClass

So your class Foo in package "bar" could have a custom meta class FooMetaClass in package "groovy.runtime.metaclass.bar".

The following example shows how we can change the behavior of the String class. Firstly the custom meta class, similar to the implementation above except that it needs a MetaClassRegistry argument in its constructor.

The actual class that uses the enhanced features is now very simple. Notice that there are no extra imports or any work with the meta class. The mere package and class name of the class tells the groovy runtime to use the custom meta class.


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