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Composition on Grails (formerly Composition on Rails) got some attention today because of chromatic’s O’Reilly ONLamp post about the project. This is interesting to me because under normal circumstances, few people beside SAP customers and partners see what’s going on here. I’ve been enjoying the feedback and I thought I’d throw together a short post to respond to it in one place.

The first order of business for me today was to change the project name.  The old name was an SAP internal code name that really confused people in the wild. This came through loud and clear. One could ask why we even had the word Rails in there, since in the end we decided against using Ruby on Rails. No argument from me, and after a quick email to Graeme Rocher for his blessing, we had a new name.

A number of comments were critical of the fact that the project uses Groovy and Grails instead of Ruby, JRuby, or Jython. The explanation is pragmatic and has little to do with the intrinsic superiority of one scripting language over another. First, we needed a scripting language that runs in the JVM, so that ruled out some languages right there. Anything that runs outside the JVM will require some duplication of processes, and interprocess communication is more complicated. Second, we felt that Hibernate and Spring were well proven and we wanted to take advantage of them. Finally, the Groovy syntax and lifecycle management is very Java-like. This matters because the availability of skilled programmers is crucial in the enterprise space, and there are loads of Java developers out there.

Thanks for the comments all. If I’m missing something here, please let me know.


Composition on Grails is available now in the new and improved 1.0 form. This release adds support for Grails 1.0.

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  1. I had the chance to develop a couple of applications using Grails and must say it’s name fits perfectly. It’s the Holly Grail for application development. So fast, so powerfull…and even better, it’s good old Java under the hood.
  2. Darren Hague
    This is really great – best RFC wrapper I’ve ever seen! It certainly beats the multi-line incantation that is needed to call an RFC from Java Web Dynpro.
    1. Former Member Post author
      Glad you like it. We’re actually thinking about ways we could make it even easier to use RFCs. Maybe I’ll  write a blog on that one of these days…

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