geeky · java · rants

Grails: I will not use you

After the cijug presentation on Grails, I’ve decided I will not use it.

I know Grails is hot and cool but I don’t like it. It’s probably just a personal preference.

Why don’t I want to use Grails

  • It’s built on spring and hibernate, so why not just use them directly?
  • It’s just adding another layer of complexity. Now if something goes wrong, you need to know grails (groovy) plus all of the frameworks it uses underneath.
  • The generation bit is nice but personally I want control over all of the magic. You will need to modify them anyway. So why not just write them from scratch and LEARN YOUR HTML? This reminds me of the old Microsoft FrontPage HTML generation that always bit my ass when I first started creating web pages. But it probably wouldn’t be as bad since Microsoft was targeting their own browsers with the HTML generated.
  • The URL mapping is stupid. Spring’s innate annotation style mapping is so much easier.
  • I’m not a fan of the taglib. Why do I ever want to write HTML in Java? It makes me feel dirty. Plus it’s harder to debug. Personally the only “taglib” I like is facelets’ version. It felt more like writing HTML.

The only thing I really liked about Grails based on the presentation is the orm custom mapping. I prefer that over hibernate’s innate xml or annotation.

class Person {
  String firstName
  static mapping = {
      table 'people'
      firstName column:'First_Name'
  }
}

But that’s hardly worth a complete switch.

During the whole presentation I was thinking of a pyramid:

I remember not too long ago Spring and Hibernate are the newest and coolest kids on the block. Now we are just piling it on. What will we add next? I mean do you still need know Java any more to support applications? You really just need tons and tons of framework knowledge. Where do you get these knowledge from school? They are not going to teach them in college.

3 thoughts on “Grails: I will not use you

  1. Honestly, I’m not so well introduced to the Grails, but I don’t like its basic idea, too. I personally like to have more control over the stuff I’m doing and frameworks usage. Also, there is new level of abstraction which probably makes life easier for the beginners in frameworks used by Grail (like Hibernate or Spring), but for more advanced use, the knowledge over those frameworks would be also required. On the other hand, there’s always the question – what if I decide to use some other frameworks inside of Grails for which Grails has no available plugins?

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