Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grails and GWT

I've been working with the Grails framework and the Groovy language for the past three years. I've recently switched jobs and have begun working with GWT again for the first time since 2008. I've really enjoyed working with Groovy and Grails and it has been one of the most enjoyable and productive technologies I've worked with.

As I'm relearning and transitioning to a GWT project, I want to document the differences I find between the frameworks and each of their pros and cons. I understand that it's a little like comparing apples and orangutans since Grails is a full stack framework and GWT is primarily a web tier framework, but maybe there can be some benefit from the comparison anyway. I also know that I will be biased toward Groovy and Grails since I am more comfortable with that framework, but I'll try and be as impartial as possible.

I will implement the same application in both technologies. The application will be very simple, basically it is just a single page CRUD web application that will manage a book library. The database will have books and authors tables, so we'll have a simple many to many relationship. I would like to use an embedded database in development mode and PostgreSQL when deployed in production.

To try and make the comparison a little more equal, I will add spring (on the server side) and hibernate to the sample GWT project. I will add a JavaScript front-end to the sample Grails project. I'm not sure which JavaScript front-end to add to Grails, I'm thinking either AngularJS or EmberJS (I don't really know either one, just looking for something new to learn).

After this is done and I'm more comfortable with GWT, I would like to look at the Google Web Toolkit for Grails plugin and evaluate the possibility of having a Grails server side and a GWT front end.

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