Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring Roo coming alive

Spring Roo was announced just recently at JavaOne, and after the first alpha releases it's now time for M1.

If you are interested in this new "code generating" / productivity framework led by SpringSource you defintely have to read this introduction and example by project lead Ben Alex. Currently there is not much documentation available but this will change in the near future.

Similar to Grails, Roo wil have a plugin architecture using "add-ons". Looks like I've published the first community add-on - integrating SiteMesh - myself according to Ben's blog. Follow the steps below to try out the SiteMesh add-on:

  1. Follow the Roo installation instructions from Ben Alex's getting started blog post

  2. Download spring-roo-addon-sitemesh-1.0.0.M1.jar from

  3. Copy spring-roo-addon-sitemesh-1.0.0.M1.jar to ROO_HOME\dist

  4. Start Roo and create a project as described in Ben's blog post

  5. After creating the project install SiteMesh to your project. Type 'ins' and press tab. Roo's shell will already display the availability of the install sitemesh command. Finish the command 'install sitemesh'

  6. That's it. The Maven pom file is updated so it contains the SiteMesh dependency. The SiteMesh filter and filter-mapping are added to web.xml. And default sitemesh.xml, decorators.xml and main.jsp files are created within your project.

  7. Open webapp\decorators\main.jsp to change your main layout and continue your project creating persistent classes, controllers, views etc.

It's really easy to create add-ons. If you are interested in creating your own add-ons have a look at the sources of the SiteMesh add-on or see the Roo core add-ons using Fisheye or SVN.

I think Spring Roo will have a bright future as it is led by SpringSource and primary uses best practices and boosts developer productivity. For companies/developers already using the Spring framework, Roo will be an easy and natural next step. This is a real strong point for Roo. Also integration with the SpringSource Tool Suite integration since day one will have huge benefits.

As a long time Grails adept I'm wondering how SpringSource will position both frameworks in the future. At least we have another choice for productivity again.