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Groovy is a real language, not Java's scripting clone
on April 29, 2008
When a new language comes out, the first set of books focuses on either the shiny new, golly-gee-wow features of the language or on how to use it to get real work done. But eventually someone comes out with a book that no longer treats the new language like a shiny new thing, but as a serious contender in the language universe. And that's Programming Groovy does (disclaimer: I know Venkat). It doesn't treat Groovy like a novelty act. It also doesn't provide recipes. Instead, it treats Groovy as a real programming language. I'll have to admit, this is the Groovy book for which I've been waiting.
Groovy is friendlier syntax for programming Java (I called it the real JDK in a recent blog posting). Books about the practical aspects of Groovy are very important because, as a language, it resides in a unique place: it's a low impedance way to program the Java platform, and it displaces Java for lots of common tasks. But it is also a powerful language in its own right. Programming Groovy has 4 chapters on meta-programming Groovy, and another long chapter on building domain specific languages. That's meaty stuff. It never condescends or makes excuses for Groovy but treats it like a real language. This book goes in depth into places in Groovy where it's hard to find information online, like how ExpandoMetaclass really works. This is both the most comprehensive and authoritative book on the Groovy language around. This is going to be a classic in the Groovy literature and an exemplar for describing new languages.