Groovy 1.6 Released

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The final version of Groovy 1.6 is now available for download. For those who don't know, Groovy is a scripting language hosted on the JVM with many of the features that Java programmers may find themselves missing--optional/dynamic typing and closures to name two--but with a syntax that is still very familiar for Java programmers. It is a natural complement to Java for tasks like GUI or web application development.

Beyond the many bug fixes and improvements in 1.6, the major focus of the release was performance, which had been somewhat of an Achilles heel for the language in the past--especially when compared to the more aggressively optimized JRuby. Groovy 1.6 sports a performance improvement of somwhere between ~150% and 460% (and yes, all the usual caveats about micro-benchmarking do apply), a solid boost that should mollify some of the performance objections to using the language.

Other useful features of the release include:

  • The ability to create annotations in Groovy (previously had to be done in Java)
  • Multiple assignments, e.g. def (a, b) = [1,2]
  • Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) tranformations, which give the developer the ability to hook into the compilation process before code is turned into bytecode--examples include @Singleton for making a class into a singleton, @Immutable for making instances immutable
  • Improved support for OSGi

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