SpringSource Acquires Second Open Source Company

G2One is the supplier of Groovy and Grails, a Java-like scripting language for the Java Virtual Machine based on concepts found in the popular Ruby on Rails.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

November 11, 2008

2 Min Read

SpringSource, supplier of the lightweight Java code building framework Spring, is acquiring its second open source company, G2One. G2One is privately held and no price for the acquisition was announced.

G2One is the supplier of Groovy and Grails, a Java-like scripting language for the Java Virtual Machine that is based on some of the concepts found in the popular Ruby on Rails. SpringSource's acquisition of Groovy and Grails is testimony to the growing interest in marrying Java applications with simpler, "dynamic" languages that can be used to quickly write small applications or tie together dissimilar parts of Web applications.

"I don't think Groovy and Grails has achieved the recognition that Ruby has. But there are some pretty compelling benefits to the enterprise" if it is added to the Java programmer's toolkit, said Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource, the company behind Spring.

Over the last year, Groovy has gone from an early phase, experimental scripting language framework with 7,000 downloads a month to 70,000 per month. Groovy is built on top of the Spring Framework. "There's been quite a lot of cooperation between the two firms in the past," said Graeme Rocher in an interview. He is one of the lead developers of Groovy.

Scripting or dynamic languages in general have a lighter syntax and fewer rules governing data types, making them a flexible alternative to Java itself. Languages like PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby have become popular for doing quick applications for the Web and tying together parts of other applications. Groovy is code that can run in the standard Java Virtual Machine. Groovy code can call parts of a Java application and Java apps can call a Groovy subsystem, said Johnson.

The result, claimed Rocher in a blog Tuesday, will be "simplified development on the Java platform, a philosophy that is the very essence of Grails. Both frameworks try to make the lives of developers easier."

Johnson pointed out that Groovy and Grails also understands "annotations," which give a Java programmer the ability use a descriptive phrase to define what Java code is supposed to do next, such as invoke the Java Messaging Service, instead of writing many lines of code to achieve the same end.

SpringSource in January acquired Covalent, an expert in the Apache Software Foundation's Tomcat and other Apache open source code. SpringSource is one of the few open source companies other than Red Hat that is seeking to be a consolidator of open source code through acquisition.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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