Sunday, December 03, 2017

G3 Summit 2017 - A Great Experience . . .

G3 Summit 2017, Austin TX
It was a great learning experience for me at this year's G3 Summit 2017 from Nov 28 - Dec 1, 2017 in Austin, Texas. After following Grails for many years and experiencing at work for about 2+ years, going to this conference definitely made me a better Grails Developer and I have several take-aways from this.

It was a 4-day conference, first two days were loaded with hands-on workshops followed by two full days of different one-and-half hour sessions in 3 parallel tracks on various Groovy, Grails and Gradle topics.

Day-1: Workshop

I attended Alexa Work Shop by Ryan Vanderwerf which was a good introduction to Amazon Alexa, it's Appkit, Architecture, SDKs, Skills, Intents Schema, Alexa Grails Plugin followed by a hands-on development of a simple Quiz application for Alexa and testing it using Alexa Skill Testing tool Echosim.

Day-2: Workshop

Second day I attended Powerful Testing Techniques for Groovy by Jeff Scott Brown. It was a good presentation on complete coverage of testing and it's importance with special focus on Groovy and Grails including the recent new Traits based Testing Framework introduced in Grails 3.3.x, followed by a hands-on session based on one of the Grails guides - Testing a Secured Grails Application. It was a very informative session overall.

Key Note: Opening Night

Paul King gave an update on Groovy and it's roadmap touching what's coming in 2.6 and 3.0 followed by Graeme Rocher on Grails and it's future giving brief insights into the already solid Grails 3.3, Gorm 6.1 and what's coming in Grails 4 with Gorm 7. Graeme also briefed on Grails new project called Particle which will aim to solve complex problems in the micro-services world with an elegant Grails approach.

Day-3: Sessions I attended

Groovy the awesome parts - Paul King
In this Groovy session, Paul King touched almost all awesome language features of Groovy with code snippets and explanations including DSL, IDE DSLs for code completion:GDSL(IntelliJ) & DSLD(Eclipse), AST transformations, Traits, Closures, GPars, Data Flows, @TypeChecked, @CompileStatic, Run-time meta-programming, Command Chains etc.

It was a good session to know awesome parts of Groovy and how Groovy makes them possible.

Monitoring & Metrics with Grails 3 - Jeff Brown
This talk was all about a work-in-progress but almost ready for ver 1.0 (currently at 1.0.0 M3), a  metrics Plugin for Grails called  Grails Dropwizard Metrics which is based on Dropwizard Java library.  He also did a demo of it's practical application and showed how simple and easy it is to collect metrics of a running application and automate any followup actions based on metrics collected by applying just a couple of annotations in the code: @Metered and @Timed.

It's definitely a plugin to check it out.

Programming Groovy with Java 8 - Venkat Subramaniam
As always Venkat came up with an awesome session by showing many small live coding examples of Groovy and Java primarily focusing on Collections and Streams with side-by-side comparisons. He demonstrated how one can take advantage of Laziness offered by Java 8 when working with collections through Streams and how well Java implemented it when many other programming languages including Groovy, Ruby, Python, JavaScript etc. only made the implementation elegant but didn't make it performant. He demonstrated clearly but concisely certain areas in the code while working with large sets of data where a Groovy Programmer can switch to Java 8 Streams to write performant code.

With Groovy's seamless integration with Java, of course, Groovy programmers are in the best spot to enjoy best of both, always, without leaving Groovy.

Grails Multi-project builds - Jeff Brown
It was another great session by Jeff Brown. He showed how easy it is to take advantage of Gralde's support for multi-project builds and get benefited by it in in a Grails project by organizing it into a root Grails project with sub-projects of several Grails plugins and libraries.

This seems clearly the way to start breaking down a monolithic giant complex Grails project into maintainable and dependable sub-projects without having any circular dependencies. He showed how Grails-core code-base itself is now organized into a multi-project Gradle build and this can be taken as a best example to look at.

GORM and GraphQL - James Kleeh
James Kleeh clearly started the session by making a point on how rigid REST is with end-points & their response schemas, and what GraphQL can offer to address this problem by giving the control to clients so that the client application can ask for what it needs and get back only what it asked for in the response. He also demonstrated a Grails GraphQL Demo app with GORM GraphQL plugin for Grails.

Go and check it out.

GORM 6 Q & A - Graeme Rocher & James Kleeh
It was a great Q & A session with a small group of people attended. I got a change to talk with Graeme and James and get to know more details on GORM 6.1, some insights into the changes went into GORM 6.1 and reasons behind those. In response to my question about Grails future project Particle,  Graeme described little more details on what Grails is aiming to do and what kind of problems it's trying to solve in there. The discussion went on sharing many more thoughts and insights around GORM and Grails framework- the past, the present and the future.

I am glad I attended this Q&A with Graeme and James.

Day-4: Sessions I attended

Polyglot Web Development with Grails 3 - Jeff Brown
This was another wonderful session by Jeff Brown who started this session with an introduction to Polyglot Programming and it's benefits followed by a demo. He demonstrated and showed how easy it is to leverage other JVM programming languages in a Grails application. He took Clojure -a pure functional programming language on the JVM as an example, and showed how one can write business logic in pure Clojure functions, how easy it is to expose those functions as service methods in a Controller which is injected with a Proxy service bean that uses Groovy's magical method: missingMethod implementation to call Clojure functions. With this approach, calling service methods in Controller is like any other Grails Service methods. The controller doesn't need to know in which language these services are implemented. He showed all pretty neat techniques in achieving this with the very simple Grails Clojure plugin that he wrote.

In Grails, polyglot programming can also be made possible as easy as it can be.

Automated Strategies for building & Deploying Grails with Gradle - Eric Helgeson
It was a pretty good session by Eric and he covered so many things in such a short one-and-half-hour fully informative session. He covered many available tools and things to do in order to achieve complete automation by doing everything as code right from taking the application code along the continuous integration path to production, and even beyond, all the way up to proactively responding to end-user issues.

There were great many ideas, tools and implementation details to take away from this session.

Grails 3, Gradle & AWS tour - Ryan Vanderwerf
This session was a quick introduction to Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud(VPC), Network terminology, and Amazon Services like Route 53, EC2, S3, Elastic Bean Stalk, Lambda and Elastic Load Balancer etc. with few quick demos of AWS JAVA SDK plugin and some coverage of Amazon's Simple Email Service (SES),Simple Queue Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS) etc. It was good to know that there are many Gradle plugins for automating Amazon services already, and SSHOOGR- a Groovy DSL for SSH to work with remote services.

Getting Groovy with Google Home - Ryan Vanderwerf
This session was also by Ryan which was very interesting to know what Google is offering at present in the area of Voice Controlled Gadgets and Devices like Google Home and what is available in Grails world to start writing applications for Google Home device. With a quick introduction to Google Actions (equivalent to Alexa Skills), Intents and available tools like factions CLI, Google console etc., he dived into demonstrating a Color Chooser app which he had written in Grails using Actions SDK for Java. He demoed, how one can ask Google Home to tell the lighter or darker color of any color which sends the voice request to the Grails app deployed on Amazon AWS but setup on Google Cloud that delivers the response as an answer back to Google Home device. Ryan also had written an in-depth guide on this which is available at OCI web site.

Voice Controlled Devices is certainly the future way of interacting with applications & services, and a Grails Developer can already start writing apps in Grails for Google Home device. This was the very last session I attended and that concludes my experience with great G3 Summit 2017 - a Groovy, Grails and Gradle conference.


Overall, it was a great learning experience and I have several take-aways from this conference. Grails is a great community and this conference gave me an opportunity to meet many of the core committers of Groovy & Grails Framework, and other users & enthusiasts from Groovy, Grails and Gradle community.


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