Aftermath: Groovy & Grails Exchange 2012

Posted by: on Dec 19, 2012 | No Comments

Last weekend I got back from “Groovy & Grails Exchange 2012″ (AKA #GGX 2012) and have only just found the time to write about it.

Overall it was a great conference, the best GGX I’ve been to – and I’ve attended most of them. To my knowledge it was sold out, there were certainly no spare seats when everyone convened in the main hall, and standing room only for several talks. This year again I delivered two talks, but both were far more substantive than previous years. I presented the results of over 12 months of consideration/work in the form of Platform Core and Platform UI.

For those interested, my talks can be found here:

Using Grails Platform Core Video ~ Slides

Theming & UIs with Platform UI Video ~ Slides

Unfortunately the videos can only be watch as postage stamps or full screen because Skillsmatter who host the conference will not allow more flexibility. I have asked numerous times and they have offered to let me embed a few specific videos, but frankly I’ve lost the will to battle this. It’s such a shame, I think it would be so much better for GGX and Skillsmatter if full freedom to link and embed was enabled.

On the plus side, Speakerdeck rocks – great find by Rob Fletcher.

In terms of other talks, I found much more to interest me this year, in fact I was torn between the two tracks a few times.

I particularly enjoyed both of Rob Fletcher’s talks, one on using “hipster” tools to build a push-based photo sharing service and the other on testing with Spock:

Rob Fletcher: Grails for Hipsters Video

Rob Fletcher: Groovier Testing with Spock Video

In particular the use of the CodeKit app to pre- and re-compile Less/CoffeeScript during development was impressive. Rob has a great talking style too. Read: his talks are funnier than mine.

Something that really impressed me was a new plugin that Tom Dunstan presented in his talk:

Tom Dunstan: Debugging Grails Database Performance Video

Tom showed us a new mini-profiler plugin that lets you set in development mode how long your request took to process, and lets you drill down in to the SQL requests made by your ORM (typically GORM hibernate). What is nice is that its just there in the UI, and instantly pops up with the info when you need it. Oh, and it looks great unlike pretty much any other UI from Grails plugins.

The other talk I attended that really wowed the crowd was Stéphane Maldini’s talk on using Platform Core Events API, message queues and browser push.

Stéphane Maldini: Reactive Grails Video

In this talk Stéphane demo’d not one but two different uses of push events. One demonstrates capturing camera images and streaming them to other viewing browsers, and the other has a simple game where you run around with multiple players firing at teach other, with a very special end sequence.

What was amazing is how little code is required to make these things happen.

It was fun to catch up with people from previous conferences and to spend some time with community members whom I rarely get the chance to see.

So it was a great conference. Sadly we suffered the usual projection / lighting and video quality problems, which I hope Skillsmatter will be able to resolve for GGX 2013 which is announced already with early bird tickets going for £95 currently!