What’s next for the Groovy language: The 2018 roadmap

JVM stalwart is being enhanced for modularity

Credit: Garry Knight

Groovy, the veteran language for the Java Virtual Machine, has several enhancements on its roadmap, such as to support Java 9 modularity and Java 8 lambda capabilities. Although closely linked to Java, Groovy offers additional capabilities such as the ability to write compile-time transformations and macros.

The Apache Software Foundation plans the following Groovy upgrades in the next year:

  • Versions 2.5, due in early 2018 for Java 7 and later.
  • Version 2.6 and 3.0, both set to arrive in about a year, and both currently available in alpha releases. Version 2.6 is aimed at Java 7 users, and Version 3.0 at Java 8 and 9 users; their capabitiies will be similar.

Planned Groovy 3.0 features

When Groovy 3.0 is released, you can expect the following additions and enhancements:

  • Groovy 3.0 will add support for Java 8 lambda syntax and method references.
  • Users will be able to run Groovy with the Java 9 JVM without getting warnings about features possibly not being supported.
  • Groovy can be invoked as a module on the JVM, using the Java 9 module path instead of the traditional classpath, which has not been set up to work with modules. The level of support for this capability is still being determined.
  • A more-flexible parser, called Parrot, supports additional syntax and language features.
  • Java’s class do/while loop, to ensure execution of a block of statements, is supported.
  • A macro capability expands the options for building compile-time transformations.
  • Java-style array initialization is added.
  • New operators for capabilities such as identity comparison are added.

Groovy 2.6 will have similar capabilities for Java 7 users.

Planned Groovy 2.5 features

When Groovy 2.5 is released, you can expect the following additions and enhancements:

  • Additional compile-time transformations to improve productivity.
  • A macro capability, expanding options for building compile-time transformations.
  • Better JSON parsing, for writing web applications that need to talk to a back-end system.
  • Improvements to tools and libraries.

Where to download Groovy

You can download the various versions of Groovy from the project’s Bintray repository.

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