While It’s Compiling: Skills Matter interviews Guillaume LaForge

Groovy & Grails eXchange 2014, Skills Matter, London

For an insight into this week’s Groovy & Grails eXchange, we caught up with Guillaume LaForge, whose keynote will cover ‘What’s up in the Groovy world?’. In addition to travelling the world speaking at conferences, LaForge is Head of Groovy Development for Pivotal, the creator of the Grails web application framework, the founder of the Gaelyk project (a lightweight toolkit for developing applications in Groovy for Google App Engine) and co-author of Groovy in Action… he’s a busy man! But we were lucky enough to pin him down to find out more about the latest release of Groovy, the burning ambitions he has yet to achieve… and ’Brownies dans un mug’!

Tickets for the 2015 Groovy & Grails eXchange are now on sale – with a very limited number priced just £95! Book yours now!

A couple of weeks ago, you announced the release of Groovy 2.4.0-beta-4. Can you give us some of the highlights of this latest release?

We’re aiming at releasing the final version of Groovy 2.4 at some point in January. Obviously we fixed various bugs, added minor refinements here and there, and also worked on some performance improvements (both for dynamic and static contexts), but the big bonus in this release is the support for Android. Developers will be able to use the Groovy programming language to develop their applications for the Android mobile platform!

A lot has happened in the Groovy sphere in the last year. Has the recent level of change been particularly strong?

The Groovy ecosystem never ceases to amaze me, as it’s very busy, very active, with lots of great tools, libraries, plugins, that make developers more productive. I started the Groovy Weekly newsletter roughly a year ago now, and there’s always so much news to cover. It’s really lovely!

Your career has been dominated by your work on the Groovy language. What is it about Groovy that has kept you hooked?

Interestingly, I thought I was the kind of person who would get bored easily with any topic after a few months. But Groovy is clearly a very motivating project, as there are so many things we can do with the language, with the project, and with its ecosystems, whether it is new features, or new opportunities to meet users and customers around the world. Groovy keeps on giving and being loved by hundreds of thousands of developers, and it’s really awesome to have the chance to work on such a project.

You’re Head of Groovy Development at Pivotal, you initiated the creation of the Grails web application framework and set up G2One with Graeme Rocher, you founded the Gaelyk project…you’ve been busy! Do you have any burning ambitions you haven’t yet achieved?

Ah, tricky question…there are still things I’d like to achieve with Groovy, like our long term goals of reworking the core of Groovy with a new runtime and new grammar etc. We also have some ongoing projects with new documentation and a new website. So there are still things I’d like to do with Groovy before really thinking of other ambitions to achieve! There are definitely topics I’m interested in these days like Machine Learning, for instance. I studied this a long time ago, and Groovy could play a nice role for dealing with fast and big data and could offer nice domain languages for modeling problems and for finding hindsight into the data, etc.

That might be a topic I’ll be looking into more seriously soon.

On your blog, which is about ‘all things groovy!’, you also have a section for recipes including one for a ‘Brownie dans un mug’. Is cooking your secret passion??

I’m essentially a “sweet” person… you know, the kind who loves sugar! So once in a while, yes, I enjoy cooking some deserts, but I’m very far from being an expert. Another passion of mine is running. I’ve been running more or less regularly for the past 2-3 years, and I’m even planning to try to run my first marathon next year!


While It’s Compiling is a continuing series of interviews with experts across a range of bleeding-edge technologies and practices, exclusive to Skills Matter. Be sure to subscribe to this blog for future interviews, or follow us on Twitter.

Find out who we’ll be interviewing next, and get a chance to put your questions forward with the hashtag #whileitscompiling.


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