For the past eight(8) years Schalk Neethling has been working as a freelance developer under the pseudo of Volume4 and is now the president of Overt Strategy Consulting. During this period he has completed over 300 projects ranging from full web application development to complete branding. As president and lead developer of Overt Strategy Consulting, Schalk Neethling and his team has released a 100% Java standards based content management system called AlliedBridge and business document exchange and review system, called Doc-Central. Schalk Neethling is also actively involved on a daily basis in the open source, web standards and accessibility areas and is a current active member of the Web Standards Group. Schalk is also the co-founder and president of the non-profit The South Web Standards and Accessibility Group, which aims to actively educate and raise awareness of web standards and accessibility to both the developer society as well as business large and small. Schalk also has a long relationship with DZone and is currently zone leader for both the web builder,, as well as the .NET zone,, and you can find a lot of his writing there as well as on his blog located at Schalk is constantly expanding on his knowledge of various aspects of technology and loves to stay in touch with the latest happenings. For Schalk web development and the internet is not just a job, it is a love, a passion and a life style. Schalk has posted 173 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Rapid Web Application Prototyping with Maven and Groovy

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Utilizing both Maven and Groovy you can rapidly prototype web apps, and in this blog I'll walk you through exactly how to do that. First we are going to create a simple Maven web app project using the Maven Web App Archetype. If you don't have Maven installed already, go ahead and install it. Now let's create a directory called sandbox, and cd into that directory. Now let's create our project by issuing the following command:

mvn archetype:generate

When prompted to choose a number enter 18 (The Java web application archetype) and hit enter. Next you will be prompted for the groupId, enter com.sample and hit enter, for the artifactId enter sample and hit enter, for the version enter 1.0 and hit enter, and for the package name enter com.sample and hit enter. Confirm you project by entering "Y" and hitting enter. Once finsihed you will have a maven project ready to go for deployment. You should see a sample diretory that was created in /sandbox with a pom.xml file. The pom.xml file is what we will look at next.

Next we need to add the dependency for Groovy to our pom, as well as the Maven Groovy Plugin. We do this by adding the following inside the <build> element in the parent pom:


Now that we have the Groovy Plugin added, lets add the Groovy dependency to the pom as well by adding it inside the <dependencies> element of the pom:


Ok, let's save all that and make sure we can build everything. From /sandbox/sample issue the following command:

mvn clean install

You should now have a successful build, and you could actually deploy the war that gets created (in /sandbox/sample/target you will have sample.war) to an application server such as JBoss. Ok, lets get onto the cool stuff. Groovy has a concept that lets you write normal Java servlets in Groovy, called Groovlets. Groovlets are really easy to work with and have some nice features like implicit variables (e.g. request and response which are bound to the ServletRequest and ServletResponse). So what we are going to do is configure our webapp so that it can handle Groovlets and then create our first Groovlet. We are first going to edit our web.xml which is located at /sandbox/sample/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/, go ahead an open that up and add the following between the <web-app> elements:


This configures your webapp to compile your .groovy files to bytecode and execute your script when called. Next we need to create our Groovlet and then we are done. So, in /sandbox/sample/src/main/webapp create a file called Sample.groovy. We are going to create a simple Groovlet that accepts an HTTP GET request and has a parameter called username. We will process the request and just print out the response. So, go ahead and open up the Sample.groovy file you opened and add the following:

def username = request.getParameter("username")
println "Hello ${username}"

That's it. Rember that the request variable is implicit, meaning it's already bound to the ServletRequest and ready for use. Now we can compile our war, and deploy it to your favorite application server and you are ready to roll. Once deployed navigate to http://localhost:8080/sample/Sample.groovy?username=Chad in your web browser and you should see the print out "Hello Chad".

This is a really nice way to rapidly prototype webapps. I first started looking into this when I needed a servlet that could access the file system and return XML based off my lookup. Obiously using Groovy's nice features that have been added to the JDK for working with Files, and the MarkupBuilder, this task was trivial. Give it a spin and let me know what you think.

Original Author

Original Article Written By Chad Gallemore


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Schalk Neethling. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Will Krespan replied on Sun, 2008/09/07 - 2:39pm

this was a very helpful and quick tutorial

thanks -wkrespan

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