Groovy in Action: A review

{{Groovy in Action}} is the book that I should have put down quite a long time ago. However, I did trudge through it. Most Manning Press “In Action” books do a good job at introducing basic concepts at the beginning, and then go into blinding detail near the end. “{{Hibernate [3.0] In Action}}” is a very good example of this.

However, “Groovy in Action” is annoyingly different.I have wanted to learn and use {{Groovy}} for quite a while. It’s a Java-based language, which uses the JVM, and comfortably interacts with all of your other {{Java}} libraries, and frameworks. With most books, which are responsible for introducing someone to a new language/framework, I expect the resource to really sell the language/framework in the beginning, and ease into the more gritty details. However, this book tried to do this at some points of the book, but lacked order.

The start of the book introduced the user into how to setup their environment and to create a few sample to get your feet wet. There was a very brief overview on what Groovy is able to do. However, after the brief overview, the book’s Part 1(pages 27-227) section becomes a reference book. Part two (228-451) started off nicely, but quickly became tiresome (mostly due to the strenuous task of the first part of the book).The third section was where the book really got interesting: going over how to apply Groovy to solve problems that you may run into. I liked the last section the best.

As a developer, my interest is in solving problems. I enjoy learning about advanced features and details of a language; however, a language/tool/framework is a means to solve a problem. If the tool/language/framework really piques my interest to use it more than once, I’ll go into more detail with it. This book would be better suited for someone that has already developed a strong interest, and would like a reference manual.

2 thoughts on “Groovy in Action: A review”

  1. Hi,
    thanks for your feedback!
    Since we are currently working on the second edition this would be the perfect time to improve where the first edition didn’t meet your expectations.
    Would you suggest that we should better point out the scope of the three parts, e.g. like so
    – Part I Language description
    – Part II Standard Library
    – Part III Typical Use Cases (which as I understood is what you were looking for)
    The goal would be that when a reader is interesting in Part III only, he should directly jump there.

    Would this address your concerns?

    Thanks
    Dierk

    1. To be honest. I’m not sure what to suggest. It really depends on who you want your  audience to be. I feel that if you target your audience with the mindset of having 3 different conceptual usages of the book that you’re devaluing the actual content of the book.If you’re going to do that, make 3 books. If you make 3 different books it would be better written for each of the different audiences. [People who want a language reference are already sold on the Groovy cool usages, people who are looking for typical use cases are wanting to get a basic understanding of groovy, etc]  

      I would closely relate to the Java professional developer audience. So my interest is finding out … whats so great about groovy? How can I use it? Why should I use this over the existing libraries. 

      Imagine you were to learn a new language, and your teacher refused to teach you how to function, read, or speak the language before you mastered the grammar. This is how I felt with the 3 part approach. That being said: The book looks like it took a lot of work to write. I’m impressed. The issue I have is more with the format than anything of it.

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