I’ve been following the integration between the Adobe Flex stack and Grails for a while, and there has been some interesting recent developments in this world. I thought I would gather them in one place so they can easily be referenced.
GraniteDS Plugin for Grails
The first version of the GraniteDS plugin, called gdsflex, was recently released. This project provides a very interesting alternative to Marcel Overdijk’s Flex plugin, as it provides some very interesting ideas to Flex / Grails integration. It helps autogenerate the ActionScript files used for passing data from Java to Flex via the GAS3 mechanism. It seems to provide nicer support for lazy loading ( something that DPHibernate seems to provide for BlazeDS, but hasn’t really been integrated into Grails yet ).
The plugin is available via the Grails plugin repository, and there is more info at http://www.grails.org/GraniteDS+Flex+Plugin. It’s definitively a project I will keep an eye on.
Cubika Labs Grails Flex Scaffold
Saw this on the Flex LinkedIn mailing list, and haven’t seen it get the attention it trully deserves. This is a solution that tries to bring Grails-based scaffolding to Flex by building on top of Marcel’s Flex plugin. The first version promises validation and relationship mappings. I haven’t had a chance to explore this one much due to lack of Internet access, but it is definitively a tool I wish we had a year ago while starting to develop Flex RIAs in Grails.
You can download the plugin at http://cubikalabs.wordpress.com/
The Spring-BlazeDS project
Finally, there has been a bit of discussion around the Spring / BlazeDS integration project hosted by Spring. The project can be found at http://www.springsource.org/spring-flex.
BlazeDS, the open source version of Adobe’s Lifecycle Data Services, has been around and forms the backbone of the Flex Plugin. The Spring/BlazeDS integration can have some serious implications for Grails/Flex developers. The current Flex plugin implementation lacks support for the Publish/Subscribe model of service communications. The BlazeDS integration project seeks to simplify the way in which services in Spring can be exposed as Flex endpoints.
The Spring/BlazeDS project also means a standard solution to channel security. The project seeks to closely integrate Spring Security and BlazeDS. Hopefully some of these changes will permutate down to the Grails Acegi plugin, and configuring security for Grails/Flex projects can be easily archieved out of the box. This has always been a question mark in Grails / Flex development, and hopefully the Spring BlazeDS integration can provide an easy way of doing this.
Graeme Roecher recently anounced to the Grails mailing list that Spring was working with Adobe to make BlazeDS and Grails integration much tighter. Hopefully, this will give Flex the momentum it needs to become a first class citizen in the Grails stack and provide an alternative to HTML/AJAX.
It’s a very exciting time for the Grails and Flex community, as there seems to be a lot more interest in using Grails as a bridget to simplify RIA communications with server-side components. Hopefully, it will just become easier and easier to choose Flex and Grails as a development standard.