Groovy Project Joins Apache Software Foundation

Now that the open source programming language Groovy has signaled its intention to become part of the Apache Software Foundation, API developers should expect to see much broader use of the object programming language inside API frameworks such as Restlet.

Guillaume Laforge, head of the Groovy project, recently joined Restlet to lead the development of API development tools. The end goal, Laforge told ProgrammableWeb, is to make it much simpler for developers to leverage object-oriented programming tools designed for Java virtual machines (JVM) platforms to create APIs.

Laforge says one of the primary reasons there is a backlog building when it comes to creating APIs, is that the tools often employed are simply too low level. As a result, it not only takes too long to develop APIs, it also takes too long to change and update them at a time when organizations of all sizes are demanding more IT agility, says Laforge.

In the not too distant future, Restlet plans to add Groovy support to its APISpark, Restlet Studio, and Restlet Framework. Once Groovy becomes an official Apache Software Foundation project, chances are high that other providers of API development tools will follow suit.

In the meantime, Laforge says he expects developers to use Groovy to programmatically address multiple APIs simultaneously in a way that not only makes them more productive, but also address multiple APIs as a single logical entity.

As the API economy continues to evolve, it’s clear that the number and types of APIs that developers need to address is expanding exponentially. Laforge is making a case for using object-oriented programming techniques to reduce the complexity of programming in a world where almost by definition every application is dependent on multiple APIs that need to be addressed holistically if the application is going to actually work. Today such efforts are nothing short of painstaking, which accounts for why modern application development efforts are not as swift as they ideally should be.

Obviously, there are a lot of approaches to accelerating the development of APIs being floated around the API developer community. But Laforge notes that there are already a half million developers who are familiar with Groovy. In fact, in 2014 he says Groovy was downloaded 4.5 million times. The only question now would seem to be to what degree those Groovy application developers will be applying those skills specifically to the development of APIs.

Michael Vizard