SpringSource Acquires Groovy, Grails Provider G2One

In a move that brings three elements for enterprise Java developers together, SpringSource acquired G2One. SpringSource is the maker of the Spring Framework and G2One is the provider of Groovy and Grails. Spring is a lightweight enterprise Java development platform, Groovy is a Java-based dynamic language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and Grails is a Java-based Web development framework that works in a similar fashion to Ruby on Rails.

SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Framework, has added to its arsenal with the acquisition of G2One, the company behind the popular Java-based Groovy and Grails technologies,

SpringSource officials said with the acquisition of G2One, SpringSource will now offer global enterprise support offerings for developers and IT shops that use Groovy and Grails applications. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The combination of the Spring Framework with Groovy and Grails represents a unique trio of Java technologies. The Spring Framework has become very popular as a lightweight alternative for enterprise Java developers who prefer not to use Sun Microsystems' enterprise Java offerings. Groovy is one of the most popular alternative languages for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), with more than 30,000 downloads per month. And adoption of Grails has grown from 7,000 to 70,000 per month in the past year, G2One officials said.

Groovy is an open source, dynamic language for the Java Virtual Machine that offers a flexible Java-like syntax all Java developers can learn in a matter of hours. Grails is an open-source Web application framework based on Groovy, and built on proven and high-performance open-source solutions such as Spring.

G2One was founded in 2007 by the Groovy and Grails lead developers, Guillaume Laforge and Graeme Rocher, respectively. The company's other co-founder is Alex Tkachman, who served as chief operating officer at Java integrated development environment (IDE) maker, JetBrains.

"Like Spring, Groovy has become a powerful cornerstone of today's application infrastructure, driven by mass developer adoption worldwide," said Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource, in a statement. "The combined forces of Spring and G2One not only accelerate innovation, but also deliver SpringSource's 24x7, global support network to the growing number of enterprises adopting Groovy at the heart of their applications."

Salil Deshpande, a partner at Bay Partners, a Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm, told eWEEK:

""Ruby on Rails (RoR) showed us how frameworks based on certain principles dramatically improved developer productivity, but also creativity. And the prescriptive nature of Rails also lowered maintenance cost. Grails borrowed and significantly improved upon the principles of Rails. Grails brought the productivity of RoR to the de-facto world-class Java stack, which has Spring as its centerpiece.""

Deshpande also said developers always migrate to higher and higher level, usually simpler, APIs, letting machines or frameworks do more and more.

Moreover, Grails was rapidly becoming the new way to write server-side Java applications, he said. And Grails' download numbers were 70 percent of those of Spring, which validates the above theses, Deshpande said. "So it makes sense for these two companies to be together," he added.

Bay Partners has invested in both SpringSource and G2One.

"We, Bay Partners and I, were fortunate enough to predict all this correctly in 2007, and we funded the company so that it could finish building the products that developers wanted," Deshpande said. "I try to be a different kind of VC, in that I try not just to pick or predict the winners, but make the winners."

Moreover, "Due to the transaction, we received more ownership in SpringSource, and as part of the transaction we also invested even more money into SpringSource," he said. "With this combination of the two companies, we're very excited about the future prospects of SpringSource."