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Roo released to handle repetitive Spring tasks



Alex Handy
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October 19, 2009 —  Spring can be thought of as an abstraction layer for Java. At the SpringOne conference in New Orleans today, SpringSource introduced Spring Roo, an abstraction layer for Spring. This gives developers a simple aspect-oriented automated code-generation tool that can construct the boilerplate basics that are required to start a project.

Ben Alex, project leader at for Roo SpringSource, said that Roo was created to handle the repetitive coding tasks that came whenever he started a Spring project. “It was inspired around 2005, when I needed to get some spring work done quickly. I found, as I was doing more and more programs, I was using the same patterns," he said.

"In 2008, we took a look at some of the ideas behind that original generation of software. We used introductions, which are an aspect-oriented programming concept. Earlier versions of Roo were never actually released."

But today marks the release of Roo 1.0, which uses aspect-oriented development to generate the code behind commonly used development patterns. Aspect-oriented programming fosters modularity and reuse by breaking down a program into parts.

“Roo automates the development of standards-based, high-performance Java applications,” said Alex. “There's a lot of standards we have in Java, and of those standards that are important. Roo reflects them.”

Enteprise Java applications are built on top of critical blocks such as the Java Persistence API (JPA) and Java Message Service, as well as SMTP and a servlet specification. “All of these are critical building blocks of enterprise Java applications. Trying to understand 'How do I do all those things together in a best-practice way?' is a significant challenge,” said Alex.

“If you think about JPA when you're using Roo…you can install JPA completely correctly at one line in the command prompt. If you did this by hand, you'd be writing 50 lines of XML, plus you'd be adding in 10 jar files, then you'd be looking at how do [you] use Spring with that, and how do [you] work out the transactions.

“Roo sits in the background and monitors the IDE. Based on what they're doing in the IDE and its understanding, it automatically builds for you the parts of the application you don't build yourself. There's nothing stopping you from letting Roo write the parts you don't want to, but you can write some of that yourself, and Roo will automatically take away the stuff it's done that you've done yourself."

Roo is a free tool licensed under the GPL and is available at SpringSource's website today.




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