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  • IntelliJ IDEA 10.5 for the Groovy and Grails Developer

    The formal release of IntelliJ IDEA 10.5 came out this month, and the new Groovy features are all part of the free and open source Community Edition, and the Grails features are part of the Ultimate Edition. IDEA X (or 10 to you non-Romans) was a larger release of the product, and I already blogged about IDEA X for Groovy and IDEA X for Grails. There’s still plenty of nice features in 10.5 though. The prices for IDEA recently dropped between $100 and $50, and anyone purchasing IDEA since last November gets 10.5 as a free upgrade.

    Here’s what 10.5 is all about (or skip straight to the release notes).

    Groovy 1.8 Support
    A big push in IDEA 10.5 was Groovy 1.8 support. Groovy 1.8 contains many compile time AST transformations that do things like write out new methods and fields into the Groovy .class files. Normal IDEs will show in-IDE compile errors when using these annotations yet still allow you to compile and execute the script. This has been fixed in IDEA, so the IDE should give you proper code completion and support when you use @Field, @TupleConstructor, and @Log. This is especially helpful when invoking these synthetic members from Java code.

    Introduce Parameter and Introduce Field Refactorings
    Introduce Parameter is one of my favorite refactorings. Select a local variable within a method, press Ctrl+Alt+P, and the local variable is extracted into a method parameter. It doesn’t yet work for closures, but you can vote for that feature. Introduce Field is also handy: select a local variable in either a method or a closure, press Ctrl+Alt+F, and the local variable is extracted into a field on the enclosing class. IDEA is not capable of extracting a field in a script yet, which would logically create an @Field script field, but feel free to upvote the issue.

    Go To Test (and vice versa) Support
    Tests and production source follows a naming convention, for example MyClass and MyClassTest. You can now press Ctrl+Shift+T to jump to the test (if you’re in production code) or jump to the production code (if you’re in the test). And if there is no test, then it will prompt you to create a new one. This works great in most cases. Of course, with Groovy it is not so rare to have several top-level classes in a single source file. In these cases the feature can sometimes get confused. Upvote the fix here if you want it to be just that much smarter in the future.

    More Code Completion and Intentions
    The “add static import” intention is nice for those who use a lot of static imports. Just set your cursor in a constant referenced from your code, press Alt+Enter, and viola… the constant is statically imported. Also, code completion is now available when creating an object using named parameters, which makes them a little easier to use. A whole bunch of other code completion issues were fixed as well, but these were technically marked as bugs not features. You can always peruse the release notes to see the whole story.

    Performance
    JetBrains claims that file indexing (typically at IDE startup) is now faster and that working with large Groovy files is more performant. It is hard for me to see a difference since I use the EAP versions and don’t currently work on any massive projects currently.

    Grails Code Generation & Completion (Ultimate Edition)
    Some small but nice things here. If you reference a controller action from a GSP, and that action does not exist, then pressing Alt+Enter creates an empty action for you. Also, the type inference for values on the GrailsPlugins has been improved, such as the closure parameters for doWithApplicationContext, doWithDynamicMethods, etc, and code completion for controllers and action in custom plugins are now discovered automatically. Finally, the code inside <r:script> tags from the Grails Resource plugin is now parsed as JavaScript, so full IDE JavaScript is available within them. This is supposed to become a standard for Grails 1.4, so it should continue to work with that release.

    Improved Grails Resource Bundle and i18n Support
    With 10.5, if you reference a property using the <g:message> tag in a GSP, and that property does not exist, then the property will be underlined in red and you’ll be given an Alt+Enter Intention to create it for you. Nifty. Also, the existing i18n intentions should now work better when you have GString syntax in your text. For instance, the string “Hello, ${user}” should now be properly handled when extracting to a resource bundle.

    Various Usability Improvements
    Last on the list are a few odds and ends around usability. Closures can now have the separator line between them in the IDE, the way methods show a line between them. GSP stacktraces have correct (and clickable) hyperlinks. The scripts folder is visible in the Grails view. And code navigation and formatting has been improved for several Grails Artefacts.

    That’s it. Enjoy the upgrade, may your solid state disk never fail, and may your caches always be valid. Caio!

    If you like this sort of thing, then there is also a whole bunch of other IDEA related content on my own blog and on the Canoo blog. Enjoy.

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