Gradle Grails Example

1. Introduction

This is an in-depth article on Gradle Grails projects. Gradle is a build management system which is open-sourced. The scripts are developed using Groovy or Kotlin DSL for managing builds. Grails is an opensource framework for developing full stack applications.

2. Gradle Grails

2.1 Prerequisites

Java 8 is required on the linux, windows or mac operating system. Gradle 5.4.1 version can be used for building gradle projects. Grails 3.3.10 is used for creating Grails projects. Apache tomcat 9.0 is used as a servlet container to deploy Grails example.

2.2 Download

You can download Java 8 from the Oracle web site . Likewise, Gradle 5.4.1 can be downloaded from this website. Grails binary distribution can be downloaded from github site. Similarly, Apache Tomcat 9.0 can be downloaded from the apache website.

2.3 Setup

2.3.1 Java Setup

You can set the environment variables for JAVA_HOME and PATH. They can be set as shown below:

JAVA Environment

export JAVA_HOME
export PATH

2.3.2 Grails Setup

You can set the Grails home in the PATH as shown below:

Grails Environment

export GRAILS_HOME=/path/to/grails
export PATH="$PATH:$GRAILS_HOME/bin"

2.3.3 Gradle Setup

The environment variables for Gradle are set as below:

Gradle Environment


2.4 Running Gradle

You can check the version of the gradle by using the command gradle –version. The command for running Gradle is as below:

Gradle Version

gradle --version

The output of the executed Gradle command is shown below.

Gradle Grails - Gradle Version
Gradle Version

2.5 Running Grails

You can check the version of the Grails by using the command “grails –v”. The command for running Grails is as below:

Grails Version

grails -v

The output of the executed Grails command is shown below.

Gradle Grails - Grails Version
Grails Version

2.6 Hello World in Grails

Grails opensource framework is a full stack development framework. It cuts down the challenges in creating web applications using Java. You can create a Grails application by using the command below:

Hello World

grails create-app HelloWorld

The output of the executed Grails command is shown below.

Gradle Grails - Grails CreateApp
Grails CreateApp

“CreateApp” command creates the HelloWorld folder. The folder contains the Gradle build based project for Grails. Folder structure is shown below:

Gradle Grails - HelloWorld
HelloWorld Project

Controllers are generated by using commands such as create-controller or generate-controller. You can create a controller by using the command below inside the HelloWorld folder:

Create Controller

create-controller Hello

A controller has action methods which are public. These methods map to a URI of a page. You can add the code to show “Greetings” inside the generated controller code. The code implementation of the HelloController Class is shown below :

Hello Controller

package helloworld

class HelloController {

    def index() { 
        render "Greetings"

You can run the Grails app in grails console using the command below:

Run App


The snap shot of the grails console is shown below:

Gradle Grails - Grails run-app
Grails run-app

You can access the Grails app in the browser from this URL: http://localhost:8080/ . The page rendered is shown below:

Gradle Grails - Grails App
Grails App Running

You can select the Hello Controller and click on the link. The following page shows up:

Gradle Grails - Grails Hello Controller
Grails Hello Controller

2.7 Testing Grails Application

Grails Framework has features for automated testing. Unit testing and functional testing can be done using the framework. You can modify the HelloWorld/src/test/groovy/helloworld/HelloControllerSpec.Groovy to test the index method. The code implemented for HelloControllerSpec is shown below:

Unit Test

package helloworld

import grails.testing.web.controllers.ControllerUnitTest
import spock.lang.Specification

class HelloControllerSpec extends Specification implements ControllerUnitTest {

    def setup() {

    def cleanup() {

    void "test something"() {
        response.text == 'Greetings'


You can run test the Grails app using the command below:

Test Grails App

grails test-app

The output of the executed grails command is shown below.

Gradle Grails - Grails Testing
Grails Testing

2.8 Grails IDE Integration

You can configure the Groovy Eclipse plugin from the distribution site. The screen shot below shows the configuration of Groovy Eclipse plugin from Help-> Install-> New Software.

Gradle Grails - Groovy Eclipse
Groovy Eclipse

The groovy version is set from Eclipse’s Preferences -> Groovy ->Compiler. The setting of the groovy version 2.4.16 is shown below:

Gradle Grails - Groovy Version
Groovy Version- Eclipse

Spock plugin can be installed with eclipse from this site. The screenshot shows the spock plugin installation.

Spocky Plugin – Eclipse

You need to install SpringSource Tool Suite Grails Support(STS) from the distribution site. You need to also ensure that Buildship gradle Integration plugin is installed. The snapshot below shows the installed gradle version.

Eclipse – Gradle plugin

2.9 Building with Gradle

You can import the project HelloWorld which was a Gradle project created in section 2.6. The snapshot below shows the import wizard from the Eclipse menu File-> Import.

Eclipse – Import Gradle Project

After the import, Gradle Grails project can be viewed in the eclipse. The screen shot below shows the imported project.

Gradle Grails Eclipse Project

From the Gradle tasks view, You can see all the gradle tasks. To execute the grails app, click on bootRun. The screenshot below shows the gradle tasks view.

Gradle Tasks Eclipse View

The grails app can be accessed at http://localhost:8080 when the gradle runs the Grails app on eclipse. The snapshot of the Grails app and Gradle task execution is shown below.

Grails App Running – Eclipse

The HelloController can be accessed and the page renders to show the “Greetings” message. The rendered page is shown below:

Hello Controller – Eclipse

2.10 Deploying a Grails App

War file is deployed on the typical servlet containers such as Tomcat, Jetty, etc. war command is used for generating a war file. You can deploy a Grails app on to a container which supports Java Servlet 3.0 specification. The command to create a war file is shown below:

Deploying Grails App

grails war

The output of the executed grails command is shown below.

Grails War command

The war file from build/libs can be deployed on apache tomcat. The startup script of the tomcat is executed. The screen shot shows the execution of the script and the browser rendering the page at http://localhost:8080.

Grails Deploy

The controller page is accessed by clicking on the link. The page renders as shown below in the screen shot.

Gradle Grails Controller

3. Download the Source Code

You can download the full source code of this example here: Gradle Grails Example

Bhagvan Kommadi

Bhagvan Kommadi is the Founder of Architect Corner & has around 20 years’ experience in the industry, ranging from large scale enterprise development to helping incubate software product start-ups. He has done Masters in Industrial Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (1997) and Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (1993). He is member of IFX forum,Oracle JCP and participant in Java Community Process. He founded Quantica Computacao, the first quantum computing startup in India. Markets and Markets have positioned Quantica Computacao in ‘Emerging Companies’ section of Quantum Computing quadrants. Bhagvan has engineered and developed simulators and tools in the area of quantum technology using IBM Q, Microsoft Q# and Google QScript. He has reviewed the Manning book titled : "Machine Learning with TensorFlow”. He is also the author of Packt Publishing book - "Hands-On Data Structures and Algorithms with Go".He is member of IFX forum,Oracle JCP and participant in Java Community Process. He is member of the MIT Technology Review Global Panel.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button