Category Archives: Grails

Grails Starter kit

After years of working with Grails, I thought I would put down in one place a few things I tend to use frequently in my Grails projects. These are things I thought might help others getting started with Grails.


I often find that I need to extend the default session timeout(found in the src/templates). All that is needed is

> grails install-templates

You will then need to edit the web.xml contained in the following directory structure that was generated from the above command.

src -> templates -> war -> web.xml

you can now modify the timeout value


Custom Domain Classes

Update your domain class templates to reduce having to type in your company standards for every domain class. One of the environments I worked in had a database standard that required us to label Primary Key column name(PK_column_name) and use oracle’s generator for ids. I addressed this by creating a private company “db standards” Grails plugin.

First I updated the

templates-> artifacts ->DomainClass.groovy file

@artifact.package@class {
    Date lastUpdated
    Date dateCreated
    String createdBy
    String updatedBy

    static constraints = {

    static mapping={
        id generator: 'sequence', params: [sequence: '']
        columns { id column: '' }//prod/test

I then copied and modified a core grails script(see comments in code) that creates domain classes and renamed it create-my-domain(well it was better names then this… but you get the gist :D). See below.
Then I can run

>create-my-domain Book

The following concrete domain class is generated(notice the sequence,id, and generator are all there).

class Book{

  Date lastUpdated
  Date dateCreated
  String createdBy
  String updatedBy
  static mapping = {
    id generator: 'sequence', params: [sequence: 'BOOK_SEQ']
    columns { id column: 'PK_BOOK_ID' }


There are times when I need to query a database that I don’t need/want a Domain Class for.  I tend to create a datasource and inject it into a service that will be handling the connection/query with groovySql

Here is an example datasource in the DataSource.groovy file.

dataSource_salesInfo {
  driverClassName = "oracle.jdbc.driver.OracleDriver"
  url = ""//more on how to configure this later in this blog entry
  username = ""

  password = ""
  dialect = "org.hibernate.dialect.Oracle10gDialect"
  hibernate {
    cache {
      use_second_level_cache = false
      use_query_cache = false

Example service that uses the defined datasource entry.

class AwesomeService{

  def dataSource_salesInfo //Inject it

  def queryDB(){
  def sql = new Sql(dataSource_salesInfo)
  String myQuery ='..'
  sql.rows(myQuery).each { resultSet -> /*do something*/}

Externalize Datasources

One way to externalize your jdbc connection url is to use an system environment variable. Another is to have your operations team generate a properties file based on the tnsnames.ora file and read it into your grails application. I will describe how the properties file based solution would work.
An Example entry might look like the following.


in datasource.groovy file, I add the following to the top of the file.

def props = new Properties()
new File('').withInputStream { stream -> 
props.load(stream) }

then I reference the property in the URL entry for the datasource I am working with 

url = props.get("DATAWAREHOUSE")


Most of my day is spent with Oracle databases. The validation query that I use is


validationQuery = "SELECT sysdate from dual"

here is a complete example.

production {
  dataSource {
    url = props.get("DATAWAREHOUSE")
    username = ""
    password = ""
    properties {
      maxActive = -1
      minEvictableIdleTimeMillis = 1800000
      timeBetweenEvictionRunsMillis = 1800000
      numTestsPerEvictionRun = 3
      testOnBorrow = true
      testWhileIdle = true
      testOnReturn = true
      validationQuery = "SELECT sysdate from dual"


Here are the lines that actually allow you to externalize your config/datasources(Thanks to Burt Beckwith and his book )


production {
grails.config.locations = [
"" //NOTE: don’t leave spaces

I like to have the following in my path

grails.config.locations = [

This forces the file name to have development || production || test and the application name in the configuration file to prevent copy and paste errors(you would never do that right 😉 )

SQL Logging

There are a couple of ways to see what is going on under the hood when your application is querying the database.

The easiest is to add the logSql = true to your datasource

development {
  dataSource {
    url = props.get("DATAWAREHOUSE")
    logSql = true

If you need more information,  Burt Beckwith has the following Logging Hibernate SQL post that you should read. He shows how adding the following lines to your log4j closure will help with understanding what is happening under the hood.

log4j = {
   debug 'org.hibernate.SQL'
   trace 'org.hibernate.type.descriptor.sql.BasicBinder'


A log pattern that works with tomcat(YMMV)

appenders {
console name: 'stdout', threshold: org.apache.log4j.Level.INFO
rollingFile name: 'MyLogs', file: 'logs/MyLog.log', maxSize: 104576, threshold: org.apache.log4j.Level.INFO ,
layout:pattern(conversionPattern: "%d{yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss} [%t] %p %c - %m%n")


Have your war tell you what environment you are deploying to

grails.project.war.file = "target/${appName}-${appVersion}-${System.getProperty('grails.env')[0..3]}.war"

Websites and links to check out


Many of the things I have learned have come from the above links and people. A big Thank You to the gr8 community for all the help over the years.



Grails ldap integration with Active Directory via spring-security-ldap

The spring-security-ldap has great documentation. I put together a working example (at least in my environment) to complement the docs. When I was tasked with integrating our grails apps with Active Directory I remember there being a scarcity of examples.. so I hope this code will save you some time in getting ldap working with Active Directory in your grails environment.

Important files


once you have your Active Directory configurations entered (grails-app/conf/Config.groovy), fire up your app and
test it out by logging in via the login controller.


  • You may have to update MyUserDetailsContextMapper.groovy as my Active Directory environment may differ from yours.
  • You may also want to update MyUserDetails.groovy to hold more or less info than my config.


Adding and Resizing Images with Grails

Here is a quick post on how to upload images within your Grails project to your file system(rather than your database). It seems simple enough, but I ran into a few snags as I was working on one of my projects. Just wanted to provided a working example for those that are entering the Grails territory for the first time. Happy Coding!

I am using the imageTools plugin which you can read more about here

NOTE: The imageTools plugin has been criticized for its low quality of output. ImageMagick may be a better fit for you project(s). My particular project didn’t call for high quality pictures. A quick google search for “imagemagick for grails” should get you started on your way.

I am using version 1.0.3 in the example below

to install, I ran the following command from my grails application’s root directory

grails install-plugin


class Picture {
byte[] imagefile
//Any other stuff you want to track


Controller Code for Saving an image

def save = {

def downloadedfile = request.getFile('imagefile')
def pictureInstance = new Picture(params)
def imageTool = new ImageTool()

if(downloadedfile &&{
String imagepath = grailsAttributes.getApplicationContext().getResource("images/").getFile().toString() + File.separatorChar + "${}.jpg"
downloadedfile.transferTo(new File(imagepath))


imageTool.writeResult(imagepath, "JPEG")
flash.message = "Picture ${} created"
else {

Code for displaying the image in both the ‘show’ and ‘list’ views

<td><img src="${createLinkTo(dir:'images', file:'.jpg' )}" /> </td>