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Grails at LinkedIn

   Alex Vauthey, Brian Guan
   Monday May 5th 2008




                       © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Linkedin Overview
 Started in 2003
 22M+ members, over 1.2M new per month
 Average member 41 years old, over $100K in
 household income
 250+ employees, mostly in Silicon Valley HQ,
 Mountain View, CA
 Still private and more importantly - Profitable!




                   © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Engineering & Technologies
   80+ Software Engineers
   Main site
       built on Java, Tomcat, Oracle/MySQL
       our own MVC framework, and customized Spring IoC
   Internal backend services
       Java based via Spring Remoting, JMS
   Corporate Solutions
       Grails + Java
   Mobile, Browser Plugins, Facebook apps
       Ruby on Rails
   Partner API
       Java based REST/HTTP services



                      © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Grails Projects/Products
 Corporate Solutions
   Private Portals for Corporate Customers
      Recruiter
      Research
   Typical project requires short development
   cycle for premium customers with focused
   needs

 Engineering Services (Internal)
   Continuous Build/Test Automation add-on to
   Hudson

                 © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Why Grails?

 Needed a more productive webapp framework
 Rapid prototyping to demonstrate feasibility and
 productivity gain
 Benefit vs. risk analysis
    Grails uses established open-source libraries
    Easy to cut-down on the amount of Groovy
    Integration with java
    Open source !
    LinkedIn Internal Spring expertise


                  © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Linkedin System Architecture
Complex eco-system

Many Many components!
  Web Apps (JSP/Servlet, Spring MVC, RoR, Grails)
  RPC Servers (APIs, Network graph, Search, business
  rules,...)
  Async Queues (tracking, real time statistics servers,
  communication infrastructure...)
  Data Access Services and database replicas
  Scheduled batch jobs

About 170 physical servers (and growing), all load
balanced with an instant fail-over scheme

                        © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Key Findings
 Grails is productive for New web-app development...
 But bringing Grails into complex existing eco-system
    First project spent significant effort on quot;Integrationquot;
    Subsequent projects saw productivity gain
 Productivity Gains from...
    Model, View, Controllers, Taglibs, Command objects easy to
    create/maintain
    Hot redeploy of MVC + Services works most of the time
    which helps rapid iteration
    Books, online references, tutorials, examples exists to help
    train team members
    Pure Business Logic as Grails Services/Domain Objects
        Easy to create/maintain
        ...but hard to extract for reuse by non Grails modules




                         © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Key Findings, cont.

 Grails based project is able to reuse many existing Linkedin Java
 assets
    Java Business Logic Services, DAO, Value Objects…
    Handle LinkedIn custom session as a New Session Scope for
    services/controller
    Integrate LinkedIn custom Authentication and Single-Sign-On
    with Filters
 Having creator (Graeme Rocher) and key committer (Peter
 Ledbrook) in the early phase embedded helped tremendously
    Training team new to Grails
    Rapid bug fixes/enhancements incorporation into Grails 1.0




                        © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Challenges + Solutions (1)
 Integration into LinkedIn Eco-System (solutions extracted into
 LinkedIn Grails Plugin)
     Code Integration - Grails Extension for...
        Linkedin custom Spring instead of basic Spring
        Linkedin custom Session instead of HTTP Session
        Linkedin custom Auth/SSO
    Build Integration -
        Final product is a standalone WAR file
        Grails build system assumes top level project within source tree
        and defaults to building within a project
        Our project is a module within Linkedin’s codebase and the
        centralized build convention expects a centralized build
        destination outside
        Grails inject dynamic methods into Classes at build time so
        building a production WAR file still requires Grails runtime
        Custom Ant scripts and Grails build-time event handlers to
        customize build and deployment


                          © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Challenges + Solutions (2)
 IDE - replace Eclipse with IntelliJ + JetGroovy Plugin
 Database - Linkedin convention does not match Grails defaults
    GORM DSL for Naming, custom data type like XMLType...
 Test - fit Grails testing mechanisms into Linkedin’s…
    Integration Test (Junit based) - Entry point is controller actions
    Unit Test (Junit based) - dependencies w. Groovy duck
    typing/EasyMock
    GUI Test (HtmlUnit)
 Deployment - use LinkedIn centralized config external to Grails
 Cross Team Re-factoring
    Groovy code invisible to other Java developers, system wide
    refactoring could lead to bugs during Tests, or worse, Runtime
    Introduce Java based centralized glue service for integration
 Dynamic Language is new to team of Java Engineers
    Groovy looks like Java, but dynamic nature makes errors hard to
    catch at compile time, and re-factoring hard to automate
    More test coverage is required to catch silly errors

                           © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
Conclusion
 For our usage, Grails is a lot more productive
 than current crop of mainstream Java Web-app
 Frameworks
 Grails can work in an Enterprise environment
 Grails can play as tightly integrated component
 in a Java ecosystem

 BTW...
   Enjoy building with Grails? Cutting edge technologies?
   Enjoy building features used by tens of millions of
   Professionals?
   … come join Linkedin!


                      © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.

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Grails At Linked

  • 1. Grails at LinkedIn Alex Vauthey, Brian Guan Monday May 5th 2008 © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 2. Linkedin Overview Started in 2003 22M+ members, over 1.2M new per month Average member 41 years old, over $100K in household income 250+ employees, mostly in Silicon Valley HQ, Mountain View, CA Still private and more importantly - Profitable! © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 3. Engineering & Technologies 80+ Software Engineers Main site built on Java, Tomcat, Oracle/MySQL our own MVC framework, and customized Spring IoC Internal backend services Java based via Spring Remoting, JMS Corporate Solutions Grails + Java Mobile, Browser Plugins, Facebook apps Ruby on Rails Partner API Java based REST/HTTP services © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 4. Grails Projects/Products Corporate Solutions Private Portals for Corporate Customers Recruiter Research Typical project requires short development cycle for premium customers with focused needs Engineering Services (Internal) Continuous Build/Test Automation add-on to Hudson © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 5. Why Grails? Needed a more productive webapp framework Rapid prototyping to demonstrate feasibility and productivity gain Benefit vs. risk analysis Grails uses established open-source libraries Easy to cut-down on the amount of Groovy Integration with java Open source ! LinkedIn Internal Spring expertise © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 6. Linkedin System Architecture Complex eco-system Many Many components! Web Apps (JSP/Servlet, Spring MVC, RoR, Grails) RPC Servers (APIs, Network graph, Search, business rules,...) Async Queues (tracking, real time statistics servers, communication infrastructure...) Data Access Services and database replicas Scheduled batch jobs About 170 physical servers (and growing), all load balanced with an instant fail-over scheme © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 7. Key Findings Grails is productive for New web-app development... But bringing Grails into complex existing eco-system First project spent significant effort on quot;Integrationquot; Subsequent projects saw productivity gain Productivity Gains from... Model, View, Controllers, Taglibs, Command objects easy to create/maintain Hot redeploy of MVC + Services works most of the time which helps rapid iteration Books, online references, tutorials, examples exists to help train team members Pure Business Logic as Grails Services/Domain Objects Easy to create/maintain ...but hard to extract for reuse by non Grails modules © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 8. Key Findings, cont. Grails based project is able to reuse many existing Linkedin Java assets Java Business Logic Services, DAO, Value Objects… Handle LinkedIn custom session as a New Session Scope for services/controller Integrate LinkedIn custom Authentication and Single-Sign-On with Filters Having creator (Graeme Rocher) and key committer (Peter Ledbrook) in the early phase embedded helped tremendously Training team new to Grails Rapid bug fixes/enhancements incorporation into Grails 1.0 © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 9. Challenges + Solutions (1) Integration into LinkedIn Eco-System (solutions extracted into LinkedIn Grails Plugin) Code Integration - Grails Extension for... Linkedin custom Spring instead of basic Spring Linkedin custom Session instead of HTTP Session Linkedin custom Auth/SSO Build Integration - Final product is a standalone WAR file Grails build system assumes top level project within source tree and defaults to building within a project Our project is a module within Linkedin’s codebase and the centralized build convention expects a centralized build destination outside Grails inject dynamic methods into Classes at build time so building a production WAR file still requires Grails runtime Custom Ant scripts and Grails build-time event handlers to customize build and deployment © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 10. Challenges + Solutions (2) IDE - replace Eclipse with IntelliJ + JetGroovy Plugin Database - Linkedin convention does not match Grails defaults GORM DSL for Naming, custom data type like XMLType... Test - fit Grails testing mechanisms into Linkedin’s… Integration Test (Junit based) - Entry point is controller actions Unit Test (Junit based) - dependencies w. Groovy duck typing/EasyMock GUI Test (HtmlUnit) Deployment - use LinkedIn centralized config external to Grails Cross Team Re-factoring Groovy code invisible to other Java developers, system wide refactoring could lead to bugs during Tests, or worse, Runtime Introduce Java based centralized glue service for integration Dynamic Language is new to team of Java Engineers Groovy looks like Java, but dynamic nature makes errors hard to catch at compile time, and re-factoring hard to automate More test coverage is required to catch silly errors © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.
  • 11. Conclusion For our usage, Grails is a lot more productive than current crop of mainstream Java Web-app Frameworks Grails can work in an Enterprise environment Grails can play as tightly integrated component in a Java ecosystem BTW... Enjoy building with Grails? Cutting edge technologies? Enjoy building features used by tens of millions of Professionals? … come join Linkedin! © 2008 LinkedIn All rights reserved.