For the first time this year Gr8Conf organized a university day. On this day 3 hour sessions where given about Groovy (in the morning) and Grails (in the afternoon). In the morning I did the session about Getting Groovy together with Søren Berg Glasius (one of the organizers of Gr8Conf). We had a lot of topics to cover and didn't make it to cover it all during the session. Luckily we created a big document with all the topics and a lot of sample code (also from the Groovy Goodness blog series) for the attendees. So hopefully people will look into the document to learn more about the topics we couldn't cover.
Also in the morning was a more advanced Groovy session about AST transformations by Hamlet D'Arcy. I couldn't attend this session, but after 3 days of Gr8Conf I can say AST is now at the top of my agenda to look into further. AST is powerful and provides many benefits for developing Groovy applications.
The afternoon sessions where about Grails. The Grails Kickstart session was a beginner's session on how to create Grails applications. I attended the session about How to write a Grails plugin presented by Burt Beckwith. Burt is of course a famous Grails plugin developer and he has a lot of plugins he contributed to or developed. We learned that writing a Grails plugin is not that different from writing a Grails application. He explained the small difference and also the little pitfalls. During the session he wrote a calendar plugin that was able to communicate via the Google Data API to get and save the data. The source code is on GitHub. The session was very useful and provided enough insight to get me started on writing a Grails plugin myself.
And then after the session it was time for Hackergarten hosted by the guys from Canoo. At Hackergarten people get together and work in small teams on (open source) projects. The goal is to have real contributions to a project at the end of the evening. This is of course a great way to get involved into an open source project and become one of the contributors. I joined the team developing new rules or fixing bug on rules for CodeNarc. Hamlet D'Arcy took the lead and give some outstanding issues that needed to be fixed or new rules that needed to be written. We paired up and wrote an extra addition to the ConfusingMethodName rule. It is great that I now contributed a small part to CodeNarc and the evening was really inspiring.