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Building a Grails Pet Catalog using Netbeans 6.5 and MySQL

Posted by caroljmcdonald on February 11, 2009 at 8:42 PM PST


Building a Grails Pet Catalog using Netbeans 6.5 and MySQL

This Catalog Sample app demonstrates the usage of Groovy and Grails to
implement pagination of data sets for a Store Catalog.

download Catalog sample code
(click on Source Code link)

Overview of the Technologies and Frameworks in the Sample Application

Grails aims to bring the
"coding by convention" paradigm to Groovy. It's an open-source web
application framework that leverages the Groovy language and
complements Java Web development.

Groovy is an agile and dynamic
for the Java Virtual Machine, it compiles
to Java bytecode, and it combines popular features from
languages such as Smalltalk, Python, and Ruby.

MySQL is the
world's most popular open-source database. It offers
consistently fast performance, high reliability and ease of use.

The NetBeans
IDE 6.5
, in addition to full support of all Java platforms (Java
SE, Java EE, Java ME, and JavaFX), has support for software development
with PHP, Ajax and JavaScript, Groovy and Grails, Ruby and Ruby on
Rails, and C/C++.  Netbeans 6.5 feature highlights for Groovy
and Grails:

  • Develop pure Groovy apps or use Groovy in Java SE projects
  • Groovy editor with code completion, highlighting, and more
  • Grails web application framework
  • Open existing Grails applications without adding metadata

Grails is a
Model-View-Controller based framework that simplifies the development
of  web applications by reducing the need for configuration files
and by generating a lot of the things needed in
a database-backed Web application.


The Sample Application

The sample application displays an online catalog of pets sold in a pet
store. The image below shows the Catalog Listing page, which allows a
user to
page through a list of items
in a store.

   style="width: 493px; height: 572px;">

Setting Things Up:

  1. If MySQL
    is already not already installed, then download MySQL  and
    install it.

  2. Download
    install Netbeans 6.5 bundled with Glassfish v3 Prelude.

  3. Download
    and install Grails.

  4. Start NetBeans IDE.  

  5. In the Netbeans IDE,  select Tools Options Groovy and set
    the location of the Grails package, which you installed using the
    Glassfish v3 updatetool.

Creating the Catalog Database Item table style="font-weight: bold;">:

  1. Download the sample
    and extract its contents. You should now see the newly
    extracted directory as /catalog,
    where is the directory where
    you unzipped the sample package. For example, if you extracted the
    contents to C:\ on a Windows machine, then your newly
    created directory should be at C:\Catalog.

  2. In the Netbeans IDE,  Click Open Project in the File menu
    select the catalog directory you just

    is configured
    for  MySQL.

  3. Start the MySQL database as follows:
    • Click the Services tab in the NetBeans IDE.
    • Expand the databases node. You should see the MySQL server
      database in the list of databases.


    • Right-mouse click on the MySQL server database and

  4. Create the catalog database as follows:
    • Right-mouse click on the MySQL server database and
      Create Database.
    • Enter the database name petcatalog and userid root and
      password admin. This will open a New
      Database Connection window. Click O.K. to accept the displayed

  5. Create the tables in the MySQL catalog database as follows:
    • Expand the Drivers node. You should see a driver for the
      database in the list of drivers.


    • Right-mouse click on the petcatalog driver and select Connect.
    • Right-mouse click on the petcatalog driver and select Execute
      Command. This will open up a SQL command window.
    • Copy the contents of the catalog.sql file
      in the /Catalog

      directory and paste the contents into the
      SQL command window.

    • Click the Run SQL icon runsql.jpg
      (Ctrl+Shift+E) above the SQL command window.




  7. Ensure that the username and password settings in the catalog\grails-app\conf\DataSource.groovy
    file are the
    same as the corresponding property settings in NetBeans
    IDE 6.5 for your MySQL server database.

Running the Sample Code:

  1. Run the project as follows:

    • Right click the catalog node in
      Projects window.
    • Select Run Project.

When you run the project, your browser should display the opening page
of the Sample Application (at




How to Create the Catalog Sample Application with Netbeans 6.5 and

Creating the Application

  1. Run the "grails create-app" command from the IDE, by using 
    IDE "Grails Application" project template to create a new Grails
    application as follows:



    • Choose File > New Project (Ctrl-Shift-N) and then
      select "Grails Application" from the "Groovy" category. Click Next.


    • In Project Name, type "catalog"; in Project Location,
      select the folder where the application will be created. Click Finish.



      The IDE runs the "grails create-app" command, showing the output in the
      Output window. The Projects window should show you this:



      Expand the folders and have a look at the source structure created by
      the IDE via the Grails scripts. Also look at the generated files and
      notice that many of them have default values filled in.





Configure Your Grails app data source
for MySQL database

Configuring the data source is a simple matter of changing the
for the desired database and driver and placing the driver jar file in
the <..>/lib directory.

  1. Download MySQL Connector/J 5.1.6 from here.

  3. Extract the bundle and copy the 
    "mysql-connector-java-5.1.6-bin.jar" to the "lib" directory of your
    application: catalog\lib.

  5. Double click on the file
    "catalog\grails-app\conf\DataSource.groovy" to edit in order to change
    the values for MySQL
    configuration. The updated file looks like this (changes highlighted in style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);"> style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">red):



    Code Sample from: catalog\grails-app\conf\DataSource.groovy


    dataSource {

        pooled = true

        driverClassName = " style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">com.mysql.jdbc.Driver"

        username = "root"

        password = ""  
    // your mysql password here

        dialect = "org.hibernate.dialect.MySQL5InnoDBDialect"


    hibernate {





    // environment specific settings

    environments {

        development {

            dataSource {

                dbCreate =
    "update"  // one of
    'create', 'create-drop','update'

                url =



        test {

            dataSource {

                dbCreate =

                url =



        production {

            dataSource {

                dbCreate =

                url =







    Being in production, it's recommended to use href="">InnoDB
    tables instead of MyISAM
    tables. This can be easily specified by using the dialect as
    explained here.
    More details about the contents of "DataSource.groovy" can be found here.

Creating the Domain Class

  1. use the IDE to run the "grails create-domain-class" script as

    • Right-click on the Domain Classes node and choose New
      > Grails Domain Class.

    • Name the domain class "Item" and click Finish. The
      "Item.groovy" domain class is created in the Domain Classes node.

  2. Double click on the catalog\grails-app\domain\Item.groovy class
    to open it in the
    editor and add the attributes shown in red below to the item class.

    Code Sample from: catalog\grails-app\domain\Item.groovy

    class Item

                Long id style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">
                String name style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">
                String description style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">
                String imageurl style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">

                BigDecimal price

      style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153); font-weight: bold;">





The Model - Grails Domain Classes

The Model is your application's persistent business domain objects.
A Grails domain
instance represents a row in a database table.  The command

create-domain-class Item
generates the
 style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153); font-weight: bold;">Item.groovy

class shown below corresponding to the item database table.

After model code
generation you have to
add the domain object's attributes and relationships.

Code Sample from: domain\Item.groovy

class Item

  Long id

  String name

  String description

  String imageurl

  String imagethumburl

  BigDecimal price

  style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153); font-weight: bold;">






SQL  Sample for items table style="font-family: monospace;">



  product_id BIGINT NOT NULL,

  name VARCHAR(30) NOT NULL,

  description VARCHAR(500) NOT NULL,

  imageurl VARCHAR(55),

  imagethumburl VARCHAR(55),

  price DECIMAL(14,2) NOT NULL,

  primary key (id),





Groovy with Grails dynamically generates getters and setters and the
methods, Item.delete(),  Item.list(), Item.get() to
retrieve/update data from/to
the db table.

Grails Object Relational Mapping (GORM) is currently built on top of
Hibernate but you don't have to know Hibernate to use it.

Creating the Controller and Views

  1. use the "grails generate-all" script to create a controller and
    for the domain class as follows:

    • Right-click the Controllers node and choose New >
      Grails Controller.

    • The Item controller and Item views are

The Controller

Controllers handle incoming http requests, interact with the model to
get data and to process requests,  invoke the correct view, and
direct domain data to the view for display. 
In Grails, http requests are handled by Controller classes which
are made up
of one or more action methods that are executed on request and then
either render
a Groovy Server Page or redirect to another
action. Grails routes requests to the controller action which
corresponds to the URL mapping for the request. In Grails the default
mapping from URL to action method follows this convention: http://host/ style="font-weight: bold;">app/controller/action/id .  For
example the URL http://host/catalog/item/list
calls the
list style="font-family: monospace; font-weight: bold;"> style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);"> style="font-weight: bold;">action method in the style="font-weight: bold;"> item controller style="font-family: monospace;">class
shown below.     Grails
Scaffolding provides a series of standardized
Controller action methods for listing, showing, creating, updating, and
objects of a class.  These standardized actions
come with both controller logic and default view Groovy Server Pages.
The command generate-all
generates the Item controller and the List, Show, Create, Edit
Groovy Server Pages for the Item domain object. The style="font-family: monospace;">ItemController
action renders a view with a paginated list of item objects.

Code Sample from: catalog\grails-app\controllers\ItemController.groovy

class ItemController

def index = {
redirect(action:list,params:params) }
style="font-family: monospace;">

  def list = {

    if(!params.max) params.max = 10

    [ itemInstanceList: Item.list( params ) ]


. . .



When a URL has a controller but no action (e.g.
http://localhost:8080/catalog/item/  ), Grails defaults to the
index action. In the style="font-family: monospace;">ItemController
code the  index
action method redirects to the list
action.  The ItemController
list action
method calls the Item.list() method
which returns an ArrayList of item objects retrieved from the item
database table . If there are more than params.max objects in the
table, Grails creates next and previous pagination links automatically.
The itemInstanceList style="font-family: monospace;"> variable  is
automatically made available to the view by the framework.

After executing
code, actions usually render a GSP in the views directory
corresponding to the name of the controller and action, for example the
list action will render the catalog\grails-app\views\item\list.gsp .

Running the Application

The catalog Grails application is ready to run:.

  1. Right-click the application and choose "Run".

  2. When you run the project, your browser should display the opening
    of the Sample Application (at
    /) . If the
    browser does not
    open automatically, paste the URL into a browser and then you'll see
    your application.





  4. Click the "ItemController" link and you'll see this:



Modifying The View

The view layer generates a web
page, using data from domain objects provided by the controller. In
Grails, the view is rendered using Groovy
Server Pages. 

Modifying the List View GSP

  1. Copy the sub directory images from the sample application
    directory catalog\web-app\ to
    your application's catalog\web-app\  directory.

  3. Double click on the file
    "catalog\grails-app\views\item\ list.gsp" to edit in order to modify
    the item list table. Make the changes highlighted in style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">red):

    Code Sample from: grails-app\views\item\list.gsp




    property="name" title="Name" /> style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    property="imagethumburl" title="Photo" />
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    property="price" title="Price" />












    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    ${fieldValue(bean:itemInstance, field:'name')}
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">

    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">

    ${fieldValue(bean:itemInstance, field:'price')}
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">


    total="${Item.count()}" />



    The view uses instance variables set by the controller to
    access the data it needs to render the GSP.

    GSP has a GroovyTagLib similar to the  JSP tag library. are


           The sortableColumn
    tag renders a sortable column to support sorting in tables.

    in="${itemInstanceList}" status="i"

    loops through each object in
    the itemInstanceList variable,
    which is an ordered ArrayList of Item model
    objects,  and assigns each Item
    model object to the iteInstance variable.

    id="${}"> ${fieldValue(bean:itemInstance,
    GroovyTag creates an html anchor tag href
    based on the action, id, controller
    parameters specified. In this example it generates a link to the
    item/show/id action which when clicked will display the
    corresponding item details. For
    example this line will generate the following HTML for the variable item:
    <a href="/catalog/item/show/2">Friendly Cat class="end-tag">a>
    src="${itemInstance.imagethumburl}" alt="Pet" />

    sets the HTML img tag to the


    displays the value of the  item 's price attribute

    total="${Item.count()}" />
    The href="">paginate tag
    creates next/previous buttons and a breadcrumb trail to allow
    pagination of results using the Item.count()
    domain method.

  4. Save your modifcations in the editor. Click reload current page
    on your
    browser. The Item List page should now look like the image below:

    style="width: 511px; height: 529px;">

The Show Action Method

In Grails the mapping for the URL http://host/item/show/1  (
)  will
route to the show
action in the ItemController
passing 1 to the method as the id of
the params parameter
hash. The show
action of the ItemController class
is shown below. The ItemController
action renders a view showing the details of the item object
corresponding to the id parameter.

Code Sample from: grails-app\controllers\ItemController.groovy

 def show = {

   def itemInstance = Item.get( )

   if(!itemInstance) {

      flash.message = "Item not found with id



   else { return [ itemInstance : itemInstance ] }




The show
action method  calls the Item.get()

which queries the items table returning the itemInstance instance
variable corresponding to the item with the attribute id
(primary key)
equal to the  id
parameter. This is the equivalent of the following sql : select * from items where id='1' .
The itemInstance variable
is automatically made available to the Show view by the framework.

Modifying the Show View GSP

After executing
code in the action, the show action
renders the catalog\grails-app\views\item\show.gsp.

  1. Double click on the file
    "catalog\grails-app\views\item\show.gsp" to edit in order to modify
    the item show view. Make the changes highlighted in red below:


    Code Sample from: catalog\grails-app\views\item\show.gsp



             style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">


    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">


    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">



    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">
    style="color: rgb(153, 0, 0);">




    displays the value of the  item 's description attribute.
    src="${itemInstance.imageurl}" />
    sets the HTML
    image tag for the item's imageurl

    displays the value of the  item's price attribute.

  2. Save your modifcations in the editor. Click reload current page
    on your

    The image below shows the resulting page for the url
    http://host/catalog/item/show/1, which displays the item 1's



Grails layouts 
let you put common html on multiple views (for
example page headers,  footers, sidebars).  Default layout
templates are in the views layouts directory with a file name
corresponding to the controller, or you can associate a view with a
layout using the "layout" meta tag to your page:
"layout" content="main">
To replace the Grails logo with a title and parrot image at the
top of the Pet Catalog pages,  put this table in the
catalog\grails-app\views\layouts\main.gsp  layout page:

Code Sample from: app/views/layouts/main.gsp





Pet Catalog




The image below shows the result on the show page after modifying
main.gsp layout page :

Running you Grails app on Glassfish v2:

Netbeans does not yet support deploying grails app directly
to Glassfish, but you can create a WAR file and deploy it on Glassfish
as follows:

  1. If Jetty is running stop it: click on the IDE Services Tab, Under
    the Jetty server right-click on the catalog app and select Stop



  3. Right-click on the catalog project node and choose Create War



  5. Rename the catalog-0.1.war
file to catalog.war.
Copy the  catalog.war file from your catalog
directory to your
Glassfish installation glassfish-v2ur2\domains\domain1\autodeploy 
directory. Start Glassfish.

Enter the URL  http://localhost:8080/catalog
your browser, you should see the home page of the Sample

Running you Grails app on Glassfish v3:

v3 Prelude
is a lightweight
Web 2.0 development and deployment
platform built on a modular OSGi-based architecture. Developers can
benefit from a dynamically extensible and embeddable platform with
support for existing Java Web technologies, JRuby, and Groovy.
GlassFish Support For Grails Framework adds the Grails framework to
the GlassFish application server and allows development and easy
of Grails applications. Applications can be deployed in shared or
standalone mode. Shared mode allows library reuse and results in much
smaller war files.

  1. Install
    the Grails
    to Glassfish v3 using the updatetool.
      Start the GlassFish
    Update Center by issuing the following command: GF_install\updatecenter\bin\updatetool.
    Check the GlassFish Support for Grails Framework checkbox in the
    GlassFish Update Center and click Install.
  2. Read the Glassfish Getting
    started with Grails.


This concludes the sample application which demonstrates how to work
with Groovy and Grails  to page through a list
of  Item Model objects
which are retrieved using Item
Controller action methods, and
displayed using Item View GSPs.


  • href=""> MySQL
  • Grails framework

  • Groovy
  • href="">Introduction
    to the Grails Web Framework with Netbeans


Building a Grails Pet Catalog

Hi there, I am trying to do this guide, but the link to the sample code is not working, is there a way to get it?
I will very grateful if you can help me.

Nice tutorial, thanks Carol :)