IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1 Help

Getting started with Grails

IntelliJ IDEA supports Grails version 3.0 and later.

The easiest way to create a Grails project is to generate one with the Grails Application Forge where you can quickly fill in a template, and then import the generated template project into IntelliJ IDEA. In this case, the Application Forge automatically sets all required dependencies according to the selected features and profiles.

Open the generated template Grails project

Starting with the Grails 3.0 version, Grails projects use Gradle build system. You can use Gradle to open your project. IntelliJ IDEA imports the project and creates the specific folder structure and all the necessary artifacts.

  1. From the main menu, select File | Open and the build.gradle file or a directory containing the build.gradle file.

  2. In the dialog that opens, click Open as Project.

    Open Project dialog

IntelliJ IDEA creates a fully-functional Grails project with the predefined structure, Gradle build file and a set of libraries.

Create a Grails project with Application Forge inside IntelliJ IDEA

You can use the Application Forge that is integrated with IntelliJ IDEA and create a Grails project through the project wizard.

  1. If no project is currently open, click Create New Project on the welcome screen; otherwise select File | New | Project.

  2. On the page that opens, in the left pane, select Application Forge.

  3. From the Project SDK list, select the JDK that you want to use in your project.

    If the JDK is installed on your computer, but not defined in the IDE, select Add JDK and specify the path to the JDK home directory.

    If you don't have the necessary JDK on your computer, select Download JDK.

  4. Select Grails options from the available template, and click Next.

    New Project dialog/ Application Forge

  5. On the next page, specify the project information and click Finish.

IntelliJ IDEA generates a Grails project with the Gradle build file and all needed libraries.

Create Grails project using Grails SDK

You can create a new Grails project in IntelliJ IDEA with the specific Grails SDK. Before you start creating your project with Grails framework, make sure you have the the needed Grails SDK version downloaded on your machine.

  1. Open Project Wizard, in the left-hand pane select Grails.

  2. In the right-hand part of the page, specify the following information:
    • Project JDK that you are going to use for your project.

    • Grails SDK Home - your local Grails version installation which is represented by a library.

    • Create create-app or create-plugin- select one of these options depending on what you want to create. In our case, it is create-app.

    • Options - use this field for additional options. For example, you can specify a profile such as --profile=web for Grails.

    Click Next.

    Grails new project wizard
  3. On the next page of the wizard, specify the project's information such as name and location, and click Finish.

    Grail new project information

IntelliJ IDEA creates a Grails application with appropriate directories and artifacts.

Explore Grails application

There are some notable differences in the Grails project structure as appose to projects with older Grails versions (1 and 2):

Grails project view
  • build.gradle- the Grails versions 3.0 and later use Gradle for building.

  • config directory - the content of the config directory enables you to use either a YAML file or Groovy file for your configuration. The logging configuration is also available.

  • init directory - this directory contains main application file the lets you run your application with default settings.

  • The Grails view is supported.

    All the Project view settings are available for the Grails view as well.

    Grails view

  • Grails actions are available in the Project view. All artifact icons are changed to Grails icons ('project name' | New ).

    Grails artifacts

For more information on the differences, refer to the Grails documentation.

Run Grails application

When you create a new or open the existing Grails project, IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates a run/debug configuration along with your project. The information specified in such a configuration is enough to run the application. You can click the Run button on the main toolbar to execute it. If you want to edit the created run/debug configuration, from the main menu select Run | Edit Configurations.

Run configuration

You can also run your application from the editor:

  1. In the Project tool window, click the init folder.

  2. From the list, select Application.groovy to open the file in the editor.

  3. In the editor, in the left gutter, click the Run button and in the window that opens click Run 'Application main()'.

    Run Grails application

Your application starts in the default browser, with the following URL in the address bar:


Debug Grails application

IntelliJ IDEA lets you debug your Grails application using Application.groovy.

  1. In the Project tool window, open init directory and right-click the Application.groovy

  2. From the list select Debug Grails:'name'

You can also use the editor to start the debugging process.

Debug Grails application

IntelliJ IDEA displays the results in the Debug tool window.

Debug Grails application with Gradle tasks

IntelliJ IDEA lets you also debug your Grails application using Gradle tasks.

  1. Open the Gradle tool window.

  2. From the list of tasks, click application and in the list that opens, right-click bootRun.

  3. From the list that opens, select Debug Grails:'name'.

    Gradle tool window

IntelliJ IDEA displays the results in the Debug tool window.

Grails coding assistance

You can use the following coding assistance in your Grails project:

  • IntelliJ IDEA provides navigation between all related files such as domain classes, views, services, and controllers. Press Ctrl+Alt+Home in the editor and choose your target.

    Go to Related

  • IntelliJ IDEA provides navigation between the injected dependencies.

    Injected dependency
    File with related dependency

  • IntelliJ IDEA also provides navigation between the methods of the controller and gsp files.

    Navigate to GSP file
    GSP file

  • IntelliJ IDEA lets you open and check the hierarchy of the domain classes. Press Ctrl+H in the editor to open Hierarchy tool window.

    Show hierarchy

  • IntelliJ IDEA also lets you check the domain classes dependencies.

    View dependencies

Last modified: 16 June 2021