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Vaadin on Grails with IntelliJ IDEA

Versions used in this tutorial: Grails 2.3.x, Vaadin 7.1.x. News and updates about Vaadin on Grails are available on VaadinOnGrails

In this tutorial we will show how to create and setup Grails project together with Vaadin, in IntelliJ IDEA. These two frameworks Grails and Vaadin are integrated together with this plugin.

First we need to setup Grails with IDE, IntelliJ IDEA 13 in this tutorial. Or we could get Groovy/Grails Tool Suite which is without any fees.

Setup IDE
  1. Go to and get the latest version of Grails

  2. Unpack it on your local computer and start up IntelliJ IDEA

  3. Open the New Project window and select Grails from the list. Click on Create…​ button and then select the root of your unpacked Grails archive.

Setup IDEA

Create New Project

Fill in the name of the project and choose the latest version of Grails.

Create new project

Click on Finish and on the next dialog, choose Run 'create app'

Create app IDEA

Open file BuildConfig.groovy and add new plugin as follows: compile ":vaadin:7.1.11". The latest version of the plugin is always available on

Build config IDEA

We have to disable Grails to take control over the URLs, so Vaadin can do it. Open UrlMappings.groovy file and remove the mapping, so the content of the file is the following:

class UrlMappings {
  static mappings = {}

If you see this error, run grails again and compile it again. There an issue with grails and it is not possible to compile the project in the first run.

target/work/plugins/vaadin-7.1.11/scripts/_Events.groovy: 1: unable to resolve class com.vaadin.grails.VaadinConfiguration @ line 1, column 1.   import com.vaadin.grails.VaadinConfiguration

Now we want Vaadin plugin to generate the mandatory files in order to be able to run Vaadin application. On the right side in the menu, there is a launch button, click on that one.

Run app IDEA

You can also press Alt+Cmd+G on Mac OS or Ctrl+Alt+G on Windows and type run-app command there.

Mark grails-app/vaadin folder as a source folder in IDE.

Source folder IDEA

Run the application again and a Vaadin application with a single Home label will be available on http://localhost:8080/ria-app in your browser.

First run


All the Vaadin code should be placed in grails-app/vaadin folder. All the other classes that are not UI related can be put to src/groovy or src/java.

Open the generated MyUI.groovy file, edit the content a bit and save the file. See that the class has been recompiled and when you refresh the page, it gets automatically updated. You don’t have to restart the application or use JRebel for small changes. But if we change the application context, add a new bean, change method signature and other 'big' changes, we have to restart the application.

Recompile IDEA

Now you can continue with Vaadin on Grails - Database access