I’ve had a great run with Grails.  It allows me to create some quick tools, with a web interface.  However, I recently had a bought with Grails that left me pretty pissed off.

Let it be known that I’m not a Grails dev with lots of experience.  I’m an SDET/Tools dev/QA guy.  The idea of transactions wasn’t something I was well read on.  In the past I’ve had Grails services that auto annotate as @transactional and there was never a problem for me to create a domain object and save an update to it, from the service.

Recently however, I had a new piece of functionality.  Every few seconds, I pull a list of servers in my tool.  I iterate over the server list appending an endpoint that will provide JSON with relevant health data.  I take that and save it to a db, and a front end pulls from the db to show the results in a UI.

This seemed easy, in fact I got it all together but alas, the UI wasn’t updating with the data points from the [server]/[endpoint].  I put in some debug code and clearly saw that the data was getting consumed fine.  So I thought the issue was with how I was saving to the domain object.

I tried different ways of creating it… I thought I had a odd constraint problem… no matter what I did, one thing was clear:

no errors anywhere.

Even with .save(failOnError:true) it was still running without errors and yet the data wasn’t persisting.  I tried using GORM syntax, executeUpdate syntax, even tried inserting into another table, thinking I was somehow deadlocking and not getting warned bout it… but nothing worked.

I followed online solutions after solutions until I realized I was getting far afield.

The crazy part was when I put some debug code that checked the database for my entry post save.  In other words:

I save an update in Grails

Then I check the table for the update I just saved.

It was blowing my mind that it was coming back with the right value – but the Database when queried directly was showing no such commit…

After talking with a  developer he told me to look into:

transactional commits

Doing so, revealed some posts about “your data won’t save unless it’s transactional. Best to use a service.”  Well I was using a service, and it was tagged with the @transactional annotation.

Then I came across:


There someone mentioned the use of:


OK, now that worked. all of a sudden I was getting my data updated.

But Did I need a Transaction?

The dev I talked to asked me a few questions… and finally said, “I don’t think you need a transaction here…” He explained what was going on, and he’s right… I had no need of a  rollback or a transaction state.  In my particular use case this was overkill….

By removing the @Transactional and @Transactional(propagation=Propagation.REQUIRES_NEW) from the service, it was still working.  So I left it out since it was overkill in my needs.

This was a very frustrating problem for me, as I wasn’t clear where the problem lay.  Having no feedback from Grails made it even more difficult.  I don’t even know what prompted me to check the database for the save/updated data I was doing, but that was the final key to unlock the problem.


3 thoughts on “Grails Hell: Transaction Issues, not persisting updates and saves”

    1. Hi Larry,

      I’m finishing up the Pentesting with Kali course and will be taking the exam later this month. Are you also taking their courses?

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