Over a million developers have joined DZone.

Groovy Goodness: Direct Field Access in (Super) Classes

DZone's Guide to

Groovy Goodness: Direct Field Access in (Super) Classes

Curious as to how to gain direct access to fields in a class's parent in Groovy? Read on to find out how!

· Java Zone ·
Free Resource

Start coding something amazing with our library of open source Cloud code patterns. Content provided by IBM.

When we use the property syntax of Groovy to get the value for a property, Groovy will actually try to invoke a get method for that property if it is available. So, for example, if we have the statement user.name, actually, user.getName() is invoked.

If we want to reference a property field directly, so bypassing the get method, we must place an @ in front of the property field name. In the previous example, we would write user.@name to get the field value directly. The same rules apply for setting a value for a property with the Groovy syntax. If we write user.name = 'mrhaki', then actually user.setName('mrhaki') is invoked. We can use the @ prefix as well to set a value without invoking the set method for that property. So, in our example, it would be user.@name = 'mrhaki', and the setName method is not used.

In the following example, we have a class Person with a name property. We add a getName method, which formats the name field and returns the value. In a subclass, User, we access the name property from the super class using the Groovy property syntax and with the @ prefix:

class Person {
    // We must not leave out a modifier,
    // because without a modifier, 
    // Groovy would add
    // a getName and setName method if
    // they are not already available.
    // But Groovy also adds a private modifier
    // for this property and being
    // private it is not accessible from
    // subclasses.
    protected String name

    String getName() {

    void setName(String name) {
        this.name = "*${name}*"

class User extends Person {
    String getUsername() {
        // .name will invoke getName().

    String getUsernameField() {
        // .@name will access name field.

def u = new User(name: 'mrhaki')

assert u.username == 'User(_*mrhaki*_)'
assert u.usernameField == 'User(*mrhaki*)'
assert u.name == '_*mrhaki*_'
assert u.@name == '*mrhaki*'

// Set field value directly
u.@name = 'mrhaki'

assert u.username == 'User(_mrhaki_)'
assert u.usernameField == 'User(mrhaki)'
assert u.name == '_mrhaki_'
assert u.@name == 'mrhaki'

Written with Groovy 2.4.7.

Use this tool to look at the contents of GitHub and classify code based on the programming language used.  Content provided by IBM Developer.

groovy ,access ,java

Published at DZone with permission of

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}