Griffon will be great!
Will be... but unluckily it's not there yet
I'm referring to Griffon 0.9.5 - if there's a new release and I didn't update this post yet what you're reading could be way out of date
I really hoped to move to Griffon all the project we are starting involving desktop applications, but right know it doesn't seem possible. I messed around with it for a couple of days, and I have to say it's beautiful and we'll surely move to it as soon as it is mature enough, or even a bit earlier then that, but right now is too unproductive. It's not easy to find the correct infos you need, mostly because since when they where written it rained a lot over them, and even a simple example for a plugin can be painful to run.
Most of all, it's the feeling that there's a lot of important corners that still need to be smoothened, so I can't help but wonder if anything I do with this now will need refactoring when a stable version arrives. One example over all others, if I spend my time to integrate GORM with Griffon, when the GORM plugin is already announced, I'd be wasting my time, and quite a bit of it.
That said, the mass of very useful and productive plugins is very inviting. This will be the solution. Like with Grails I feel the search is over.
So, if you need something productive and you already have a framework that suites you for desktop apps development, I suggest to wait for Griffon to be at 1.0 stable release.
On the other hand if you just want to play around, or you simply don't have the need to maintain your project, I really think you should give it a try.
If you decide to do so read on...
If you like NetBeans and you liked it's Grails integration, there's a plugin here that should be just your thing... should be... the plugin is still in beta (after even Griffon is) and you'll encounter some problems. First of all, if you have NetBeans 7.1.0 you'll be fine, but if you run 7.1.1 the plugin won't install for a dependency problem with Groovy support plugin. If it's your case and the plugin version is still Beta 4, download these NBMs instead and you should be fine. Then the two main problem regard install-plugin and Griffon commands. Both lists will be empty, so you'll have to do them by command line. It's not a big drawback, probably it's generated by some changes in Griffon 0.9.5 release and will soon be corrected, but it's a bit frustrating and increment the feeling that the project is not ready.Also, if you like Matisse interface, there's a MatissePanel plugin for Griffon in the package, you can see a reference here, but unluckily this won't work as well out of the box, 'cause the generated code throws some errors at runtime.
A part from these problems the plugin run smoothly, and if NetBeans is your chosen IDE I think you can really work with it even at this stage.
From Griffon documentation I was pointed to Intellij. In the user guide the integration was described as quite lacking, since it states you have to create your projects by command line and the open it as existing sources. Downloading Intellij IDEA 11.1 I found out that it's not true at all. You don't even need to run integrate-with command as the user guide say.
Griffon plugin is core in this version, install-plugin and Griffon commands work fine, and it even has a form builder that you should be able to use with your Griffon app.
I don't know my way around this IDE very well, I've seen it some years ago and didn't like it very much, but I have to say I find it very improved.
If it's your IDE of choice I think you already have all that you need. If like me you always preferred NetBeans, give it a try.
I don't particularly like the editor, I haven't found yet a lot of useful and productive stuff I'm used to, but has a very good Groovy code completion, and since NetBeans is not very good in that to say the least, I think I could adapt to this interface. Most of all it seems a lot less resource greedy then NetBeans. Again, I'm quite new with this IDE, so it's quite possible I'll stick to my usual, but I have to say I'm positively impressed.
I'll wait till Griffon will become a bit more like this...
but I really hope it's soon