Application Development: Scala Programming Language: 10 Reasons Developers Need to Check It Out

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-04-16 Print this article Print


Scala emphasizes scalability—this means large development teams, large code bases and large numbers of CPU cores. Adapting to a multicore and distributed computing world, the Typesafe Stack pairs Scala with an industrial-strength implementation of the Actor concurrency model, called Akka.
Scala is a general-purpose programming language designed to express common programming patterns in a concise, elegant, and type-safe way, according to the Scala language Website. It smoothly integrates features of object-oriented and functional languages, enabling Java and other programmers to be more productive. Code sizes are typically reduced by a factor of two to three when compared with an equivalent Java application. Many existing companies that depend on Java for business critical applications are turning to Scala to boost their development productivity, applications scalability and overall reliability. For example, at Twitter, the social networking service, systems engineer Robey Pointer moved the company's core message queue from Ruby to Scala. This change allowed the company to reliably scale their operation to meet fast-growing Tweet rates, already reaching 5,000 per minute during the Obama Inauguration. Pointer's thinking behind the Twitter Kestrel project is explained in the developer's live journal. His concise 1,500 lines of Scala code can be seen as he has generously made them available as an open-source project. Many other top-notch programmers and industry leaders have already been captivated by Scala. They have become quite vocal in encouraging others, and creating a growing range of books on Scala and an almost endless supply of tips for Java programmers new to Scala, some of which are collected in "Java to Scala With the Help of Experts." One such expert is Martin Odersky, a co-founder of Typesafe, the creator of the Scala programming language, and a professor in the programming research group at EPFL—the leading technical university in Switzerland. Throughout his career, Odersky's singular objective has been to make the basic job of writing programs faster, easier and more enjoyable. In the process, he has personally written more lines of Java and Scala code than almost any other individual in the world. He wrote javac, the compiler used by the majority of today's Java programmers, and scalac, the compiler used by the fast-growing Scala community. He authored "Programming in Scala," the best-selling book on Scala. Odersky also recently keynoted the Microsoft Lang.Next conference for programming language designers and implementers. Here, eWEEK, in conjunction with Typesafe, lists 10 reasons developers should give Scala a try.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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