Friday, December 14, 2007

Scala Tipping the Scales

With the announcement of the Scala book and a couple of posts on Reddit: "The awesomeness of Scala is implicit" and "Why Scala?". This coincided with me reading up on what the Workingmouse people (like Tony) were up to with Scalaz.

I've only read Chapter 1 of the book but it's fairly compelling reading mentioning that it's OO, functional, high level, verifiable, etc. It also gives examples of how succinct Scala is compared to Java.

boolean nameHasUpperCase = false;
for (int i = 0; i < name.length(); ++i) {
if (Character.isUpperCase(name.charAt(i))) {
nameHasUpperCase = true;

Compared to:

val nameHasUpperCase = name.exists(_.isUpperCase)

This works for me much like the Ruby language and the books. You can understand where you came from and how it's better. It seems much more compelling than giving a sermon about how all Java users are fornicators of the devil and that they corrupt young children. It seems that most of the industry when selecting a computer language, to continue the religious theme, act like born-agains - jumping from one state to another, "I used to be a sinner managing my own memory, using pointer arithmetic and now I have seen the one true, pure language".

Update: There's also an interview with Bill Venners on Scala. He compares it with LINQ, why keeping static typing is important, how using the Option type removes nulls, that it is both more OO than Java (it removes static methods and primitives) while being fully functional, describes singleton objects and how it achieves the goal as a scalable language. One of the interesting points he makes is that strong types makes you solve problems in a particular way.
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