Daily Archives: 2008-03-19

Scala tutorial on IBM developerWorks

IBM developerWorks has the first two parts of an introduction to Scala by Ted Neward. The series looks good so far, and I’m eager to see more.

I was particularly interested to see in the second article that Neward described Scala as “a better Java“, a theme that Dianne Marsh and I explored in the Scala workshops we did at Java Posse Roundup 2008. I’m tidying up the material we used in the first presentation to make it more blog-friendly, and will post it soon.

For me, one key point of that description is the way Scala provides a graceful transition from Java to functional programming, just as Java offered a graceful transition from C to object-oriented programming.

ScalaBridge.jpg

Java’s similarity to C allowed a developer to quickly begin writing procedural Java “with a C accent”, and then transition to an object-oriented style. In the same sense, a developer can quickly begin writing Scala “with a Java accent”, and then begin to shift to a more functional style.

Scala makes this an attractive proposition by offering some immediate benefits. The canonical example is type inference, which allows the programmer to skip writing redundant type specifications. But more about that as I get the workshop material posted.

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