Scala and Programming 2.0

I commented elsewhere on how the “Architecture of Participation” idea may be percolating into the field of programming languages. I am especially interested in seeing whether the adoption of Scala provides evidence of this phenomenon.

Scala is a strongly, statically typed language implemented on the JVM—all characteristics that raise eyebrows (if not noses) in some circles. However, Scala’s ultralight approach to syntax is very much in line with the current taste for highly flexible notation and internal DSLs as a tool of expression.

Type inference is a very attractive compiler feature. And it’s great to get performance improvements “for free” every time the JVM team makes HotSpot smarter about JIT compilation, method in-lining, etc. But every time I revisit the ideas in Martin Odersky’s Scala talk at Javapolis 2007, I’m impressed with the design of Scala as a notation that invites participation.

Time will tell.

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