Scala First Impressions

Somewhere in the last few months,  I decided to learn Scala. And master it. There are several reasons to do this, but a couple of them is enough for me:

  • The desire to learn something new, different. Java is nice, I love it. But I want to learn new ways to do things; I want to open my mind to new ideas and possibilities;
  • The urge to be more productive, to be able to spend more time on what matters, and less on boilerplate code. Ruby on Rails is one big inspiration here, but I want something more focused on the Java platform.

So, after discovering about the existence of Scala through one of the Java Posse episodes, this was the language I decided is going to be my next big step in terms of software development.

I still have a LOT to learn. I am just a baby when it comes to Scala. But a few things already hit me. One of those is that Scala source code may seem alien at first. For example, instead of declaring variables like this:

Integer count = 10;

you would do this:

val count: Int = 10

There are a few interesting things about this code:

  • semi-colons are optional;
  • the type definition comes after the variable name, instead of before;
  • the type definition is optional in this case: you know 10 is an integer, right? The Scala compiler knows that as well.

I’ll be posting more about Scala as my learning progresses, so stay tuned! Any expectations? Leave a comment!

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8 Responses to Scala First Impressions

  1. Marcelo says:

    I’ll be happy to ready more about Scala. But in the other hand I feel sorry you didn’t give Ruby a try. =)
    Cheers!

  2. Paulo Renato says:

    Well, my problem with Ruby is that it is not built from scratch for running on top of the JVM. Its more of a philosophical reason than anything, but anyway… 😉

  3. Also note that

    val count: Int = 10

    can be shortened to

    val count = 10

    The type inferencing system deduces that count variable is of type Int because it is initialized with an integer. So declarations can be as concise as in a dynamically typed language like Ruby, but you still get the static typing (and compiling to efficient bytecode using the native types and not using reflection).

  4. Paulo Renato says:

    Eamonn, that is what I meant when I said “the type definition is optional”. Maybe I should have been less lazy and put and example hehehe

    Thank you for your comment! =)

  5. Alberto says:

    Interesting.
    I don’t know why, but i didn’t like the optional semi-colons. I prefer always put it.
    Would be nice have more tips about Scala.

    []’s

  6. Paulo Renato says:

    I didn’t like the optional semi-colons as well at first. The code seemed just too… clean! But then it hits you that actually this is a good thing! hehehe =)

    And there will be more Scala related posts! Actually, I plan to have a lot of them! =)

  7. Excellent site, keep up the good work

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