An Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) release says that a quiet revolution is taking place and Scala, a programming language used by Twitter and FourSquare, may be the next Java. Scala was developed at EPFL and is being used by social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare. The release says that an estimated 100,000 programmers are already using the language and it continues to attract attention from industry for its elegance and muscle.
“I created Scala to boost development productivity, application scalability and system reliability,” explains EPFL professor Martin Odersky (see biography below). The name Scala comes from the idea of a scalable language able to follow increasing user and hardware demands, making it effectively “future-proof,” according to Odersky.
The latest version of the language introduces several new features and improvements, most importantly the re-written Scala collections library that substantially improves reliability and ease of use. A new extension called Named and Default Arguments also makes programmers’ lives easier.
Scala is an elegant union of object-based programming and functional programming, “a fusion,” as Odersky likes to say.
When talking about their move to Scala, Alex Payne, lead API developer at Twitter, said, “We want the code we write to be correct and maintainable. We want to keep our costs down—all the things most businesses want. We wanted to be using a language that we’re really passionate about.”
Scala’s projection as the next Java raises some fundamental questions –
- Is a programming language as important today as it was when Java burst on the scene?
- Does Scala have any revolutionary features that would convince even large corporates to switch ?
- Does Scala have what it takes to be adopted amass & generate a Java kind of wave? Adoption by early adopters & geeks can only take it so far.
- Is the presumption that Java is going away and is open to being replaced far-fetched?
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