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Scala: Beginnings October 24, 2009

Posted by ddouthitt in Functional, Object-orientation, Scala.
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Scala is an object-orientated language (similar to Smalltalk) that runs on the Java Virtual Machine. It can be compiled to Java byte-code, which means it will run at compiled speeds.

Scala is also a functional language as well, allowing the programmer to use the same programming methods as languages such as LISP.

In Scala, everything is an object – which is really the way it should be. A lot of “object-oriented” languages don’t subscribe to this requirement – such as Java. Smalltalk, Ruby, and Scala all do – and are sometimes called “pure” object-oriented languages.

The biggest obstacle in learning an object-oriented language is learning all of the classes and methods. Smalltalk makes this easy with a class browser, but languages such as Ruby (scripting) and Scala (compiled) don’t, as there is no way to learn the classes except studying references.

Going from the traditional imperative style to an object-oriented style of programming is not all that hard; it is a one-time “shift” in thinking. It is the classes and methods that require study.

Ruby has a good class reference (both in book form and as a web reference) – and Scala has one for the most recent version 2.7.7 (using the traditional scaladoc format) or one for 2.7.1 (in the new vscaladoc format). It can be also downloaded as a package.