Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The A-Z of Programming Languages: From Pizza to Scala

Techworld Australia (08/18/11) Lisa Banks

Scala, Twitter's underlying programming language, was developed by Martin Odersky in an attempt to incorporate some functional elements, first within a language extension of Java, and then within a language that did not have Java's restrictions. "At first, this was an experiment, to answer the question whether we could achieve a tight integration between functional and object-oriented programming and whether this would lead to a useful programming model and language," Odersky says in an interview. Scala increasingly developed into an open source environment and then into a language that could be commercially supported. Odersky says one of the biggest challenges of developing Scala was having a language distinct from Java but that also is simultaneously interoperable with Java. He notes that Scala is increasingly used in projects inside Twitter. "Scala keeps much of the 'feel' of a dynamic language even though it is statically typed," Odersky says. "It thus tends to appeal to people who come from dynamic languages--not all of them but some of them."