The Advantages of Scala
No language is perfect for every use case, but Scala brings a lot of advantages. Let's go over some of its more desirable features and when to consider Scala.
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Scala is in a complex fight to overthrow Java. Java has remained one of the most popular, versatile programming languages since the Green Team created it in 1995. Scala was introduced in 2003 with the intent of addressing many of the concerns developers have with Java.
Scala has succeeded where many programming languages trying to compete with Java have failed.
The language, built on top of the Java Virtual Machine, provides:
Compatibility with Java
The language's usage led to Twitter transitioning a large portion of their code from Ruby to Scala in 2009. The Guardian also switched their backend from Java to Scala in 2011. Code optimization and speed within Scala has allowed these sites to transition without worrying about speed issues along the way.
Why Scala vs. Other Languages?
Google conducted a benchmark report among several languages: C++, Java, Scala, and Go. The report shed light on the question: Why use Scala?
Developers are often told to use the language that's best-suited to the task. If you're tasked with making a basic form for a website that gets 10 visitors per day, PHP may suffice. Scala might be overkill.
So, where does Scala excel? According to Google's run-time measurements:
- Scala provides code complexity optimization
Scala offers concise notation
Benchmarks are always difficult with Scala and Java because of garbage collection. Garbage collection interferes with benchmark accuracy, so it's important for developers to understand the advantages of Scala as a whole.
Advantages of Scala
Scala's complex features promote better coding and offer a performance increase. Functions, macros, and tuples are just a few of the advancements Scala offers. Scala incorporates functional programming and object-oriented programming into a powerful language.
Comparing Scala to a language such as C++ or Go is difficult. A better comparison is to Java.
The reason we compare Scala with Java is because the language is run in the Java Virtual Machine environment.
Developers, and those who hire them, need to take advantage of Scala's strengths as a language to fully appreciate the functionality it offers. The language was developed to remove the restrictiveness of Java, offering a well-organized and cleaner language.
Object-Oriented and Functional Coding Paradigms
Object-oriented and functional coding paradigms are possible in Scala. Developers can utilize the strengths of both practices, resulting in code that is:
Testing and development are also amplified. Scala can perform the same tasks as Java with fewer lines of code. Yes, there are ways to shorten the code in Java, but these methods break away from standard practices and make the code harder to read.
Fewer lines of coding, thanks to the joint usage of object-oriented and functional coding, allow for faster development, testing, and deployment.
Closures and functions are part of the language.
Java Compatibility and Interoperability
Scala is a different language than Java, but that doesn't mean developers need to reinvent the wheel. Scala allows compatibility and interoperability with Java, allowing developers to:
Leverage the advantages of JVM
Keep their Java libraries
Singleton object usage in Scala, rather than class static usage in Java or C++, also allows for cleaner coding.
Functional, Advanced Features
Scala has a learning curve, and all developers know that it takes time to master a new language. Scala attempts to add to Java to make it more functional, and with this functionality, developers gain access to advanced features.
Examples of the functional features that Scala introduces are:
String comparison advancements
Mixins, which incorporate functions in class definitions
Developers that have experience in non-Java environments will be more accustomed to features that Scala offers. It's a fun learning experience that a lot of developers compare to learning Ruby. The language is accessible and well-documented, too, making it a great choice for developers of all experience levels.
Scala also includes a full-featured API library that is not bloated.
Scalable software is easier to code, test, debug and deploy when written in Scala. Scala can be utilized to program, well, anything if performance is not an issue. The language is versatile, allowing it to be used to develop desktop software, games, web apps, mobile solutions, and software as a service.
Highly scalable solutions like Klout, LinkedIn, Amazon, Blizzard, Coursera, Twitter are using Scala.
Scala offers clean code, advanced features, functional and object-oriented programming in an open-source package that leverages Java's environment.
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