Andrew Gwozdziewycz on 19 Jul 2007 04:51:22 -0000

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[philly-lambda] Re: Scala, anyone?

  • From: Andrew Gwozdziewycz <>
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  • Subject: [philly-lambda] Re: Scala, anyone?
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 00:51:30 -0400
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Please excuse the reply of both messages from Toby and Matthew, but some
things are similar that I will address.

Have heard of it, but haven't used it. To me it looks as though a
bunch of Java developers
decided that functional programming was a cool idea and hacked up a
new language. Thats
my impression from the 2 minutes I've looked at it.
Can you elaborate a bit more on that? What in particular did you see
that you didn't like?

In all fairness, I don't think I ever stated that I didn't like it. My 2 minute impression
hardly counts as knowing enough about something to make an adequate opinion.

What I noticed about Scala, is that it is very much "Java" inspired. This is why I came
to the conclusion that a bunch of Java developers wanted a more functional Java.
Perhaps I use the words "hacked up" too loosely.

Now, some of the first things that jump out at me, are the definition of main and hence
"main entry point" in the Fors object. It also seems to be both strongly and statically
typed, which is pretty much the way Java is.

I didn't really get that impression from Scala: frankly, that's what I
thought F# was. The ability to call into existing Java libraries is
pretty handy, I must say, if for no other reason than to use the
mountain of pre-existing Java libraries without actually having to
write your code in Java ;-) Plus, it could be a lot easier to
introduce to my fellow engineers given its more-like-C-than-Haskell
syntax and semi-familiarity of the JVM/Java environment.

I think your confusing F# with something else, unless I'm missing something.
F# is a Microsoft CLR language, which I'm sure is capable of calling any CLR
code directly and seems to be inspired quite a bit by OCaml. I know even less

The ability to deploy applications on any Java 1.4 installation is a HUGE win. As is
it's ability to "call into" Java. The Scala developers have made a great decision
here. Not only is there no need to solve the virtual machine problem, there's no good
reason to limit the number of early adopters of your language because it would take
you too long to rewrite libraries you need to do some complicated task.

Another effort to do what I'll call "make Java usable" is a project called Groovy . Groovy seems a lot less "functionally" influenced,
but does seem to support closures and a handful of other features you might
find in functional languages.

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