Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Language of the Summer: Scala?

I've been quite fascinated with Haskell as a language.  It's purely functional, ridiculously strict typing, and algebraic syntax were completely foreign to me before I began learning about it.  I wouldn't say that I learned Haskell, but I did learn about it.  I learned enough to know that it's a bit over my head at this point and that I need a better theoretical foundation before I attempt to tackle it again.

So in the mean time I wanted to take on something more transitional.  I had considered F#.  It seems like a great choice, especially since I already know C# and am familiar with the .NET platform.  But it's a Microsoft language and I was hoping for something more portable (actually, I'm harboring a secret desire to use a functional programming language to one day code for Lego Mindstorms NXT with).

I happened to stumble upon Lift again yesterday.  I had heard about it before when I was looking at other web frameworks after watching a keynote from the author of Seaside at Djangocon.

However, I realized something important about Lift and Scala which I had never caught before: Scala compiles to java bytecode.  Java can be run on Google App Engine.  I can use Scala/Lift to write for App Engine.

Suddenly I'm hooked.  Oh, awesome, and the book "Programming Scala" is available freely online.  Mmmm... looks like I have my reading for my traveling this summer.


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