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What is Scala?

Alankrit Srivastava
Last Updated: Mar 23, 2023
EASY

Introduction

When we hear about a programming language, it's a general doubt among us about what is the use of it? We already have plenty of programming languages, so what makes people introduce a new one? Well, it is because of the vast majority of problems in our world. As we know, with the world's increasing complexity, we will need new programming paradigms to ease our effort. To incorporate this paradigm, we introduce programming languages or update existing ones. 

Scala Definition

So "what is scala?", a general question, which had been pop up in your mind, that's why you are here. In this article, we will briefly discuss 'what is scala,' how it originated, the use of Scala, some general functionalities of Scala, and other essential aspects you need to know if you wish to learn Scala. So hurry up, and let's get started!

Also Read About, YII Framework

What is Scala?

Scala stands for Scalable Language, a programming language with multiple paradigms. The Scala programming language combines functional and object-oriented features. It is a statically typed language where the source code is compiled into byte code. And this byte code is executed by Java virtual machine (JVM).

what is scala

Scala, released in 2004, is a highly scalable language that gives the language its name. It combines the terms "scalable" and "language." Scala was developed to express general programming patterns concisely, refined, and type-safely. Scala is a contemporary multi-paradigm programming language intended to represent common programming patterns in a concise, elegant, and type-safe manner.

Scala is an object-oriented programming language that supports the functional programming approach. Scala programs can be converted to bytecodes and executed on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine). Javascript runtimes are also available. Scala is heavily influenced by Java and other programming languages such as Lisp, Haskell, Pizza, and others.

How is Scala Originated?

To understand what is Scala in a better way, we will need to go through its history too. Martin Odersky started designing Scala in 2001 at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (in Lausanne, Switzerland). It continued work on Funnel, a programming language that combined ideas from functional programming and Petri nets. Odersky previously worked on Generic Java and Sun's Java compiler, javac.

Scala was released publicly on the Java platform in early 2004 after an internal release in late 2003.

According to an interview with Martin Odersky, the main idea behind the design of Scala, quoted in his words, "Scala was designed to show that a fusion of functional and object-oriented programming is possible and practical. That's still its primary role." 

So to combine two programming paradigms, functional and object-oriented programming, the Scala programming language was introduced.

Why is Scala used?

We have discussed what is scala and now let’s discuss why scala is used.

Scala's greatest strength is its flexibility in defining abstractions. Scala IDE (Scala Integrated Development Environment) is a crucial component of the Scala language used to connect to the Eclipse Java tool. The Eclipse features can then be explored with the Scala IDE. Scala has been designed to work well with the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and the.NET Framework.

Scala code is easier to test and reuse; parallelization is simplified, and there are fewer bugs throughout the program. Scala programming takes a top-down approach; each program is divided into multiple chunks that can be processed in parallel, speeding up the process and improving efficiency.

What causes Scala to be scalable?

A language's scalability is influenced by various factors ranging from syntax details to component abstraction constructs. Scala's main feature that makes it scalable is combining object-oriented and functional programming. It supports high-order functions, tail-call optimization, immutable values, pattern matching, polymorphism, abstraction, inheritance, and other programming constructs well. 

Scala also has its interpreter, which can be used to execute instructions without first compiling them. Another key feature is the parallel collections library, designed to assist developers in dealing with similar programming patterns.

Other features include the following:

  • Scala is clear and concise. It improves support for backend operations. Scala programs are up to ten times shorter than Java programs. It avoids code that repeatedly appears to achieve a result that burdens the Java program.
    Example: A class in Java looks like this:
     
class Ninja
{
// data members of the class.
String name;
int id;


// constructor would initialise data members
// with the values of passed arguments while
// object of that class created.
Ninja(String name, int id)
{
this.name = name;
this.id = id;
}
}

 

It will be written as follows in Scala:

class Ninja(name: String, id: Int) {}
  • It supports static typing, in which computations are expressed as statements that simultaneously change the program's state. It is a method that can improve runtime efficiencies. A static type system classifies variables and expressions based on the values they hold and compute. A nested class type system similar to Java's allows us to parameterize types with generics, hide details with abstract types, and combine types using intersections.

Uniform Access Principle in Scala

In Scala, a programming abstraction known as the Uniform Access Principle is implemented, which states that the annotations used to retrieve a Class property are equivalent for both methods and variables. Bertrand Meyer advocated for this principle. The principle simply states that the notation used to access a class feature should be the same whether it is a method or an attribute.

Some points to consider:

  1. This principle states that attributes and functions with no parameters can be accessed using the same syntax.
  2. A function definition with no parameters can be converted to "var" or vice versa.
  3. This principle is more closely related to object-oriented programming.

Applications of Scala

The Scala language is used in the following scenarios in real-world scenarios:

Application of scala
  1. Developing web applications
     
  2. Applications that use streaming data
     
  3. Application concurrency and distributed applications
     
  4. Batch processing in parallel
     
  5. Apache Spark data analysis

Scope of Scala

Scala has seen tremendous growth in demand since its inception, which is expected to continue soon. Some statistics that support this hypothesis are as follows:

  1. Scala's popularity has steadily increased over the last two years. According to the JAXenter survey, nearly 48 percent of respondents would like to work with Scala this year.
  2. Scala ranks highly in salary surveys, ranking among the top ten globally and sharing first place in the United States - The report from Stack Overflow.

With these increasing numbers, Scala can be considered one of the emerging technologies in the current scenario, as major tech players are incorporating it into their architecture.

Advantages of Scala

In our journey of discussing what is scala, it’s time to discuss the advantages of scala.

Scala brings numerous advantages to the table. Here are some of its benefits:

  1. Scala has a strict syntax that eliminates boilerplate code. Scala programs use less code than Java programs of a similar size.
  2. Scala is both an object-oriented and a functional programming language. Because of this reason, it is an excellent choice for web development because of its combination.
  3. Scala can be used to run Java code.
  4. Scala employs an expressive typing system to ensure the security and consistency of statistical abstraction.
  5. It's simple to learn, particularly for programmers with an object-oriented background in Java or another similar language.
  6. Scala is a highly scalable programming language that can create fault-tolerant, highly concurrent systems.

Disadvantages of Scala

Scala has some disadvantages, which include:

  1. It has a small community, especially when compared to Java.
  2. Scala has limited backward compatibility.
  3. Despite its reputation for being simple to learn, Scala contains concepts and features that many programmers are unfamiliar with, resulting in a steeper learning curve.
advantages and disadvantages of scala


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Scala not well-known?

To be honest, it's because of the compiler and SBT. They are extremely clumsy. Since it began to be measured, the compiler has become noticeably faster.

Is Scala a functional programming language?

Scala is a functional programming language because it supports it. Though Scala is known for being a fusion of both object-oriented programming and functional programming, we will focus on the latter here.

Why is Scala an object-oriented language?

Scala is a programming language similar to Java that combines object-oriented and functional programming. In the sense that every value is an object, it is a pure object-oriented language. Classes describe the types and behavior of objects. Mixin composition can be used to create classes.

Conclusion

In this article, we have extensively discussed what is Scala, how it originated, the use of Scala, some general functionalities of Scala, and other essential aspects of Scala.

If you think this blog has helped you solve your doubt regarding what is Scala, and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles javajava archivesjava vs python and c++, and java development kit. You can also refer to our guided path on the basics of java and many more on our Website.

Check out this article - Compile Time Polymorphism

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