Friday, October 07, 2011

And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enos

Well, Java has not been around 105 years, but it feels like that sometimes.

David Polak explains why Scala is too hard to replace Java. I laughed at this true description of JEE programming:

Junior developers who are asked to maintain code written by senior developers have to understand the idioms and patterns in the code. While Scala makes putting business logic at the forefront of the code (rather than distributed through a bunch of for loops and complex if statements), depending on the idioms used, decoding that logic is non-obvious. This is a variant of the lack of idioms issue, but at the end of the day, you need a team with a mind-meld to grok some Scala code. In Java, the patterns are vomited out of the IDE, so developers grow up being able to spot the patterns. That's not true of Scala where the idioms are diverse and team/framework specific.

How to know if Scala is right for you?

  • Your company has speakers at JavaOne, OSCON, Strangle Loop, QCon: Scala will be easy
  • Lunch-time discussions involve the criteria for moving from a developer to a senior developer: Scala will be hard
  • Your developers can write code in NotePad if they have to: Easy
  • Your developers stare blankly or say 3 "Hail Marys" when they hear the name "Zed Shaw": Scala == Hard
  • Developers all follow Dean Wampler on Twitter: Scala Easy
  • Your developers come in at 9:15 and leave before 6 and don't check work email at night: Hard

Given Dave's solid criteria in the posting, my organization will find Scala hard to adopt. I am saddened, because Scala looks fun, productive and intelligent. But my foremost job is to help my organization succeed.

Which brings me to Kotlin (emphasis in the original):

"Project Kotlin" is the codename for a statically-typed JVM-targeted programming language developed by JetBrains and intended for industrial use.

On the Java to Scala scale Kotlin lies solidly between, more like Java in some areas, more like Scala in others, unlike either in yet others. Overall Kotlin looks like a winner for organizations looking to bail from Java but find Scala and friends daunting.

Kotlin may prove a winner.

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