Software Development

What is Scala and Should it be Your First Programming Language?

The future of Java looked a bit dreary in the early 2000s. The new programming language was evolving, and Java was losing its charm, despite its wide use. Along came Scala. But what is Scala? Have a look: 

What is Scala? 

A general-purpose programming language and is an acronym from Scalable Language. It provides supports for both functional programming and object-oriented programming language. 

What is the Prime Aim of Scala Programming Language? 

Improve Java and call Java methods, inherit from Java classes, and more.

What is Scala Used for?

Strong static systems, machine learning, and data science! You can use Scala in content management systems, finance-related applications, and distributed applications.

Key Highlights of Scala: 

  • Legible and compact code.
  • Solid Type System:  Helps to eliminate errors and tells which algorithms to use on the data.
  • Java Interoperability: Scala interacts with Java and its libraries as part of the same system.
  • Modern Programming Benefits:  Helps to carry out multiple calculations together. Include processes like asynchronous and parallel. 

Despite the following benefits, Scala failed to take off mainstream. In this article, we won’t tell you why but will focus on whether a beginner should begin with Scala or not. 

Should You Learn Scala As A First Programming Language?

There is a lot of discussions about which programming language you should learn first. It makes sense too. If you go into the programming world, you want to have a good hold on a language that will serve for many years. Here is a catch.

For a ‘hello world’ type program that involves simple computation & necessary files work, any language will work as all serve basic functionality in the same manner. A task like input processing, running loops, getting user input, sharing it anywhere can be run using any programming language.   In the beginning, you will be writing be simple programs for months.  Here all languages are the same, no difference as such. A simple Python program will run the same as in Scala, Java, PHP, and Ruby.  Even the program will be in near-identical format only. 

Though Scala isn’t the most straightforward language to learn; however, if we do Python vs. Scala, it won’t be too different. (Note: Python is a very beginner-friendly language) 

After some time, you will have to switch to more complex software. Things get interesting over here. 

A Language for Today’s Software 

At present, the software is complex. A single program includes thousands of variables. It requires objects, inheritance, classes of objects, and more. A single program also demands asynchronous processes, parallel processes, and interface-related processes in which you need to exchange data across boundaries. It involves different screens, multiple views, and a wholesome of complexity.  

For example, for hardware embedded software, you need a code as small as possible. For a web app, you need both something light and small to load in a browser. For slow machines, you need to optimize code for specific hardware. Or it would help if you had a library to access a particular language. 

It is not that developers make the software complex purposefully. The only reason behind complexity is to ensure the proper working of the software. For web-based apps, JavaScript is a perfect choice. To build an app whose infrastructure is Microsoft software, you need C#. For hardware-based projects, you will count on C or an Assembler-type. 

5 Key Consideration to Pick a Language

  • Understand the project requirement
  • Understand high-level concepts like asynchronicity, inheritance, etc. 
  • Gain experience to use approaches
  • Experiment with language to know which language is more apt, smooth, & efficient. 
  • Gain fluency in coding to express thoughts without syntax and parentheses.

At this stage, it makes sense to talk about which language to choose. Here you can do Python vs. Scala or Scala vs. Java. Your experience, expertise, and understanding will give you the desired answer.

Final Thought: Scala Should Not Be Your First Programming Language

Scala is not super beginner-friendly. It would help if you began with a simple language such as JavaScript or Python. When you need specific libraries like for concurrent distributed apps, choose Scala.  

Unless you need to know what concurrency is, there is no need to explore Scala or other high-level languages. Move with language that has a simple beginner’s workflow.

Need more help or insights; contact us today. We are here to help!


Can we incorporate Java libraries in Scala code? 


Why Does Scala run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM)?

The compilation of Scala is in Java bytecode, so it runs in JVM.

Why is Scala an Expressive Language?

Few contributing factors that make Scala an expressive language:

  • Statically typed
  • Clean/clear syntax
  • Uses type inferencing
  • Works with immutable values only


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