What does Scala have that has been capturing the attention among software projects? Know here how Scala can benefit your business in several unique ways.
Amidst a background of explosive growth in the use of big data, analytics, and data science, as well as the creation of websites, new programming languages are arising as the new must-have skills. Some of the most popular websites in the world, such as Twitter, eBay, or LinkedIn are currently using Scala as one of their most used programming languages.
But what does Scala have that has been capturing the attention among software development projects? Let’s see here how Scala can benefit your business in several unique ways.
What is Scala?
Scala is a programming language that runs on top of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which is designed to express programming patterns in a type-safe and concise way. In the programming world, it is well known as an alternative to Python for big data projects, and it was originally created (in 2003) to address some of the shortfalls of the ever popular and ubiquitous Java. As such, it offers highly detailed, yet concise code. But how will that translate into business benefits?
Why is Scala hot right now?
On the other hand, according to the 2019 Developer Survey made by The Stack Overflow website, Scala holds the #20 position in popularity. Furthermore, 58.3% of respondents state to “love” working with Scala. For their part, the March 2020 TIOBE Index, which indicates the popularity of programming languages, positions Scala at #28.
Scala’s growth is directly tied to the high demand for big data projects and the software and people to run them. It is a language of choice when it comes to analyzing data using the popular Apache Spark, a leading cluster programming framework. Spark is used in Machine Learning and provides fast, easy-to-use, data analytics for enterprises. Companies like eBay, Netflix, Amazon, Alibaba, Yahoo, and Databricks use Apache Spark for business insights and for powering their customer-facing apps to do things like show recommendations in real time. Look behind the scenes at Spark, and in more than half of all cases, you will find that Scala is fueling those insights and recommendations.
Do not forget that Spark is built with Scala, which makes it more robust and efficient, due to that native connection. Spark is also implemented in Scala due to the fact Scala syntax is less complex than Java, and its performance is better than Python and R.
What are the strengths of Scala?
As we mentioned above, Twitter is one of Scala’s fans. Actually, in a conversation with three Twitter developers, they went deep into its use. One of the things they outlined was the aim of keeping their costs down and the flexibility that the language offers them.
Programmers love Scala because it has a robust assortment of developer tools and combines the strength of two different programming environments.
It combines aspects of both Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) languages and functional programming languages, harnessing the best qualities of each. One great tip to take into account is to teach or pass the knowledge about Objects to the team and improve it with concepts using the virtues of the functional paradigm Scala has. Take the best of both worlds. This way, it will help the code be less error prone and will perform better and be more efficient, thereby increasing productivity and the final quality of the development.
The Scala Library Index (Scaladex) is enormous, providing programmers with a huge ecosystem covering 175,000+ libraries. For programmers who are already proficient in Java, it offers a smooth transition to the world of functional programming.
Some people consider it relatively easy to write, which means it is also easier to compile and debug. There are tools or specific IDEs that make the development more productive, such as Jetbrain or Eclipse. In complex applications, Scala’s use of static types helps keep the code bug-free in compilation time, while also reducing delivery time by a lack of errors. In fact, there are typically fewer errors overall simply because the Scala language uses simple syntax and there is the assurance of fewer defects, especially when compared to Java. This makes testing and refactoring much easier, too. Furthermore, Scala lets you build high-performance systems by using JVM as runtime.
In comparison to Python, another high-level language, Scala may be a bit more complex to learn in comparison to Python due to its high-level functioning features. Scala is most preferred when performance, memory, and safety come into play, such as when dealing with large, intense data processes. It is becoming ideal for large projects that you want to scale beautifully, providing a high quality solution and being less error prone (hence the name, Scala).
How is Scala great for business?
Developers and stakeholders do not always agree on everything, but as every Project Manager knows, finding common ground is the basis for every successful project. However, with Scala, finding common ground where everyone can agree about its advantages is not difficult at all. There are several aspects of this language that make it a clear winner no matter what side of the table you are on.
Faster speed to market
Programmers may love Scala for its efficiency and conciseness, but what does that mean for business stakeholders? If you have a stake in the business side of app development, then you will be glad to know that Scala’s efficient code translates into speed. Clean, efficient, concise code means there are fewer lines to test. Both testing and development go faster, which is a plus because it shortens the development cycle, thereby improving speed to market.
And later on, when new features are added or other changes need to be made or updates to be implemented, this so-called “clean code” will be easier to work with because it produces less technical debt.
A more stable app
As we mentioned earlier, a popular aspect of Scala is that it combines aspects of both OOP and functional programming. One of the strengths of functional programming is that it delivers code that is more stable and secure than that of mutable data structures. With the option of functional programming solutions at their fingertips, programmers have a bigger, more robust toolkit at their disposal for solving problems.
All of this makes for stronger code. With strong code, developers are eliminating a wide array of potentially harmful side effects caused by unintentional effects of weaker types of code. For stakeholders, fewer problems means a more stable app with less down time, fewer bugs, and a better overall experience for users.
Scala is one of the favorites in data analytics: Around 70% of Scala programmers worked as backend developers during 2019, and around 40% worked with analytics. This is because Scala’s performance and qualities have best concurrency support in libraries such as Akka or the well-known library, Play Framework, which is built with Scala, too!
Apps are evolving at a faster pace than ever. Today’s applications are built to perform faster while delivering more capability and providing easier integration. Take advantage of Scala’s virtues and benefits to stay one step ahead when it comes to apps development.
The Scala programming language wrap-up
Programmers love Scala, especially if they have a strong background in Java. Some even report that they are more productive working in Scala and that they have fun at work now that they use it. While we cannot promise that development teams will rediscover their passion for programming simply by switching over to Scala, what we can say is that Scala is a very powerful language that offers benefits not just for the team but for business stakeholders as well.
After all, if the team is happy, that usually translates to a more productive team, too. We can add that to the list of business benefits of using Scala to power your next development project, which can focus on analytics or web backend.
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