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Scala Founder: Language Due For 'fundamental Rethink'

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Martin Odersky

"We want to eliminate some traps that people have found hard in Scala," says the language's designer Martin Odersky.

In an interview, Scala programming language designer Martin Odersky says the industry is in the middle of a paradigm shift, and Scala is leading the move toward a new balance between functional and object-oriented programming.

Odersky cites three upcoming Scala upgrades, with the first, Scala 2.12, aiming to facilitate integration with Java 8. "Java 8 is actually a very good bridge toward a richer functional programming environment, and Scala can provide that," he says. Odersky says another goal of 2.12 is to use Java 8's virtual machine enhancements to the best extent possible, and ultimately give Scala a complete platform for functional programming. The following upgrade, Aida, seeks to remove unnecessarily complicated features in the Scala library collections, as well as integrate the Java 8 parallel collections into that framework, Odersky says. The third upgrade, Don Giovanni, will constitute "a more fundamental rethink of what Scala is" by imbuing the language with a core simplicity on which other Scala features can be based, he says.

Other goals for Don Giovanni include cleaning syntax and supporting more regularity and neatness in certain processes. "Essentially, the fusion of [functional and object-oriented programming] can have a power that neither of the two paradigms individually can have," Odersky says.

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