My first experiment writing code in Scala


2 min read

(This post was written on Nov 17, 2016. For some reason I forgot to publish it at that time).

For the past few days, I have been assigned a small programming task which should be done in Scala. This is part of a hiring process and I have been asked to implement the server side of a tic-tac-toe game in Scala providing a REST API.

For the past few days, I have been assigned a small programming task which should be done in Scala. Now, this is the first time I am writing code in Scala language ever. So although I am not a professional Scala developer yet, I thought I should write down about my experience here.

The Good

I really like the language. It is simple and straight-forward. The principle of least astonishment was obeyed and I had very little surprises when I wanted to see how something is done, which is really good.

One of the positive points was the fact that there is no separation between primitive and Object-based data types. So we have “Int” and not “int” + “Integer” (Like Java). This helps a lot.

I also liked the way objects are defined: Like a function which accepts a set of inputs:

class Game(val player1: String, val player2: String) { ... }

Also the `var` and `val` separation is really encouraging the developer to make the best decision about the immutability of the data he is working with. It makes you think in a new way.

In Scala, you can use Java libraries easily without any pain. That gives you access to thousands of valuable frameworks and modules.

The Bad

Well, this section is mostly personal preference.

In Scala (unlike C and Java and similar languages), you should obey “variable name : type” rule which is not normal for me, considering the fact that I have worked for many years in C-like languages which have: “type variable_name” notation.

The “=” notation when defining a function which is returning a value, does not seem natural to me. Usually, you use “=” when you want to assign a value to a variable but the functions are not variables!

Same for the “<-” notation which is used to iterate over a collection.

Also I noticed there is no “break/continue” keywords in Scala. Well, it is possible to “simulate” them using a set of built-in keywords and exceptions, but seriously! exceptions are not invented to break out of a for loop! You should not use them to control program execution.