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24 May 2008 . tech . Comments #scalaliftoff #scala #lift #tdd

This has been a most excellent day. Just being in the company of so many great developers is inspiring. If you have a look at the list of participants at the site, you’ll understand what I mean. Also, since this was the first community conference on Scala, I’m glad to have been present.

Martin Odersky had a couple of interesting sessions himself, in particular the one where he demonstrated the building of a fully functional spreadsheet in Scala. In fact this is the example from the upcoming book. Following this lead, David Pollack (creator of Lift), show how we could take this spreadsheet app into lift and make it web based. Very cool.

I also participated in an interesting session with Bill Venners on testing in Scala. As you know I’m bordering on obsessed on testing, so it was good to have an overview of what approaches are most common in the community.

Also we had a great discussion about what we can do about object persistence in Scala. As you may know, I’m not very happy with the state of the current tools in Java, and in particular I want to have more of a disconnect between the object layer and the persistence layer, enabling a varied choice of persistence mechanisms underneath a standard api. A number of interesting people was involved in this discussion, including Paul Snively from Lambda the ultimate.

So what did we get out of this first conference on Scala? The answer I feel is in two parts. Personally I got to learn a lot about Scala, and see who was interested in it, as I’m quite new to it. As a community, it was great to see people from so many different backgrounds getting together in support of a great new language. There were language theory guys, like the guys from LambdaTheUltimate, Ted Leung from the Python community, a bunch of guys from the Java community, and I even saw a couple of the Twitter guys there. I guess they are looking for a new paradigm to help with their scalability problems.

All in all a most excellent day. I certainly learned a lot.