Is Scala the next Java?

I can remember the buzz around Java in 1996 when I first started learning Java from a ‘Teach yourself Java in 21 days’ book. At the time it was THE big thing. It was going to be the solution to all our problems. Amongst the people I was working with at the time, saying that you were learning Java raised people’s eyebrows. People were interested, and were at that time on the cusp of starting to learn it as well. In 1997 I took a new job with the prospect of starting development with Java, but it didn’t happen until the next year, 1998. I’ve been developing with Java ever since – that’s 13 years and counting. That’s a long time in my mind.

Scala is getting a lot of talk recently. I’m not sure it is getting the same amount of buzz as Java back in 1996, but even still, the context of the talk is usually around questioning whether Scala is the next Java. The trouble with Scala right now is that it doesn’t have any traction with anyone outside of the developers already working with Java, and only a very small percentage of those will at this point even have heard of Scala.

After 13 years of Java I’m ready to start learning something new, and I’m thinking Scala is where I’m going to spend my time. It’s hard at this point to say if it’s going to become mainstream, but it seems to have the most forward motion of any other new language I’m hearing about right now.

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