Scala’s popularity with the Java crowd has grown past the point of pilot programs and experimentation. Twitter now uses the language, and job-tracking site Indeed.com shows massive growth in jobs requiring knowledge of the language since 2009. Today, Scala’s creator announced the formation of a company, Typesafe, to support the language.
Martin Odersky, creator of the Scala programming language and cofounder of Typesafe, originally got his start with the Java language when he wrote the first compiler for that language.
“About nine years back, I was thinking, ‘Java is great for Internet computing, but what’s going to be the next wave? What new challenges do we face?’ ” he said. “It’s pretty clear the next problem is how to program ever more cores and servers. We’re really not equipped for handling that because the standard model of handling threads and using locks does not scale and is too difficult to program.”
Thus, he created Scala as a language to address these issues, all while running on the JVM. Today, Typesafe made its first announcement in support of Scala, and it released its first product: a stack for running more scalable and concurrent Scala applications.
The Typesafe stack includes the Scala Runtime and the Akka middleware. Odersky likened Akka to Erlang’s OTP in that both use actors.
“The advantage of that model is it’s very scalable,” he said. “You can move it without fundamentally changing the model of the computation. These actors can provide info to each other and take action if one actor goes down. This idea comes from the Erlang programming language.”
Odersky has high hopes for Typesafe. He said that his board of directors includes Java luminaries James Gosling and Doug Lea, and that interest in Scala has picked up around the world. Jonas Bonér, creator of Akka, is the other cofounder of Typesafe.
“We estimate we have 100,000 [Scala] users now, which would be only 1% of total Java users,” said Odersky. “But we have year-on-year growth of over 100% now. If you look at open jobs on Indeed.com, there are over 600 open Scala jobs in the U.S. alone. In the U.K., there are 300. We see a lot of industrial demand.”