qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Bluffer's Guide

Book Review: Scala for the Impatient, by Cay S Horstmann
I talked to agents about four jobs; had interviews at three places, and received two offers. The only one that didn't mention Scala was the one I was rejected for after interview, so it seemed wise in any case to get some basic knowledge of this new language (although apparently it's been kicking around since 2001, so not so new after all). It's been entirely accidental, but actually very useful, to have read up recently on JavaScript and Aspect-Oriented programming, because concepts from both these areas turn up in this functional programming language that compiles to Java bytecode and therefore runs on a JVM. There are some clever features, although the syntax is irritatingly different from Java and some of the cleverness is available in Java 8 anyway.

As for the book, I think it does what it says on the tin. The first three-quarters or so is fairly straightforward for anyone familiar with Java and JavaScript coding. The last few chapters are more advanced and intended for library developers, and I won't pretend I understood much that was going on. In particular, the last chapter on "continuations" seemed to me to be a reintroduction of the "goto" statement, considered harmful since at least the 1960s, though I may have misunderstood. Certainly this seems a fair book overall and it has made me aware of how far behind I have become.
Tags: books, computing
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