It’s been five years since my last blog post on java.net – amazingly still there.
The world changed a bit. Oracle bought Sun. I figured out how to start Matlab clusters on AWS for MathWorks. My first daughter was born. I taught myself some Scala. I left MathWorks for ActivateNetworks – a social network analysis start-up (with more favorable intellectual property rules). My second daughter was born and is just about to start talking. My first daughter started kindergarten. I started working almost exclusively in Scala. I returned to open source work a few months ago with the first release of ScalaGraphMinimizer, and I immediately started using it in my work to study how people communicate in their work.
I miss the challenge of writing, so adding the blog back feels natural. I’ll mostly be describing what I find while I blunder through hobby projects. Many others are learning Scala, so hopefully what I have to say will be of some benefit to them (you?). The blog will be fairly technical, with lots of code examples. I’ll also be dropping in my opinion of what I think works well. I’ve been learning Scala largely in isolation, so I’ll occasionally post something alien-looking. Feel especially free to call that out in the comments.
I’m also a proponent of explicit coding. I want the code to be so clear that people can look at it and either agree that it is correct or be able to easily spot places where the code’s behavior deviates from their expectations. Scala’s ability to blend object and functional programming fits that well. I can use objects to tell a story. Functional-style programming makes the whole story visible.
Speakers at local MeetUps and conferences continue to surprise me with their praise of Scala. They talk about how writing Scala should be fun, and it usually is a blast. I’ve mostly enjoyed writing code over the years, but had never seen people talk openly about anything the way Scala’s proponents tell how pleasant it is.. They even talk about love and parenting. Further, the speakers at the Scala conferences and MeetUps are almost universally fit. Unlike so many in our profession, these people are jacked. They must have time to work out. I didn’t get it until I started doing almost all my work in Scala. I’ve gone from finishing just before deadlines to finishing with days or even whole weeks to spare. I use the time to polish my code, profile and speed it up, and to write extra tests. And then I get some exercise, horse around with my kids, work on open-source projects, and write a blog.