Scala World 2017

October 2017

The annual - for the time being at least - Scala World conference took place in Penrith in England’s Lake District between 16th and 20th September. As experienced instructors working with Scala on a daily basis, the EDC4IT team was keen to see what the organisers had lined up this year.

They were disappointed neither by the venue, nor the line-up. Even the temperamental English weather seemed content to play it cool and maintain an open mind instead of raining down on the event with scorn.

But enough about the weather. Let’s focus instead on the actual event.

A key difference this year was the organisers discarding the usual meet ‘n greets in favour of some physical activities to get the blood pumping and adrenaline rushing. Taking full advantage of the beautiful mountainous surroundings organisers had set up exciting hikes, mountain biking and canoeing for the Saturday and Sunday.

It was great for those who find the typical process of meeting people at conferences awkward and forced. Not so good if you’re not into all the hiking and biking and opted out. However, the small town setting meant it was super-easy to just randomly bump into peers and swap stories, again in a way that didn’t feel contrived.

For professionals, serious about working with Scala, Scala World is a huge event as it almost guarantees quality speakers on a range of topics crucial to our day to day work. Indeed throughout the event there was much focus and talk about the next iteration of Scala: Dotty.

At EDC4IT we’re certainly keen to work with Dotty and take students new to Scala, as well as developers who are more than familiar with the landscape, through all the opportunities offered by the new language.

Amongst the Dotty topics discussed:

  • Felix Mulder spoke eloquently about Real-World Dotty - how the new Dotty language could mean some pitfalls but greater possibilities for day to day coding.
  • Dot: Scala Types from Theory to Practice was an in-depth talk from Nada Amin who took us through relevant design choices and explained the thinking behind them.

Performance was - as always - a key talking point and speakers had much knowledge to impart here too:

  • Alex Nedelcu, creator of Monix, concentrated on API design in his talk: A Tale of Two Monix Streams. Particularly eye-opening was his insight into how seemingly simple design flourishes can subsequently lead to performance issues.
  • Elsewhere Trond Bjerkestrand took us through his humorous experiences in designing applications and how valuable he feels different resources and tools really are in Boring Enterprisy Webapps.

As fascinating as all the talks were it was good to experience some of the workshops that were offered on the optional 3rd day of the event.

  • Dimitry Petrashko offered his “benchmark” workshop which followed on from his keynote at the end of the first day when he talked about JVM low-level optimisation.
  • Ronald Kuhn was also in attendance and offered a workshop on Akka Typed.
  • Elsewhere Dave Gurnell contributed a workshop on Shapeless that picked up on elements from his book published this year, The Type Astronaut’s Guide To Shapeless.
  • The Scala Center Open Source Spree was also a blast!

It was announced that there will not be a 2018 event so we’re already looking forward to a possible event in 2019. For 2017 it was a fun Scala World that left most people tired but very excited about the future of Scala and Dotty.

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