Java vs. Scala (Advantages, Disadvantages & Performance)

Introduction to Scala Programming

Many of you have heard about a new evolving programming language named as Scala. It is a general purpose object-oriented language which is based on Java Platform, so its code runs on Java Virtual Machine, JVM. It has the static type system which makes it concise. Scala has full support for functional programming. It Supports Java libraries as its code is compiled to Java bytecode. Scala uses the open source build tool SBT, which was made for Scala and Java, similar to Ant or Maven. After the launch of Scala, everyone was curious to see Java vs. Scala.

Java vs. Scala
Java vs. Scala

Java vs. Scala Performance

Simplicity is the basic feature behind the popularity of Java, but Scala is so concise that it can replace up to ten lines of Java code with one single line of code. This conciseness makes it so complex that it is even harder to learn. The syntax of Scala is kept similar to Java so to decrease or remove the learning curve, but this similarity does not remove the learning curve as because of the code complexity of Scala. This can also make a developer frustrated.

The basic purpose of Scala was to make better Java, which is not the only attempt to make Java better. Shifting from Java to Scala is a very hard for beginners, it is very difficult to move to Scala. If someone is determined to learn Scala, even then it can give a hard time.

Dynamic Behaviour

Java is a dynamic language which means that you can’t find all the bugs at compile time until and unless the system is deployed but Scala is purely static language and because of this you will never face hectic time destroying errors. You will not see a null pointer exception in Scala, as there is no concept of null in Scala. Many of the languages came in the past few decades but they were all dynamic, static behavior of Scala is also one of the reasons behind the popularity of Scala.

IDE Support

IDE support for Scala is not good as compared to Java. I first tried Scala on NetBeans but failed to run even a single Hello World project. Scala plugins are still under development. Not a single plugin is mature enough to be integrated with all the IDEs. If you want to get started with Scala, you must use InteliJ IDEA as it got a better support for Scala as compared to others.

On the other hand, Java has a good IDE support, and many IDEs are specifically developed for Java, which is considered a plus point for Java.

Finding Errors in Java vs. Scala

Java compiler gives all its errors with complete traceability; one can simply double-click on the error to go to the exact location of error. But in Scala, you must give a considerable amount of time to find out errors. For Scala beginners, tracking errors through stack trace is a screwing job.

Compiler, Java vs. Scala

Java compiler is efficient enough to generate bytecode within seconds, which is also a great performance feature of Java. Scala compiler is very much slow. It can even take hours to compile if your processor is not super fast with a bundle of cores. As Scala is still evolving, in future it may recover from this performance issue. It is considerably efficient than before but not as fast as Java compiler.

Scala! Why you need more time to compile?

Level of Conciseness

As I previously mentioned that Scala is a concise language, which made it complex. The conciseness was not only in the terms of code but it is concise enough that the concept of classes now doesn’t mean one single file. In Scala, one single file can contain many classes.

Basic Code Differences between Scala and Java programming

Here are some basic coding conventions of Java vs. Scala.

  • In Scala, semicolons are not necessary whereas in Java semicolons are a compulsory part of a statement like other traditional languages.
  • In Scala, you can use methods as infix operators even simple operators like + – * / can also be used as methods, but the sequence should be maintained like other programming languages. You must take care of brackets in Scala, but Java acts opposite to Scala’s behavior of treating special characters.
  • The concept of methods and parameters is taken from the Pascal in Scala programming.
  • In Scala programming, all the methods should be preceded by def keyword.
  • In Scala, the return type of a method is not necessary, although it is supported in Scala. It will not affect your code if you don’t specify the return type.
  • Round brackets are not necessary when calling a method in Scala but in Java, round brackets are to differentiate methods and variables.
  • In Java, casting is done using (type) variable_name but in Scala, you can cast a variable by variable_name.asInstanceOf[type].
  • In Java when you need to import the complete library you use import Java.util.*  but in Scala, * is replaced with _ so the imports look like import java.util._
  • class keyword to declare a class in Java is replaced by object keyword in Scala.

Code Examples to Differentiate the Syntax of Scala and Java

Hello World

Simple Hello World Example in Java

Simple Hello World Example in Scala

Person Class

Simple Person Class Example in Java

Simple Person Class Example in Scala

Java vs. Scala Jobs in Market

In the market according to the popular websites, Scala Jobs are less in number but increasing day by day as because a few number of huge corporations and companies shifted to Scala and many are trying to move toward Scala. Also, the competition for Scala developers is low as compared to Java developers because of the very less number of Scala Developers.

Scala Developers are paid more than Java developers. According to some popular jobs websites, the salaries for Scala developers is approximately up to $150K per annum. Java developers are paid up to $100K per annum.

According to Scala job postings are increasing after 2015.

Who is Adapting Scala?

Some huge names moved their complete or part of their companies to Scala like Twitter moved its back-end to Scala from Ruby. Many other market dominator like Gilt, Foursquare, Spingo, Coursera, Apple Inc, The Guardian, New York Times, Huffington Post, Swiss Bank UBS, BitGold, LinkedIn, Meetup, Remember the Milk, Verizon, LeadIQ, Airbnb, Zalando, SoundCloud, Databricks, Morgan Stanley and are moved to Scala. There are some teams in Google (Alphabet Inc)  are moved to Scala.

Many of these like Twitter and LinkedIn also criticized Scala due its learning curve and some also left Scala due to the same reason.



Click Here for Scala Official Website.

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