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Scala for the Impatient Paperback – March 16, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0321774095 ISBN-10: 0321774094 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cay S. Horstmann is principal author of Core Java™, Volumes I and II, Eighth Edition (Prentice Hall, 2008), as well as a dozen other books for professional programmers and computer science students. He is a professor of computer science at San Jose State University and a Java Champion.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321774094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321774095
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Cay S. Horstmann is also coauthor of Core JavaServer Faces, Second Edition (Prentice Hall, 2007). Cay is a professor of computer science at San Jose State University, a Java Champion, and a frequent speaker at computer industry conferences.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By K. Ferrio on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
For the Impatient:

There's really only one reason to read book reviews, and that's to find out if you should invest your time in another book. The short answer in this case is "Yes!" -- provided you are an experienced programmer seeking greater expressiveness -- and "Yes!" -- if you are have stared in bewilderment at Scala code which seemed like a Byzantine Type Zoo. This book will sort you out and put you on the path to productivity.

For the slightly less Impatient: (Ok, I'm going to run long. I really like the book.)

If you're not using Scala yet but you've been reading about it online, you've probably noticed a lot of discussion and speculation online about which companies and how many people are actually using Scala in production. It's clear that Scala is generating a lot of interest, and similarly clear that many people haven't quite figured out whether Scala is suitable for them and their projects. "Scala for the Impatient" can help you decide for yourself and your teams. And if you decide to adopt Scala for a project, this book will also help get you going.

Let's get one thing out of the way from the start. "Impatient" is not a euphemism for "unprepared." Bring your A-Game. This is a book for programmers who are serious about their craft. It has been intelligently written and carefully edited to enable experienced programmers to quickly learn what's essential and what's extra in Scala. There's no fluff here. If you have little patience for undifferentiated repetition and like the idea that every sentence matters, you're in the right place.

But impatience is not the book's only virtue. As I write this, a wave of Scala books is coming to market. I've read several, most of which I'm unlikely to pick up again.
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60 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Doug Pardee on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
[Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.]

My background: I've been a Java developer for twelve years, and I've been following Scala for over four years. I'm not a fanatic about functional programming. My primary interest is in applying Scala in corporate production software development.

"Scala for the Impatient" is to Scala as a recipe book is to cooking. You're not going to learn the basics from it, and you won't learn much of the theory behind Scala, either. It's mostly a collection of short how-to items. The back cover says as much, that it "concisely shows developers what Scala can do and how to do it." In most cases there's no explanation of why something works, how the technique fits into Scala or into various programming styles, what the advantages and limitations are, when you'd want to use it, when you wouldn't want to use it, nor what alternatives you might have.

I have no idea what the purpose of the first few chapters was. They're disorganized grab-bags of mostly the extreme basics (how to call a method) with occasional advanced topics mixed in (implicit conversions and operator overloading, on page 5). If you have even a basic knowledge of Scala, you're not going to learn much until somewhere around Chapter 6. If you're a beginner, these early chapters will leave you totally confused. I'm stunned that the "def" keyword is simply used without any discussion. I'm even more stunned that on page 33 we get, "Alternatively, you could write a.filter(_ % 2 == 0).map(2 * _)" when there'd been no prior mention of closures or anonymous functions, much less the underscore shortcut syntax, nor any mention of the filter and map methods.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Freeman on April 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
I started learning scala "by fire", enjoying the succinctness of the language before really learning what any best practices are, or what it can do--just trial and error. I definitely am happy that I picked up this book, and have learned a lot reading through it. After reading, I feel a lot of refactoring coming on for some of the code I've written.

The information is pretty dense (as you might gather from the title), so I would recommend it for at least an intermediate level programmer. I was a bit shocked to see that the book is ~400 pages, being "for the impatient", but no complaints on the content.

The author continually states "if you're coming from C++/Java, this will make sense to you" or "this might confuse you...", so it seems at least partly aimed toward that audience, which probably makes sense. I felt like I was getting a brain dump customized for me as I read through it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By esebesta on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic introductory text to a sometimes-intimidating language, and IMO the perfect companion to the more official text, Programming in Scala: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide, 2nd Edition.

Learning Scala is often entangled with learning "functional programming", since an easy (though not very fair) way to describe Scala is "Java + functional programming". The author chooses to keep his focus on Scala itself, and leaves explicit discussions of functional programming to small asides throughout the book. I think this is a wise move, because part of the beauty of this language is that you can start using Scala in a "imperative" style familiar to many programmers, and learn to embrace the functional programming features of Scala over time.

Pros:
Very concise introduction to Scala syntax and concepts unfamiliar to Java/C++ programmers (pattern matching, closures, currying, etc.)
Doesn't preach functional programming dogma, and lets the features of Scala SHOW the value of a functional style.
Clear explanations of some of the more advanced concepts in Scala (existential types, structural types, type projections, etc.)
Exercises at the end of each chapter are fantastic, focused, and aren't condescending CS101 trivial problems.
More than a "read, discard" programming book - the content is organized well enough to serve as an effective reference text.
Very well edited - especially for a first printing.

Cons (of a sort):
The book has to move very quickly, and some covered only briefly. The impatient programmer will become conversant in Scala quickly, but will eventually benefit from more thicker texts like "Programming in Scala", above.
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