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Programming in Scala: A Comprehensive Step-by-step Guide Paperback – November 26, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 776 pages
  • Publisher: Artima Inc; 1St Edition edition (November 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981531601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981531601
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #997,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Morgan Creighton on April 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's difficult not to let one's enthusiasm for the Scala programming language color one's affection for this book. Nevertheless, _Programming in Scala_ is a rich book with reward after reward for the interested reader. Much can be found on the web about Scala, but this book is still indispensable for the Scala enthusiast for a number of reasons.

First, the prose is clear and gentle, finding the right medium between terseness and belaboring hard points. The authors reveal motivations for many aspects of the language, so that one cultivates a feel for Scala as one progresses through the text. The reader's surprise decreases the farther one gets, as a sense of taste is acquired.

Second, the ordering of the topics is well thought out. This makes the book cohesive, and it's more useful than trying to build one's own curriculum from web materials. For example, pattern matching is explained before XML parsing. This allows the reader to grok the rich support for XML found in Scala. As another example, the "for" expression is covered after exposure to higher order methods. This illustrates their equivalence, and enhances one's understanding of both. As a third example, functional objects are introduced before exploring stateful objects. This gives those readers more familiar with imperative programming early exposure to functional concepts, and sets the stage for appreciating the real power of Scala.

Third, Scala's features are explored with meaningful examples, or mini case studies. Functional class design is introduced with a Rational number class. OO class design is explored with a two dimensional layout library. A circuit simulation API demonstrates writing DSLs. Abstract types are illustrated with a Currency example.
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Format: Paperback
Scala is a relatively new language that combines object-oriented programming with functional programming. Usually, when a new language gets some press coverage, some hastily written books are published, that merely give the user some impression of a language, rather than a good basis to build on.

This book is completely different: right from the start you will notice that it is carefully written and comprehensive. Sections naturally flow from one to another, and every concept is introduced good examples and rationale for why Scala uses a concept in a particular way. For example: Scala Ints are compiled as primitive types where possible, but they can also be treated as class instances (e.g. by invoking instance methods). The book not only explains that this is the case, but also how it works, and how it differs from auto-boxing in Java. Such in-depth coverage is provided for all major Scala language constructs.

Besides the covering language concepts, there are also some chapters discussing library functionality, such as containers, actors, building parsers, XML, and Swing programming. The book concludes with a hands-on chapter, where a simple spreadsheet application is implemented.

I wouldn't recommend this book to newcomers to programming, but anyone interested in functional programming or a user of the Java programming language should at least give it a serious consideration. It's a very interesting read that may widen your horizons and show that a good blend of object-oriented and functional programming does indeed exist. Additionally, it is poised to become the standard work for learning Scala.
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Format: Paperback
The Scala language first crossed my consciousness over a year ago, at a stage where I was just starting to get into functional languages. But even with the various quick tour documents on the language web site, it was clear there were a lot more subtleties to this one that were not being explained.

With the stairway book, that gap has been bridged.

The book is aimed at the experienced programmer in 'C' derived imperative languages, with at least some familiarity with the Java(tm) language, and ideally some notion about functional programming techniques -- it is not by any stretch of the imagination a "my first programming book". For the intended audience, it is an extremely effective step-by-step guide to the features, and the syntax, of the language (this is a great contrast with e.g. Foundations of F# (Expert's Voice in .Net), a book aimed at a similar subject and audience, but which expends very little effort towards separating the accidents of the particular example from the generic syntax). While I am by no means yet fluent in the language, I feel that when I'm using it for hobby coding that I'm not just groping in the dark, but instead have a solid guide and reference to lead me.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to learn Scala, read this book! It was written by the creators of Scala, so it's bound to become a classic. Unless you have a good background in both functional and object-oriented programming, you can't pick up Scala from a few examples and tutorials. I tried. This was the first Scala book published and the first one I read. I am now reading it a second time. As far as I can remember, it's the only computer book I've read twice. The book begins with a gentle introduction to the conceptual foundation and capabilities of Scala. It covers every aspect of the language in its own chapter. Towards the end of the book, it introduces special topics, such as parallel programming, XML processing, parsers, etc. and you will be amazed how easy this is with Scala. As others have already mentioned, the book is well written. Although some of the concepts are difficult, the writing style is always concise and clear. Everything is illustrated by crystal clear code examples, none of which are gratuitous, verbose, or Mickey Mouse style. The thing I liked most about "Programming In Scala" is its practical approach. You get to type code into the Scala interpreter right from chapter 1. The book invites you to try out the code examples, modify them, try this or that, while providing all the theory you need to know (but not more). It's exactly what it says: a comprehensive step-by-step guide.
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