Rod Hilton's Reviews > Programming in Scala

Programming in Scala by Martin Odersky
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's review
Sep 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: programming
Read from May 21 to September 17, 2012

I've heard a lot of people refer to Programming in Scala as "dry" or "boring". I think this description is not accurate, and a more accurate description is "thorough".

Programming in Scala is not a book to get you up and running in Scala quickly, writing good Scala code as soon as possible. This book is about UNDERSTANDING Scala, and not just how to use it, but how it works internally, what aspects of it are merely syntax sugar, and what that sugar is converted to under the hood. It covers aspects of the compiler, the equivalent Java that Scala is being converted to, and virtually everything else. Programming in Scala puts you in the mind of the designer (no surprise, since most of the book was written by Scala's designer).

No stone is left unturned, no aspect left unmentioned. Programming in Scala is everything you would ever need to know about Scala and more. In fact, I wound up skipping a few chapters at the end, because I don't particularly care about GUI programming or parsing XML. This is THE Scala Bible.

If you're looking to get up and running in Scala soon, understanding enough to be a really good programmer with Scala, you want Scala for the Impatient by Cay Horstmann. But if you're the type of person who sees "magic" in programming languages and wonders why the hell that works at all, Programming in Scala is your book. It helps establish the underlying RULES of the language, the kind that, once you understand them, you can PREDICT how Scala would probably implement something.

The book is very long, and very dense, but it is not dry. Really good examples throughout, though sometimes the examples are so complex that the reader's brain devotes more time to understanding the examples than to learning the principles they wish to establish.

Overall, a very good Scala book, but perhaps not an ideal FIRST Scala book.
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