"This past week's BASE meeting was all about IDE support for Scala. You can read my notes, posted to the Scala tools mailing list. I was very surprised by this meeting. Not by the findings, if you will, as I have used all three IDEs at various times in the last few months. What I was surprised by was the feedback from the group, and the logical conclusion of this discussion: Scala is near a tipping point, but IDE support is holding it back."A year ago I was struck by breath of interest in Scala, but the interest I saw was from people with 1) strong interest in functional languages or b) major need to scale.
Now I'm seeing something very different. Many people, including Gossling and leads on JRuby and Groovy, are talking about it as a long term replacement for Java -- they are talking about it as a 'better java'. As I remember it, this is exactly how c++ moved into the mainstream -- not as an OO language, but as a 'better C'.
Last week's BASE (Bay Area Scala Enthusiasts) meeting examined Scala IDEs. This surprised me. I'd assumed that IDEs would not interest Scala people anymore than they interest Ruby people. Not so.
I don't expect any of this to have broad impact soon, but I think that in 12-24 months, having 12 months of Scala background will be nice to have on a resume.
As a dynamic language guy, I have been disappointed that jRuby (with good IDE support) or Clojure has not gotten more attention. However, Scala's design pays so much attention to the need for smooth integration into the Java ecosystem, that I no longer care. In other words they have designed the implementation as well as the language. Scala is much more than just a language that runs on the JVM.
Plus, perhaps I'll be a real for sure functional programmer in a few years;-)