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Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

By Arun Kumar

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

For a software developer who wants to learn a functional programming language, Scala is a great option. Scala has an object-oriented structure that is similar to Java, making it a good choice for experienced Java developers.

In this post, we'll introduce you to Scala and explain why it's a great language for both experienced and beginner software developers.


What Is Scala And Why You Should Learn It

Scala is a powerful programming language that blends functional and object-oriented paradigms. Created by Martin Odersky in 2001, Scala has gained a lot of traction in the software development community, and for good reason.

Thanks to its functional roots, Scala code is concise and easy to read, making it a great choice for large-scale projects. But because it also supports object-oriented programming, Scala can be used for smaller projects. In addition, Scala runs on the Java virtual machine (JVM), making it a natural choice for Java developers looking to expand their horizons.

So why should you learn Scala? Simply put, it's a great language that can be used for various applications. If you're a software developer, or if you're looking to become one, Scala should be at the top of your list.

Scala as a Functional Programming Language

Functional programming is a style of programming that emphasizes functions (or mathematical operations) over data. In a functional program, the output of a function depends only on the arguments that are passed to it, and not on any hidden state or global variables.

This makes functional programs easier to reason about. This is because you can be sure that a function will always produce the same result given the same set of inputs. It also makes them more resilient to changes in the surrounding codebase. That is as there is no need to worry about accidental side effects caused by functions that have been changed or moved.

Scala is a functional programming language that supports both object-oriented and functional programming styles. This gives you the flexibility to choose the programming paradigm that best suits your needs on a case-by-case basis.

Scala as an Object-Oriented Programming Language

Scala also supports object-oriented programming. Thus, one can use familiar concepts like classes and objects to structure your code.

Because of its Java heritage, Scala has excellent interoperability with Java libraries and tools. You can use Java classes and methods from within Scala code, and vice versa. This makes it easy to port existing Java code to Scala or to use Scala for new development projects.

The Relation Between Scala and Java

Scala is a programming language with strong functional programming features. It also has support for object-oriented programming. It is also a very direct descendant of the Java programming language and shares many of its features.

Scala also has the advantage of being able to compile into Java bytecode. This makes it possible to use existing Java libraries and tools when developing in Scala. The fundamental goal of Scala's development was to get rid of Java's restrictions, which made it laborious and restrictive. Naturally, the grammar and paradigms of Scala and Java differ significantly.

How Do One Get Started With Scala?

Well, to get started with Scala, you'll need to install the Scala interpreter on your computer. You can find the download links and installation instructions on the official Scala website.

Once you have the interpreter installed, you can open a Scala REPL (read-eval-print loop) by running the Scala command in your terminal. This will allow you to execute Scala statements and see the results in real-time.

A sample Scala code with an example follows in the article for a better understanding. It has all the necessary steps explained in detail.

Creating a Sample program in Scala

There are multiple ways of creating a Scala program. One can use the command line for simple programs or use an IDE for better writing complex code. In this example, we will use the IntelliJ Idea IDE which is a popular IDE used for Java. It has a plugin that can give support to Scala.


  • “SBT” must be installed on the system. It is a build tool for scala which is responsible for building and compiling code.
  • Install the scala plugin for IntelliJ from the IntelliJ marketplace.
  • JDK version should be at least 1.8 and the SBT version should be at least 0.13.13.

Once all the prerequisites have been met, one can create a new scala project in IntelliJ. Make sure to select the SBT you installed as a compiler.

There will be a predefined directory structure created. Directories would be created for both Java and Scala inside the project. We will focus on the Scala directory for now. Create a new Scala class(with or without a defined package, this depends on the user). If there is no option to create a scala class, add scala support by right-clicking project directory -> add framework support -> scala.

For our program, we will name the class Main. Also, change the Kind to Object. Below is the sample class.

For our program, we will name the class Main. Also, change the Kind to Object. Below is the sample class.

Edit the run configuration to run it via SBT. Select the SBT task and enter  ‘~run’ in the Tasks field. The project will rebuild and rerun as we have appended a ‘~’.

Now our environment is ready and we can easily run any Scala code. Additional dependencies and configurations can be added to the build.sbt file. 

Key Takeaway

Scala is a great language to learn for software developers. This is due to its unique blend of features from both functional and object-oriented programming languages. Remember these points of Scala.

  • Scala was designed to be written once, and run anywhere. 
  • This makes it a popular choice for enterprise-level development.
  • Scala is statically typed and has an efficient REPL interpreter, developers can quickly prototype their ideas without waiting for a compiler to run.
  • Scala is compatible with Java as it uses the same JVM.
  • Scala works as an OOP language and also as a functional language.

From all the points discussed above, we can only say that Scala is the next version of Java. A developer with good knowledge of Java will easily have a grip on Scala.

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support

Get started with Scala: A functional language with OOP support