30 Days of Scala

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I’ve just started on a new project that seemed like it would be a crime not to do some blog posts on. For about a week and a half I’ve been teaching myself Scala, in an attempt to branch out from the .NET space and get back to some of my open source roots.

I originally I chose Scala because I was looking for something that was statically typed, but not C# or Java. I have nothing against dynamically typed languages, but I’ve already played around with node.js and ruby and I wanted something different. Scala seemed like a good and interesting fit.

I started out by trying to read some basic scala tutorials. The stuff put out there by twitter folks like Scala School or Effective Scala was good, but I still felt like the language just wasn’t resonating with me. Usually I try to learn a new language in the context of some sort of big project, which get’s me coding, but usually results in a somewhat spotty acquisition, focused around whatever pieces are important for the project at hand. So this time I decided to try something different. For the next month or so I’m going to try to do a series of code katas in scala.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, a code kata is a basically a simple, short coding exercise, meant to be done in 30 minutes to an hour. The term is borrowed from martial arts, and it literally means “form” in Japanese. The idea is that it’s a set of repeated movements meant to systematically in part of the larger art or discipline. Much like you’ll see practitioners of martial arts repeating the same motions over and over again, the point of code katas is to solve the same problems (or same sorts of problems) many times to help build programming skill systematically.

Once I decided to take this approach, it occurred to me that blogging would be a natural way to help the process of synthesizing that information. I figured this might help other people picking up the language (particularly if they’re coming from C# like I am) and might attract current scala users into a dialog that might lead to even more learning for me. So for the next 30 days I plan to try to consistently code in scala or write about coding in scala and see where that take me. I don’t plan to be super formal about things, sometimes I’ll spend longer than an hour on a problem, sometimes I’ll spend less, but I do plan to do something daily as my schedule allows. I’ll also post all of my code up on github for to help those following along.

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