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Scala is not dead: Why the move from Typesafe to Lightbend isn't a death sentence

Scala is not dead: Why the move from Typesafe to Lightbend isn't a death sentence

On February 22nd, Typesafe, the company behind Reactive Platform, formally announced the switch to their new name, Lightbend.

The decision to rebrand Typesafe was first announced back in May of 2015 in a move to lift the limitations associated with the heavily Scala focused Typesafe name. They utilized New Kind, a reputable branding company, and feedback from both their customers and the Scala community during the process.

According to Lightbend CEO, Mark Brewer, the name change reflects the constant evolution of the technology game, “Digital disruption is causing business leaders in nearly every industry to modernize their applications and infrastructure in order to survive. Consequently, a tremendous amount of development lies ahead and developers are in the driver’s seat. The challenge, as industry analyst Gartner identified, is “traditional application architectures and platforms are obsolete.”

This news came in tandem with the announcement of a new reactive microservices open-source framework, entitled Lagom, (Swedish for “Just Right”), for modernizing application infrastructure in Java. Yes, you heard that right, Java.

Brewer explains, “It’s a complete dev-to-production experience for Java enterprises. It provides an opinionated framework for decomposing monolithic applications into Microservices and leverages ConductR for tackling the heavy lifting of deploying Microservices in production.”

That’s not to suggest that the company is moving away from Scala, or reducing their concentration in that department. Scala remains the core language powering all of Lightbend’s products and will continue to be a primary focus of the company. In an interview with ADT Mag, Brewer explains that the Scala community and it’s adoption rates continue to skyrocket at an accelerating rate. He stresses that since it’s inception, The Reactive Platform has supported both Scala and Java, and over half of their customer base are Java developers, at least, to begin with. Lightbend is merely expanding their line of services to allow traditional Java enterprises to adopt reactive microservices, addressing a growing need in the field.

Following the rebranding, online speculation about the future of Scala erupted on forums and amongst tech circles, leading some to fear that death was imminent for Scala. In response, Lightbend issued a post addressing questions and concerns, and assuring everyone that the language is alive and thriving.

The main reason the company chose to release the Java API prior to Scala was because their research noted that enterprises utilizing Scala had already successfully deployed Reactive systems based on Microservices and Fast Data architectures, the primary function of Lagom. Without the desperate need in Scala, the language that Lagom is primarily implemented in, it made the most sense to offer it where it was most needed.

Brewer reiterates that Scala is more important to Lightbend’s products and strategy than ever before, after all, Scala is the foundation of everything they build. “Scala is the most effective way for us to build our software and we continue to believe that Scala is the best path forward for the entire industry. Embracing Java doesn’t change that.”

On January 28, 2016, Martin Odersky, creator of Scala, spoke at the Advanced Apache Spark Meetup on what we can expect for Scala in 2016. In what promises to be an exciting year, there will be a continued focus on Scala 2.12, Scala 2.13, rethinking the Scala libraries, new target platforms, as well as DOT and dotty (the working name of the new Scala compiler). The language will continue to evolve and become simpler to use, further reduce boilerplate, and increase code safety.

47 Degrees first joined forces with the then monikered ‘Typesafe’ in 2013 to provide web application & scalable backend systems support and development, leveraging Scala using Play & Akka. Because of Scala’s unique ability to boost scalability, reliability, and developmental productivity, many existing companies relying on Java are making the switch. With our teams strong background in Java, and our commitment to expanding the powers of Scala, we offer a strategic insight and developmental expertise utilizing the entire Lightbend Reactive Platform.

“The team at 47 Degrees has demonstrated impressive creativity and vision in this new space of reactive applications and we’re thrilled to have a working partnership as they continue to help build forward thinking web and mobile applications with Scala, Play Framework and Akka.” - Mark Brewer, CEO Lightbend

The MVP of Lagom will be available in early March via GitHub and Scala will follow shortly after. Stay tuned to the 47 Degrees’ blog for a more in-depth look at the future of Scala and contact us with any questions on how you can seamlessly implement Scala and the rest of Lightbend’s Reactive Platform.

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