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The Typesafe Stack
Oh, this is neat. Scala has just announced its 2.9 release; along with that, they mentioned the Typesafe Stack, which pulls together the pieces you need in order to build serious enterprise-grade code from the get-go. This is a new company that looks very impressive, involving many of the power-players of the Scala world -- in particular, both Martin Odersky (the founder and leader of the Scala project) and Jonas Bonér (the creator of Akka), along with a lot of the key people who have contributed to both. The company blog kicked off today with a lot of the rationale behind it.

From the sound of things, it's a nicely pre-packaged distribution that pulls together Scala and Akka, along with the Eclipse-based development environment and key build tools. This matters, because the Scala/Akka combination may be the best current system for building seriously scalable systems. Akka takes the concept of Actors -- originally popularized in Erlang, and implemented a bit roughly in the Scala core -- and fleshes it out nicely, combining it with Software Transactional Memory for when you need fine-grained concurrency. Actors aren't the solution for every scaling problem, but for many typical Internet apps, where the issue is having millions of interacting objects that need to communicate scalably and safely, it's typically ideal. So by packaging all of this, along with the development environment, they provide a good way for developers to *start* with good habits, building systems that scale naturally as part of their designs.

(Indeed, it's pretty neat seeing Akka recognized explicitly as a first-class element of the Scala ecosystem. I've been following this project since Bonér started talking it up -- I likely would have contributed to it if I hadn't wound up elbow-deep in Memento and lacking the time. His assertion has always been that Erlang has the right idea, and that combining that core architecture with a modern language like Scala would produce the best current system for building scalable systems. I suspect he's correct.)

The software is all open source; the company is clearly intending to make its money by consulting. That's a tried and true approach for open source, and I'm entirely happy to see it. And they are very explicit that one of their goals is to make it clear that the Scala ecosystem is here to stay. One of the common complaints over the past couple of years has been that enterprises aren't willing to commit to a language that is entirely volunteer-driven. So they're finally stepping beyond that, with the key members of the community putting their careers where their mouths are, and starting to make a living doing Scala full-time, both in evolving the platform and consulting for projects using that platform. The timing and strategy are both great, and should do well to push Scala fully up to parity as one of the key technologies of the modern Web.

I think it's getting to be time to get Uruk (my Linux box) up and running again. Not that I have left myself much free time for pure for-fun programming right now, but I'm just itching to play with this stuff...


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