Saturday, October 31, 2009

The King is Dead!? Long live... Scala? Clojure?!

Whoa, why wasn't I told Java is closing its doors? I guess I have been out of touch, word seems to be everywhere. I had to go here (blog of the guy who created Groovy) to find out. James is whooping it up over Scala as Java's successor. Yes, the guy who invented Groovy prefers Scala. Quite a bit:
I can honestly say if someone had shown me the Programming in Scala book by by Martin Odersky, Lex Spoon & Bill Venners back in 2003 I'd probably have never created Groovy. -- James Strachan

Damn. So he pretty much invented Groovy by mistake? Did not know about the two-year old Scala? No one mentioned it to him? Groovy got admitted to the standard in the meantime?

Well, Johnathan Edwards reinvented Python Trellis (ergo Cells) without knowing it, and I did not know about Garnet's KR or constraints -- but Groovy got adopted as official Java! You think Scala might have come up over coffee. Anyway...

Steele said Java brought the world half-way to Lisp. I do not think Lisp means what he thinks it means. Proof might be how hard it is for folks to climb out of the pit of javathink. If Java had been a stepping stone to Lisp it would have made the next step easier, not harder. But Java still cannot do closures. Please. And a quick look at closures in Scala has me thinking, omigod, they call that closures?

Clojure starts to look like a Good Move. I see it mentioned in writings on the death throes of Java and that is a big marketing win. The superwhacky thing here is that both Scala and Clojure are syntactically discontinuous from Java. Folks always thought successors had to have syntax similar to the succeeded though Dylan should have served as cautionary counter-evidence.

No, it is not the syntax. The necessary bridging element seems to be....wait for it...the Java runtime! How did that tail end up wagging the language adoption dog? But Clojure gets the nod along with Scala just for sitting atop the JRE! You people scare me.

Well, if Steele were right Clojure would prevail over Scala. Right now googlefight has Scala winning five to one. Maybe Rich Hickey can move 17% of the world 90% of the way to Lisp?