Java vs. Scala: Which is Better for Development?

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Among programming languages, Java is the most used across the globe. Even as newer languages were released, it has remained at the top. It’s often compared with other programming languages as a result. From Python to Ruby on Rails and others, Java has at least matched the success of those languages. It will be put to the test again in a comparison against the programming language, Scala.

About Java

Java was released by a company called Sun Microsystems over two decades ago. It changed ownership in 2010 when it was bought by Oracle. Java’s reputation is primarily built around how stable its code is as well as how flexible it is across different platforms. Within its system is the JVM, or Java Virtual Machine, and being cross-platform compatible allows other languages or development tools to work well with it. Java is object-oriented, class-based can handle large amounts of data, and is used for all kinds of development projects.

Android and iOS apps, IoTs, websites, and more are where Java is most often used. Many major companies also use it such as Google, Amazon, Slack, eBay, and Spotify.

About Scala

Statistically typed and created for general purpose use, Scala is a programming language based in JVM. Like Java, it’s object-oriented as well. It serves to do things that Java doesn’t and is still compatible with Java programs. Scala was released in 2004 by a developer well-versed in Java programs and coding. Interoperability, its paradigm, and its readability make Scala very versatile. Some of its unique characteristics include a lazy computation, a type interface, functional programming and OOP combination, and the immutability of every declared variable.

Scala shares many of the same uses and benefits Java does since it’s built around it. Corporations like Twitter, LinkedIn, Airbnb, SoundCloud, and Verizon use Scala in their systems.

The Comparison

  • Readability & Ease of Learning

Java, being an older language, is a little harder to learn than other, more modern languages. Similarly, Scala isn’t as easy to learn as those newer languages. However, Scala is more readable due to its concise structure. Both languages are designed to handle extensive development projects and, because Scala is built on Java’s features, its functionality is similar. This does mean that developers versed in Java are likely to find Scala easy to learn.

  • Support & Community

Both languages have strong, supportive communities of developers. Java is known for it, though Scala has a smaller community than Java and focuses on education alongside collaboration with various organizations.

  • Performance

While Java and Scala can be slightly slower with some processes in comparison to other languages like Python, they maintain solid code. This makes it much more difficult for someone to hack into or fix issues with the code. They work well with each other as well. Scala does have code that is concise and shorter than Java, which can make it somewhat faster than Java. However, that is dependent on the development and how extensive the code is.

Final Thoughts

Java has remained a popular, highly-used programming language over the years. Scala, being built around Java, is experiencing similar popularity. Ultimately, choosing whether to use Scala or Java is entirely dependent on the developer and the project the language is being used in.