It's been an information packed two days of learning at the Scala eXchange 2011, hosted by Skills Matter. Twenty-one fantastic sessions covering a wide range of subjects. It was great to have so many in-depth sessions. Previous Scala conferences I have been to have tended to be full of introduction level sessions. This conference was different, all of the sessions went into a great deal of depth, which perhaps shows how mature the Scala community is becoming.
The highlight of the two days for me had to be James Strachan's entertaining keynote on the Scalate templating engine. It's certainly going to right to the top of my toolbox when it comes to needing a templating solution. The laughs were long and loud when a small table crashed to the ground in the corner and James commented "...that's the JSP developer falling over!". Scalate is certainly many steps beyond JSP.
Victor Klang's imaginatively titled session "The Promising Future of Akka" was my second highlight. Not only an inspired name of the presentation but some great in depth details on how Akka is implementing the Future/Promise model and how these complement the existing Actor model.
The overall impression I got from the two days was that it was a gathering of very smart people who "get it". The Scala community seems to be made up of the best and the brightest, who are investing in finding better ways to write software. The depth of the talks and the many conversations had over coffee show a great maturity of thought. These are people thinking beyond simple POJOs, DI Frameworks and ORM tools. I think we are on the verge of another major shift in the way software is designed, constructed and deployed.
The other thing that I drew from the two days is that Scala is no longer an experimental plaything, it's now a mature technology. The core language is now stable, the tools are mature to the point where they are almost as functionality complete as their Java counterparts and there is a wide understanding of how to use and apply Scala. The effort has now shifted onto solving more advanced problems like huge parallelism, complex enterprise integrations and complex event driven challenges. From being trailblazers, the Scala community are instead becoming ambassadors: showing how Scala leads to cleaner code, more elegant solutions and how Scala fits so well with the agile process.