Play2 & Scala – a New Beginning

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Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my software engineering life. I’ve been an enterprise Java dev for so many years that it’s boring to even talk about it. Don’ t get me wrong, I love my job (if you can even call it a job) but sometimes one needs a spark, a chance to re-experience a honeymoon period that extends beyond love and into a kind of uncontrollable, rapturous madness.

The murmurings for this new chapter began a few weeks ago when I enrolled on Martin Odersky’s “Functional Programming Principles in Scala” course – a fantastic FREE online course that runs for seven weeks, supported by EPFL in Switzerland. For sure, I’ve been well aware of the rise of Scala within the industry but had never gotten round to really indulging in this exciting language (except, maybe, for getting through a few chapters of Programming in Scala on my Kindle). The same goes for the Play! Framework, something I’ve kept an eye on at arm’s length for quite a few years now.

I’m now into the fourth week of Odersky’s course and, following completion of the first three challenging, but almost perversely absorbing, assignments, today I decided it was time to fire up my first Play2 application. Fortunately, I picked up a little freelance client project last week and it was a bit of a no brainer, given my newly mobilised appetite for all things Scala, to implement it using a technology (Play!) I really knew was overdue an evaluation.

Just a few hours after downloading Play! 2.0.4, I have fallen hopelessly under it’s spell – I’ve been wandering around the house in what resembles a drunken stupor, close to screaming with excitement at what I’ve learned and been able to achieve in just one afternoon. My face aches, my jaw having been locked into a permanent smile. I know this is the future, though I feel a certain degree of sadness as I acknowledge my love affair with JEE, and it’s wonderful layer upon layer of abstraction, to be very nearly over (we need to stay friends, mind – my day job will see to that).

The anticipation. The butterflies. So the journey begins.

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