Old embracing the new?

Spring meets Scala – the injection Spring needs?

Chris Mayer
SpringSource-logo1

Ideas surrounding Spring’s Scala move surface – question is, can it help turn things round?

The last 12 months have been quite tumultuous for the
Spring community. Changes at the top, notably the departure of
Spring founder Rod Johnson, have left many wary of what the future
holds.

This hasn’t however halted productivity at Springsource,
with, but there are concerns that Spring at large isn’t doing
enough to embrace burgeoning technologies or the changing
enterprise world moving into 2013.

October’s announcement of Spring Scala allayed some of those
fears however. After presenting ideas at SpringOne2GX and Devoxx,
creator Arjen Poutsma has this week released further information
behind the project, in a

blogpost
. So how does Spring Scala exactly
work?

Poutsma tells us that the goal of the project is simple – to
make it “easier to use the Spring Framework in Scala.” So this
isn’t a project intent of bringing Scala developers to the realms
of Spring, but focused on aiding Scala-intrigued Spring developers
find a common ground.

Currently, a Spring developer can learn the ways of Scala,
but it’s far from a simple process. Even if you do manage, there’s
always teething problems with the Spring Framework being so focused
on Java. Actually thinking in Scala and applying its concepts is an
entirely different proposition and there wasn’t anything in place
to help.

The creator adds that this project is
for those “who want to try Scala out but do not want to leave
their experience with Spring behind,” and to make “Spring a
first-class citizen of the Scala language.”

It’s a lofty goal but an achievable one, if the early work is
anything to go by. Poutsma has outlined two pressing goals for
Spring Scala to get off the ground: wiring up 
Scala
classes as Spring Beans
(in both Scala and XML)
and also providing 
Scala-friendly
wrappers for Spring templates
. The blogpost does
an excellent job of explaining how both are achieved.

Poutsma is keen to point out that Spring Scala is a work in
progress, and that these two features represent the beginnings of
the project. A first milestone, available through
the 
SpringSource
repository
or Maven,
shows off what Spring Scala can
do.

This project might inject something new and exciting into
Spring, but Spring Scala isn’t exactly the big reinvention needed
to keep its relevancy. Spring will always be entrenched in
enterprise Java, and offering Scala now just doesn’t make much
sense from their point of view.

This is more an admission that Scala’s inexorable rise meant
Spring had to reach out and create a project surrounding it, with
demand so high amongst its community. In the past two years, more
and more companies are switching to Scala, so its natural to see
this happen. It’s just slightly strange to see it happen after Rod
Johnson left to join Typesafe’s Board of Directors. Perhaps it was
in the works beforehand?

It’s an encouraging start for Spring Scala though, with many
possibilities from here, and the team are interested in hearing
your feature requests. If you’re intrigued by Spring Scala, head
over to 
Github
to find out more.

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