Scala pitch high with Helium IDE

The road ahead for Scala

After months of tit-for-tat sparring between advocates and antagonists over the usefulness of the complex language, the Scala team is looking forward to the future - tentatively laying the groundwork for their next IDE for Eclipse, Helium.

The three milestones for Scala IDE V2 plan a huge redesign of the plugin's architecture as well as implementing an array of new features. One key modification that has been targeted as a future goal is the introduction of a clean and simple API to developers interested in building plugins on top of the Scala IDE.

Here is the complete roadmap and the suggested contributors behind them. As you can see the Typesafe team make up the majority.

Milestone 1 - mid-March 2012

  • Implicit highlighting - Jin Mingjian, David Bernard and Mirko Stocker (Completed)
  • Semantic highlighting - Matt Russell
  • Move to Eclipse Indigo - Eric Molitor (Completed)
  • Design and implement a Scala model - Typesafe team
  • Create an abstraction layer with the Scala compiler - Typesafe team
  • Use the Scala model for the Outline view - Typesafe team
  • Smoother step over/in in the debugger - Typesafe team
  • Create a worksheet (like a REPL but in an editor) - Typesafe team
  • Create a new JDT model builder, using the compiled classes - Typesafe team
  • Extract the presentation compiler in its own project - Typesafe team

Milestone 2 - mid-May 2012

  • Add support for Find References - Typesafe team
  • Create a real Scala Editor (with all completion, indentation, formatting, … support) - Typesafe team
  • Improve dependency tracking - Typesafe team

Milestone 3 - mid-July 2012

  • Add support for Type Hierarchy (both in JDT and Scala specific) - Typesafe team
  • Scala Search (implicit use) - Typesafe team
  • Add support Call Hierarchy - Typesafe team
  • Finalise the API in Scala IDE - Typesafe team

Not aligned

  • More refactoring support - Mirko Stocker, Michael Holzer
  • Specs2 support - Eric Torreborre?
  • ScalaTest support - Bill Venners?

There's certainly a lot to be getting on with throughout the year - and the Typesafe team even state how ambitious the first milestone is. But we're fairly sure that they are headed in the right direction, especially with the addition of implicit and semantic highlighting and the inclusion of Scala within Eclipse Indigo.

But there's more. The team also announced that the first milestone of Scala 2.10.0 has been reached, allowing enthusiasts to test out some of the latest features that are planned for the final version.

Some of these features include the Preliminary Reflection API, a faster inliner, various scaladoc improvements (thanks to the docspree folks) and a virtualised pattern matcher.

As you can well see, Scala is readying itself for an assault on the masses and this year could signal its arrival as a mature programming language. Those heated debates could be long gone but don't count on it.

Chris Mayer

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