Interview with Shadaj Laddad: Programming Changes the Way You Think

Scala Days is not only a major event for the Scala community, but also a great place to meet amazing people and get inspiration. If you’ve been to Scala Days in Berlin this year, you might have seen a great talk “Serious Fun with Scala“ by a 14 years old Shadaj Laddad, Scala enthusiast and wunderkind. We couldn’t miss the chance to catch Shadaj and ask him a few questions for our blog about Scala, learning programming, game development, math and science.

At OSCON 2014 you gave a splendid opening keynote “The Wonders of Programming”. At your age this talk has not only made you famous as one of the youngest programmers, but also made you the youngest enthusiast who encourages other people to program. How did it happen that you got interested in programming?

I started getting into programming when I was around 6 years old. My dad got me the (just released at the time) Lego Mindstorms NXT kit, a robotics platform that uses Lego parts but also has motors and sensors that can be programmed with a simple graphical language. I started out following the directions that came with the kit, but in the process I learned how I can make my own creations. Next, my dad got me Learn to Program by Chris Pine. This book teaches Ruby, but assumes that the reader has no previous knowledge of programming. The book showed many interesting applications of programming concepts such as how a simulation game could use a two-dimensional array to store building locations. I continued to learn new programming languages such as Python through another book, Hello World. Somewhere along the line, I started to learn Scala. As I learned about different ways programming can be used for all sorts of applications my interest in programming grew. This still continues today when I see a tweet or a GitHub project showing some interesting technique.

You’ve programed in Logo, NXT Mindstorms, Ruby, Python, C and Java, but Scala is your favorite. Can you tell us why do you prefer Scala? What makes it special? Is there anything you liked in other programming languages?

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Scala Plugin 1.1.362 EAP is Out

Good news for everyone who’s already tried IntelliJ IDEA 14 with updated Scala plugin. Today we’ve released its upcoming 1.1 EAP build.

One of the notable changes is the simplified configuration of the Scala plugin update channel via Settings → Languages & Frameworks →  Scala → Misc:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 15.31.28

Before you can start using these new update channel settings you’ll need to install the 1.1.362 EAP build from Scala plugin EAP page or by specifying the new EAP repository URL in Settings → Plugins → Browse repositories → Manage repositories.

For the complete list of changes see Release Notes.

As always, you’re welcome to share your feedback in our discussion forum and issue tracker.

Develop with Pleasure!

Scala plugin EAP page

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Scala Plugin Update for IntelliJ IDEA 14 RC is Out

Following IntelliJ IDEA 14 RC that has been released a couple of days ago, we’re publishing a Scala plugin update for it. In this post you will find what’s new in this build:

Scala plugin project migrates to SBT

First of all, Scala plugin project itself now uses SBT for build and dependency management. This is good in a number of ways, one of which is that the SBT task that comes with the project will let you download a correct version of IntelliJ IDEA as a dependency.

Rethinking the project configuration model

Another change is that we’ve finally decided to get rid of the Scala facet and replace it with so called Scala SDK library that, in addition to the standard Scala libraries, has a classpath to Scala compiler:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 17.31.33

This change unfortunately is not backward-compatible, and that means you’ll have to convert the your projects to use them with IntelliJ IDEA 14, but don’t worry, it will do it automatically.

Anonymous functions evaluation

And last, but not least, the updated Evaluate expression and Watches now let you evaluate anonymous functions:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 17.38.12

This feature still has several limitations and not everything may work as expected (e.g. it doesn’t allow you to access private members unused in other anonymous functions/classes) but we hope to fix it soon.

That’s it for now. For the complete list of changes, please refer to the Release Notes.

The IntelliJ IDEA 14 release is around a corner, it’s your last chance to submit your feedback, use our discussion forum or report bugs directly to the issue tracker.

Develop with Pleasure!

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Scala plugin EAP 1.0.182.5 for IntelliJ IDEA 14 EAP is Out

New IntelliJ IDEA 14 EAP is already available, and we just released the new Scala plugin for it. You can get the latest update via Settings → Plugins.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s new in this version:

  • Parameter info for infix method calls
  • Java to Scala converter fixes
  • Error highlighting fixes
  • Type variable in patterns support
  • Performance improvements for big “for expressions”
  • New inspection: explicit type for implicit functions
  • New inspection: detect useless expressions
  • Change signature for constructors

scala_parameter_info

For the complete list of changes, refer to the Release Notes.

As always, you’re welcome to share your feedback in our discussion forum or issue tracker.

Develop with Pleasure!

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Scala and Play 2.0 Plugin for IntelliJ IDEA 14 EAP is Out

We’re excited to tell you that we’ve just started the Scala plugin EAP for IntelliJ IDEA 14, so if you’re running an IntelliJ IDEA 14 EAP build, you can install the new Scala plugin via SettingsPlugins.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 17.00.15

Here’s what the new Scala plugin brings you.

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Scala and Play Plugins Update 0.41.2 is Out

Some of you might have noticed some regressions in the two recent updates (0.41 and 0.41.1). We apologize for this inconvenience and offer you this quick 0.41.2 update that fixes the problems.

We’d also like to announce that starting today we’re not adding any more new features to the Scala and Play plugins for IntelliJ IDEA 13 because we’re moving to the development of these plugins for IntelliJ IDEA 14 and are going to open their EAP soon. Stay tuned to our blog for more news.

Develop with Pleasure!

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Scala and Play 2 Plugins Update 0.41 is Out

Good news, everyone! New versions of the Scala and Play 2 plugins have just arrived, packed with long-awaited new features and improvements.

Major new features of the update are:

  • Scalastyle support
  • Show implicit parameters improvements
  • Better Spray support
  • Unicode arrows support
  • Unwrap/Remove action
  • Procedure syntax support
  • Error highlighting now checks variance position in your code
  • Improved code completion in SBT files
  • Quick-fixes that create classes, objects and traits from usages

For more details on these features check out the blog posts we published recently: about 0.41 EAP and 0.41 RC1.

Spread the word, and don’t forget to share your feedback with us through our discussion forum and issue tracker.

Develop with Pleasure!

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Scala and Play 2 Plugins 0.41 RC1 is Out

To start using EAP builds just add a corresponding repository URL via Settings → Plugins → Browse repositories… → Manage repositories (just like with the nightly builds.) After that your IDE will automatically inform you about updates and install them for you. And, of course, you can always get the latest updates from Scala and Play 2 plugins EAP page and install them manually.

Here’s what’s new in the upcoming EAP (0.41):

  • Error highlighting now checks variance position in your code
  • Improved basic completion in SBT files:
    Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 15.25.04
  • Create class, object or trait from usages.

For the full list of changes see Release Notes.

As always, you’re welcome to share your feedback in our discussion forum, or issue tracker.

Develop with Pleasure!

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Scala and Play 2 Plugins 0.41 EAP is Out

If you’ve ever used a nightly build of Scala or Play 2 plugins, then you probably know that mixed feeling of being on the edge and using the features none of your colleagues is even aware of yet, but at the same time expecting your entire environment to crash at any moment.

Well, we sort of took care of that second part by opening of Scala and Play 2 plugins EAP. With this EAP we intent to give you a much safer way to evaluate the upcoming features and influence development. EAP cycle includes new builds every two to three weeks, so you will have plenty of time to try it and provide feedback.

To start using EAP builds just add a corresponding repository URL via SettingsPluginsBrowse repositories…Manage repositories (just like with the nightly builds.) After that your IDE will automatically inform you about updates and install them for you. And, of course, you can always get the latest updates from Scala and Play 2 plugins EAP page and install them manually.

Here’s what’s new in the upcoming EAP (0.41): Continue reading

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Interview with Jason Zaugg on Scala, Dotty and IntelliJ IDEA

As some of you may know, this June the whole Scala plugin team took a break and went to Berlin to enjoy Scala Days 2014, and of course to meet IntelliJ IDEA users! Alexander Podkhalyuzin, a lead developer of the Scala plugin, used this chance to catch Jason Zaugg, a Scala rockstar and developer at Typesafe, and talk about Scala Compiler, Dotty and IntelliJ IDEA. Enjoy the interview!

Alexander: How did you first hear about Scala?

Jason: A colleague of mine saw Martin Odersky present Scala at a conference in 2008. He shared his impressions of the language at our team’s weekly tech talk, and my interest was piqued. I had already been drawn to functional programming from the perspective of a Java programmer who disliked code duplication. I’d used Ruby and Groovy on small projects, but was never happy with the compromises in type safety and performance. Scala seemed to offer the best of both worlds.

Alexander: You’ve helped the IntelliJ IDEA team a lot to improve the Scala plugin. What are your impressions about developing for IntelliJ Platform?

Jason: My contributions to the plugin were largely “scratching an itch”. Back in 2009, it was hard to sell Scala to a Java programmer who appreciated a powerful IDE. I knew a tiny bit about the IDE plugin architecture as I had built a plugin a few years earlier, and wondered how hard it would be to dive in and fix a few bugs. I learnt a lot about Scala in the process, and started to get a taste for the unique and rewarding challenge of working on programming language tooling.

I really liked the refactoring-friendly AST that underpins the IDEA architecture, together with the infrastructure for handling big code bases (indices, PSI stubs). I also liked the approach to unit testing taken in the Scala Plugin.

The downside of course is that is makes it hard to reuse the parser and typechecker from the language.

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