Friday, April 24, 2009

Scala IDE -- What Scala IDE?

So I am learning Scala...why one might ask? I was one of the ones who asked and the answer was quite straight forward and direct: "Do it or you're fired you lazy bum!" I knew nothing about the Scala language up until a few weeks ago and I wasn't over the moon to find out I would have to learn yet another programming language but those words were ringing in the back of my head and it was just  enough to motivate me and get me started on my journey in the Scala language.  

Having said that and after doing a little reading up on Scala and playing around with it I have changed my tune...from death metal rock to dance. I am feeling a little excited (even at my age) about this language and can already start to see a number of the benefits this little yet powerful language has to offer.

However...having said ALL that the development tools I have tried have been anything but pleasurable. I was hoping for chocolate nut sundae but got a whopping bowl of fruit salad with cream. 

I use Eclipse (Ganymede)  as Eclipse is my friend. Yes we have good times as well as bad. But we understand each other. I was using the 2.7.3 Scala Eclipse plugin and it was giving me a little hassle. Every now and again the same file would look as though it would duplicate itself and now today while in the middle of editing a Scala class my file became read only for some reason. I noticed a newer version of Scala is available (2.7.4 final) and I found a newer Eclipse I uninstalled the Scala plugin and restarted Eclipse. To my surprise Eclipse doesn't start up...well it tries to start and then it dies and then it tries to start and then it dies. It got stuck in a loop and the only way to kill it was to reboot my pc. Sigh. 

I still have this problem and I will spend more time on it tonight but in the meantime I played around with NetBeans 6.5...hahaha my allegiance, what allegiance you say? I was able to install the Scala plugin for NetBeans and created a project without much hassle. Besides that I haven't done much but will report on how things go. My first impressions are a lot better than with the Eclipse Scala plugin. 

I spent a couple of hours today working on this issue. I tried many things and seemed to be making progress until I completely corrupted my Eclipse installation. 

I did happen to find some useful information on the scala-lang web site. They seem to have addressed a number of problems in the previous version. You need at least version 3.4.1 of Eclipse in order for this plugin to work though.  I updated my Eclipse to 3.4.2 and I had to also follow these instructions to get my Scala classes compiling. 

I had a little time to play around with NetBeans and was pleasantly surprised with it however since most of the frustrations with the previous version of the Scala Eclipse plugin have been resolved I am going to stick with Eclipse. 

So to end this discussion there are tools out there to develop Scala applications. They may still carry a number of frustrations with them but for now I am happier than I was last week. 
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