Odersky: It's really a very, very broad set of applications, The uptake is particularly strong in Web companies, so it runs on quite a few of the most high-traffic websites on the Internet and in the financial sector.
InfoWorld: Recently you've cited a need for better development tools for Scala. Has any progress been made in that regard?
Odersky: Yes, we have made steady progress. We have now the Eclipse IDE in beta, and we're nearing the final version [of] Eclipse 2.0. The uptake has been pretty good and the response has been very good, as well, that people are finally no longer worried about lack of IDE performance.
InfoWorld: What's happening with your company, Typesafe, and why did you recently step down as CEO?
Odersky: That was essentially a schedule change because I have a dual role. I'm at Typesafe and at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). I have to go back to teaching next week actually, and because of that and also because I wanted to focus more on the technical part, the architecture and less on the management parts, I was very happy to have Donald (Fischer) take over as CEO. As you can imagine, the company has grown quite a lot since its launch, so with a growing company the demands on the management side, of course, they also grow.
InfoWorld: What is the company doing these days? What's the business plan?
Odersky: The business plan is to continue to build and expand the Typesafe stack, which consists of the Scala runtime, Akka middleware, and we're going to announce some other components of this Typesafe stack very, very soon to provide support for that and to add some products around that. As a second part of the business, we have a very active training business, so we give a lot of courses on both Scala and Akka, and we see a lot of demand for that right now.
InfoWorld: Scala is emerging as a language for building Android applications. There seems to be a group of developers, particularly in the Boston area, using it for that. Does this surprise you at all?
Odersky: No, because like I said, it essentially can replace Java wherever it is. I've actually experienced that, I've known that. Scala just gives you more productivity, so whether you program for servers or for clients, more productivity is always welcome.
InfoWorld: How does Scala differ from other JVM languages, such as Groovy and JRuby?