Splitting an Atom … Values and Data Types

I’m having some fun today “splitting an atom”, based on some feedback from a reader who downloaded the first 25% of Atomic Scala. He said that he thought that Values and Data Types should be split, so I started down that path this morning …

I’m splitting it into 2 atoms: Values … and Data Types. Following our practice before theory principle, Values must come first since Data Types has no context without storing a value. That’s driving some other fun changes too, notably in the Type Inference atom.

The Type Inference atom appeared later in the book because that’s how we thought of it … as something special that Scala does for us. But why did we think of it as special? Because we’re programmers who didn’t have that in other languages. Ah, but we’re writing this book to appeal to beginners as well as to seasoned developers. Stepping back, we realized that beginners don’t know that they have to declare the types of variables. And why should they? You didn’t have to do that in math class and that all worked out OK.

Beginners are not tied to the restrictions in older programming languages that required you to do so. So why not introduce Values using Type Inference and later show how you can do this in a more verbose way? I wouldn’t have thought of this when we started writing the book, but because our atoms are written to contain single concepts, they are also easy to re-order.

We are really grateful for feedback! Please keep it coming!

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Announcing the first seminar from Atomic Scala … in Boulder, CO

We’re happy to announce that the first seminar from Atomic Scala will be in Boulder, Colorado, from October 15-19, 2012. Bruce Eckel and Dianne Marsh will present “atoms” (very small, single concept chapters) from the book. The seminar will be hands-on, with exercises associated with each of the atoms. Each attendee will receive an early access version of the print book as well.

You can find more information and registration information on the Boulder Seminar Page.

Note: we’re managing early bird pricing a bit differently than we have in the past. Instead of having an early bird date, we’ve made a number of tickets (10) available at early bird pricing. Once those tickets sell, all additional tickets will be sold at regular pricing. If we do not sell 10 tickets before our deadline of September 15, we will not hold the seminar and we will refund the early bird ticket price to those who purchased them. This allows us to ensure that our costs are met within the cancellation period for the venue.

We will be announcing a second seminar location soon (likely either Boston or Ann Arbor).

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