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!

Print Friendly
Bookmark and Share
This entry was posted in Programming and tagged , , , , , by Dianne Marsh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dianne Marsh

Dianne Marsh is the Director of Engineering for Cloud Tools at Netflix. Her expertise in software programming and technology includes manufacturing, genomics decision support and real-time processing applications. Dianne started her professional career using C and has enjoyed using many languages, including C++, Java, and C# since then, and is currently having a lot of fun using Scala. Dianne is a member of the Women Presidents Organization (http://www.womenpresidentsorg.com) and a board member of the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. Dianne has helped to organize CodeMash (http://codemash.org), an all-volunteer developer conference focused on bringing together programmers of various programming languages to learn from one another, and has been a board member of the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. She is active with the local user groups, including hosting several. She earned her Master of Science degree in computer science from Michigan Technological University. She's married to her best friend, has two fun young children and she talked Bruce into doing this book.

Comments are closed.