Is Scala Programming Better Than Java?

Is Scala Programming Better Than Java?

Choosing the right programming language for data-intensive development needs can be challenging. This business decision will determine the required developer talent, as well as development costs, time-to-market and overall user experience.

To meet business’ ever-growing data demands, Scala is a high-performing, scalable programming language. In key areas, Scala outpaces Java with features that achieve highly concise, flexible and detailed coding. In particular, Scala’s combination of object-oriented and functional programming is useful for big data projects.

Here we’ll analyze the advantages of Scala over Java to guide any tech decision-maker through the best uses of this popular Java alternative.

What Is Scala Programming Language Used For?


Built by Martin Odersky in 2003, Scala was quickly hailed as a top solution for large enterprise apps and data processing. It was designed specifically with business scalability in mind, hence its name “Scala.”

Overall, Scala is a highly compact language with powerful performance opportunities for businesses. Though it’s a statically typed language, it has both object-oriented and functional programming. It also runs with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), so Scala developers can seamlessly execute Java code.

Though Scala is a younger technology compared to Java, it’s become a staple for complex data processing. Today, Scala supports companies such as Upwork, Zoom, Uber, Grammarly, Canva, Medium and more.

Best Use Cases for Scala vs. Java

Scala is best known for powering big data projects, especially those involving large amounts of real-time data. In particular, businesses can benefit from programming in Scala for their:

  • Large-scale data projects
  • Real-time data processing
  • Data analysis via Apache Spark
  • High-concurrency processing
  • Distributed applications
  • Source code repositories
  • Web applications

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Advantages of Scala Over Java

While Java remains a popular programming language for businesses everywhere, Scala has several advantages when it comes to software development. Any tech decision-maker should carefully consider Scala’s robust, scalable features such as:


1. Concise, High-Quality Code

Java applications are known for their long chunks of code that can be prone to error. In contrast, Scala is a lightweight, compact language that nests code. Scala’s clean look makes it easy to write, compile, debug and run.


2. Future-Proof Flexibility

As its names suggest, Scala is a flexible language that’s built to scale. The combination of object-oriented and functional programming gives it great power when it comes to meeting ever-changing software development needs.


3. Seamless Integrations

Scala has excellent interoperability with other programming languages. In addition to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), Scala can be used with the Integrated Development Environment (Scala IDE) and is supported by a wide array of Scala and Java libraries, including the Scala Library Index (Scaladex).

Moreover, Scala programming frameworks such as Play, Lift and Apache Spark can boost programmer productivity and reduce development time.


4. Strong Performance

Scala is known for its ultra-smooth performance, with some developers even claiming it’s 20% faster than Java applications. In addition, Scala doesn’t have a huge memory requirement compared to Java, which means it remains lightweight and doesn’t incur high maintenance costs.


5. Advanced Functional Features

Finally, Scala has advanced features that allow it to handle large-scale processes and specify functions, including:

  • Actor-based concurrency: Scala’s Actor-based concurrency means it can handle multiple, simultaneous computations to keep up with business demand.  
  • Higher-order functions: Scala developers can specify first-class objects using concise syntax, as well as mix multiple traits into a single case class. Overall, these Scala functions allow for highly customized coding.
  • Lazy evaluation: Scala defers time-consuming computations using “lazy” loading, so that performance is optimized until these functions are needed.


Overall, this suite of features gives Scala developers the ability to create highly detailed code, even at an enterprise level.


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Potential Challenges. Scala vs. Java

While Scala is a highly scalable software development option with excellent integrations, it may not be right for every company. Depending on a business’ technology needs, here are a few challenges of programming in Scala:

  • Smaller developer community: Scala is a newer language with a smaller developer community. In contrast, JavaScript holds a majority market share, giving it more robust documentation, forums and toolkits.

  • Less readable: Though Scala is more compact, it uses nestled code which can be more challenging to read. In comparison, Java applications tend to be lengthier but are simpler in terms of readability.

  • Limited backward compatibility: While Java code is known to be compatible with previous versions, Scala has limited backward compatibility.

  • Longer compilation times: Scala is known for having under-optimized compilation, which means developers may spend longer to complete compilation processes.

  • Smaller Scala talent pool: Businesses looking for Scala developers may have a smaller pool to choose from compared to Java programmers.

Ultimately, Scala hasn’t yet reached the same level of adaptation as Java, so it faces some limits in terms of community and talent pool. However, with the right developers, businesses can leverage the many advantages of Scala over Java for data-rich apps.

Empower Your Business by Programming in Scala

Why is Scala preferred over Java? Scala is a best-in-class solution for your business’ next large-scale, data-intensive app. If you require ultra-fast performance and highly customized features, you can leverage Scala to build a truly scalable and robust solution.

To fully leverage Scala’s advantages, your company will need talented Scala developers who can handle your large-scale requirements. Take advantage of our expertise at TECLA to discover top Scala talent for all your business’ software development needs.

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