Scala Meetup Hamburg – 11. Juli 2013

Am Donnerstag, den 11. Juli 2013, fand mal wieder das Scala Meetup Hamburg statt. Als eine Art Kurzprotokoll hatte ich versprochen hier ein paar Worte aufzuschreiben. Hier also der Inhalt des durchaus gelungenen Abends:

  • Markus stellt sein “Bastel-Projekt” Scalar vor. Neben vielen interessanten Einblicken in den Code, gibt es Kurzausflüge zu Heroku und WebJars
  • Mini-Hacksession zum Thema Macros in Scala 2.10
  • Planung eines Scala-Hackatons in Hamburg (wer Interesse an der Orga hat kann sich gerne direkt bei mir melden)
  • Viele interessante Gespräche auf der Sonnenterrasse

Wer Blut geleckt hat, hier gibt’s noch einen alten Blogeintrag zum Thema Play 2.0 + Heroku und seit ein paar Wochen gibt es auch Native Support für Play 2.0 bei  NewRelic, welches auch als Heroku Plugin bereit steht.

Last but not least, nochmal ein Großes Dankeschön an oose Innovative Informatik und inoio für Lokation, Kaltgetränke und Snacks!

Bis zum 15. August 2013!

Using local GIT to access remote SVN repository

git is nice. Very nice. But as we are still using SVN for many projects, using git is not always possible. Or, is it?!

Luckily, git comes with very nice support for using it in combination with an SVN remote repository. By doing so, you can clone any SVN remote repository into a local git repository, create local branches, local commits, local reverts, etc… and finally push everything back to SVN.

Creating the initial clone
git svn clone -T trunk -t tags -b branches -A authors.txt {your_SVN_repository_url} {your_local_git_repsoitory_name}.GIT

Example: git svn clone -T trunk -t tags -b branches -A authors.txt myrepo.GIT

Note: You need to have an authors.txt file in your local directory from where you execute the command. The file should contain all contributers from the SVN repository. On you can find a command to create such a file.

Get latest changes from SVN trunk and pull them into master
git checkout master
git svn rebase

Commit local changes back to SVN
Make sure to apply a git svn rebase first! (See above)

git checkout master
git svn dcommit

Three things I have learned from taking “Functional Programming Principles in Scala”

I have just handed in my solution the the last assignment of Odersky’s Functional Programming Principles in Scala. Time for a quick recap. Here are the three most important things which I have learned from taking the course:

1. Mutability sucks
So get rid of it. If you can design your algorithms by using immutable data structures, do it! It really does make reasoning, bug hunting and maintenance easier. Not to speak about the huge potential of the easy parallelization and scaleability when using immutable state. Speaking of good stuff and easy usage, I will defiantly miss pattern matching, higher-order functions and Scala’s excellent collection library in my daily hassle with Java.

2. The Scala community is strong
A strong language needs a strong community which drives future development and usage of it. The Scala community is growing very fast right now. Around 50,000 people took the course. But not only taking the course, but also communicating and exchanging very heavily. In the words of Martin “I was blown away by the level of interest and the high quality of your contributions in the assignments and discussion boards.” Thanks everyone for making the course such a sucess! Also a big thanks to Scala-Hamburg for organizing weekly Meetups and coding sessions.

3. Scala has a bright future (which is yet to come)
I have been working with Scala for some time now, and I have always been a fan of it. I am sure that Scala will have a bright future. On the other hand, there are still many obstacle to overcome. The tooling gets better, extremely fast I have to admit, but we are still far away from Java tooling qualities. Language stability and binary compatibility is a problem in the Scala universe, right now. With Scala 2.10 there will be many changes again. Many good changes, but binary compatibility needs to be taken more seriously. Once version 2.10 is out this will get better, and it is finally time for companies to adapt Scala.

To conclude, it was more then an interesting lecture. Many thanks to Martin Odersky and his team for pulling up this course! I can defiantly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Scala or functional programming in general! So if there is going to be another class next year, make sure to enroll!

Scala User Group Hamburg

Die Scala User Group Hamburg ist da. Nachdem wir bereits im letzten Jahr innerhalb der Firma unsere Bemühungen verstärkt hatten das Thema Scala voranzutreiben, wagen wir nun den Schritt an die Öffentlichkeit. Ich bin gespannt wo uns die Reise hinführt, aktuell gibt es noch viele denkbare Richtungen und vielfältige Möglichkeiten sich einzubringen. Zunächst freue ich mich aber erstmal auf spannende Diskussionen bei den ersten Treffen und auf der Mailingliste. Also: Anmelden und Mitdiskutieren!

@all non-german-speakers: Sorry that this post is not in german, but as the User Group is German as well, understanding this post would be of little help for you anyways 😉

Getting started with Play 2.0, Heroku and Scala

This is another tutorial of the category ‘quick start for absolute beginners’. This time the topic is on Play 2.0, Heroku and Scala. The reason for this tutorial is that recent announcements indicate that the three topics will have a bright future together. A really nice overview of all three topics can be found in this presentation on slideshare (simply skip the Akka part. Or even better, read it as well!).

Play 2.0

As the time of writing Play 2.0 is still in beta status and according to the official homepage, APIs are likely to change a bit in the future. Nevertheless, I guess it is time to have a quick look into the new features of the framework and create a simple application.

Installing Play

As we would like to access all latest features, we are going to build Play from the source code ourselves. Therefore, you need to retrieve the sources from GitHub. If you haven’t installed git yet, do so now. Next, clone the play repository by calling git clone git://

Once you have the source code on your local machine, switch to the ../play20/framework folder and type build. This will start up an embedded sbt shell, in which you have to execute the build-repository command. (Make sure that you have a solid internet connection, as this step will require to download some megabytes of data. I tried it in the train, which was very frustrating…)

To complete the installation, you need to add the ../play20/ folder to your systems PATH environment variable.

More detailed instructions on how to install Play 2.0 (either from source, or from pre-compiled binary packages) can be found in the Play 2.0 wiki.

Creating a Simple Application

Once Play 2.0 is setup on your machine, you can create a simple applicationby typing play new myFirstApp. Provide the name of your application and as we would like to use Scala as our main development language, select the according entry. And that is it! You have just created your first Play application.

Play 2.0 comes with a nifty little console, which supports many development task out of the box. The most common command for you to execute is likely to be run. Others might include, console, clean, compile and test. The commands are more or less self explanatory. Nevertheless, there is also a help goal (you may guess what this one does), and a little bit of documentation.

If you don’t want to open the Play Console just to execute a single command, you can also type play [your_command]. For now, this is what you should do, type play run to start the server in development mode.

After the server has been started, open a browser and go to http://localhost:9000 You should see something similar to the screenshot below.

Creating and running a Play application

Play 2.0 Application

Where to go from here

In the previous section we have successfully created a simple Play 2.0 application. The second part of this post will show you how to get this application running on Heroku. But before we go there, I would like to point you to some further resources to get familiar with Play 2.0.

Most defiantly you should have a closer look on the anatomy of a Play 2.0 application. Furthermore, there are three nice sample applications, which are provided within the Play 2.0 sources and documented adequately in the wiki. Last but not least you might also want to browse through Play’s scala api manual.


I promised you, that this article will show you how to get your Play application running on Heroku. So let’s see how this is done.

Quickstarting Heroku

First of all, go to heroku signup page and enter your E-Mail address. After you have received a confirmation mail and provided a password, you are successfully signed up.

Next go to the quickstart guide and download the heroku toolbelt corresponding to your system and install it. After the installation is completed you can start to access heroku from the command line. Type heroku login to connect to the heroku platform servers. The first time you connect to heroku you need to provide your personal SSH key (or simply hit enter to automatically create a new one).

Now that you are logged in to Heroku, you are ready to deploy your Play application. Unfortunately, your app isn’t ready for that process yet, so let’s apply some minor changes.

Making your app ready for Heroku

The following section is based on the Deploying Play to Heroku tutorial, you might either read the original source or the summary given here.

Heroku needs to know how to start your add, therfore you should add a start script provided by the great folks at typesafe. Simply add the following line to your project/plugins.sbt file (Ensure that you also place a blank line before and after this line): addSbtPlugin(“com.typesafe.startscript” % “xsbt-start-script-plugin” % “0.5.0”)

Next, you need to create a plain text file in your application’s root directory called Procfile containing the following line: web: target/start

The next thing to do is create a local git repository for your application. In your application root folder, just type git init to create the repo, then type git add . to add all files and folder and finally make a commit by typing git commit -m “init”.

Last thing to do is creating your app at heroku, do this by typing heroku create –stack cedar. (Make sure you are still logged in to heroku!) You shoud note down the url where your application is going to be available. In my case that is

Making your app ready for heroku

Deploying your app

By now, everything you need to deploy your Play 2.0 application to Heroku should be set up. The last thing you need to do is simply push your contents from your local git repository to the heroku server. To do so, type git push heroku master, after your sources are transferred to the remote repository an automatic execution of sbt clean compile stage is triggered. If everything went well, you should see something similar to the screen shot below. You should also be able to go to your url and see your application running there.

Successful Heroku Deployment

You are now ready to develop some nice features for your application. Whenever you want to deploy a new version of your app heroku, simply push your changes by executing git push heroku master again. Three more hints before I leave you alone with your app: You can tpye heroku ps to check the state of your application, call heroku logs to access your applications log files, and even start a remote REPL session by executing heroku run sbt play.

And now, happy coding!

Scala & Maven – POM Example

Today, there is no waffle about what Scala or Maven is. This is just the plain configuration to build Scala projects with Maven. If you want more detailed information check Maven for Beginners at or browse through the documentation of the Scala-Maven-Plugin.

By the way,the configuration works as well if you want to mix Java and Scala within a single project. Just place your scala files in src/main/scala and your Java files in src/main/java (or the src/test equivalents). Maven will do the rest for you.


<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""

      <name>Scala-tools Repository</name>
      <name>Scala-tools Repository</name>



Getting started with Scala

Update: Scala Documentation (an excellent site for getting started with Scala) has just been launched. Make sure to check it out as well.

If you want to get started with Scala, here is a short list with (in my opinion) some of the most important resources to get you on the fast track.

  1. Get a book! I highly recommend this one, but there are plenty out there already.
  2. Install SBT and learn how to use it. (You might as well use Maven with Scala if you really want to.)
  3. Install Scala IDE for Eclipse and use sbteclipse to import your SBT projects.
  4. Get some friends out there, and learn.
  5. And not to forget my personal favourite for quick hacks: Simply Scala
  6. Enjoy!

If Scala is like Lego, I have to make it my major

Over the last weeks there have been heavy argumentation about simplicity vs. complexity of Scala. WarpedJavaGuy’s, Michid’s and Betrand’s Blog Posts flamed discussion and a lot of interesting comments and thoughts about the topic.

Martin Odersky has also replied to this with some comments and yet another Blog Post. I really don’t want to start a new discussion here, so I leave the arguments in favor and against simplicity untouched. What I kinda liked most in Martin’s post was the commodity items analogy, and especially the Lego vs. Playmobil one. Personally, I have always been a Lego-Guy and I couldn’t understand how all the other kids could actually have fun with Playmobil. It was to limited and predefined for me, it was not able to scale along with my ideas. Occasionally, I have been using a Lego metaphor when I try to explain to people why I love programming so much and how it is like to me. So, if Martin is saying Scala is like Lego, and that makes quite a lot of sense to me, I guess I should have a closer look at it and put some blocks together.

So everyone who loves Lego should start learning Scala? Simple but elaborated building blocks which can easily be combined to any complex system? Only limited by your creativity and your skills in putting them together? Well, let’s give it a try.