Minutes of the 27th meeting of the Scala Center, Q4 2022
Minutes are archived on the Scala Center website.
The following agenda was distributed to attendees: agenda.
Center activities for the past quarter focused on in-person events (conferences, summits, sprees, meetups, and workshops), online events, preparing the Center’s 5-year report, fundraising, Metals and its debugger, sbt plugin publishing, Scala 3 language improvements, the Scala 3 compiler, the Scala Improvement Process, the Scala Toolkit, Scala.js, TASTy-Query, TASTy-MiMa, the Scala websites, the EPFL Extension School partnership, Advent of Code, Scala 3 Compiler Academy, Scastie, Bloop, Coursier, and process automation for Center activities.
Details are below and in the Center’s activity report:
No new proposals were received this quarter.
Other business discussed included community representatives, coordination around tooling, the 2022 Scala Survey, and company overviews for Lunatech and VirtusLab.
Date, Time and Location
The meeting took place virtually on Monday, January 16, 2023 at 12:00pm (UTC).
Minutes were taken by Seth Tisue (secretary).
- Chris Kipp (chairperson)
- also board member, representing Lunatech
- Darja Jovanovic (executive director), EPFL
- Julien Richard-Foy (technical director), EPFL
- Martin Odersky (technical advisor), EPFL
- Seth Tisue (secretary), Lightbend
- Diego Alonso, 47 Degrees
- Michel Davit, Spotify (filling in for Claire McGinty)
- Graham Griffiths, Goldman Sachs
- Krzysztof Romanowski, VirtusLab
- Lukas Rytz, Lightbend
- Daniela Sfregola, Morgan Stanley
- Eugene Yokota, community representative
- Piyush Rana, Knoldus
Piyush Rana introduced himself. He’s representing Knoldus, an affiliate member of the Center. Knoldus is a company of about 400 people, with about 100 Scala developers. Piyush based in Toronto, leading the company’s Scala division there. Knoldus was recently acquired by NashTech.
This section was presented by Darja.
Twitter and Databricks are leaving the Center’s advisory board.
Eugene Yokota, previously the Twitter representative, is now a community representative on the board.
Darja highlighted the Center’s continuing return to involvement with in-person events, under the improved COVID-19 situation. In Q4, Center staff participated in the Scala.IO conference in Paris and meetups in Warsaw and Lausanne. The Center is organizing a Scala Tooling Summit in Lausanne, to be held near the end of Q1 2023.
The Center also led or co-led online events such as ScalaCon and the Scala Advent of Code.
Darja and Adam Goodman gave a keynote, “Towards a Healthy and Resilient Scala Community”, at ScalaCon. It is available on video.
At the time of the meeting, the Center’s five-year report wasn’t quite ready, but a few weeks later it went online here.
Internal training in moderation is still in progress and it is still planned to offer a version of this training externally.
Staffing changes: Chris Kipp has joined the Center for a stint of at least three months, thanks to the sponsorship of Lunatech. Guillaume Martres has joined the Center as a staff engineer. He is already well known to the community for his years of work on the Scala 3 compiler as part of Martin’s lab (LAMP).
Financial report: The Center’s funding for the year of 2022 came 44.2% from 2022 memberships, 20.4% from 2021 memberships, 25.8% from MOOCs, 7.8% from EPFL, and 2.0% from donations. Expenses were 91.2% salaries, 6.3% governance, and 1.4% travel and events, and 1.1% extension school expenses. The Center has a small negative balance entering 2023, due to MOOC revenues which are delayed in arriving.
The Center’s key work areas for 2023 are:
- Technical and educational infrastructure
- Governance infrastructure
- Involving stakeholders
- Leveraging community contributors
This section was presented by Julien. He presented highlights of the Center’s technical activities for the whole year of 2022, not just Q4, and also showed an annual roadmap for the whole year of 2023. Here are the slides:
The slides are a condensed summary of the following blog post that Julien published a few weeks after the meeting:
For shorter-term review and shorter-term goals, please consult the Center’s quarterly activity report:
And the Center’s 2023 Q1 roadmap:
These documents are not summarized here in the minutes.
A board member suggested consolidating documentation under fewer domains. Currently learning materials are spread across multiple domains: scala-lang.org, docs.scala-lang.org, the Metals site, the Scala-CLI site, etc. The splits reflect the different histories of different tools and the different groups that produce them, but such splits can be confusing to newcomers.
There was some discussion about ongoing support for both Scala 2 and Scala 3.
No new proposals were received this quarter.
Scala 2 report
This was presented by Lukas.
At the time of the last board meeting, Scala 2.13.10 had just come out. This release has proved stable, so Lightbend doesn’t see a need to rush 2.13.11 or 2.12.18 releases. They are expected to follow in Q2, in accordance with the usual release cadence.
After the meeting, the following Discourse threads for discussion and updates on release timing were opened:
The Lightbend team continues to work on keeping Scala 2 and 3 aligned
where possible, for example via the
-Xsource:3 compiler option. The
team also works on supporting migration from 2.12 to 2.13.
In December Lukas submitted SIP-51, “Drop Forwards Binary Compatibility of the Scala 2.13 Standard Library”, which proposes making it possible to make additions to the Scala 2 standard library by relaxing the forward compatibility restraint we’ve long had. An immediate motivation would be to allow tweaks like adding optimized implementations of certain collections methods, but larger changes could also be considered.
Chris gave an update on the process of finding community representatives for the board, after Rob and Bill stepped down. He said a committee gathered a list of candidates but many of them couldn’t accept, for various reasons. But Eugene accepted, and the community was notified by this blog post.
Eugene made remarks in favor of continued support and attention for Scala 2, and for ongoing attention to applying Scala to particular application areas and not just as a general-purpose language. He observes that people and companies often come to Scala out of interest in a particular frameworks or usage scenario, rather than interest in the language per se. He also mentioned that improved support for JDK 11 and 17 in tooling could use attention.
As mentioned in Darja’s report, the Center is organizing an in-person Scala Tooling Summit in Lausanne, to be held near the end of Q1 2023.
Chris mentioned that the summit plan grew out of a series of online meetings that the Center has organized recently between Center and VirtusLab engineers, the JetBrains Scala plugin team, and other groups and individuals working on Scala tooling. He didn’t have concrete results to share yet but said that he expected the summit to result in materials that would be shared with the community.
2022 Scala survey
The results of the 2022 Scala developer survey were published in a December blog post.
Several board members found it concerning that not many developers with only a year or two of Scala experience responded to the survey. Does that reflect selection bias in survey respondents, or is it evidence that we aren’t doing enough to bringing new developers into the community? Someone pointed out that the survey data doesn’t clearly indicate how people came to Scala; what were they doing before?
But what concrete action could or should the Center take? Perhaps the publicity and resources the Center provides could put more emphasis on the specific use cases, frameworks, and stacks that actually exist in industry.
The Scala 3 usage numbers in the survey may seem surprisingly high, since we know that the largest companies using Scala have yet to migrate. Martin said he believes that the survey numbers reflect the popularity of Scala 3 at startups and smaller shops, and that it’s normal for adoption of newer technology at large enterprises to lag. “There’s another world out there,” he stated. There was some discussion around these issues.
Chris presented an overview of Scala usage at Lunatech and by its customers.
Krzysztof presented something similar for VirtusLab; his remarks were based on these slides.
As was usual through 2019, we hope to hold an in-person board meeting later this year in conjunction with Scala Days.