Top 5 Scala Books for Beginners in 2023
Scala is a popular programming language that combines object-oriented and functional programming into one concise language. It was created by Martin Odersky in 2004. Scala is compiled to run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and is compatible with existing Java programs.
In this post, we will look at the five best Scala books for novice programmers to help them get mastery over Scala programming.
Why Learn Scala
Here are some reasons why you should start learning Scala:
Simple Syntax: Scala has a simple syntax for defining functions and it allows functions to be nested easily.
Java Compatible: Scala is compatible with Java. It also supports new technologies like Data Science or Blockchain with its amazing tools.
Popular: Tech giants like Twitter are using Scala within production because it works!
Community: Scala is good for self-learners due to its open and growing community.
Professional Development: Finally, your value will be bigger if you know the Scala programming language well.
What Makes Best Scala Books
Here are our criteria for selection of the books:
The book should contain a variety of instructional materials, including exercises, examples, questions, learning activities, and other features that promote a programmer’s engagement and active learning.
It must have a structured, clear, and logical progression of topics.
Content must be up-to-date and should thoroughly teach and explain the basic concepts of the Perl programming language.
Use clear, precise, and easy-to-understand language.
The book should have a clear layout and must be friendly toward self-taught programmers.
Best Books on Scala
Of course, the list of the best Scala books could go on and on. There are a lot of great books for beginners out there and with a little research, you can find them in no-time. Here are the five best books for beginners to learn Scala programming.
1. Best Book for Completionists: Introduction to Programming and Problem-Solving Using Scala
Introduction to Programming and Problem-Solving Using Scala by Mark C. Lewis and Lisa Lacher aims to become a de facto reference for the language and its features and capabilities. The author highlights the features that make Scala a great programming language to learn.
The book is divided into seventeen chapters and the topics covered in the book includes:
Chapter 1 covers the Basics of Computers, Computing, and Programming
Chapter 2 covers Scala Basics
Chapter 3 covers Conditionals
Chapter 4 covers Functions
Chapter 5 talks about Recursion for Iteration
Chapter 6 covers Arrays and Lists in Scala
Chapter 7 talks about Type Basics and Argument Passing
Chapter 8 covers Loops
Chapter 9 covers Text files
Chapter 10 covers Case Classes
Chapter 11 talks about GUIs
Chapter 12 covers Graphics and Advanced ScalaFX
Chapter 13 talks about Sorting and Searching
Chapter 14 covers XML
Chapter 15 covers Recursion
Chapter 16 talks about Object-Orientation
Chapter 17: Wrapping up
The book is filled with end-of-chapter projects and exercises for hands-on learning. It is ideal for someone new to scala programming.
2. Best Book for Step-by-step Learners: Programming in Scala
Programming in Scala by Martin Odersky, Lex Spoon, and Bill Venners is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to learning Scala 2.13. It covers every concept of Scala starting from fundamentals and builds to advanced scala programming techniques.
The book is divided into thirty-five chapters and includes the following
Classes and Objects
Basic Types and Operations
Built-in Control Structures
Functions and Closures
Composition and Inheritance
Packages and Imports
Assertions and Tests
Case Classes and Pattern Matching
Working with Lists and Other Collections
Implicit Conversions and Parameters
For Expressions Revisited
Collections in Depth
Working with XML
Modular Programming Using Objects
Combining Scala and Java
Futures and Concurrency
The SCells Spreadsheet
The entire book is organized in a series of steps so that each new concept builds on concepts that came from the previous one. The book is easy to follow and includes practical exercises.
It is a complete book to learn and master Scala programming for newbies and experienced programmers.
3. Best Book for Quick Learners: Scala for the Impatient
Scala for the Impatient by Cay Horstmann introduces the key Scala 2.12 concepts and techniques you need to be productive quickly. The book includes carefully crafted examples and hands-on activities to guide you through well-defined stages of competency, from basic to expert.
The book has a straightforward writing style and includes exercises and practical examples to give you a real-world view of Scala programming. After reading the book, you will be able to
Get started quickly with Scala’s interpreter, syntax, tools, and unique idioms
Master core language features: functions, arrays, maps, tuples, packages, imports, exception handling, and more
Become familiar with object-oriented programming in Scala: classes, inheritance, and traits
Use Scala for real-world programming tasks: working with files, regular expressions, and XML
Work with higher-order functions and the powerful Scala collections library
Leverage Scala’s powerful pattern matching and case classes
Create concurrent programs with Scala futures
Implement domain-specific languages
Understand the Scala type system
Apply advanced “power tools,” such as annotations, implicits, and type classes
The book is a perfect introduction to Scala programming for impatient readers.
Other books you might like:
4. Best Book for Visual Learners: Learning Scala: Practical Functional Programming for the JVM
Learning Scala: Practical Functional Programming for the JVM by Jason Swartz provides a comprehensive yet approachable introduction to the Scala language.
This book includes step by step learning while knowing how things work in JVM. It is packed with syntax diagrams, examples, and exercises.
Learn about the core data types, literals, values, and variables
Discover how to think and write in expressions, the foundation for Scala's syntax
Write higher-order functions that accept or return other functions
Become familiar with immutable data structures and easily transform them with type-safe and declarative operations
Create custom infix operators to simplify existing operations or even to start your domain-specific language
Build classes that compose one or more traits for full reusability, or create new functionality by mixing them in at instantiation
The book doesn’t assume any serious pre-requisites and is quite self-contained. It is an excellent first book for someone who is just looking to learn the language.
5. Best Book for Hands-on Learners: Hands-on Scala Programming: Learn Scala in a Practical, Project-Based Way
Hands-on Scala by Li Haoyi teaches you how to use the Scala programming language in a practical, project-based fashion. The book gives an introduction to the Scala language and goes heavily into use cases and projects.
The book is divided into twenty chapters and the contents include:
Chapter 1 covers Hands-on Scala
Chapter 2 covers Setting Up
Chapter 3 talks about Basic Scala
Chapter 4 covers Scala Collections
Chapter 5 covers Notable Scala Features
Chapter 6 talks about Implementing Algorithms in Scala
Chapter 7 covers Files and Subprocesses
Chapter 8 talks about JSON and Binary Data Serialization
Chapter 9 covers Self-Contained Scala Scripts
Chapter 10 talks about Static Build Pipelines
Chapter 11 covers Scraping Websites
Chapter 12 covers Working with HTTP APIs
Chapter 13 talks about Fork-Join Parallelism with Futures
Chapter 14 covers Simple Web and API Servers
Chapter 15 covers Querying SQL Databases
Chapter 16 covers Message-based Parallelism with Actors
Chapter 17 talks about Multi-Process Applications
Chapter 18 covers Building a Real-time File Synchronizer
Chapter 19 talks about Parsing Structured Text
Chapter 20 talks about Implementing a Programming Language
In the process, you will learn how to use the Scala language to solve challenging problems elegantly and intuitively.
More Ways to Learn
The world of Scala programming is in constant growth and the learning opportunities are simply endless!
While learning, I always recommend doubling up on resources so that you do not burn out on just reading. Using all of the senses and changing your environment is the best way to learn a lot in a short amount of time.
Here are some more ways you can learn:
Udemy: I recommend taking Udemy’s course Scala & Functional Programming for Beginners, which is a highly-rated bestseller that is packed with 15 hours of video content.
Coursera: Coursera offers Functional Programming in Scala Specialization, which is a highly-rated series of courses that you can take altogether or separately. The course is project driven and gets you coding.
And there’s one last things: I’ve compiled over 70 free learning resources for beginner programmers to help you continue your journey. I hope to see you over there and have a wonderful day. 😊