- May 12, 2011
by Martin Odersky
Typesafe is a company that takes Scala and Akka to the next stage. In this blog I explain a bit why we founded the company and what role we see for it in the world of open source and enterprise software.
Scala has made a phenomenal progression from a research project to a rapidly expanding open source ecosystem that supports many mission critical applications in industry. Ten years ago, I started the design of the language that would become Scala. It was released in its first experimental version in 2003. Five years ago, a vibrant open source community started to form around the language, with projects such as Lift, sbt, ScalaTest, specs, ScalaQuery, squeryl, Scalate, and Kestrel, to name just a few. Three years ago, high profile industrial adoption started, with Twitter migrating their core messaging queue to Scala. Today, there are more than 100,000 Scala users, and the technology plays a strategic role in a rapidly growing number of enterprises.
Akka was conceived just three years ago, and has seen explosive growth since. Jonas Bonér started it as a fresh new approach to address the difficulties of writing scalable concurrent and distributed systems in enterprises. It grew to an extremely active open source project with many core contributors in just a couple of years. Akka clearly addresses a real need, because it is already being deployed by many companies, including some of the largest financial institutions, as a distributed computing backbone.
So far, both projects have been supported largely by volunteers, who have done an amazing job developing and delivering high quality tools and middleware. But given the increasingly strategic role of Scala and Akka in industry, we saw a need to put the effort on a more stable foundation. Scala and Akka users need the assurance that professional support for their systems will be available when they need it. Core contributors need to be given a stable setting where they can concentrate 100% on delivering steady improvements to the code base. That's why we decided to form Typesafe.
Typesafe essentially develops two types of software. On the one hand are the Scala language, core libraries, and Akka middleware. On the other hand, we are delivering a professional development environment, which includes the Scala IDE for Eclipse 2.0 and the sbt built tool. The Scala and Akka runtimes and development tools are bundled together in the Typesafe Stack, which provides an integrated package with one easy install. Each version of the stack will be supported as a certified, stable build via the Typesafe Subscription. The aim is that, together, these efforts will complement the great language experience provided by Scala and the high performance architecture provided by Akka with first-class developer tools, simple deployment, and assured support. Typesafe also provides training and consulting to help users develop and deploy systems written in Scala or Akka.
Typesafe is very much an open source company. Everything we release today is open source, and we want to maintain and grow the open source communities supporting Scala and Akka. The aim is to bring these technologies to the mainstream, and I am confident that we have brought together a great team of people to help in doing that.