“Scala is poised to be a major mainstream player for decades to come”

Scala is a fusion of functional and object-oriented programming which stands out due to its interoperability, high performance, and scalability. It enables developers to build cutting-edge applications that are less costly to maintain and easier to scale.

Scala is widely used in industries such as fintech, retail, manufacturing, automotive, and media for developing the most elaborate commercial software. It has been adopted by such well-known brands as LinkedIn, Twitter, Netflix, Apple, Walmart, Coursera, Amazon, The Guardian, Novell, Xerox, Sony, Siemens, Swiss Bank, and many others.

Scala tech stack consists of diverse libraries, tools, and frameworks. To choose the right one, it is essential to analyze the possibilities they offer. Our overview of major Scala frameworks and helpers (such as toolkits and libraries) will help you select and combine the best technologies for solving your project tasks. Also, this would accelerate the process of finding the specialists with the right skill set. Especially, if you want to extend your team with nearshore Scala developers.

1.Play – highly resilient framework for MVC-based web projects

This high-velocity framework allows developers to build highly scalable web applications written in Scala. Play framework is also usable from other programming languages compiled to Bytecode such as Java. The framework follows the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern and aims to optimize developer productivity by using hot code reloading, convention over configuration, and display of errors in the browser. It is stateless, asynchronous and non-blocking. Moreover, it provides predictable and minimal resource consumption (CPU, memory, threads), which makes it a perfect fit for modern web and mobile applications.

Play framework has great documentation with a myriad of samples, which makes it easy to use for Scala developers. Additionally, Play’s interoperability with multiple runtime and compile-time dependency injection frameworks, modularity and extensibility can accelerate business productivity and velocity.

That is why applications built with Play deliver all of the benefits of Reactive systems, including a high degree of responsiveness, elasticity and resilience. No wonder LinkedIn, Coursera, Lightbend, and many other websites are using this framework. However, when it comes to building headless servers, Play Framework is not the best fit since it is used for MVC-based web projects.


2. Akka – high-performance toolkit for high load systems and low-level interfaces

This toolkit was created for building highly concurrent, distributed, and resilient message-driven applications. It is great for managing concurrency, elasticity, and resilience on the JVM with support for Scala. In Akka, the communication between services uses asynchronous messaging primitives. They, in turn, optimize for CPU utilization, low latency, high throughput, and scalability.

Regarding high concurrency tools written in Scala, Akka is an extremely fast and concurrent framework for building distributed applications. It takes care of a lot of low-level I/O operations and the code. Furthermore, it allows Scala developers to write systems that self-heal and stay responsive to failures, ensuring the impacted components are reset to a stable state. No wonder it is widely used for building high load systems and low-level interfaces like TCP and UDP.

Akka ecosystem is huge. It provides a wide range of tools for various purposes including Akka Actors, Akka Streams, Akka HTTP, Akka Cluster, etc. Some of them are used for non-blocking stream processing or enable you to achieve resilience by distributing your system over multiple nodes and much more. However, one of the most powerful ones is Akka HTTP.

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3. Akka HTTP – a modern toolkit for building integration layers

Being part of Akka ecosystem, this fast and asynchronous toolkit is used for providing and consuming HTTP-based services. Its modules implement a full server and client-side HTTP stack on top of Akka-actor and Akka-stream. Akka HTTP contains a structured, fully immutable, case-class based model of all the major HTTP data structures, such as HTTP requests, responses, and common headers. Moreover, it provides seamless JSON support using the akka-http-spray-json library.

Akka HTTP provides tools for building integration layers rather than application cores.  It offers multiple API levels for the same purpose and allows to choose the most suitable API level of abstraction for a specific application. Thus you get the desired level of flexibility and ease of development.

This toolkit is mostly used in high load environments for the same purposes as Play framework. Unlike Play, it is not a full stack web framework. However, if you don’t need to have a UI, going with Akka HTTP is a good choice. It is highly scalable and offers maximum throughput and minimum latency.


4. Spray – lightweight suite of libraries for high load environments

Written on top of Akka, this open-source suite of lightweight Scala libraries provides client and server-side REST/HTTP support. Spray is easy to use and highly performant thanks to its asynchronous, actor-based model. It has a set of integrated components that enable developers to work with idiomatic Scala APIs without any wrapping layers. Its low-level components are carefully crafted for flawless performance in high-load and concurrent environments.

On the whole, development with Spray is guided by the following principles:

  • all APIs are fully asynchronous thus code execution is non-blocking;
  • it fully embraces the programming model of the platform it is built upon;
  • all dependencies are carefully managed;
  • its  codebase is kept lean and lightweight;
  • all components are structured in a way which allows for easy and convenient testing;


5. Apache Spark – big data framework for efficient data processing and analytics

Spark is an open-source cluster-computing framework for large-scale data processing written in Scala, Java, Python and R. It provides an interface for programming entire clusters with the help of implicit data parallelism and fault tolerance. Spark offers an alternative to Hadoop’s two-stage MapReduce paradigm which forces a particular linear data flow structure on distributed programs. Its RDDs function as a working set for distributed programs offering a restricted form of distributed shared memory.

What’s more, Spark facilitates the implementation of both iterative algorithms and exploratory/interactive data analysis. Its in-memory caching of intermediate data and data flow optimizations can improve the performance of certain applications up to 100x.


6. Slick – composable library for functional database access

This modern database query and access library for Scala allows working with stored data. Scala developers leverage this framework to easily connect to various data sources including relational databases. Slick simplifies the process of building next-generation distributed applications using Scala. It features an extensible query compiler which can generate code for different backends. Slick database connector allows to:

  • have full control over different database operations and monitor which data is transferred;
  • write database queries in Scala instead of SQL, thus benefiting from the compile-time safety, static checking, and compositionality of Scala;

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There are a number of other frameworks and libraries popular among Scala developers such as Scalatra, Cats, ScalaZ, Monocle, Unfiltered, and Finatra. Some of them are used for quickly building high-performance websites and APIs. While the others provide a consistent vocabulary for handling requests on various server backends, without impeding direct access to their native interfaces. If your nearshore Scala developers have experience with these technologies, it’s definitely a big plus.


On the whole, Scala offers lots of benefits both to businesses and developers since it is a perfect match for modern scalable, distributed, and component-based applications. In our list of top Scala frameworks and helpers we’ve highlighted the most efficient ones (ranging from high-velocity frameworks to lightweight libraries). Thus, when looking for a qualified nearshore Scala development team, it’s essential to consider candidates that have experience with these technologies. This will enable you to find specialists with the right skillset to build next-generation software.

If you want to find out more about essential Scala tech stack or hire a team of experienced Scala developers – just drop a line to our experts.

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