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Akka vs Scala: What are the differences?

Developers describe Akka as "Build powerful concurrent & distributed applications more easily". Akka is a toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and resilient message-driven applications on the JVM. On the other hand, Scala is detailed as "A pure-bred object-oriented language that runs on the JVM". Scala is an acronym for “Scalable Language”. This means that Scala grows with you. You can play with it by typing one-line expressions and observing the results. But you can also rely on it for large mission critical systems, as many companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, or Intel do. To some, Scala feels like a scripting language. Its syntax is concise and low ceremony; its types get out of the way because the compiler can infer them.

Akka and Scala are primarily classified as "Concurrency Frameworks" and "Languages" tools respectively.

"Great concurrency model" is the primary reason why developers consider Akka over the competitors, whereas "Static typing" was stated as the key factor in picking Scala.

Akka and Scala are both open source tools. It seems that Scala with 11.8K GitHub stars and 2.73K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Akka with 9.99K GitHub stars and 3.03K GitHub forks.

Groupon, Soundcloud, and Foursquare are some of the popular companies that use Scala, whereas Akka is used by Asana, Kifi, and ContentSquare. Scala has a broader approval, being mentioned in 436 company stacks & 315 developers stacks; compared to Akka, which is listed in 75 company stacks and 54 developer stacks.

Advice on Akka and Scala
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GoGo

Finding the best server-side tool for building a personal information organizer that focuses on performance, simplicity, and scalability.

performance and scalability get a prototype going fast by keeping codebase simple find hosting that is affordable and scales well (Java/Scala-based ones might not be affordable)

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Replies (1)
David Annez
Head of Engineering at loveholidays · | 4 upvotes · 138.8K views

I've picked Node.js here but honestly it's a toss up between that and Go around this. It really depends on your background and skillset around "get something going fast" for one of these languages. Based on not knowing that I've suggested Node because it can be easier to prototype quickly and built right is performant enough. The scaffolding provided around Node.js services (Koa, Restify, NestJS) means you can get up and running pretty easily. It's important to note that the tooling surrounding this is good also, such as tracing, metrics et al (important when you're building production ready services).

You'll get more scalability and perf from go, but balancing them out I would say that you'll get pretty far with a well built Node.JS service (our entire site with over 1.5k requests/m scales easily and holds it's own with 4 pods in production.

Without knowing the scale you are building for and the systems you are using around it it's hard to say for certain this is the right route.

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Decisions about Akka and Scala

We needed to incorporate Big Data Framework for data stream analysis, specifically Apache Spark / Apache Storm. The three options of languages were most suitable for the job - Python, Java, Scala.

The winner was Python for the top of the class, high-performance data analysis libraries (NumPy, Pandas) written in C, quick learning curve, quick prototyping allowance, and a great connection with other future tools for machine learning as Tensorflow.

The whole code was shorter & more readable which made it easier to develop and maintain.

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Pros of Akka
Pros of Scala
  • 31
    Great concurrency model
  • 16
    Fast
  • 11
    Actor Library
  • 10
    Open source
  • 7
    Resilient
  • 5
    Scalable
  • 5
    Message driven
  • 188
    Static typing
  • 179
    Pattern-matching
  • 177
    Jvm
  • 172
    Scala is fun
  • 138
    Types
  • 95
    Concurrency
  • 88
    Actor library
  • 86
    Solve functional problems
  • 83
    Open source
  • 80
    Solve concurrency in a safer way
  • 44
    Functional
  • 23
    Generics
  • 23
    Fast
  • 18
    It makes me a better engineer
  • 17
    Syntactic sugar
  • 13
    Scalable
  • 10
    First-class functions
  • 10
    Type safety
  • 9
    Interactive REPL
  • 8
    Expressive
  • 7
    SBT
  • 6
    Implicit parameters
  • 6
    Case classes
  • 4
    Used by Twitter
  • 4
    JVM, OOP and Functional programming, and static typing
  • 4
    Rapid and Safe Development using Functional Programming
  • 4
    Object-oriented
  • 3
    Functional Proframming
  • 2
    Spark
  • 2
    Beautiful Code
  • 2
    Safety
  • 2
    Growing Community
  • 1
    DSL
  • 1
    Rich Static Types System and great Concurrency support
  • 1
    Naturally enforce high code quality
  • 1
    Akka Streams
  • 1
    Akka
  • 1
    Reactive Streams
  • 1
    Easy embedded DSLs
  • 1
    Mill build tool
  • 0
    Freedom to choose the right tools for a job

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Cons of Akka
Cons of Scala
  • 3
    Mixing futures with Akka tell is difficult
  • 2
    Closing of futures
  • 2
    No type safety
  • 1
    Typed actors still not stable
  • 0
    Very difficult to refactor
  • 11
    Slow compilation time
  • 6
    Multiple ropes and styles to hang your self
  • 4
    Too few developers available
  • 3
    Complicated subtyping
  • 2
    My coworkers using scala are racist against other stuff

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What is Akka?

Akka is a toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and resilient message-driven applications on the JVM.

What is Scala?

Scala is an acronym for “Scalable Language”. This means that Scala grows with you. You can play with it by typing one-line expressions and observing the results. But you can also rely on it for large mission critical systems, as many companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, or Intel do. To some, Scala feels like a scripting language. Its syntax is concise and low ceremony; its types get out of the way because the compiler can infer them.

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What companies use Akka?
What companies use Scala?
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What tools integrate with Scala?

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Blog Posts

Aug 28 2019 at 3:10AM

Segment

PythonJavaAmazon S3+16
5
2180
DockerAmazon EC2Scala+8
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2259
What are some alternatives to Akka and Scala?
Spring
A key element of Spring is infrastructural support at the application level: Spring focuses on the "plumbing" of enterprise applications so that teams can focus on application-level business logic, without unnecessary ties to specific deployment environments.
Erlang
Some of Erlang's uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang's runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. OTP is set of Erlang libraries and design principles providing middle-ware to develop these systems.
Kafka
Kafka is a distributed, partitioned, replicated commit log service. It provides the functionality of a messaging system, but with a unique design.
Spring Boot
Spring Boot makes it easy to create stand-alone, production-grade Spring based Applications that you can "just run". We take an opinionated view of the Spring platform and third-party libraries so you can get started with minimum fuss. Most Spring Boot applications need very little Spring configuration.
Apache Spark
Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.
See all alternatives