http://programmingscala.com/ by Dean Wampler & Alex Payne September, 2009.
http://www.pragprog.com/titles/vsscala/programming-scala by Venkat Subramaniam, 250 pages, Jul 2009.
I had the chance to read two books about Scala. Both do a very good job at getting you up to speed with this new language.
I won't try to convince you to learn Scala, just do a quick research.
- You will find that it has many interesting ideas worth learning. (Even if you don't end up using Scala). Functional Programing, closures, DSL, Strong and powerful type system, Actors ...
- There may not be a next Java, but whatever will come, it will certainly looks like Scala or part of it.
- You can start to use it right now. Either for Test (like JUnit or for Behavior tests) or to integrate with your existing Java code.
Now which book to choose ? If you can, read Venkat first and then Dean. The first is quicker and more didactic. The second is more in depth and detailed.
If you have to choose one, how could I help you ?
- Venkat examples are really well though and make the point cristal clear.
- Dean goes step by step detailing all part of the language. It can certainly be kept as a reference book. But it requires a certain dose of concentration.
- Venkat's strength is to make the reading very enjoyable. The examples "speaks" to you. He shows the power and the sweet spots. How it will help and benefits you. He sells you Scala on every pages.
With so many things popping up from the net, I almost stopped reading books for years. Now I feel like I loosed my time, coping with tons of news. A book is a much more enjoyable and relaxing experience while at the same time brings you lots of knowledge.