Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

A developer’s guide to introducing a functional language at work

Robert Kluin (Real Kinetic)
2:35pm3:15pm Thursday, July 19, 2018
Emerging languages
Location: E145
Level: Beginner
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software engineers and development managers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with programming concepts
  • Experience leading a software project (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Explore best practices for introducing new technologies to an organization
  • Learn how to choose the right projects, teams, and technologies to give the highest chance of success


Introducing a new programming language at work can be a challenge, especially if it is a functional language. Robert Kluin shares a failed attempt and an ongoing success story that will help you understand how to sell the idea to management and improve the odds that your pilot project will be a success.

  • The first attempt: Introducing Scala. Robert explains how the reasons used to justify choosing Scala were actually challenges that led to the effort being abandoned. The flexibility of the language, build tooling, and the runtime architecture became liabilities. In hindsight, these problems should have been expected.
  • The second attempt: Introducing Elm. Robert details how the team transitioned from semireluctant guinea pigs to Elm evangelists.

This talk is not anti-Scala. Robert discusses other (non-FP related) successes and failures to help validate his claims.

Photo of Robert Kluin

Robert Kluin

Real Kinetic

Robert Kluin is managing partner at Real Kinetic, where he specializes in helping companies leverage the cloud and scale their business. Robert is an experienced technology executive and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping companies develop engineering organizations that reliably deliver business value. Previously, Robert led the operations engineering, infrastructure engineering, reliability engineering, and support engineering groups at Workiva to ensure 24×7 operations and deliver systems to meet product engineering needs. He is a Google Cloud Platform Developers Expert.