Developing Medical Software in Scala and Haskell

  • Stefan Wehr factis research
September 15, 2012 3:05 - 3:30 PM


Scala and Haskell are two prominent functional programming languages. There are many similarities between the two languages making it easy to transfer design and implementation concepts from one language to the other. However, there are also enough differences that make up for an interesting comparison between them.

This talks reports on our experience with developing real-world, commercial software in Scala and Haskell. It outlines strengths and weaknesses of both languages that we encountered while developing a medical software product, it draws a comparison from our perspective, and it gives a particular example showing how to share design and implementation ideas between the two languages.

Our company develops mobile applications targeting the medical market, the main product being an electronic health record running on the iPad. The software provides doctors mobile access to all relevant medical information such as images, letters, surgery reports, and patient data. The software architecture of the product consists of an iPad application and several server components for data synchronization and data import. The server components are exclusively written in Scala (~37,000 loc) and Haskell (~69,000 loc). Development of the product started in March 2010, so we had more than two years to learn our lessons before sharing our experience in this talk.

Stefan Wehr

Stefan Wehr works as a software architect and developer for factis research GmbH, a small company specializing on mobile software solutions. He has more than ten years of experience with functional programming languages. In 2010, Stefan received his PhD with a dissertation on the integration of functional features into the object-oriented language Java.