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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Functional Program Design in Scala by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

3,055 ratings
522 reviews

About the Course

In this course you will learn how to apply the functional programming style in the design of larger Scala applications. You'll get to know important new functional programming concepts, from lazy evaluation to structuring your libraries using monads. We'll work on larger and more involved examples, from state space exploration to random testing to discrete circuit simulators. You’ll also learn some best practices on how to write good Scala code in the real world. Finally, you will learn how to leverage the ability of the compiler to infer values from types. Several parts of this course deal with the question how functional programming interacts with mutable state. We will explore the consequences of combining functions and state. We will also look at purely functional alternatives to mutable state, using infinite data structures or functional reactive programming. Recommended background: You should have at least one year programming experience. Proficiency with Java or C# is ideal, but experience with other languages such as C/C++, Python, Javascript or Ruby is also sufficient. You should have some familiarity with using the command line. This course is intended to be taken after Functional Programming Principles in Scala:

Top reviews

Sep 14, 2016

This is a university degree course which takes enormous effort to complete. But still its beond the programming course range giving you whats not possible to google or learn practical way. Thanks!

Mar 17, 2018

Thank you for this exciting course! I did the FP in Scala course a few years ago and decided to do the full certification now. I am looking forward to the next courses in the specialisation.

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276 - 300 of 507 Reviews for Functional Program Design in Scala

By Hyung-tak J

Jul 25, 2016


By Marius K

Feb 25, 2018

This course is OK as a successor of "Functional Programming Principles in Scala". You definitely learn a lot of new functional concept, the material is presented well and the homework is engaging (though it is debatable if it couldn't be more closely related to the course content).

Participants should know, though, that this is a condensed version of a previous Coursera course by the same authors, "Principles of Reactive Programming", which is no longer available. Compared to the earlier course, the present course is less coherent – it consists more or less of a subset of the earlier course’s lectures (videos). As a consequence, the instructors sometimes refer to earlier or later lectures that are not actually there (or at least not in the expected order). (I recommend participants to look up the missing lectures on Youtube:

Lastly, I do not think the title "Functional Program Design" is appropriate. I would call it "Elements of Reactive Programming in Scala" or something similar.

By Kota M

Jan 24, 2018

This was my first experience with Functional Programming and also Scala. I found many parts of the course challenging, but also so much fun to me.

During the course, the teacher talks about the Scala development techniques, but also fundamental implementation of Scala language. I think the course will be more informative if the two kinds are clearly separated, since people would have different motivations towards the course. Many people may not need to understand what is going on behind the abstract functionality for their practice, but knowing them will push them up to higher levels.

I myself wanted to focus on getting used to coding with Scala, even if I am not 100% sure how the things are going on behind scene. Fundamental topics will be of my interest once I become a intermediate developer of the language.

By Mikhail K

Jul 15, 2017

Just a little comment. Week 4 was somewhat of a letdown. Such central to FPD theme as reactive programming is overcondensed into really limited amount of time. 1 Week feels like a waisted opportunity which only scratched a surface. And it's quite obvious that authors planned it to be longer (mr. Odersky even explicitly mentions 3 weeks of material in first 3 lectures of Week 4) and more in depth but for some reason that didn't come to be. Also inclusion of materials from other course (RP) for some introduction of Future monad goodness doesn't look very nice from perspective of professionalism. It's obvious that authors struggled with deadlines, so until this course's revision and improvement just 4 out of 5 from me (compared to 5 out of 5 for Course 1 from the Specialization), sorry!

By Ilari V

Jul 17, 2016

Mostly as good as the course "Functional Programming Principles in Scala" I took couple of years ago. However, some of the videos are clearly taken from another courses and referencing to content not in this course. Especially the final week's content is very confusing, topics changing constantly without clear context and presentation. (I actually purposedly skipped the last few videos, as they seemed completely off the track and it was very hard to get anything out of them.)

The exercices were good, starting where the previous course ended, and most of the videos were clear and well done (basically the videos by Martin).

By Antoine L

Mar 12, 2019

This course felt a bit less fundamental than the Functional Programming Principles but offered some nice introduction to more advanced concepts that feel to bridge the gap between theoretical advantages and real-world use cases.

On the other hand the Monad concept which I often hear about still feels a bit fuzzy, I felt like less time was dedicated to theory in this course.

This time again the exercises are challenging but fun and above all really help internalizing the concepts, although it feels like it will take me more work to really grok Signals not to mention Future which are not used in any exercises.

By Tim B

Jul 27, 2020

Great course! Applying the theory on the homework assignments is a really effective way of consolidating your knowledge. The assignments were fun, and I also learned a lot from the "domain" of each of the assignments. That being said, I feel like for the IntHeaps assignment, the right balance was not struck. Too much knowledge of one obscure computer science topic (Binomial Heaps) was required to complete the exercise. This was, in my opinion, completely beyond the point of what was taught in that week of the course. It unnecessarily cost me a considerable amount of extra time.

By Ashvin L

Mar 25, 2018

The content is excellent. It needs to be better organized. We learnt a lot about Monads, Futures, etc, but there was nothing to test them.

Week4 organization requires a lot more work. It appeared as though, the professors have taken some other course content and re purposed it for this course. While that in itself is not bad, what has happened unfortunately is that the jumps in the lectures are very sudden and many things do not make sense.

Some of the "inductive programming" proofs are quite long and tedious and does not gel with the flow of the course.

By lu

May 24, 2017

1 . Some content quite confusing and not well explained(e.g Future, Monads ..).

2. Scala.react package mentioned, the paper that describes it is good, but seems this package deprecated already?? No practical example.

3. Akka Actor was said to be covered in the previous "Reactive programming principle" course, disappeared here, and some other content gone, too.

I thinks FRP is quite interesting, hope this course structure can be improved and more examples/practical assignments provided.

By Pavel A

Sep 25, 2016

I would have loved to spend more time on FRP and Futures. Both of those sections could have been expanded and an assignment dealing with Futures would be very welcome. Also, the mish-mash of Futures-related lectures was a bit confusing (despite Erik Meijer's obvious enthusiasm for the subject). Otherwise the course is a great introduction to a number of interesting topics in Scala, which will probably serve as an important stepping-stone for the next parallel programming course.

By Egor P

Aug 13, 2017

Course is very informative, but has a few "formatting" issues:

Fix references to another lectures. Sometimes they are talking about lectures that don't even exist

In one of the first weeks it was proved that Try is not a monad. And later in the last week video other lecturer call it a monad. It is not anything huge, but makes feeling that content a bit inaccurate.

Week 4 / Combinators on Future 1/2 / Future recap - flatMap result type is incorrect

By Martin O

Nov 3, 2017

The course material and assignments did not quite match. Moreover, the test assignment was like something for completely another course. Not even a word about possible ways to implement test assignment methods. Had to browse around course forums and browse around the Internet for additional materials about Scala and algorithms. Although in the end got 10/10 points - no idea whether same result could be achieved in some even more elegant way.

By Mike D

Jul 15, 2016

The content is excellent (as always), however the form leaves a bit to be desired. The video quality kept reverting to "low", and even on "high", the resolution was nothing to be proud of in 2016 (or at any time during this century). Also, the instructors appeared to make references to lectures that are not a part of this edition of the course. But these are small issues – the course is definitely worth taking, small imperfections or not.

By Janis Z

Aug 31, 2017

I really liked how the assignments had types already specified, so that you would just add the finishing pieces in puzzle, and reveal solution Odersky had intended you to learn - because without these aids there would be endless solutions that could be excercised, and you might not learn the concept that was being taught.

It was a bit confusing though to see that the lecturers were being toggled - thus in some places context was lost.

By Anders T

Jul 27, 2016

A good introduction to design of more complex Scala programs in a functional manner.

Left a few things to be desired some places, such as: less legacy from the previous "reactive programming in scala" course; a discussion of immutable options for functional reactive programming; and a demonstration of an implicits-based implementation of Functional Reactive Programming, as was mentioned.

For the most part a great course though.

By Joseph C

Jul 5, 2018

Great, informative course. My only issue is that some of the programming assignments seemed to focus on one specific portion of the week's material rather than testing bits of knowledge from across the week. This was especially pronounced in the week 3 assignment, which was more about learning a testing framework than anything. Still, overall it's a great course that's worth taking. I probably would give it 4.5/5 if I could

By Iwan E

Nov 16, 2016

Apart from week 4, I found all classes very instructive and relevant. The video's from Erik Meijer in week 4 seemed a bit artificial. The exercise in week 3 was not really related to the classes other than that we learned in the course that there is a way to proove something and then we needed to. I could not really understand why or when I would apply that knowledge.

By Andrew S

Jul 30, 2016

The course was nice but not structured very good, especially week 4. From time to time you have a feeling that this course is more like a compilation of lectures made for other courses with similar topic. Especially confusing are moments when during the lecture author references previous materials you expected to know from lectures you've never heard. That's strange.

By Max S

Mar 1, 2020

Just like the first course in the specialization this one teaches valuable insights into quite a lot of concepts. However more than the first one you realize in this course that initially the entire specialization was taught as one coherent course. In this course this sometimes show and confused me a bit. Additionally there where almost no exercises in the lectures.

By Vasile G

Mar 21, 2017

The assignments seemed somewhat easy compared to curriculum which became more difficult. I would say that the assignments from the first course were more challenging then those from the second. I also think very little attention was paid to new monad constructs like Try, Validate and scala's reactive library, but I guess the later was left for the third course.

By Roman A

Nov 13, 2019

The course covers a range of interesting and important topics and the quality of lectures and exercises is pretty high.

However, it is organized in a less coherent way than the first course in the specialization. Exercises do not match their weeks, lecturer suddenly changes in Week 4 and delivers something not clearly following from the previous lectures.

By futtetennista

Mar 28, 2017

To me every mooc by Martin Odersky is pure gold. I guess this course underwent a couple of "refactorings" because I didn't have the impression that the topics (and sometimes the assignments) throughout the 4 weeks followed a clear path. This is just my impression though, I might be wrong. Anyway great mooc and lots of fun, I can totally recommend it!

By Chloe L

Nov 11, 2018

Prof Martin's lectures are great.. however I have trouble following the other lecturer Erik. He sounds out of breath all the time and the content is not as well organized & well explained as Prof Martin's. I ended up skipping his lectures (which is sad, as his lectures are about Scala Future which imo is a difficult but important topic).


Jul 13, 2016

A bit lost sometimes. The course was remodeled after previous ones obviously and it seems a little chaotic sometimes. Not sure to get all the message that was intended to be passed. Sometimes the exercice are way simpler than the session contents. Still I've enjoyed (almost) every moment of the course and I am eager to go on! Thanks!

By Sergey V

Dec 11, 2016

Thanks for this course!

Only one times i was very confused - when i saw that in the last assignment i should use Vars and Signals, not Features and Promises - that's, i think, a little bit far from as async code in real projects, which contain promises, features, actors etc.

But anyway, thanks for all of that, it was useful for me.