Scala runs on...

  • JVM
  • JavaScript in your browser
  • Natively with LLVM beta

Scala in a Nutshell

click the boxes below to see Scala in action!

Seamless Java Interop

Scala runs on the JVM, so Java and Scala stacks can be freely mixed for totally seamless integration.

Type Inference

So the type system doesn’t feel so static. Don’t work for the type system. Let the type system work for you!

Concurrency & Distribution

Use data-parallel operations on collections, use actors for concurrency and distribution, or futures for asynchronous programming.

Author.scala
class Author(val firstName: String,
    val lastName: String) extends Comparable[Author] {

  override def compareTo(that: Author) = {
    val lastNameComp = this.lastName compareTo that.lastName
    if (lastNameComp != 0) lastNameComp
    else this.firstName compareTo that.firstName
  }
}

object Author {
  def loadAuthorsFromFile(file: java.io.File): List[Author] = ???
}
App.java
import static scala.collection.JavaConversions.asJavaCollection;

public class App {
    public List<Author> loadAuthorsFromFile(File file) {
        return new ArrayList<Author>(asJavaCollection(
            Author.loadAuthorsFromFile(file)));
    }

    public void sortAuthors(List<Author> authors) {
        Collections.sort(authors);
    }

    public void displaySortedAuthors(File file) {
        List<Author> authors = loadAuthorsFromFile(file);
        sortAuthors(authors);
        for (Author author : authors) {
            System.out.println(
                author.lastName() + ", " + author.firstName());
        }
    }
}

Combine Scala and Java seamlessly

Scala classes are ultimately JVM classes. You can create Java objects, call their methods and inherit from Java classes transparently from Scala. Similarly, Java code can reference Scala classes and objects.


In this example, the Scala class Author implements the Java interface Comparable<T> and works with Java Files. The Java code uses a method from the companion object Author, and accesses fields of the Author class. It also uses JavaConversions to convert between Scala collections and Java collections.

Type inference
scala> class Person(val name: String, val age: Int) {
     |   override def toString = s"$name ($age)"
     | }
defined class Person

scala> def underagePeopleNames(persons: List[Person]) = {
     |   for (person <- persons; if person.age < 18)
     |     yield person.name
     | }
underagePeopleNames: (persons: List[Person])List[String]

scala> def createRandomPeople() = {
     |   val names = List("Alice", "Bob", "Carol",
     |       "Dave", "Eve", "Frank")
     |   for (name <- names) yield {
     |     val age = (Random.nextGaussian()*8 + 20).toInt
     |     new Person(name, age)
     |   }
     | }
createRandomPeople: ()List[Person]

scala> val people = createRandomPeople()
people: List[Person] = List(Alice (16), Bob (16), Carol (19), Dave (18), Eve (26), Frank (11))

scala> underagePeopleNames(people)
res1: List[String] = List(Alice, Bob, Frank)

Let the compiler figure out the types for you

The Scala compiler is smart about static types. Most of the time, you need not tell it the types of your variables. Instead, its powerful type inference will figure them out for you.

In this interactive REPL session (Read-Eval-Print-Loop), we define a class and two functions. You can observe that the compiler infers the result types of the functions automatically, as well as all the intermediate values.

Concurrent/Distributed
val x = Future { someExpensiveComputation() }
val y = Future { someOtherExpensiveComputation() }
val z = for (a <- x; b <- y) yield a*b
for (c <- z) println("Result: " + c)
println("Meanwhile, the main thread goes on!")

Go Concurrent or Distributed with Futures & Promises

In Scala, futures and promises can be used to process data asynchronously, making it easier to parallelize or even distribute your application.

In this example, the Future{} construct evaluates its argument asynchronously, and returns a handle to the asynchronous result as a Future[Int]. For-comprehensions can be used to register new callbacks (to post new things to do) when the future is completed, i.e., when the computation is finished. And since all this is executed asynchronously, without blocking, the main program thread can continue doing other work in the meantime.

Traits

Combine the flexibility of Java-style interfaces with the power of classes. Think principled multiple-inheritance.

Pattern Matching

Think “switch” on steroids. Match against class hierarchies, sequences, and more.

Higher-order functions

Functions are first-class objects. Compose them with guaranteed type safety. Use them anywhere, pass them to anything.

Traits
abstract class Spacecraft {
  def engage(): Unit
}
trait CommandoBridge extends Spacecraft {
  def engage(): Unit = {
    for (_ <- 1 to 3)
      speedUp()
  }
  def speedUp(): Unit
}
trait PulseEngine extends Spacecraft {
  val maxPulse: Int
  var currentPulse: Int = 0
  def speedUp(): Unit = {
    if (currentPulse < maxPulse)
      currentPulse += 1
  }
}
class StarCruiser extends Spacecraft
                     with CommandoBridge
                     with PulseEngine {
  val maxPulse = 200
}

Flexibly Combine Interface & Behavior

In Scala, multiple traits can be mixed into a class to combine their interface and their behavior.

Here, a StarCruiser is a Spacecraft with a CommandoBridge that knows how to engage the ship (provided a means to speed up) and a PulseEngine that specifies how to speed up.

Switch on the structure of your data

In Scala, case classes are used to represent structural data types. They implicitly equip the class with meaningful toString, equals and hashCode methods, as well as the ability to be deconstructed with pattern matching.


In this example, we define a small set of case classes that represent binary trees of integers (the generic version is omitted for simplicity here). In inOrder, the match construct chooses the right branch, depending on the type of t, and at the same time deconstructs the arguments of a Node.

Pattern matching
// Define a set of case classes for representing binary trees.
sealed abstract class Tree
case class Node(elem: Int, left: Tree, right: Tree) extends Tree
case object Leaf extends Tree

// Return the in-order traversal sequence of a given tree.
def inOrder(t: Tree): List[Int] = t match {
  case Node(e, l, r) => inOrder(l) ::: List(e) ::: inOrder(r)
  case Leaf          => List()
}

Go Functional with Higher-Order Functions

In Scala, functions are values, and can be defined as anonymous functions with a concise syntax.

Scala
val people: Array[Person]

// Partition `people` into two arrays `minors` and `adults`.
// Use the anonymous function `(_.age < 18)` as a predicate for partitioning.
val (minors, adults) = people partition (_.age < 18)
Java
List<Person> people;

List<Person> minors = new ArrayList<Person>(people.size());
List<Person> adults = new ArrayList<Person>(people.size());
for (Person person : people) {
    if (person.getAge() < 18)
        minors.add(person);
    else
        adults.add(person);
}

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Scala ecosystem

The Scala Library Index (or Scaladex) is a representation of a map of all published Scala libraries. With Scaladex, a developer can now query more than 175,000 releases of Scala libraries. Scaladex is officially supported by Scala Center.

The Scala Library Index

What’s New

BLOG

Scala community build grows, adds Scala 2.13 and JDK 11

Friday, January 18, 2019

In a January 2018 blog post we introduced the Scala community build, a collection of open-source Scala code that includes many of the most-used libraries in the Scala ecosystem.

The community build is used to test changes to the Scala compiler, enabling Scala the language and Scala the ecosystem of libraries to evolve in tandem with each other.

This post highlights the progress the community build has made in the last year.

Overall growth

We currently have 185 projects and a total of 3.2 million lines of code. (A year ago, we had 141 projects and 2.8 million lines.)

An especially notable project added recently was Apache Kafka, thanks to the efforts of Enno Runne at Lightbend.

Other projects added in the last year include: airframe, akka-http-json, akka-persistence-jdbc, argonaut-shapeless, better-monadic-for, boopickle, circe-derivation, classpath-shrinker, classutil, curryhoward, decline, eff, enumeratum, expecty, export-hook, fast-string-interpolator, giter8, grizzled, jsoniter-scala, kafka, kittens, linter, magnolia, mercator, metaconfig, metrics-scala, mouse, pascal, perfolation, portable-scala-reflect, refined, scala-collection-compat, scala-java-time, scala-newtype, scala-sculpt, scalajson, scalasti, scalaz8, scapegoat, scribe, scrooge-shapes, scrooge, silencer, singleton-ops, sttp, testz, wartremover.

See also the full list of all included projects.

JDK 11 added

With a JDK 11 community build now in place, we are protected from any more bugs like the bug that required Scala 2.12.5 to be withdrawn.

We added a JDK 9 edition of the community build in March 2018, starting with just a half-dozen projects. By June, 119 projects were passing. Since then we moved to JDK 10 and then to JDK 11. Today, 165 projects are passing – almost 90 percent.

(If it seems worrisome that several dozen projects still fail, consider the following. In order for a project to pass, it must both build and run on on JDK 11. It’s fairly rare for a Scala library to have any trouble running on JDK 11, using published artifacts built on JDK 8. In the community build context, most failures are minor build problems, not actual runtime problems.)

This GitHub ticket tracks progress on getting the remaining libraries passing.

Project maintainers can help by adding this to their .travis.yml files:

jdk:
- oraclejdk8
- openjdk11

(These are the JDKs that the community build uses, and that open source contributors are likeliest to be using.)

Scala 2.13 added

There are currently 79 projects that build (and whose test suites pass) with the latest Scala 2.13 nightly build. This number has been gradually growing ever since 2.13’s new collections API landed in April.

Having this many projects passing gives us substantial confidence already that the new collections API in 2.13, and other changes, are fundamentally sound. Most projects have needed only small changes around the edges to cross-compile against 2.11, 2.12, and 2.13.

This GitHub ticket tracks progress on getting even more libraries passing in time for the 2.13.0 release in early 2019.

Learning more, getting involved

See last year’s blog post. The links it contains are still valid.

And what about about Scala 3? As the Dotty team tells us, “Dotty now has a set of widely-used community libraries that are built against every nightly Dotty snapshot. Currently this includes ScalaPB, algebra, scalatest, scopt and squants. Join our community build to make sure that our regression suite includes your library.”

Credits

I (Seth Tisue) am the primary maintainer of the Scala community build, as a member of the Scala team at Lightbend. Toni Cunei, from the tooling team at Lightbend, is the primary author of dbuild, the meta-build tool that makes the community build possible.

The community build couldn’t exist without continual help and advice from the maintainers of the included projects.

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