Scala Study

Some defination and example code

Posted by Haiming on August 4, 2020

Found that if you want to know how to operate Spark, it is better to know how to use Scala.

So learn Scala first~

Scala is a language which based on JVM, and there are a lot of similarities between Scala and Java. If you have a solid Java experience, you can be familiar with Scala very quickly.

Offical tutorial


0. Hello world

Every time I learn a new programming language, I always start with Hello World. This time also :)

object HelloWorld{
  def main(args:Array[String]):Unit = {
    println("Hello world")

1. Basic Introduction and Syntax

Tell a joke, the biggest difference between Java and Scala is “Scala does’t need to provide “;” at the end of sentence.”

Talk about it briefly.

  1. Object: Object is an instance of a class. Example: a dog has states. The reason why we use object in the HelloWorld is that we only use it by Singleton.
  2. Class: Blueprint of object, describes behaviors and states.
  3. Methods: The behavior in class, showing how things to be done.
  4. Fields: One object’s state is created by the values assigned to these fields.
  5. Closure: One function that return value depends on the value of one or more variables declared outside the function.
  6. Traits: Like interface in java, and encapsulates method and field definitions. Traits are used to define object types by specifying the signature of supported methods.

1.1 Syntax

Here are some basic syntaxes in Scala programming

  1. Case sensitivity: Scala is case sensitive, take example, Hello and hello is different in Scala.
  2. Class names: For all class names, the first letter should be in Upper Case.
  3. Method names: All method names should start with a Lower Case letter. Like def myMethodName()
  4. Program File Name: Name of the program file should exactly match the object name. If use HelloWorld then the file name should be HelloWorld.scala
  5. def main(args: Array[String]): Scala program process starts from the main() method, which is a mandatory part if Scala program.

Scala keywords:

abstract case catch class
def do else extends
false final finally for
forSome if implicit import
lazy match new Null
object override package private
protected return sealed super
this throw trait Try
true type val Var
while with yield  
- : = =>
<- <: <% >:
# @    

1.2 Some interesting points

Scala can do without line breakers(“;”), but if somebody wants to place several sentences in one line then needed to use it to seperate these lines.

1.3 Blocks

Some expressios surrounding by {} can be called block.

There can be a lot of expressions in one block, but only value of the last sentence will be treated as the result of the whole block. Like:

object Run {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
      val x=1+1

This one will output 3 .Because x+1 is the last sentence.

1.4 Functions

Remember what we said on the last blog “Functional programming”? In functional programming, fuction is the fisrt kind of member, which means it can be given value and can be treat as val.Like:

object Run {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {

  val add = (x: Int) => x + 1

We can see here that we define a annoymous function, and then make it a val. After that, we passed value of the parameter in, then we can use the function as a value.

Also in methods, The last expression in the body is the method’s return value. (Scala does have a return keyword, but it is rarely used.)

1.5 Case class

This is the kind of class which Scala has. By default, instances of case classes are immutable, and they are compared by value, not reference. Can say this make it easier for pattern matching.

Take an example:

case class Point1(x: Int, y: Int)
  val point = Point1(1, 2)
  val point2 = Point1(1, 2)
  val anotherPoint = Point1(1, 2)

if (point == point2) {
      println(point + " and " + point2 + " are the same")
    } else {
      println(point + " and " + point2 + " are different")

And result is:

Point1(1,2) and Point1(1,2) are the same

1.6 Traits

Traits are abstract data types containing certain fields and methods.

In Scala inheritance, a class can only extend one other class, but can extend multiple Traits. It is like interface of Java, but can have default implementations.

Take example:

trait Greeter {
  def greet(name:String):Unit={
    println("hello "+name)
class DefaultGreeter extends Greeter

class CustomizableGreeter(prefix:String,suffix:String) extends Greeter {
  override def greet(name: String): Unit = {
    println(prefix+"This is greet from customizable greet, "+name+" "+suffix)

object Run{
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val greeter = new DefaultGreeter
    greeter.greet("Scala developer")

    val customGreeter = new CustomizableGreeter("Prefix","Suffix")
    customGreeter.greet("Just a name")

2. Data types

Because all base on JVM, so Scala has he same memory footprint and precision with Java. Following is the details and data types in Scala.

But there are still some different parts between Java and Scala:

  1. Unit: like void in Java, means no return value.
  2. Nothing: subtype of every other type, includes no values.
  3. Any: supertype of every other type, any object is of type Any
  4. AnyRef: supertype of reference type

And all data types list above are objects. This means that there are no primitive types like in Java.

Sr.No Data Type & Description
1 Byte8 bit signed value. Range from -128 to 127
2 Short16 bit signed value. Range -32768 to 32767
3 Int32 bit signed value. Range -2147483648 to 2147483647
4 Long64 bit signed value. -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807
5 Float32 bit IEEE 754 single-precision float
6 Double64 bit IEEE 754 double-precision float
7 Char16 bit unsigned Unicode character. Range from U+0000 to U+FFFF
8 StringA sequence of Chars
9 BooleanEither the literal true or the literal false
10 UnitCorresponds to no value
11 Nullnull or empty reference
12 NothingThe subtype of every other type; includes no values
13 AnyThe supertype of any type; any object is of type Any
14 AnyRefThe supertype of any reference type

2.1 Scala Basic Literals

2.1.1 Integer Literals

Integer literals are usually of type Int, or of type Long when followed by a L or l suffix. Here are some integer literals −


2.1.2 Floating Point Literals

Floating point literals are of type Float when followed by a floating point type suffix F or f, and are of type Double otherwise. Here are some floating point literals −


2.1.3 Boolean Literals

true / false.

2.1.4 Symbol Literals

Case class; the type of class Scala use to process some pattern.

Symbol is also a case class, which can be defined as follows:

package scala
final case class Symbol private (name: String) {
   override def toString: String = "'" + name

2.1.5 Character Literals

A character literal is a single character enclosed in quotes.Either a printable Unicode character or an escape sequence can be described by character. Here are some examples:


2.1.6 String Literals

A string literal is a sequence of characters in double quotes.

"This string contains a \" character."

2.1.7 Multiline Strings

use """ ... """

"""the present string
spans three

2.1.8 Null Values

A reference value which refers to a special “null” object.

3. Classes, Objects and Type Hierarchy

First, let us see on picture:

Scala Type Hierarchy

This diagram shows a subset of type hierarchy.

Can see from this diagram that Any is the supertype of all types. It is also called top type. In Any, it defined certain universal methods such as equals, hashCode and toString.

Any has 2 subclasses, one is AnyVal, one is AnyRef, which corresponds java.lang.Object.

AnyVal represents value types. There are nine predifined value types and are non-nullable:

  1. Double
  2. Float
  3. Long
  4. Int
  5. Short
  6. Byte
  7. Char
  8. Unit
  9. Boolean

Unit is a little special in Scala, which carries no meaningful information. There is exactly one instance of Unit which can be decleared literally like (). Because all functions must return something, so sometimes Unit is a useful return type.

Take an example:

  val unit: Unit = {

  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {

Guess what is the output?


So assign any value to Unit is meaningless.

Because Any is supertype of all classes, so if we pass Any as the type, we can give any type of value to the list. Example:

val list: List[Any] = List(
  "a string",
  732,  // an integer
  'c',  // a character
  true, // a boolean value
  () => "an anonymous function returning a string"

list.foreach(element => println(element))

Output is:

a String

The last one represent a function. Because all elements are instance of Scala.any,so we can add them to one list.

3.1 Type casting

Scala Type Hierarchy

Also example first :)

  val x: Long = 123456789012L
  val y: Float = x
  val face: Char = '☺'
  val number: Int = face

  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {

And output is:



So above is example of casting. But casting is unidireactional. Like below can not compile.

  val x: Long = 123456789012L
  val y: Float = x
  val z: Int = x

Compiler will show:

type mismatch;
 found   : Long
 required: Int
  val z: Int = x

3.2 Nothing and Null

Nothing is a subtype of all types, also called the bottom type. There is no value that has type Nothing. A common use is to signal non-termination such as throw an Exception, program exit or infinite loop.

Null is a subtype of all reference types (any subtype of AnyRef). It has a single value identified by keyword null. Null is provided for interperablity with other JVM languages, and should never be used in Scala code. Do you remember that we said all functions have to return a value?

3.3. Classes

A class is like below:

class Point(var x: Int, var y: Int) {
  def move(dx: Int, dy: Int): Unit = {
    x = x + dx
    y = y + dy

  override def toString: String = {

Point class has 4 members, the variables x and y, and method move and toString.

To use a class, we can use new to create an instance of class.

Constuctors can have optional parameters by providing a default value like so:

class Point(var x: Int = 0, var y: Int = 0)

3.4 Private members and Getter/Setter Syntax

A little complex but interesting. Example first:

class Point {
  private var _x: Int = 0
  private var _y: Int = 0
  private val bound: Int = 100

  def x = _x

  def x_=(newValue: Int): Unit = {
    if (newValue < bound) _x = newValue else printWaring

  def y = _y

  def y_=(newValue: Int): Unit = {
    if (newValue < bound) _y = newValue else printWaring

  def printWaring = println("Out of bounds")

object Main {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val point1 = new Point
    point1.x = 99
    point1.x = 101

Output will be:

Out of bounds

Now let’s analyse:

  1. We define 2 private variables, _x and _y.
  2. We define methods x and y as the getter of the private variables
  3. We define methods x_ and y_ as the setter of private variables.

**Notify that the method has _= append to the identifier of the getter and parameters come after. This is special syntax. **

For constructors, primary constructor with val and var are public. But because val is immutable, so cannot write the following:

class Point(val x: Int, val y: Int)
val point = new Point(1, 2)
point.x = 3  // <-- does not compile

Also, parameters without val or var are private values, visible only within the class.

class Point(x: Int, y: Int)
val point = new Point(1, 2)
point.x  // <-- does not compile

3.5 Extending a class

Like in Java, we can extend a base Scala class, and use extend key word to do the same way as Java.

There are two restrictions:

  1. Method overriding requires the override keyword.
  2. Only primary constructor can pass parameters to base constructor.

Also, you can only extend one class in Scala.

Below is an example of extend:

class Point(val xc: Int, val yc: Int) {
  var x: Int = xc
  var y: Int = yc

  def move(dx: Int, dy: Int): Unit = {
    x = x + dx
    y = y + dy
    println("Point x location : " + x)
    println("Point y location : " + y)


class Location(override val xc: Int, override val yc: Int, zc: Int)
  extends Point(xc, yc) {
  var z: Int = zc

  def move(dx: Int, dy: Int, dz: Int): Unit = {
    x = x + dx
    y = y + dy
    z = z + dz
    println("Location x location : "+x)
    println("Location y location : "+y)
    println("Location z location : "+z)

object Demo {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val pt = new Point(10, 20)
    pt.move(30, 40)

    val location = new Location(1,2,3)

4. Default parameter values

Differnet from Java, we can point at the sequence of parameter by providing the name.

object NamedArguments {
  def printName(firstName: String, lastName: String): Unit ={
    println(firstName+" "+lastName)

  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    printName(lastName = "Smith",firstName = "John")

So can see that we could arrange the order of named arguments. But there are some points we need to give notice:

  1. Named arguments do not work with calls to Java methods.
  2. If some arguments are named and others are not, the unnamed arguments must come first and in the order of their parameters in the method signature.

Below is the wrong way using:

printName(last = "Smith", "john") // error: positional after named argument

5. Traits

We already introduce it briefly, and can see that traits are similar to Java’s interfaces.

Classes and objects can extend traits, but traits cannot be instantiated and therefore have no parameters.

To use traits, we can implement it and then override methods, like:

trait Iterator[A] {
  def hasNext: Boolean

  def next(): A


class IntIterator(to: Int) extends Iterator[Int] {
    private var current = 0

  override def hasNext: Boolean = current<to

  override def next(): Int = {
      val t=current
    } else 0

object CanRun{
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val iterator = new IntIterator(10)

The IntIterator class takes a parameter to as the upper bound.

Also, subtype of a trait can be used when a given trait is required. Like:

trait Pet {
  val name: String

class Cat(val name: String) extends Pet

class Dog(val name: String) extends Pet

object PetRun {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val dog = new Dog("DogName")
    val cat = new Cat("CatName")

    val animals = ArrayBuffer.empty[Pet]
    animals.foreach(pet => println(


In this example, we can see that we use Pet in the ArrayBuffer, but we use the subtype of it, such as Dog and Cat to implement it. This is how we use the traits.

6. Tuples

Tuples are used to contain fixed number of elements, and each with a distinct type.

Tuples are immutable. And also be used for returning multiple values from a method.

We can define a tuple like this:

val ingredient = ("Sugar" , 25)

See here we don’t need to figure the kind of tuple. However, tuple in Scala is a little dfferent from what other kinds of data structures:

As shown, just put some elements inside parentheses, and you have a tuple. Scala tuples can contain between two and 22 items, and they’re useful for those times when you just need to combine a few things together, and don’t want the baggage of having to define a class, especially when that class feels a little “artificial” or phony.

Technically, Scala 2.x has classes named Tuple2, Tuple3 … up to Tuple22. As a practical matter you rarely need to know this, but it’s also good to know what’s going on under the hood. (And this architecture is being improved in Scala 3.)

How to use tuples?

If we want to get elements in tuples, we can use a special grammer which begins with 1 to get it.

Pattern matching on tuples

A tuple also can be taken apart using pattern matching.

Here is an example on all things we mentioned above.

object LearnTuple {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val ingredient = ("Sugar", 25)
    val (name, quality) = ingredient

    val planets = List(("Mercury", 57.9), ("Venus", 108.2), ("Earth", 149.6), ("Mars", 227.9), ("Jupiter", 778.3))
    planets.foreach {
      case ("Earth", distance) => println(s"Our planet is $distance km from Sun")
      case _ =>

    val numPairs = List((2, 5), (3, -7), (20, 56))
    for ((a, b) <- numPairs) {
      println(a * b)


Our planet is 149.6 km from Sun

7. Class composition with mixins

One trait extends an abstract class is called a mixin

Simple examples first:

abstract class A {
  val message: String

class B extends A {
  val message = "I am an instance of class B"

trait C extends A {
  def loudMessage = message.toUpperCase()

class D extends B with C

object LearnMixins {
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val d = new D

Result is:

I am an instance of class B

Now we analyse the code:

Class D has superclass B and a mixin C. Classes can only have one superclass, but can have a lot of mixins – by using keywords extends and with respectively. Mixins and superclass can have the same supertype.

In this fragment of code, we can see that class D has a supertype class A, and use the mixin C.

What if we don’t want to figure the type of data in traits?

We can define a abstract class with type and some methods we want, and then define a mixin to extend it, in the below example, we define a mixin which has function foreach. Then we compose them up, and use them.

abstract class AbsIterator {
  type T

  def hasNext: Boolean

  def next(): T

class StringIterator(s: String) extends AbsIterator {
  type T = Char
  private var i = 0

  override def hasNext: Boolean = i < s.size

  override def next(): Char = {
    val ch = s.charAt(i)
    i += 1

trait RichIterator extends AbsIterator {
  def foreach(f: T => Unit): Unit = while (hasNext) f(next())

object MixinOnAbstractClass {
  class RichStringIter extends StringIterator("Scala") with RichIterator

  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val richStringIter = new RichStringIter


From the code segment, we define a AbsIterator which is an abstract class, also has the T as type. Then we define a class to implement these methods it has. After that, we define a trait which implement the abstract class, to emhance it by defining foreach function. Last, we use them together.

Result is:


8. Higher-order functions

In Scala, we can pass in functions as parameters, and also can return functions as return value.

Here is functions that accept functions as parameters:

object SalaryRaiser {
  private def promotion(salaries: List[Double], promotionFunc: Double => Double): List[Double] = {

  def smallPromotion(salaries: List[Double]): List[Double] =
    promotion(salaries, salary => salary * 1.1)

  def middlePromotion(salaries: List[Double]): List[Double] =
    promotion(salaries, salary => salary * 1.5)

  def hugePromotion(salaries: List[Double]): List[Double] =
    promotion(salaries, salary => salary * 2)

Can see that we pass the promotionFunc as parameter for the function.

In Scala, if we want to define a function, the easiest way is like this: (Type1 var1, Type2 var2)=>Type3

So in the same way we can define functions that can return functions as the return values, such as :

def urlBuilder(ssl: Boolean, domainName: String): (String, String) => String ={
    val schema = if(ssl) "https://" else "http://"

and can be used like:

		val domainName = ""
    def getURL = urlBuilder(ssl=true, domainName)
    val endpoint = "users"
    val query = "id=1"
    val url = getURL(endpoint, query)

9. Nested Methods

In a method we can define another method, like this:

object NestedMethodsStudy {
  def factorial(x: Int): Int = {
    def fact(x: Int, accumulator: Int): Int = {
      if (x <= 1) accumulator
      else fact(x - 1, x * accumulator)

    fact(x, 1)

  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    println("Factorial of 10 "+factorial(10))

And output is:

Factorial of 10 3628800

We can refer from the API which Scala provided foldLeft:

def foldLeft[B](z:B)(op(B,A)=>B):B

foldLeft applies a two-parameter function op to an initial value z and all elements of this collection, going from left to right.


    val res = numbers.foldLeft(0)((m, n) => m + n)

10. Case classes

Case classes are mostly like normal classes, but have some difference.

  1. When create a case class with parameters, the parameters are public vals.It means that you cannot change them.
case class Message(sender: String, recipient: String, body: String)

def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val message1 = Message("",
      "Ça va ?"
    message1.sender="I wanna change" //will cause compile failed, "reassignment to val"
  1. When we would like to change some values in case classes, we can use copy method. It will create a shallow copy of an instance class.And we could optionally change the constuctor arguments.
case class Message(sender: String, recipient: String, body: String)
val message4 = Message("", "", "Me zo o komz gant ma amezeg")
val message5 = message4.copy(sender = message4.recipient, recipient = "")
message5.sender  //
message5.recipient //
message5.body  // "Me zo o komz gant ma amezeg"
  1. When we use case classes to do comparison, they will be compared by structure not by reference. It means if two things the value are the same, then it will return true unless they are different objects.
   case class Message(sender: String, recipient: String, body: String)
   val message2 = Message("", "", "Com va?")
   val message3 = Message("", "", "Com va?")
   val messagesAreTheSame = message2 == message3  // true