Enriching Scala With Implicits

Imagine you are an ETL developer using Spring Cloud Data Flow. Nothing is really available for distributed systems and streaming ETL that is as powerful as this tool. Alteryx and Pentaho are at least a year away from pushing out anything as capable. While Pentaho might work, there are just too many holes to fill.

However, you could do with a more compact code language than Java when programming for Spring. A powerful solution is to combine the Spring ecosystem with Scala, using implicits to eliminate redundant code.

This article focuses on using the enrichment pattern in Scala code through the IterableLike library and the concept of the implicit.



Time is Money


Implicits allow code that is in scope to be utilized when variables are not defined. Only one implicit of a type may be defined within a class:

implicit val myImplicitString : String = "hello there"

def printHello(str : String)={
   println(str)//should print "hello there"

This class creates an implicit string and utilizes it in the method printHello. Having two implicit strings confuses the compiler and causes it to crash.

Implicits create the possibility of using the enrichment pattern as described in the next to last section by attaching an implicit definition to a library when a non-existing function is called.

Remap An Object

Our enrichment example contains a method that removes an item from an IterableLike object only when a specific condition holds:

class IterableScalaFuncs[A,Repr](xs : IterableLike[A,Repr]){

      * Remove an object by a single property value.
      * @param f              The thunk to use
      * @param cbf            The CanBuildFrom to get a builder which should not be touched
      * @tparam That          The result type
      * @return That which should just be of type A
    def removeObjectMatching[That](f : A => Boolean)(implicit cbf : CanBuildFrom[Repr,A,That]):That={
        val builder = cbf(xs.repr)
        val it = xs.iterator

            val o = it.next()
                builder += o


IterableLikeScalaFuncs contains a removeObjectMatching method that takes the result as a type parameter, the thunk to match with in the parameter list, and implicitly connects the existing CanBuildFrom from IterableLike in the net parameter list. It then creates a builder of our type and proceeds to populate it with objects not matching the thunk before returning a new collection with the appropriate items removed.

Enrichment Pattern

The enrichment pattern in Scala embellishes libraries by appending code to them as opposed to creating a wrapper class which must be instantiated. This requires implicitly attaching method definitions to existing libraries but allows Scala to be easily used from the console and in classes.

The class in the previous section can be attached to all IterableLike collections implicitly:

  * The enrichment for Iterables wrapping IterablLike with IterableScalaFuncs
  * @param xs       Our IterableLike object
  * @tparam A       The type of the Iterable
  * @tparam Repr    Traversable Repr
implicit def enrichIterable[A, Repr](xs: IterableLike[A, Repr]) = new IterableScalaFuncs(xs)

The method enrichIterable attaches to the target collections and is used as follows:

import ScalaFuncImplicits._
val list : List[(Int,Int)] = List[(Int,Int)]((1,2),(2,3)).removeObjectMatching(_.1 == 1) //should product List((2,3))


This article reviewed the power of Scala Implicits to reduce redundant code without accounting for every type. The enrichment pattern can be used to easily integrate methods with existing libraries.

Code is available at Github

Avoiding Duplication Issues in SBT

It goes without saying that any series on sbt and sbt assembly needs to also have a small section on avoiding the dreaded deduplication issue.

This article reviews how to specify merging in sbt assembly as described on the sbt assembly Github page and examines the PathList for added depth.

Related Articles:

Merge Strategies

When building a fat JAR in sbt assembly, it is common to run into the following error:

[error] (*:assembly) deduplicate: different file contents found in the following:

This error proceeds a list of files with duplication issues.

The build.sbt file offers a way to avoid this error via the merge strategy. Using the error output, it is possible to choose an appropriate strategy to deal with duplication issues in assembly:

assemblyMergeStrategy in assembly := {
  case "Logger.scala" => MergeStrategy.first
  case "levels.scala" => MergeStrategy.first
  case "Tidier.scala" => MergeStrategy.first
  case "logback.xml" => MergeStrategy.first
  case "LogFilter.class" => MergeStrategy.first
  case PathList(ps @ _*) if ps.last startsWith "LogFilter" => MergeStrategy.first
  case PathList(ps @ _*) if ps.last startsWith "Logger" => MergeStrategy.first
  case PathList(ps @ _*) if ps.last startsWith "Tidier" => MergeStrategy.first
  case PathList(ps @ _*) if ps.last startsWith "FastDate" => MergeStrategy.first
  case x =>
    val oldStrategy = (assemblyMergeStrategy in assembly).value

In this instance. The first discovered file listed in the sbt error log is chosen. The PathList obtains the entire path with last choosing the last part of the path.

A file name may be matched directly.


Sbt merge makes use of the PathList. The full object is quite small:

object PathList {
  private val sysFileSep = System.getProperty("file.separator")
  def unapplySeq(path: String): Option[Seq[String]] = {
    val split = path.split(if (sysFileSep.equals( """\""")) """\\""" else sysFileSep)
    if (split.size == 0) None
    else Some(split.toList)

This code utilizes the the specified system separator, “\” by default, to split a path. The return type is a List of strings.

List has some special Scala based properties. For instance, it is possible to search for anything under javax.servlet.* using:

PathList("javax", "servlet", xs @ _*) 

xs @_* searches for anything after the javax.servlet package.


This article reviews some basics of the merge strategy in sbt with a further explanation of the PathList.

A Quick Note on SBT Packaging: Packaging Library Dependencies, Skipping Tests, and Publishing Fat Jars

Sbt is a powerful build tool for recurring builds using in a nearly automated way with the tilde to simplifying the Maven build system.

There is the matter of slow build times with assembly. Avoiding slow builds with sbt assembly and automating the process with sbt ~ package is simple. However, using the output code requires having dependencies.

Even then, compiling a fat JAR for use across an organization may be necessary in some circumstances such as when using native libraries. This can avoid costly build problems.

This article reviews packaging dependencies with sbt assembly, offers tips for avoiding tests in all of sbt, and provides an overview of publishing fat JARS with assembly using the sbt commands publish and publish-local.

Related Articles:

Packaging Dependencies

Getting library dependencies to package alongside your jar is simple. Add the following code to build.sbt

retrieveManaged := true

The jars will be under root at /lib_managed.

Skipping Tests

If you want to avoid testing as well, add:

test in assembly := {} //your static test class array

This tells assembly not to run any tests by passing a dynamic structure with no class name elements.

Publishing An Assembled Fat JAR

There may be a need to publish a final fat JAR locally or to a remote repository such as Nexus. This may create a merge in other assemblies or with other dependencies so care should be exercised.

The following code, direcectly from the sbt Github repository, pushes an assembled jar to a repository:

artifact in (Compile, assembly) := {
  val art = (artifact in (Compile, assembly)).value
  art.copy(`classifier` = Some("assembly"))

addArtifact(artifact in (Compile, assembly), assembly)

The sbt publish and sbt publish-local commands should now push a fat JAR to the target repository.


Avoiding running assembly constantly and publishing fat JARS requires a simple change to build.sbt. With them, it is possible to obtain dependencies for running on the classpath, avoid running tests on every assembly, and publishing fat JARS.

An Introduction to Using Spring With Scala: A Positive View with Tips

Many ask why mix Spring and Scala. Why not?

Scala is a resilient language and the movement to the Scala foundation has only made it and its interaction with Java stronger. Scala reduces those many lines of Java clutter to fewer significantly more readable lines of elegant code with ease. It is faster than Python and yet acquiring the same serialization capability while already having a much better functional aspect.

Spring is the powerful go to too for any Java programmer, abstracting everything from web app security and email to wiring a backend. Together, Scala 2.12+ and Spring make a potent duo.

This article examines a few key traits for those using Scala 2.12+ with Spring 3+.


Mr. Bean

Some of the Benefits of Mixing

Don’t recreate the wheel in a language that already uses your favorite Java libraries.

Scala mixed with Spring:

  • Elminate Lines of Java Code
  • Obtains more functional power than Javaslang
  • Makes use of most if not all of the functionality of Spring in Scala
  • Places powerful streamlined threading capacity in the hands of the programmer
  • Creates much broader serialization capacity than Java

This is a non-exhaustive list of benefits.

When Dependency Injection Matters

Dependency injection is useful in many situations. At my workplace, I have developed tools that reduce thousands of lines of code to a few configuration scripts using Scala and Spring.

Dependency injection is useful when writing large amounts of code hinders productivity. It may be less useful when speed is the primary concern.

Annotation Configs

Every annotation in Spring works with Scala. @Service, @Controller, and the remaining stereotypes, @Autowired and all of the popular annotations are useable.

Using them is the same in Java as in Scala.

class QAController{


Unfortunately, Scala does not create getters and setters for beans. It is therefore necessary to use the specialized @BeanProperty from Scala.Beans. This property cannot be attached to a private variable.

val conf: String = null

If generating a boolean getter and setter, @BooleanBeanProperty should be used.

val isWorking : Boolean = false

Scala’s Beans package contains other useful tools that give some power over configuration.


Autowiring does not require jumping through hoops. The underlying principal is the same as when using Java. It is only necessary to combine the @BeanProperty with @Autowired.

@Autowired(required = false)
val tableConf : TableConfigurator = null

Here, the autowired tableConf property is not required.

Configuration Classes

The XML context in Spring is slated for deprecation. To make code that will last, it is necessary to use a configuration class. Scala works seamlessly with the @Configuration component.

class AppConfig{
  def getAnomalyConfigurator():AnomalyConfigurator= {
    new AnomalyConfigurator {
      override val maxConcurrent: Int = 3
      override val errorAcceptanceCriteria: Double = 5.0
      override val columLevelStatsTable: String = "test"
      override val maxHardDifference: Int = 100
      override val schemaLevelStatsTable: String = "test"
      override val runId: Int = 1

  def getQAController():QAController={
    new QAController

As with Java, the configuration generates beans. There is no difference in useage between the languages.

Create Classes without Defining Them

One of the more interesting features of Java is the ability to define a class as needed. Scala can do this as well.

new AnomalyConfigurator {
      ... //properties to use

This feature is useful when creating configuration classes whose traits take advantage of Spring.

Creating a Context

Creating contexts is the same in Scala as in Java. The difference is that classOf[] must be used in place of the .class property to obtain class names.

val context: AnnotationConfigApplicationContext = new AnnotationConfigApplicationContext()
val controller: QAController = context.getBean(classOf[QAController])


Scala 2.12+ works seamlessly with Spring. Requisite annotations and tools are all available in the language which compiles to comparable Java byte code.

Code for this article is available on Github