Scala REPL is a command-line tool for the expression, evaluation, and execution of small code snippets. The acronym REPL stands for “Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop”.
Similar to Java Shell, Scala REPL is very useful to newcomers and to those who want to experiment with new libraries or language features.
2. Installation and Usage
Scala REPL comes along with Scala binaries, so we can use it as long as we have Scala installed. To start a Scala REPL session, we need to execute the “scala” command in a terminal. This is what we’ll see in our terminal once we start the REPL session:
Welcome to Scala 2.12.4 (Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM, Java 1.8.0_151). Type in expressions for evaluation. Or try :help. scala>
3. Useful Commands and Features
Executing Scala in a terminal shell can come in handy, and REPL comes with a generous set of commands and features. In this section, we’ll demonstrate some of the most useful ones.
3.1. help Command
As expected, the :help command prints the list of available commands:
scala> :help All commands can be abbreviated, e.g., :he instead of :help. :edit <id>|<line> edit history :help [command] print this summary or command-specific help :history [num] show the history (optional num is commands to show) :h? <string> search the history :imports [name name ...] show import history, identifying sources of names :implicits [-v] show the implicits in scope :javap <path|class> disassemble a file or class name :line <id>|<line> place line(s) at the end of history :load <path> interpret lines in a file :paste [-raw] [path] enter paste mode or paste a file :power enable power user mode :quit exit the interpreter :replay [options] reset the repl and replay all previous commands :require <path> add a jar to the classpath :reset [options] reset the repl to its initial state, forgetting all session entries :save <path> save replayable session to a file :sh <command line> run a shell command (result is implicitly => List[String]) :settings <options> update compiler options, if possible; see reset :silent disable/enable automatic printing of results :type [-v] <expr> display the type of an expression without evaluating it :kind [-v] <type> display the kind of a type. see also :help kind :warnings show the suppressed warnings from the most recent line which had any
3.2. load Command
The :load command loads and executes a file of REPL code.
Let’s assume that we have the following file in the current path:
// replScript.scala case class Person(name: String, age: Int) val me = Person("Manolis", 34)
To run the file, we simply need to use the :load command:
scala> :load -v replScript.scala Loading replScript.scala... scala> case class Person(name: String, age: Int) defined class Person scala> val me = Person("Manolis", 34) me: Person = Person(Manolis,34) scala>
3.3. paste Command
One of the first obstacles we’ll stumble upon while using REPL is the fact that, by default, the code is evaluated line by line.
As a result, multi-line blocks of code, such as functions, can’t be evaluated without the :paste command.
3.4. lastException Binding
The last thrown exception is bound to lastException. Let’s throw a few exceptions and see how lastException works:
scala> throw new RuntimeException("REPL is fantastic!") java.lang.RuntimeException: REPL is fantastic! ... 32 elided scala> lastException res4: Throwable = java.lang.RuntimeException: REPL is fantastic! scala> throw new RuntimeException("REPL is awesome!") java.lang.RuntimeException: REPL is awesome! ... 32 elided scala> lastException res6: Throwable = java.lang.RuntimeException: REPL is awesome! scala>
3.5. reset Command
In case we need to clear variables or functions from our REPL session, we can use the :reset command.
After resetting a session, previous definitions are no longer available to use:
scala> val a = 1 a: Int = 1 scala> def foo(): String = "blah.." foo: ()String scala> :reset Resetting interpreter state. Forgetting this session history: val a = 1 def foo(): String = "blah.." Forgetting all expression results and named terms: a, foo scala> a <console>:12: error: not found: value a a ^ scala>
3.6. silent Command
After defining a variable or a function, the definition is printed afterward. We can disable definition printing by using the :silent command:
scala> val a = 1 a: Int = 1 scala> :silent scala> val b = 2 scala>
3.7. quit Command
Finally, we can close a REPL session via the :quit command or by pressing ctrl-D.
4. Working With Dependencies
Even though Scala REPL is not meant for big tasks or projects, we can add additional jars in the classpath to make our work easier.
4.1. require Command
The :require command adds jars to the classpath:
scala> :require commons-lang3-3.12.0.jar Added '/Users/mvarvarigos/scala-repl/commons-lang3-3.12.0.jar' to classpath. scala>
4.2. scala -cp
We can add jars as we launch REPL with the -cp argument:
scala -cp commons-lang3-3.12.0.jar
4.3. sbt Console
Another way to import additional dependencies into a REPL session is to use the sbt console within an sbt project. The sbt console command launches a REPL with every sbt dependency added to the classpath.
In this article, we illustrated some of the most used Scala REPL features and commands.