style guide

Control Structures

All control structures should be written with a space following the defining keyword:

// right!
if (foo) bar else baz
for (i <- 0 to 10) { ... }
while (true) { println("Hello, World!") }

// wrong!
if(foo) bar else baz
for(i <- 0 to 10) { ... }
while(true) { println("Hello, World!") }

Curly-Braces

Curly-braces should be omitted in cases where the control structure represents a pure-functional operation and all branches of the control structure (relevant to if/else) are single-line expressions. Remember the following guidelines:

  • if - Omit braces if you have an else clause. Otherwise, surround the contents with curly braces even if the contents are only a single line.
  • while - Never omit braces (while cannot be used in a pure-functional manner).
  • for - Omit braces if you have a yield clause. Otherwise, surround the contents with curly-braces, even if the contents are only a single line.
  • case - Always omit braces in case clauses.
val news = if (foo)
  goodNews()
else
  badNews()

if (foo) {
  println("foo was true")
}

news match {
  case "good" => println("Good news!")
  case "bad" => println("Bad news!")
}

Comprehensions

Scala has the ability to represent for-comprehensions with more than one generator (usually, more than one <- symbol). In such cases, there are two alternative syntaxes which may be used:

// wrong!
for (x <- board.rows; y <- board.files) 
  yield (x, y)

// right!
for {
  x <- board.rows
  y <- board.files
} yield (x, y)

While the latter style is more verbose, it is generally considered easier to read and more “scalable” (meaning that it does not become obfuscated as the complexity of the comprehension increases). You should prefer this form for all for-comprehensions of more than one generator. Comprehensions with only a single generator (e.g. for (i <- 0 to 10) yield i) should use the first form (parentheses rather than curly braces).

The exceptions to this rule are for-comprehensions which lack a yield clause. In such cases, the construct is actually a loop rather than a functional comprehension and it is usually more readable to string the generators together between parentheses rather than using the syntactically-confusing } { construct:

// wrong!
for {
  x <- board.rows
  y <- board.files
} {
  printf("(%d, %d)", x, y)
}

// right!
for (x <- board.rows; y <- board.files) {
  printf("(%d, %d)", x, y)
}

Finally, for comprehensions are preferred to chained calls to map, flatMap, and filter, as this can get difficult to read (this is one of the purposes of the enhanced for comprehension).

Trivial Conditionals

There are certain situations where it is useful to create a short if/else expression for nested use within a larger expression. In Java, this sort of case would traditionally be handled by the ternary operator (?/:), a syntactic device which Scala lacks. In these situations (and really any time you have a extremely brief if/else expression) it is permissible to place the “then” and “else” branches on the same line as the if and else keywords:

val res = if (foo) bar else baz

The key here is that readability is not hindered by moving both branches inline with the if/else. Note that this style should never be used with imperative if expressions nor should curly braces be employed.