The document contains Scala stylistic guidelines, which should be fillowed in order to produce readable and idiomatic code, allowing effective collaboration. The following style guides were used as a basis:

Syntactic Style


  • General indentation: 2 spaces

  • Limit lines to 100 characters

  • If a single expression is longer than 100 characters it should be spitted into multiple expressions by assigning intermediate results to values. In case it is not practical and the expression should be wrapped across several lines, each successive line should be indented two spaces from the first.

  • When calling a method which takes numerous arguments (in the range of five or more), it is often necessary to wrap the method invocation onto multiple lines. In such cases, put each argument on a line by itself, indented two spaces from the current indent level:

      "this is a string",

Naming Convention

  • Classes, traits should follow Java class convention, i.e. CamelCase style with the first letter capitalized.

    class RedFox
    trait LazyDog
  • Objects follow the class naming convention except when attempting to mimic a package or a function.

    object ast {
      sealed trait Expr
      case class Plus(e1: Expr, e2: Expr) extends Expr
    object inc {
      def apply(x: Int): Int = x + 1
  • Scala packages should follow the Java package naming conventions

    package com.databricks.resourcemanager
  • Constant names should be in upper camel case. That is, if the member is final, immutable and it belongs to a package object or an object, it may be considered a constant (similar to Java’s static final members):

    object Foo {
      val Bar = 10
  • Enums should be CamelCase with first letter capitalized.

  • Names for methods should be in the camelCase style with the first letter lower-case.


All guides referenced above agreed on how the declarations should be styled. Please refer to the one from Scala Style Guide, as is most comprehensive of them.


  • Do NOT use wildcard imports, unless you are importing implicit methods.

  • Always import packages using absolute paths

Control Structures

Control structures should be styled as defined in Scala Style Guide

Infix Methods

Do NOT use infix notation for methods that aren’t symbolic methods (i.e. operator overloading).

// Correct

// Wrong
list map (func)
string contains "foo"

// But overloaded operators should be invoked in infix style
arrayBuffer += elem

Documentation Style

  • Use Java docs style instead of Scala docs style.

      * Style mandated by "Scala Style Guide"
     * Style to use
  • Do not use @author tags since it does not encourage Collective Code Ownership.

Language Features

override Modifier

Always add override modifier for methods, both for overriding concrete methods and implementing abstract methods. The Scala compiler does not require override for implementing abstract methods.

Destructuring Binds

Destructuring bind (sometimes called tuple extraction) is a convenient way to assign two variables in one expression.

val (a, b) = (1, 2)

However, do NOT use them in constructors, especially when a and b need to be marked transient. The Scala compiler generates an extra Tuple2 field that will not be transient for the above example.

class MyClass {
  // This will NOT work because the compiler generates a non-transient Tuple2
  // that points to both a and b.
  @transient private val (a, b) = someFuncThatReturnsTuple2()

Symbolic Methods (Operator Overloading)

Avoid symbolic method names, unless you are defining them for natural arithmetic operations (e.g. +, -, *, /) or as part as some DSL (! to send message in Akka, \ to concatenate parts of a path or an uri). In second case they should be defined as aliases to the non-symbolic functions.

Type Inference

Scala type inference, especially left-side type inference and closure inference, can make code more concise. That said, there are a few cases where explicit typing should be used:

  • Public methods should be explicitly typed, otherwise the compiler’s inferred type can often surprise you.

  • Implicit methods should be explicitly typed, otherwise it can crash the Scala compiler with incremental compilation.

  • Variables or closures with non-obvious types should be explicitly typed. A good litmus test is that explicit types should be used if a code reviewer cannot determine the type in 3 seconds.

Return Statements

Do NOT use return statements.

Recursion and Tail Recursion

Do NOT use recursion, unless the problem can be naturally framed recursively (e.g. graph traversal, tree traversal).

For functions that are meant to be tail recursive, apply @tailrec annotation to make sure the compiler can check it is tail recursive (you will be surprised how often seemingly tail recursive code is actually not tail recursive due to the use of closures and functional transformations.)

Exception Handling

  • Do NOT catch Throwable or Exception. Use scala.util.control.NonFatal:

    try {
    } catch {
      case NonFatal(e) =>
        // handle exception; note that NonFatal does not match InterruptedException
      case e: InterruptedException =>
        // handle InterruptedException


  • Use Option when the value can be empty. Compared with null, an Option explicitly states in the API contract that the value can be None.

  • When constructing an Option, use Option rather than Some to guard against null values.

    def myMethod1(input: String): Option[String] = Option(transform(input))
    // This is not as robust because transform can return null, and then
    // myMethod2 will return Some(null).
    def myMethod2(input: String): Option[String] = Some(transform(input))
  • Do not use None to represent exceptions.

  • Do not call get directly on an Option.

Monadic Chaining

One of Scala’s powerful features is monadic chaining. Almost everything (e.g. collections, Option, Future, Try) is a monad and operations on them can be chained together. This is an incredibly powerful concept, but chaining should be used sparingly. In particular:

  • Do NOT chain (and/or nest) more than one flatMap operations.

  • If you need to chain more than one flatMap, use for-comprehension.


Use Akka for concurrency.

Private Fields

Note that private fields are still accessible by other instances of the same class, so protecting it with this.synchronized (or just synchronized) is not technically sufficient. Make the field private[this] instead.

// The following is still unsafe.
class Foo {
  private var count: Int = 0
  def inc(): Unit = synchronized { count + 1 }

// The following is safe.
class Foo {
  private[this] var count: Int = 0
  def inc(): Unit = synchronized { count + 1 }

Default Parameter Values

Do NOT use default parameter values. Overload the method instead.

// Breaks Java interoperability
def sample(ratio: Double, withReplacement: Boolean = false): RDD[T] = { ... }

// The following two work
def sample(ratio: Double, withReplacement: Boolean): RDD[T] = { ... }
def sample(ratio: Double): RDD[T] = sample(ratio, withReplacement = false)