Scala: OOP basics

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The most part of time when I’m coding I use Java. So it’s my main programming language. It satisfies me in all aspects, but I notice that Java is too verbose sometimes. That’s why I have switched to Scala. So all free time I spend now for learning Scala. I’m going to publish some notes in my blog, hence you are welcome to visit new page of my blog which will be dedicated to Scala.
The first serious article will be about Scala OOP.

Class declaration

OOP in Scala allows to create classes. But the process of declaration differs comparing with Java. Here is how we can do it in Scala:

class Person

Nothing hard. And it’s not strange, we just declared absolutely useless class. Let’s move further to look at how we can upgrade the code in order to make it more practical.

Primary constructor

I’m going to add some parameters into the Person class which need to be specified during object creation. As many of you may guess, I’m talking about primary constructor:

class Person(name: String, age: Int)

A Primary constructor can be called directly when we are creating an object. Here is an example:

val p1 = new Person("Alex", 24)

And also it can be called indirectly in an overloaded constructor. An overloading is out of topic and I’ll discuss this in the following posts.

Prefixed constructor parameters

Ok, we have already declared the Person class and looks like it can be more or less useful, since it has some initialization parameters passed in the primary constructor. But how we can interact with these parameters after the initialization?

scala> p1.name
<console>:10: error: value name is not a member of Person
              p1.name

As you can see, the attempt to access the name parameter of the Person instance class causes error. That’s because the name parameter doesn’t has any prefix in the primary constructor declaration. Hence the name and the age parameters are declared as private and they are not accessible outside the Person class.

class Person(val name: String, var age: Int)

I modified the Person class declaration. Now the name parameter will be supplied with a getter, because it is prefixed with val, and the age parameter will be supplied with a setter in addition to setter, because it is prefixed with var.

scala> val p2 = new Person("Bobby", 25)
p2: Person = Person@30374534

scala> p2.name
res1: String = Bobby

scala> p2.name = "Bob"
<console>:9: error: reassignment to val
       p2.name = "Bob"

scala> p2.age
res2: Int = 25

scala> p2.age = 26
p2.age: Int = 26

With help of val and var prefixes inside a primary constructor you are able to make classes more practical.

Class body

Let’s move further with OOP basics in Scala. Now I want to show how Scala classes can be more practical when they contain some additional functionality inside a class body.

class Person(val name:String, var age:Int) {
def introduce() = 
println(s"Hi, my name is ${name}, I'm ${age} years old")
}

Now an instance of the Person class is more social and he (she) may introduce himself to someone. Try the code:

val p3 = new Person("Jhon", 33)
p3.introduce

Summary

Well in the post I tried to make an overview of the most simplest and essential basics of Scala OOP. In my oppinion, Scala OOP is more complex than Java OOP. Maybe even not more complex, but it different and it definitely requires some time to get used to it.

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Categorized: Scala
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  • http://michaelrice.com/blog michaelrice

    I liked this post because it was compact and clear. It’s an interesting time to post it, though, since Java 8 is almost out. Obviously Scala has more features than just the new stuff, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are about the future of Scala considering Java 8 is almost out.

    • http://fruzenshtein.com/ Alex Zvolinskiy

      Michael, thanks for the comment. I know about the release of Java 8, but I have switched on Scala because it’s more concise and it’s adopted for the high performance (parallelism). I’m just starting to play with Scala to become more experienced in a functional programming. And of course I will not ignore Java 8

      • http://michaelrice.com/ michaelrice

        Cool, of course. It will be interesting to see if you ever switch back for free time projects.

        • http://fruzenshtein.com/ Alex Zvolinskiy

          I’m going to go in live with some of my pet-projects, I still don’t know which ones will be published for the world web, but definitely it will be developed with Spring or with one of Scala frameworks =)

          So wish me luck =)