Scripting in Scala

Imagine we have a long text file, for example:

'CHINESE' : 'zh',
'DUTCH': 'nl',  
'ENGLISH' : 'en',
'SPANISH' : 'es',

And we want to turn it into this:

'zh' : 'Chinese',
'nl' : 'Dutch',  
'en' : 'English',
'es' : 'Spanish',

What we want to do is very simple: "Swap the two parts on every line!", and I believe it should be this simple also in code. Let's see how it looks in Scala:


val lineRegex = "\\s+'(.+)'.*'(.+)'.*".r

for(line <- Source.stdin.getLines) {
   val lineRegex(name, code) = line
   println("'%s': '%s'," format (code, name.toLowerCase.capitalize))

That's 5 lines including the import, and the code is readable. Now we can run:

cat languages.txt | scala ourScript.scala > output.txt

That's it.

Btw, let's look at at the options we had for solving the problem:
  1. We don't want to be writing code in Java, C++ or C# and actually compiling an executable. Also you can imagine that the code in any of these languages would be overly complicated.
  2. OK, so we definitely should use a scripting language. What options do we have?
    • sed, awk, perl - Learn a (cryptic) language just for the purposes of scripting? No thanks.
    • Python, F#, Scala - All these languages have an amazing property that while you are already building your applications in them, you can use them for writing quick scripts. Scala is just elegant and more innovative than F# or Python. For a deeper look how the magic with lineRegex works, see this. If unfamiliar with Scala, here is a quick overview.

Posted by Martin Konicek on 4:02 PM 2 comments