Alejandro Alcalde

Data Scientist and Computer Scientist. Creator of this blog.

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In my last post I talked about how to iterate through multiple collections in scala, a problem I faced when working on my final project. Other problem I faced was writing to a file in Scala, since standard Scala does not have this feature, I had to implement it and added to my personal library.

First approach

The first step I made was, as always, search on Stack Overflow to know how other people were solving this problem, Rex kerr proposed this implementation on the question How to write to a file in Scala?:

def printToFile(f: => Unit) {
  val p = new
  try { op(p) } finally { p.close() }

and to use it:

val data = Array("Five","strings","in","a","file!")
printToFile(new File("example.txt")) { p =>

My approach

Based on Rex Kerr solution, I modified and adapted his code and encapsulate it in a object called FileUtils:

object FileUtils {
  def printToFile(f: => Unit): Unit = {
    val p = new
    try {
    } finally {

  def saveOject(o: Any): Unit = {
    val oos = new ObjectOutputStream(new FileOutputStream("src/main/resources/XY"))
    try {
    } finally {

  def getObject[T]:T = {
    val ois = new ObjectInputStream(getClass.getResource("/XY").openStream())
    try {
      val r = ois.readObject.asInstanceOf[T]
    } finally {

FileUtils encapsulates two additional methods, saveOject and getObject[T], the former simply save the object passed in as parameter and store it in a file, the latter returns the contents of the file as an instance of type T. The reason to do this was because I needed to store the extracted features of the model in order to save computation time in future runs.

Example of use

As an example, my FileUtils object can be used as follows (this snippet of code is from DependencyParser.scala):

(getClass.getResource("/XY") != null: @switch) match {
  case true => FileUtils.getObject[(Map[String, Vector[Vector[Int]]], Map[String, DblVector])]
  case false =>
    val result = eF(Map.empty[String, Vector[Vector[Int]]].withDefaultValue(Vector.empty[Vector[Int]]),
                   Map.empty[String, DblVector].withDefaultValue(Vector.empty[Double]),

With (getClass.getResource("/XY") != null: @switch) match I am testing if the file already exists, if it does, I simply call FileUtils.getObject and pass in the type, saving the time to compute again the features for the model with the method eF. If the file was not present, I extract the features calling eF and then save them with FileUtils.saveOject for future use.

That’s it, is there another way you write/read files in scala? Let me know in the comments!


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