How to generate a small random number in Kotlin

If you need to generate a small random number in Kotlin, I find that this approach works:

val r = (1..10).shuffled().first()

That code generates a single random number in the range from 1 to 10 (including 1 on the low end and 10 on the high end).

You can use the technique to simulate the rolling of a dice (die):

val r = (1..6).shuffled().first()

Or simulate flipping a coin (0=heads, 1=tails, or vice versa):

val r = (1..2).shuffled().first()

This also works for the coin flip simulation:

How to create a range of characters as a Scala Array

I just noticed this quirk when trying to create an array of characters with the Scala Array.range method:

# works as expected
('a' to 'e').toArray              // Array[Char] = Array(a, b, c, d, e)

# surprise: Array.range always returns Array[Int]
val a = Array.range('a', 'e')     // Array[Int] = Array(97, 98, 99, 100)

I was surprised to see that the Scaladoc for the Array object states that the second example is expected behavior; Array.range always returns an Array[Int]. I suspect this has something to do with a Scala Array being backed by a Java array, but I didn’t dig into the source code to confirm this.

For much more information about arrays, see my Scala Array class examples tutorial.

How to get the current year as an integer in Scala

Scala FAQ: How do I get the current year as an integer (Int value) in Scala?

Solution: Use the Java 8 Year or LocalDate classes, or the older old Java Calendar class. The solutions are shown below.

How to create a Java or Scala date from a Long value

Scala FAQ: How do I created a Scala Date from a Long value? When I give the Java Date class constructor a Long value it returns a date from 1970.

Solution: You need to multiply the Long value by 1000, and also make sure you pass a Long value into the Date constructor. The Scala REPL shows how this works:

Scala: When the sum of a list is a very large number

As a brief note, I knew that the sum function I wrote in my book on Scala and functional programming would return a wrong value if the sum of the integers in a list was greater than Int.MaxValue, and I was curious how the built-in sum method on lists handled the same problem. It turns out that it works in the same way.

So, if you need to sum a list of integers that may exceed Int.MaxValue, you might need to write a sum function that calculates and returns the sum as a Long. (The same is true for Float and Double.)

Scala for Java devs: Everything in Scala is an object

The new docs website looks great. It’s also a reminder to me that I probably didn’t stress enough in the Scala Cookbook that everything in Scala is an object, including numbers. (Hopefully I made it clear that functions are objects.) This Scala REPL example shows some of the methods that are available on Scala integers (Int type).

How to handle very large numbers in Scala (BigInt, BigDecimal)

This is an excerpt from the Scala Cookbook (partially modified for the internet). This is Recipe 2.6, “Handling Very Large Numbers in Scala.”


You’re writing a Scala application and need to use very large integer or decimal numbers.


Use the Scala BigInt and BigDecimal classes. You can create a BigInt:

Scala: How to parse a number from a String

This is an excerpt from the Scala Cookbook (partially modified for the internet). This is Recipe 2.1, “Parsing a Number from a String.”


You want to convert a String to one of Scala’s numeric types (Byte, Double, Int, Float, Long, Short).

How to populate a Java int array with a range of values

I just learned an easy way to populate/initialize a Java int array with data, such as a range of numbers. The key is to use the rangeClosed method on the Java 8 IntStream class. Here’s an example using the Scala REPL:

scala> val n =, 10).toArray()
n: Array[Int] = Array(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

I show that in Scala to show the output, and here’s what it looks like with Java: