What def, val, and var fields in Scala traits look like after they’re compiled (including the classes that extend them)

Table of Contents1 - def field in trait2 - val field in trait (abstract)3 - val field in trait (concrete)4 - var field in trait (abstract)5 - var field in trait (concrete)6 - An abstract class in the middle7 - A trait in the middle8 - Summary

I generally have a pretty good feel for how Scala traits work, and how they can be used for different needs. As one example, a few years ago I learned that it’s best to define abstract fields in traits using def. But there are still a few things I wonder about.

Today I had a few free moments and I decided to look at what happens under the covers when you use def, val, and var fields in traits, and then mix-in or extend those traits with classes. So I created some examples, compiled them with scalac -Xprint:all, and then decompiled them with JAD to see what everything looks like under the covers.

I was initially going to write a summary here, but if you want to know how things work under the hood, I think it helps to work through the examples, so for today I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

The meaning of the word “reify” in programming

I don’t recall hearing of the words “reify” or “reification” in my OOP years, but that may be because I studied aerospace engineering in college, not computer science. Since learning FP I often see those words, so I thought I’d try to understand their meaning.

The short answer is that the main definition seems to be:

“Taking an abstract concept and making it concrete.”

For the longer answer, I found the following definitions and examples of reification.

How to use abstract and concrete fields in Scala traits

This is an excerpt from the Scala Cookbook (partially modified for the internet). This is a very short recipe, Recipe 8.2, “How to use abstract and concrete fields in Scala traits.”


You want to put abstract or concrete fields in your traits so they are declared in one place and available to all types that implement the trait.

Scala trait examples and syntax

This page contains a collection of Scala trait examples. I created many of these examples when I was writing the Scala Cookbook. Unlike the Cookbook, where I explain these examples in great detail, on this page I’m just sharing many of the examples so you can use this as a trait reference page. (The Cookbook actually contains more examples than this page.)

Without any more introduction, here are the examples.