How to drop the first matching element in a Scala sequence

Summary: This blog post shows one way to drop/filter the first matching element from a Scala sequence (Seq, List, Vector, Array, etc.). I don’t claim that the algorithm is efficient, but it does work.


While creating some Scala test code earlier today I had an immutable list of toppings for a pizza, and I got into a situation where I wanted to remove the first instance of a topping.

A Scala method to write a list of strings to a file

As a brief note today, here’s a Scala method that writes the strings in a list — more accurately, a Seq[String] — to a file:

def writeFile(filename: String, lines: Seq[String]): Unit = {
    val file = new File(filename)
    val bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(file))
    for (line <- lines) {
Scala: Generating a sequence/list of all ASCII printable characters alvin February 7, 2019 - 5:11pm

I ran into a couple of interesting things today when trying to generate random alphanumeric strings in Scala, which can be summarized like this. I won’t get into the “random” stuff I was working on, but here are a couple of examples of how to generate lists of alphanumeric/ASCII characters in Scala:

scala> val chars = ('a' to 'Z').toList
chars: List[Char] = List()

scala> val chars = ('A' to 'z').toList
chars: List[Char] = 
List(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, 
     M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, 
     Y, Z, [, \, ], ^, _, `, a, b, c, d, 
     e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, 
     q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z)

scala> val chars = (' ' to 'z').toList
chars: List[Char] = 
List( , !, ", #, $, %, &, ', (, ), *, +, 
     ,, -, ., /, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 
     8, 9, :, ;, <, =, >, ?, @, A, B, C, 
     D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, 
     P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, [, 
     \, ], ^, _, `, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, 
     h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, 
     t, u, v, w, x, y, z)

Scala: Convert a String with newline characters to a sequence/list of strings

If you ever need a Scala method/function to convert a string with newline characters in it to a sequence of strings (Seq[String]), here you go:

def convertStringWithNewlinesToSeq(s: String): Seq[String] =

You can convert the final result to a Vector, Seq, List, ArrayBuffer, Array, etc., but I prefer Vector. The Scala REPL demonstrates how it works:

scala> convertStringWithNewlinesToSeq("")
res0: Seq[String] = Vector("")

scala> convertStringWithNewlinesToSeq("foo")
res1: Seq[String] = Vector(foo)

scala> convertStringWithNewlinesToSeq("foo\nbar\nbaz")
res2: Seq[String] = Vector(foo, bar, baz)

scala> convertStringWithNewlinesToSeq("foo\nbar\nbaz\n\n")
res3: Seq[String] = Vector(foo, bar, baz)

How to get multiple, unique, random elements from a list of elements

One thing I never thought about before is that if you need to get multiple, unique, random elements from a list of elements, one solution to the problem is to shuffle the list and then take as many elements as you want/need. For instance, if you want three unique, random elements from a list of integers in Scala, you can do this:

scala> val list = List(1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5)
list: List[Int] = List(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

scala> val uniq = list.distinct
uniq: List[Int] = List(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

scala> val shuffled = scala.util.Random.shuffle(uniq)
shuffled: List[Int] = List(1, 4, 5, 2, 3)

scala> val firstThree = shuffled.take(3)
firstThree: List[Int] = List(1, 4, 5)

As that solution shows, you start with a simple list; get the unique/distinct elements from the list; shuffle those elements to create a new list; then take the first three elements from the shuffled list. That’s probably not a great solution for huge lists, but for many simple lists it’s a way to get multiple random elements from the list.

Scala tip: How to extract a field from a sequence of objects to create a new sequence

As a brief Scala tip, a fun thing you can do with the map method on Scala sequences (Array, List, Seq, Vector, etc.) is to convert a sequence of objects into a sequence of something else, typically extracting a field from the original object to create the new sequence.

For instance, imagine that you have a case class named Person that has two constructor parameters, firstName and lastName:

A Scala ‘foldLeft’ function written using recursion alvin January 20, 2018 - 4:25pm

As a short note, here’s some Scala source code that shows how to write a foldLeft function using recursion:

How to create multiline strings in Scala

This is an excerpt from the Scala Cookbook (partially modified for the internet). This is Recipe 1.2, “How to Create Multiline Strings in Scala.”


You want to create multiline strings within your Scala source code, like you can with the “heredoc” syntax of other languages.


In Scala you create multiline strings by surrounding your text with three double quotes:

This is a page from my book, Functional Programming, Simplified

How to Enable the Use of Multiple Generators in a ‘for’ Expression

One cool thing about for expressions is that you can use multiple generators inside of them. This lets you do some nice analytics when you have some interesting data relationships.

For instance, suppose you have some data like this: