Scala Match and Case Examples

Use match with cases to test the value of a variable and return another value.

Match. An Int is 3. A List has two special values at its start. In languages we often need to handle special cases based on the values in our data. Pattern matching is a solution.

With the match keyword, we begin a match construct. We use cases to indicate values to be matched. We can return values directly from cases.

An example. Here we implement a function called colorCode. It accepts an id Int and returns a String. A match construct determines which string to return based on the Int.
Case: We use the case-keyword to specify cases to return. Here we use simple cases for single Ints, but more complex forms may be used.
Scala program that uses match // Use match on parameter id and return a String. // ... Default case returns "None" String. def colorCode(id: Int): String = id match { case 0 => "Blue" case 1 => "Red" case 2 => "Green" case _ => "None" } // Get color code for this argument. val result = colorCode(0) println(result) val result2 = colorCode(1) println(result2) val result3 = colorCode(4000) println(result3) Output Blue Red None

List pattern matching. To use pattern matching, we provide special syntax forms. For example, to match lists we specify three identifiers separated by "::" tokens.
Here: The testList function matches lists with two or more elements, and returns true if the second element is greater than the first.
Tip: The identifiers in the list pattern do not matter, but only the first two are elements we can compare.
Note: The third identifier is the remainder of the list. So here "a" is element 1, "b" is element 2 and "c" is all remaining elements.
Scala program that uses match, list pattern // Return true if list has two or more elements. // Second element must be greater than the first. // ... Return false for all other lists. def testList(x: List[Int]): Boolean = x match { case a :: b :: c => b > a case _ => false } // Call testList. val result1 = testList(List(10, 20, 30)) val result2 = testList(List(20, 10)) val result3 = testList(List()) val result4 = testList(List(1, 0, 2, 3)) val result5 = testList(List(0, 1, 2, 3)) println(result1) println(result2) println(result3) println(result4) println(result5) Output true false false false true

Options. An option can be evaluated in match statement. An option is either Some value or is None. We can use Some and None in a match construct.
Here: GetOption returns an Option that wraps an Int. If we pass 1 or greater, we get Some value. Otherwise we get None.
Result: We pass 2 to getOption which returns a valid option. The Some case in the match block is reached. A value exists.
Scala program that uses Some, None option match // Return Some or None option based on integer. def getOption(n: Int): Option[Int] = if (n >= 1) Some(n) else None // Get an option. val result = getOption(2) // Match option on Some and None. result match { case Some(x) => println("Value exists") case None => println("Nothing exists") } Output Value exists

If inside match case. We can capture variables in cases and use if-statements to test those variables' values. These are guarded, conditional cases.
Here: Our match tests the "magnitude" value. It handles the case of greater than or equal to 4, and the case of less than or equal to 1.
String: This match construct returns a string. Its result is stored in the "result" value and then printed to the screen.
Scala program that uses match with if-expressions val magnitude = 5 // Match on magnitude, returning a string. // ... Handle greater than or equal to 4. // Handle less than or equal to 1. val result = magnitude match { case m if m >= 4 => "Big, greater than or equal to 4" case m if m <= 1 => "Small, less than or equal to 1" case _ => "Medium" } // Print result. println(result) Output Big, greater than or equal to 4

List pattern notes. Let us research list pattern matching. We find that the pattern to match lists has three parts separated by "::" symbols.Pattern Matching: scala-lang.org
List pattern matching: The pattern x :: y :: xs matches lists of length >= 2, binding x to the list's first element, y to the list's second element, and xs to the remainder.

Tuples. A tuple can be matched. The syntax is similar to a list pattern. We can require specific values in any part of the tuple being matched.Tuple: Match

A review. Pattern matching is similar to a "switch" statement in C-like languages. But in Scala we can use more advanced patterns. This simplifies code and makes it clearer.

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