The following article is a summary of the Lambda Conf 2015 talk: Idiomatic Scala Your Options Do Not Match by Marconi Lanna

Often when dealing with Options, we have a case where we want to check if a value is defined and if it is, apply a specific treatment on the value inside the option. So we end up with a code that looks something like this:

value match {
    case Some(a) => foo(a)
    case None => bar

In this example, we patten match on the Option value. if it is defined, we call the function foo on the value inside the Some, otherwise we call bar.

and this is technically correct, however: the scala doc states that:

The most idiomatic way to use an Option instance is to treat it as a collection or monad and use map,flatMap, filter, or foreach

and that:

A less-idiomatic way to use Option values is via pattern matching:

with this in mind; the above can be re-written as:

val res =

another, more readable way would be using the fold.


fold has the following definition and impl:

  /** Returns the result of applying $f to this $option's
   *  value if the $option is nonempty.  Otherwise, evaluates
   *  expression `ifEmpty`.
   *  @note This is equivalent to `$option map f getOrElse ifEmpty`.
   *  @param  ifEmpty the expression to evaluate if empty.
   *  @param  f       the function to apply if nonempty.
  @inline final def fold[B](ifEmpty: => B)(f: A => B): B =
    if (isEmpty) ifEmpty else f(this.get)

In other words, the value on the left (bar in our case) will be applied if value is None, otherwise if it is Some, the function of the right (foo in our case) will be invoked on the value inside the Option.

Is there an even better way to do things

I wont go into the details, but Marconi Lanna does in his video or his article, but here are a few examples of code that can be better written. The below examples are taken/inspired by the video of Marconi Lanna.

This is a silly example and uncommon, but:

 return true
else {
 return false

which can easily be re-written as:

return something

Pattern Matching on boolean

condition match {
    case true => "Okay"
    case false => "Not Okay"

can be re-written as:

if(condition) "Okay" else "Not Okay"

Checking if an Option is Defined

value match {
    case Some(_)    => true
    case None       => false

can simply be re-written as:

//or its alias .nonEmpty (as of scala 2.10)

To check the inverse, you can use: .isEmpty

Filtering Values

What is we wanted to filter on an option?

// given predicate p
value match {
    case Some(a)=> if(p(a)) Some(a) else None
    case None   => None

can be simplified by calling:

// Note, Find also works in the same manner.