Scala Tutorial - Scala Closure

A closure is a function, whose return value depends on the value of one or more variables declared outside this function.


Let's create a multiplier function as illustrated:

var y = 3
val multiplier = (x:Int) => x * y

Now, y has a reference to a variable outside the function but in the enclosing scope.

object Main extends App { 
    var y = 3
    val multiplier = (x:Int) => x * y


Partially Applied Function

In functional programming languages, calling a function with parameters is to apply the function to the parameters.

When all the parameters are passed to the function we have fully applied the function to all the parameters.

A simple add function:

val add = (x: Int, y: Int) => x + y

But when we give only a subset of the parameters to the function, the result of the expression is a partially applied function.

val partiallyAdd = add(1, _:Int)

Because we haven't provided a value for the second parameter, the variable partially Add is a partially applied function.

When you give partiallyAdd an Int value 2, you get the sum of the Int number passed into the add and partiallyAdd functions:


When we provide all the parameters, the original function is executed, yielding the result.

Curried Function

Currying converts a function with multiple parameters creating a chain of function, each expecting a single parameter.

The following code creates add function that adds two Int parameters, a and b, as illustrated here:

val add = (x: Int, y: Int) => x + y

In Scala, curried functions are defined with multiple parameter lists, as follows:

def add(x: Int)(y: Int) = x + y

We can also use the following syntax to define a curried function:

def add(x: Int) = (y: Int) => x + y

Instead of one list of two Int parameters, you apply the curried add function to two lists of one Int parameter.

Thus the curried add function looks like this:

def curriedAdd(a: Int)(b: Int) = a + b