jupyter-scala / jupyter-scala

Lightweight Scala kernel for Jupyter / IPython 3

Version Matrix

Jupyter Scala

Jupyter Scala is a Scala kernel for Jupyter. It aims at being a versatile and easily extensible alternative to other Scala kernels or notebook UIs, building on both Jupyter and Ammonite.

Build Status Gitter Maven Central

The current version is available for Scala 2.11. Support for Scala 2.10 could be added back, and 2.12 should be supported soon (via ammonium / Ammonite).

Table of contents

  1. Quick start
  2. Extra launcher options
  3. Comparison to alternatives
  4. Status / disclaimer
  5. Big data frameworks
  6. Spark
  7. Flink
  8. Scio / Beam
  9. Scalding
  10. Plotting
  11. Vegas
  12. plotly-scala
  13. Special commands / API
  14. Jupyter installation
  15. Internals
  16. Compiling it

Quick start

First ensure you have Jupyter installed. Running jupyter --version should print a value >= 4.0. See Jupyter installation if it's not the case.

Simply run the jupyter-scala script of this repository to install the kernel. Launch it with --help to list available (non mandatory) options.

Once installed, the kernel should be listed by jupyter kernelspec list.

Extra launcher options

Some options can be passed to the jupyter-scala script / launcher.

  • The kernel ID (scala) can be changed with --id custom (allows to install the kernel alongside already installed Scala kernels).
  • The kernel name, that appears in the Jupyter Notebook UI, can be changed with --name "Custom name".
  • If a kernel with the same ID is already installed and should be erased, the --force option should be specified.

Comparison to alternatives

There are already a few notebook UIs or Jupyter kernels for Scala out there:

  • the ones originating from IScala,
    • IScala itself, and
    • ISpark that adds some Spark support to it,
  • the ones originating from scala-notebook,
  • the ones affiliated with Apache,
    • Toree (incubated, formerly known as spark-kernel), a Jupyter kernel to do Spark calculations, and
    • Zeppelin, a JVM-based alternative to Jupyter, with some support for Spark, Flink, Scalding in particular.)

Compared to them, jupyter-scala aims at being versatile, allowing to add support for big data frameworks on-the-fly. It aims at building on the nice features of both Jupyter (alternative UIs, ...) and Ammonite - it is now based on a only slightly modified version of it (ammonium). Most of what can be done via notebooks can also be done in the console via ammonium (slightly modified Ammonite). jupyter-scala is not tied to specific versions of Spark - one can add support for a given version in a notebook, and support for another version in another notebook.

Status / disclaimer

jupyter-scala tries to build on top of both Jupyter and Ammonite. Both of them are quite used and well tested / reliable. The specific features of jupyter-scala (support for big data frameworks in particular) should be relied on with caution - some are just POC for now (support for Flink, Scio), others are a bit more used... in specific contexts (support for Spark, quite used on YARN at my current company, but whose status is unknown with other cluster managers).

Big data frameworks


Status: some specific uses (Spark on YARN) well tested in particular contexts (especially the previous version, the current one less so for now), others (Mesos, standalone clusters) unknown with the current code base

Use like

import $exclude.`org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12`, $ivy.`org.slf4j:slf4j-nop:1.7.21` // for cleaner logs
import $profile.`hadoop-2.6`
import $ivy.`org.apache.spark::spark-sql:2.1.0` // adjust spark version - spark >= 2.0
import $ivy.`org.apache.hadoop:hadoop-aws:2.6.4`
import $ivy.`org.jupyter-scala::spark:0.4.2` // for JupyterSparkSession (SparkSession aware of the jupyter-scala kernel)

import org.apache.spark._
import org.apache.spark.sql._
import jupyter.spark.session._

val sparkSession = JupyterSparkSession.builder() // important - call this rather than SparkSession.builder()
  .jupyter() // this method must be called straightaway after builder()
  // .yarn("/etc/hadoop/conf") // optional, for Spark on YARN - argument is the Hadoop conf directory
  // .emr("2.6.4") // on AWS ElasticMapReduce, this adds aws-related to the spark jar list
  // .master("local") // change to "yarn-client" on YARN
  // .config("spark.executor.instances", "10")
  // .config("spark.executor.memory", "3g")
  // .config("spark.hadoop.fs.s3a.access.key", awsCredentials._1)
  // .config("spark.hadoop.fs.s3a.secret.key", awsCredentials._2)

Important: SparkSessions should not be manually created. Only the ones from the org.jupyter-scala::spark library are aware of the kernel, and setup the SparkSession accordingly (passing it the loaded dependencies, the kernel build products, etc.).

Note that no Spark distribution is required to have the kernel work. In particular, on YARN, the call to .yarn(...) above generates itself the so-called spark assembly (or list of JARs with Spark 2), that is (are) shipped to the driver and executors.


Status: POC

Use like

import $exclude.`org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12`, $ivy.`org.slf4j:slf4j-nop:1.7.21`, $ivy.`org.slf4j:log4j-over-slf4j:1.7.21` // for cleaner logs
import $ivy.`org.jupyter-scala::flink-yarn:0.4.2`

import jupyter.flink._


sys.props("FLINK_CONF_DIR") = "/path/to/flink-conf-dir" // directory, should contain flink-conf.yaml


val cluster = FlinkYarn(
  taskManagerCount = 2,
  jobManagerMemory = 2048,
  taskManagerMemory = 2048,
  name = "flink",
  extraDistDependencies = Seq(
    s"org.apache.hadoop:hadoop-aws:2.7.3" // required on AWS ElasticMapReduce

val env = JupyterFlinkRemoteEnvironment(cluster.getJobManagerAddress)

Scio / Beam

Status: POC

Use like

import $ivy.`org.jupyter-scala::scio:0.4.2`
import jupyter.scio._

import com.spotify.scio._
import com.spotify.scio.accumulators._
import com.spotify.scio.bigquery._
import com.spotify.scio.experimental._

val sc = JupyterScioContext(
  "runner" -> "DataflowPipelineRunner",
  "project" -> "jupyter-scala",
  "stagingLocation" -> "gs://bucket/staging"
).withGcpCredential("/path-to/credentials.json") // alternatively, set the env var GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS to that path


Status: TODO! (nothing for now)

Special commands / API

Being based on a slightly modified version of Ammonite, jupyter-scala allows to

  • add dependencies / repositories,
  • manage pretty-printing,
  • load external scripts, etc.

the same way Ammonite does, with the same API, described in its documentation.

It has some additions compared to it though:

Excluding dependencies

One can exclude dependencies with, e.g.

import $exclude.`org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12`

to exclude org.slf4j:slf4j-log4j12 from subsequent dependency loading.

Displaying HTML / images / running Javascript

    <div id="bar"></div>

publish.png(png) // png: Array[Byte]



Like for big data frameworks, support for plotting libraries can be added on-the-fly during a notebook session.


Vegas is a Scala wrapper for Vega-Lite

Use like

import $ivy.`org.vegas-viz::vegas:0.3.8`

import vegas._

Vegas("Country Pop").
      Map("country" -> "USA", "population" -> 314),
      Map("country" -> "UK", "population" -> 64),
      Map("country" -> "DK", "population" -> 80)
  encodeX("country", Nom).
  encodeY("population", Quant).

Additional Vegas samples with jupyter-scala notebook are here.


plotly-scala is a Scala wrapper for plotly.js.

Use like

import $ivy.`org.plotly-scala::plotly-jupyter-scala:0.3.0`

import plotly._
import plotly.element._
import plotly.layout._
import plotly.JupyterScala._


val (x, y) = Seq(
  "Banana" -> 10,
  "Apple" -> 8,
  "Grapefruit" -> 5

Bar(x, y).plot()

Jupyter installation

Check that you have Jupyter installed by running jupyter --version. It should print a value >= 4.0. If it's not the case, a quick way of setting it up consists in installing the Anaconda Python distribution (or its lightweight counterpart, Miniconda), and then running

$ pip install jupyter


$ pip install --upgrade jupyter

jupyter --version should then print a value >= 4.0.


jupyter-scala uses the Scala interpreter of ammonium, a slightly modified Ammonite. The interaction with Jupyter (the Jupyter protocol, ZMQ concerns, etc.) are handled in a separate project, jupyter-kernel. In a way, jupyter-scala is just a bridge between these two projects.

The API as seen from a jupyter-scala session is defined in the scala-api module, that itself depends on the api module of jupyter-kernel. The core of the kernel is in the scala module, in particular with an implementation of an Interpreter for jupyter-kernel, and implementations of the interfaces / traits defined in scala-api. It also has a third module, scala-cli, which deals with command-line argument parsing, and launches the kernel itself. The launcher script just runs this third module.

Compiling it

Clone the sources:

$ git clone https://github.com/alexarchambault/jupyter-scala.git
$ cd jupyter-scala

Compile and publish them:

$ sbt publishLocal

Edit the jupyter-scala script, and set VERSION to 0.4.3-SNAPSHOT (the version being built / published locally). Install it:

$ ./jupyter-scala --id scala-develop --name "Scala (develop)" --force

If one wants to make changes to jupyter-kernel or ammonium, and test them via jupyter-scala, just clone their sources,

$ git clone https://github.com/alexarchambault/jupyter-kernel


$ git clone https://github.com/alexarchambault/ammonium

build them and publish them locally,

$ cd jupyter-kernel
$ sbt publishLocal


$ cd ammonium
$ sbt published/publishLocal

Then adjust the ammoniumVersion or jupyterKernelVersion in the build.sbt of jupyter-scala (set them to 0.4.3-SNAPSHOT or 0.8.1-SNAPSHOT), reload the SBT compiling / publishing jupyter-scala (type reload, or exit and relaunch it), and build / publish locally jupyter-scala again (sbt publishLocal). That will make the locally published artifacts of jupyter-scala depend on the locally published ones of ammonium or jupyter-kernel.

Released under the Apache 2.0 license, see LICENSE for more details.