IntelliJ Scala and Apache Spark – Well, Now You Know

IntelliJ Scala and Spark Setup Overview

In this post, we’re going to review one way to setup IntelliJ for Scala and Spark development.  The IntelliJ Scala combination is the best, free setup for Scala and Spark development.  And I have nothing against ScalaIDE (Eclipse for Scala) or using editors such as Sublime.  I switched from Eclipse years ago and haven’t looked back.  I’ve also sincerely tried to follow the Pragmatic Programmer suggestion of using one editor (IDE), but I keep coming back to IntelliJ when doing JVM-based development.

But, you probably don’t really care about all my history, though.  Let’s get back to you.  You’re here to setup IntelliJ with Scala and hopefully use it with Spark, right?

In this tutorial, we’re going to try to go fast with lots of screenshots.  If you have questions or comments on how to improve, let me know.


I’m going to make assumptions about you in this post.

  1. You are not a newbie to programming and computers.  You know how to download and install software.
  2. You might need to update these instructions for your environment.  YMMV.  I’m not going to cover every nuance between Linux, OS X and Windows.  And no, I’m not going to cover SunOS vs Solaris for you old timers like me.
  3. You will speak up if you have questions or suggestions on how to improve.  There should be a comments section at the bottom of this post.
  4. You’re a fairly nice person who appreciates a variety of joke formats now and again.

If you have any issues or concerns with these assumptions, please leave now.  It will be better for both of us.

Prerequisites (AKA: Requirements for your environment)

Configuration Steps (AKA: Ándale arriba arriba)

  1. Start IntelliJ for first time
  2. Install Scala plugin
  3. Create New Project for Scala Spark development
  4. Scala Smoketest.  Create and run Scala HelloMundo program
  5. Scala Spark Smoketest.  Create and run a Scala Spark program
  6. Eat, drink and be merry

Ok, let’s go.

1. Start IntelliJ for first time

Is this your first time running IntelliJ?  If so, start here.  Otherwise, move to #2.

When you start IntelliJ for the first time, it will guide you through a series of screens similar to the following.




At one point, you will be asked if you would like to install the Scala plugin from “Featured” plugins screen such as this:


Do that.  Click Install to install the Scala plugin.

2. Install Scala plugin

If this is not the first time, you’ve launched IntelliJ and you do not have the Scala plugin installed, then stay here.  To install the Scala plugin, here’s a screencast how to do it from a Mac.  (Note: I already have it installed, so you need to check the box)

3. Create New Project for Scala Spark development

Ok, we want to create a super simple project to make sure we are on the right course.  Here’s a screencast of me being on the correct course for Scala Intellij projects

4. Create and Run Scala HelloMundo program

Well, nothing to see here.  Take a break if you want.  We are halfway home.  See the screencast in the previous step.  That’s it, because we ran the HelloMundo code in that screencast already.

5. Create and Run Scala Spark program

Let’s create another Scala object and add some Spark API calls to it.  Again, let’s make this as simple (AKA: KISS principle)  as possible to make sure we are on the correct course.  In this step, we create a new Scala object and import Spark jars as library dependencies in IntelliJ.  Everything doesn’t run perfectly, so watch how to address it in the video.  Oooh, we’re talking bigtime drama here people.  Hold on.

Here’s a screencast

Did I surprise with the Scala 2.11 vs. Scala 2.10 snafu?  I don’t mean to mess with you.  Just trying to keep it interesting.  Check out the other Spark tutorials on this site or Spark with Scala course on where I deal with this fairly common scenario in much more detail.  This is a post about Intellij Scala and Spark.

Notice how I’m showing that I have a Standalone Spark cluster running.  You need to have one running in order for this Spark Scala example to run correctly.  See Standalone Spark cluster if need some help with this setup.

Code for the Scala Spark program

import org.apache.spark.SparkContext
import org.apache.spark.SparkConf
  * Created by toddmcgrath on 6/15/16.
object SimpleScalaSpark {
  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    val logFile = "/Users/toddmcgrath/Development/spark-1.6.1-bin-hadoop2.4/" // Should be some file on your system
    val conf = new SparkConf().setAppName("Simple Application").setMaster("local[*]")
    val sc = new SparkContext(conf)
    val logData = sc.textFile(logFile, 2).cache()
    val numAs = logData.filter(line => line.contains("a")).count()
    val numBs = logData.filter(line => line.contains("b")).count()
    println("Lines with a: %s, Lines with b: %s".format(numAs, numBs))

6. Conclusion (AKA: eat, drink and be merry)

You’re now set.  Next step for you might be adding SBT into the mix.  But, for now, let’s just enjoy this moment.  You just completed Spark with Scala in IntelliJ.

If you have suggestions on how to improve this tutorial or any other feedback or ideas, let me know in the comments below.

Todd McGrath

Todd is a consultant in data engineering and software development using Scala, Apache Spark, Scala, Groovy, Python, relational, columnar and noSQL databases. He is a 20-year software veteran and founder of supergloo, inc.
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